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5 Things You Can Do at the Ohio State Fair That Might Surprise You

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Planning to visit the Ohio State Fair this year? With all the fun activities the fair has to offer, these 5 things you can do just might surprise you!

Thanks to the Ohio State Fair for sponsoring this post!

skyline of Columbus Ohio at the Ohio State Fair

Every year my family attends the fair we learn about more and more things the fair has to offer! Once you’re past the admission gate, there are a surprising amount of activities that are included in your ticket price. Last year I wrote about 15 Activities Kids Can Do for Free at the Ohio State Fair, including a petting zoo, a butterfly house, pig races and playing in a big sand box!

As you might suspect, a day at the fair also includes animal shows, rides and carnival games and all the fried food your heart desires. But there are lots of surprises to be had!

5 Things You Can Do at the Ohio State Fair That Might Surprise You:

1. Go Kayaking

kayaking at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio

Yes, Kayaking. Make sure you don’t miss the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Park which is full of family-friendly activities like a butterfly house, a train-themed playground, touch-a-truck, a large sand box with construction vehicles, a talking Smoky the Bear who will call your child by his or her name and much more – including kayaking!

Check in at the kayak pond to receive a time slot and take a kayak out on the water! It’s free and life jackets are available!

2. Ride a Camel

Camel Rides at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio

Horses, yes, but did you know you can also ride a camel at the fair? Camel Rides are available every day from 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM in the Meijer Kiddieland area and are $7 per person.

3. Drive a Model Train

model trains at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio

Tucked away in the Kasich Building are several model train displays furnished by the Central Ohio Model Railroad Club. The intricate towns and countrysides were fun to see and the displays were in multiple scales from tiny to large! If you have Thomas the Train fans, make sure to stop in this building because kids can take turns driving Thomas and Percy around the track!

model train at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio

While you’re in the building, don’t miss the amazing homemade cakes that are on display as well as the items that were entered under this year’s Wizard of Oz Theme!

model train display at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio

4. Eat Deep Fried Larvetes

larvets at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that it’s now a thing to eat deep fried cream-cheese Larvets. Larvae. Bugs. Baby Insects. Or as it says on the box “The original worm snax”. Nestled in cream cheese, battered and deep fried, they’re still hard to miss. Not that I tried them.

deep fried Larvetes at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio

Kudos to Nikki of SweetlyCbus and Megan of EatPlayCbus for taking one for the team. I’ll pass.

5. Meet a Walking, Talking Robot

walking robot at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio

You’re going to have to keep an eye out for this one because there’s no set time or place to see him, but when he’s nearby, you can’t miss him! Rock-It the Robot is a 9 foot talk, singing, walking and talking robot who can interact with the crowd! He’s actually quite a sight to see and it feels like he can really see you. My kids were freaked out – but they still couldn’t take their eyes off of him!

There’s a lot to see, do and eat at the Ohio State Fair! It’s 12 days of fun in the sun! Here are a few tips!

5 Tips for Attending the Ohio State Fair:

ride at night at the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, Ohio

1. Bring a water bottle. Of course water is available for purchase but you’ll be happy to have brought your own on these hot days! Glass containers are not permitted. You can also bring in your own food if you want to save some money and bring a meal or snacks!

2. Bring cash. A majority of the vendors do not take cards. There are ATM machines on the premises if you get in a bind, but: fees. Parking is $5 cash at the get go, so make sure to have plenty of cash on hand!

Ferris Wheel at the Ohio State Fair

3. Consider buying your tickets ahead of time at Kroger or a AAA location. You’ll save $2-4/person that way! Kids 5 and under are free!

4. Check in your child at one of the Lost Kids/Highway Patrol stations to receive a “Lost Kid Tag” to help identify your child if you get separated!

5. There are two family-care stations where you can change diapers and nurse your baby in private. These stations are in Meijer Kiddieland and Taste of Ohio Café. There are additional nursing stations in Kasich Hall and the Bricker Marketplace Building.

