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Indoor Fun Around Columbus: 6 Things to Do Before Spring!

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Here are some indoor activities to do around Columbus before it gets warm! Though the winter has been pretty mild, I’m still counting down until park days, evening walks and no more winter coats! If you’re getting stir crazy in the house, pick one of these ideas for a fun outing with the kids!

1. Brick of Dreams

  • UPDATE: Brick of Dreams closed in the Fall of 2017
  • 6190 Shamrock Ct., Suite C, Dublin, OH 43016

Brick of Dreams is a fun way to spend an hour or two free-building with LEGO and DUPLO blocks! You pay per kid, per hour to have full access to the thousands of LEGO bricks available! Around the room are shelves full of containers filled with LEGOs, pick one out, sit at one of the many tables and go to town! There are also DUPLO blocks for the younger crowd and a race track for your creations with wheels! I took my 5 year old for an hour one morning and it flew by! Keep an eye out for the President’s Day special – $5/hour/kid. (Regular cost is $7/hour/kid).

2. Mindbender Mansion and Amazing Mazes at COSI

  • 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

COSI has a new exhibit going on until April 30, 2017. It’s on the second floor and it’s filled with illusions, mazes and mysteries! Kids can create their own mazes, solve mysteries, try to figure out optical illusions and wind their way through mazes themselves! (To be honest, it’s pretty fun for adults, too!) This exhibit is free with admission or membership. We were recently hosted by COSI and invited to try the new Bean Sprouts menu in the Atomic Café. The menu offers healthy options for kids (and adults!) The P-moji Pizza and Chicken Presto Chango sandwich were really good!

3. Milk and Cookie Happy Hour at Sassafras Bakery

I know, I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but cookies are always worth mentioning again, in my book! 😉 I often find the hardest hour of the day to pass is from 4:00 – 5:00 PM. So if you need a little cheer to get you through the last part of the afternoon, head to Sassafras Bakery for Milk and Cookie Happy Hour from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. You get a free glass of milk or cup of coffee with each cookie purchased. (Most cookies are $2).

4. Gramercy Books

  • 2424 E. Main St., Bexley, OH 43209

Gramercy Books is a new independent bookstore in Bexley. There is a great selection of children’s books! If your kids love books and reading, they will love it here! On the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, they will host Sunday Storytime for kids at 12:00 PM. Attached to the bookstore is Kittie’s, a wonderful little coffee shop and bakery! Put the two together and you have a perfect outing!

5. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

  • 4004 Main St, Hilliard, OH 43026

Coffee Connections is a coffee shop with a mission to build community. Located in Old Hilliard, the shop has two buildings. The front (on Main St.) is where the coffee is made and served and in the back building, on the second floor, there is a play area for kids! As long as you’ve got coffee in hand, this play area is free! It is geared toward the younger crowd, I’d say 5 and under, but there is a lot of space to sit and catch up with a friend while your kids play!

6. Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

  • 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

There are just a few more weeks to see Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art.The exhibit is on display until February 26, 2017 and is included in admission or membership. Also, remember that admission is free on Sundays! Along with the large LEGO display, there are bricks for free building, and a LEGO Pokemon scavenger hunt!

If you’re looking for more fun {INDOOR} ideas, check out 20 FREE Indoor Play Areas in Columbus or my post for Columbus Moms Blog: 5 FREE Kid-Friendly Columbus Outings!

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ICYMI: Save Money on LEGO Sets with BrickSmarts

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5 on Friday: Columbus Bakeries

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These Columbus bakeries are kid-tested and approved! If you’re looking for a new place to get your sweet fix, give one of these local bakeries a try! You won’t be disappointed!

Girl holding a Face Cookie from Kittie's, a bakery in Columbus, Ohio

I’m always on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookie in Columbus and that search has taken us to some really great Columbus bakeries and has even earned me a spot on The Great Food Debate podcast a few times! I brought Kittie’s Face Cookies to the “best cookies” episode and made sure to prove they live up to the name!

If you’re on the search for some of the best bakeries in Columbus, check out this list of 5 adorable shops where you can get cookies, pie, French pastry, cupcakes and more!

1. The Original Goodie Shop, Upper Arlington

  • 2116 Tremont Center, Upper Arlington, OH 43221

The Original Goodie Shop, a bakery in Columbus, Ohio

 

Cookies, cakes, donuts, you name it! It’s all here! Easy parking, and really close to the Upper Arlington Library if you’re looking for a fun outing! We had cut out cookies and an amazing cinnamon stick (pictured below). I have it on good authority that the chocolate donuts are worthy of a fork and knife. #donutgoals

coffee and pastry from The Original Goodie Shop in Upper Arlington, Ohio

2. Pistacia Vera, German Village

  • 541 S. 3rd St., Columbus, OH 43215 

Pistacia Vera is, hands down, one of my favorite places in Columbus period. I love this place. I love the atmosphere, the pastries, I even love the bathroom. I’m not even joking. I always say it’s my favorite bathroom in Columbus! I love to take visitors here and everyone who visits loves it, too. 

a cup of coffee and Pain Au Chocolat from Pistacia Vera, a french bakery in Columbus Ohio

This French style Columbus bakery is famous for its macarons which I highly recommend! Other favorites of mine are the Chocolate Chunk Pistachio cookies and the Chocolate Bomb dessert! 

the bakery counter at Pistacia Vera in Columbus, Ohio

The coffee is great here too and it’s the perfect place to meet a friend for a sweet treat and a cup of coffee. Afterwards stroll down S. 3rd St. to stop in at The Book Loft, one of the best bookstores in Columbus!

Pistacia Vera from the outside in German Village, Columbus, Ohio

3. Kittie’s, Bexley and German Village

  • 2424 E Main St., Bexley, OH 43209
  • 495 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43215

Kitties Bakery in Bexley, Ohio just outside of Columbus

The Face Cookie at Kittie’s is the cookie that started my salted-chocolate chip obsession. Get it! You will NOT be disappointed. The boys and I shared this cookie – next time I’m going back for the whole thing! The Bexley location of Kittie’s is attached to Gramercy Books a great independent bookstore! What a great combo!

the Face Cookie at Kitties Bakery in Columbus, Ohio

The German Village location of Kitties is adorable and available for take out (no dine in seating). You can count on Kitties for great cookies, but also amazing cupcakes, scones, biscuits and more!

Kittie's Bakery in German Village, Columbus, Ohio

4. Sassafras Bakery, Worthington

  • 657 High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Outside of Sassafras Bakery in Worthington, Ohio

This adorable bakery in Uptown Worthington is famous for its Milk and Cookie Happy Hour! Milk and Cookie Happy Hour at Sassafras Bakery takes place Wednesday through Friday from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM and  includes a free glass of milk or cup of coffee with each cookie purchased.

They make this sound like it’s for the kids . . . but it’s really just an excuse for the adults to eat more cookies! 😉 Ummm…I also got the salted-chocolate chip cookie here, too. It was the container with the least amount of cookies in it, so that was my first clue it should be my choice! I chose wisely