Have fun this year at the Ohio State Fair!

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What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, Ohio, June 14-16, 2019, Father’s Day Weekend

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Looking for things to do in Columbus, Ohio this weekend? Here are over 50 family-friendly events happening in Columbus, and Central Ohio this Father’s Day weekend!

Family Friendly Events in Columbus, Ohio This Weekend:

FRIDAY  

10:00 AM – Forest Fridays at Sunbury Urban Farm – this activity includes a 30 minute nature activity plus free play time the woods! All ages welcome. $5 suggested donation.

10:00 AM – Commons for Kids – Sports Day at Columbus Commons – Commons for Kids offers activities for all ages including carousel rides, inflatables, activities and more! This week’s theme is Sports Day! There will be visits from local mascots, crafts, face painting, and activities with Columbus Crew SC and OSU athletics!

10:00 AM – Music Class at Hoot Studio – enjoy a 45 minute music class including instruments, singing and surprises! $15 for the first kid, siblings are $10.

10:15 AM – Music with Mr. Mark at Little Buckeye Children’s Museum – sing and dance with Mr. Mark at Little Buckeye Museum in Mansfield! Free with admission or membership. $3 per child just for the class.

11:00 AM – From Book to Film: Paddington 2 at Gateway Film Center – admission is free with your library card (up to 4 admissions)! This week’s movie is Paddington 2.

1:00 PM – Creature Feature: Reptiles at Highbanks Metro Park – meet live reptiles and learn how to care for the animals. 

2:00 PM – From Book to Film: Paddington 2 at Gateway Film Center – admission is free with your library card (up to 4 admissions)! This week’s movie is Paddington 2.

3:00 PM – Car Seat Safety Check at Hilltop YMCA – get your carseat checked for safety by Columbus Public Health and Safe Kids!

4:00 PM – Mithoff Revitalization Celebration in Downtown Lancaster – this block party in downtown Lancaster will include rock climbing walls, face painting, caricatures and free kids activities! Food will be available as well as a beer garden. The party goes to 11:00 PM and includes live music during the Friday Night Bandstand.

4:00 PM – Celebrate 614 Day! at Seventh Son Brewing – June 14th has been officially recognized as 614 Day! Celebrate with Columbus-based DJ’s, art installations, vendors and food trucks!

4:00 PM – Pelotonia HQ Open House! at Pelotonia – check out the brand new Pelotonia Headquarters! There will be Velvet Ice Cream, Donatos pizza and drinks! Take this opportunity to support Pelotonia and explore Franklinton during Franklinton Friday! 

4:00 PM – Sensory Art: Father’s Day Edition at Hoot Studio – enjoy a sensory art project that will turn into a Father’s Day gift! $15/child, $10 for siblings. Call or register online. 

4:30 PM – Franklinton Bike Fest at Franklinton Cycle Works – this festival includes food, games, kids’ activities, music, bike demos and more! 

5:00 PM – Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival in Gahanna, OH – enjoy live jazz music, amusement rides, kayaking, shopping, and a family fun zone with Irish dance, juggling, storytelling, the Turtle Lady, petting zoo, and lots more! Tickets are available online and children under 4 are free.

5:00 PM – West Columbus Fair 2019 at Westland Mall – this event includes a petting zoo, pig races, a wild tiger exhibit, pony rides and a carnival midway! There will also be a Fearless Flores Thrill Show as seen on America’s Got Talent! 

5:00 PM – Grove City Wine and Arts Festival in the Heart of Grove City – experience 21 Ohio wineries and over 100 juried artists at this event in downtown Grove City! There will be food trucks and a Kids Craft with Never Grow Up Boutique on Saturday!

5:00 PM – St. Mary Parish Festival – the St. Mary Festival includes live music, food and drink, carnival rides, inflatables, midway games, a casino, kiddie land and more! A wristband for unlimited rides is $20.

6:00 PM – Friday Night Float at Sharon Woods Metro Park – take a canoe for a ride on the lake. Kids must be able to fit in life jackets.

6:30 PM – Family Night Out at Goldfish Swim School – Dublin – during this event, families can swim in the pool together! Cost is $5/person or $15/family. Tiger Woo’s World Class Tae Kwon Do and Operation Safe Kids will be the “featured friends” for the evening.

9:15 PM – Movies Under the Stars – Charade at Green Lawn Abbey – watch a movie at the Green Lawn Abbey! There will be a food truck at 8:00 PM and cartoons will be shown at dusk. The movie Charade begins at 9:15 PM. $5/person.


A BIG Thanks to Babies & Bumps for sponsoring this post!

Babies & Bumps is an exclusive event designed for parents with babies (newborn – 2 years old) and bumps; get answers to your questions, gain confidence in your decisions, resolve your fears…and become empowered about all aspects of pregnancy, birth, the transition to parenthood, and your baby’s development! No pressure. No judgment. Just support, resources, and community for you and your growing family.

At Babies & Bumps, we believe that information + connections = empowerment! So, every aspect is designed to connect you to valuable resources before you need them and to facilitate real conversations about all aspects of having a baby. From info-packed, expert-led seminars and demonstrations to local resources, shopping, complimentary activities, and giveaways galore…there’s nothing like Babies & Bumps!

See more info about the event and buy your tickets here.


SATURDAY

9:00 AM – The Great Inflatable Race Columbus at Franklin County Fairgrounds – this huge inflatable obstacle course is for all ages!

9:00 AM – Canoe the Lake at Sharon Woods Metro Park – drop in to take the kids on a canoe ride. Kids must be able to fit into a life jacket to ride.

9:00 AM – Worthington Arts Festival at Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington – this arts festival includes over 150 artists and vendors, food vendors, and community arts partners and activities. 

9:00 AM – Touch-A-Truck at the Westgate Farmers Market – kids can get up close to emergency and utility vehicles from AEP, Columbus Fire Department and Columbus Police Department! Plus enjoy the farmer’s market and Broke Johnny Food Truck!

9:00 AM – Waffle Bar! at Coffee Connections of Hilliard – $5 gets you one Belgium waffle with unlimited toppings! There will be animals to visit with from Heartland Conference Retreat Center. There will also be games and fun for the kids!

10:00 AM – Columbus Children’s Festival at Westerville North High School – this festival includes lots of activities for kids including a foam fun run, a A Whole New World Breakfast, a bounce park and fun zone, talent contest, balloon artist, petting zoo and lots more!

10:00 AM – The Big Splash at Three Creeks Metro Park – this event includes canoeing, a water slide, discovering pond life, a squirt gun zone and free snacks! Children must be able to fit into a life jacket to ride in the canoes.

10:00 AM – Babies & Bumps Columbus 2019 at Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center – get answers to your questions, gain confidence in your decisions, resolve your fears…and become empowered about all aspects of pregnancy, birth, the transition to parenthood, and your baby’s development! No pressure. No judgment. Just support, resources, and community for you and your growing family.

10:00 AM – The Science of Big Machines at COSI Columbus’ Dynamic Hands-On Science Center! – climb aboard big machines and construction vehicles and learn about the science and technology of construction vehicles! This event will run through June 23rd! Included in admission and membership.

10:00 AM – Kids Club at Michaels Stores – make a Father’s Day card for dad! $3/project.

10:10 AM – Our Village: Donut Decorating with Dad at the Powell Village Green – decorate donuts with dad at this Family Stroller Strides Class! Your first class with FIT4MOM is free!

10:30 AM – Pride Parade – the Pride Parade steps off at 10:30 AM from Poplar & High. From 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM in the Family Area at the Pride Festival, kids can enjoy play, arts and crafts and more! There will be a bounce house, picnic area, dress up photos and more! There will also be vendors, live entertainment and food trucks.

11:00 AM – Grove City Wine and Arts Festival in the Heart of Grove City – experience 21 Ohio wineries and over 100 juried artists at this event in downtown Grove City! There will be food trucks and a Kids Craft with Never Grow Up Boutique on Saturday!

11:00 AM – From Book to Film: Paddington 2 at Gateway Film Center – admission is free with your library card (up to 4 admissions)! This week’s movie is Paddington 2.

11:00 AM – Kids Craft During the Wine and Arts Festival at Never Grow Up Boutique – stop by Never Grow Up to make a make a project during the Grove City Wine and Arts Festival. Make and take a craft for $5.

11:00 AM – Wild Saturday at Green Haven Living, LLC – visit with animal ambassadors from Ohio Wildlife Center until 3:00 PM!

11:30 AM – Indian Food Festival at Columbus Indian Church – taste home-cooked dishes from members of the congregation! Menu items are $3 and there is free ice cream for the kids and free beverages.

2:00 PM – MAKE a Father’s Day Mug at Michaels Stores – buy the mug and Michaels will provide the supplies to decorate it for dad!

2:00 PM – Canoe the Lake at Sharon Woods Metro Park – drop in to take the kids on a canoe ride. Kids must be able to fit into a life jacket to ride.

2:00 PM – From Book to Film: Paddington 2 at Gateway Film Center – admission is free with your library card (up to 4 admissions)! This week’s movie is Paddington 2.

2:00 PM – West Columbus Fair 2019 at Westland Mall – this event includes a petting zoo, pig races, a wild tiger exhibit, pony rides and a carnival midway! There will also be a Fearless Flores Thrill Show as seen on America’s Got Talent!

4:30 PM – The Royals Project Family Skate Night at Skate America – skate with Disney, Marvel and DC characters! $5 for admission. Recommended for ages preschool through 4th grade. Non-skating adults are free.

5:00 PM – St. Mary Parish Festival – the St. Mary Festival includes live music, food and drink, carnival rides, inflatables, midway games, a casino, kiddie land and more! A wristband for unlimited rides is $20.

6:00 PM – Moonlight Market on Gay Street – this outdoor street festival and market includes over 100 sidewalk vendors, street musicians and more!

SUNDAY – FATHER’S DAY

9:00 AM – Father’s Day Special: Canoe the Lake at Sharon Woods Metro Park – drop in to take the kids on a canoe ride. Kids must be able to fit into a life jacket to ride.

11:00 AM – From Book to Film: Paddington 2 at Gateway Film Center – admission is free with your library card (up to 4 admissions)! This week’s movie is Paddington 2.

11:00 AM – Worthington Arts Festival at Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington – this arts festival includes over 150 artists and vendors, food vendors, and community arts partners and activities. 

2:00 PM – West Columbus Fair 2019 at Westland Mall – this event includes a petting zoo, pig races, a wild tiger exhibit, pony rides and a carnival midway! There will also be a Fearless Flores Thrill Show as seen on America’s Got Talent!

2:00 PM – From Book to Film: Paddington 2 at Gateway Film Center – admission is free with your library card (up to 4 admissions)! This week’s movie is Paddington 2.

2:00 PM – Father’s Day Special: Canoe the Lake at Sharon Woods Metro Park – drop in to take the kids on a canoe ride. Kids must be able to fit into a life jacket to ride.

2:00 PM – Fishing with the Rangers at Highbanks Metro Park – limited bait and poles will be provided for this fishing time! 

3:00 PM – Father’s Day Carriage Rides at Easton Town Center – take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Easton for $10/person. Children under 15 ride free with a paying adult. 

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*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*


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What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, OH, May 31 – June 2, 2019

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Looking for things to do in Columbus, Ohio this weekend? Here are over 39 family-friendly events happening in Columbus, and Central Ohio this weekend!

Family Friendly Events in Columbus, Ohio This Weekend:

FRIDAY  

9:00 AM – May’s Summer Special at Tree of Life Play + Cafe – receive half of admission every Friday in May when your kid wears his or her favorite jammies!

10:00 AM – For Families: Go Creeking at Highbanks Metro Park Look for water animals in the Olentangy River. Ages 3-15.

10:00 AM – Tots on the Trails at Blacklick Woods Metro Park – take a slow paced, half-mile walk with your 1-4 year old!

10:00 AM – Zoo Babies presented by First Financial Bank at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – like baby animals? Take a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo to search out six-foot-tall stork statues that will be leading visitors to all of the the baby animals that have been born at the zoo recently! Included in admission.

1:00 PM – For Families: Go Creeking at Highbanks Metro Park Look for water animals in the Olentangy River. Ages 3-15.

3:30 PM – Family Movie Matinee – Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse at Bexley Public Library – Bexley Public Library is celebrating the launch of their Summer Community Read program with a screening of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Popcorn and drinks provided!

5:00 PM – Stuffed Animal Sleepover at Chick-fil-A Sawmill Road – bring your kid’s favorite stuffed animal for a story time and tuck-in at Chick-fil-A Sawmill! Pick up is Saturday morning between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM where you can learn about their wild and crazy night!

6:30 PM – Family Night Out at Goldfish Swim School – members and non-members are welcome for an open swim at all local Goldfish Swim School locations! $5/person or $15/family. First come, first served.

6:30 PM – Story Trail Opening & Ribbon Cutting at Friendship Park – celebrate the kick off of the summer reading program with a ribbon cutting of the newest story at the Gahanna Story Trail in Friendship Park! This year’s story is titled “The Big Walnut Country Club” and has been written by students from Gahanna. There will be live music and free activities!

6:30 PM – Summer Reading Launch Party at Delaware County District Library – Delaware County District Library is kicking off their Summer Reading Club with music from Zak Morgan and magic from Erica Carlson! There will also be a visit from COSI and ice cream from Sticky Fingers! 

7:00 PM – Friday Night Bandstand in Downtown Lancaster – enjoy a live performance from Bad Influence Ohio!

7:00 PM – Shazzbots | Summer Sizzle Concert Series at George Edge Music Park – celebrate the kick off of the Summer Reading Club with music from The Shazzbots, crafts and activities!

7:00 PM – Flicks in the Heights at Buck Park – the movie Angels in the Outfield starts at sunset. Free popcorn will be served!

9:00 PM – Sunset Cinemas at The Daily Growler: Remember the Titans at The Daily Growler – Polaris – watch a free screening of Remember the Titans on the patio! Bring a chair or blanket!

SATURDAY

9:00 AM – 2019 Opening Market in Westgate – in addition to the usual food, produce and arts vendors, the first market of the season will also include the opportunity for kids to plant seeds in a pot and take them home with them!

9:00 AM – Healthy Community Day at OSU Outpatient Care East – this event includes free health screenings and consultations, giveaways, entertainment and activities!

9:00 AM – Dairy Day at Berry Farm – learn about dairy farming at Mitchell’s Berry Farm, milk a cow, meet a calf and enjoy milk and donuts!

9:00 AM – Short North Yard Sale – scour the neighborhoods of the Short North for treasure!

9:00 AM – Hike all the Trails in Blacklick Woods Metro Park – this event includes a fast-paced hike of 6 miles of trails!

10:00 AM – The debut of “Chihuly: Celebrating Nature” at Franklin Park Conservatory – for the first time in almost 10 years you can view the entire Chihuly collection at Franklin Park Conservatory! This weekend marks the opening of the exhibit which will run through March 29, 2020!

10:00 AM – Read & Blast Off! at Westerville Public Library – celebrate the kick off of the Summer Reading Club with all kinds of space-themed activities! There will be games, science activities, astronaut training, space-themed BINGO and more! 

10:00 AM – Heritage Celebration in Grove City – explore an 1800’s farm community with hands-on experiences, carriage rides, historical demonstrations and a vintage base ball game at 1:00 PM. Donations to the Grove City Food Pantry will be accepted.

10:00 AM – Family Archery Day: Morning Session at Stratford Ecological Center – this activity is for kids 8 and up and an accompanying adult! Learn the fundamentals of archery! $10/child. Call to register.

10:00 AM – Tractor Show at Gallant Farm Park – learn about tractors during the family-fun day that includes a kiddie pedal tractor pull!

10:00 AM – 2019 Troy Strawberry Festival – just around an hour from Columbus, this festival includes live entertainment, over 100 arts and crafts vendors, and strawberries!

11:00 AM – Summer Kick Off Block Party at Westgate BusinessWorks – celebrate Summer in Westgate/Hilltop! After you stroll through the Westgate Farmers Market, head over to The Design Refinery for a free craft for the kids hosted by What Should We Do Today Columbus?! Popsicles will be available for purchase from Too Good Eats! Next door, at Clay Street Ceramics you can paint an ice cream cone or dish and make an ice cream cone magnet for $15.  

11:00 AM – Rhythm on the River Music Festival in Bicentennial Park – this is an all-day music festival featuring 6 bands and food trucks!

11:00 AM – Summer Reading Challenge Kickoff at Columbus Metropolitan Library – celebrate the kick off of the Summer Reading Challenge with two concerts from Jim Gill and animals from Bring the Farm to You! There will be indoor and outdoor games, food and costumed characters!

11:00 AM – Kick Off to Summer at Pro-Football Hall of Fame – take a trip to Canton for this free event that includes a touch-a-truck display, football activities, food trucks, inflatables and more! One child can get in free to the museum with each adult admission purchase. 

1:00 PM – Family Archery Day: Afternoon Session at Stratford Ecological Center – this activity is for kids 8 and up and an accompanying adult! Learn the fundamentals of archery! $10/child. Call to register.

3:00 PM – Family Tram Rides at Sharon Woods Metro Park – take a guided tour of the park aboard one of the park trams. Last tour departs at 5:45 PM.

4:00 PM – 10 Year Anniversary Party! at Art with Anna – celebrate 10 years of Art With Anna with food, drinks, games and, of course, art! This event is free!

5:30 PM – “FORE!!!!” Parent’s Night Out at Dublin Toy Emporium – drop your kids off for a golf-themed night at Kreation’s Play Kafe! The night includes putt putt golf, cupcake decorating and dinner! Call to reserve your spot. 

SUNDAY

10:00 AM – Community Days at Franklin Park Conservatory – on the first Sunday of each month, the Conservatory is free for residents of Franklin County and the City of Columbus (with valid ID) during regular operating hours of 10am to 5pm.

10:00 AM – The debut of “Chihuly: Celebrating Nature” at Franklin Park Conservatory – for the first time in almost 10 years you can view the entire Chihuly collection at Franklin Park Conservatory! This weekend marks the opening of the exhibit which will run through March 29, 2020!

10:00 AM – 2019 Troy Strawberry Festival – just around an hour from Columbus, this festival includes live entertainment, over 100 arts and crafts vendors, and strawberries!

2:00 PM – StrawBerry Fairy Tea Party at Mitchell’s Berries LLC – enjoy a garden tea party with the “Berry Fairy”. Reservations are for one adult and one child. Purchase tickets online.

3:00 PM – Family Tram Rides at Sharon Woods Metro Park – take a guided tour of the park aboard one of the park trams. Last tour departs at 5:45 PM.

3:00 PM – Family Concert: Muppet Mayhem Band at Bexley Public Library – celebrate the launch of Bexley Library’s Summer Community Read with a concert from the Muppet Mayhem Band!

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*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*


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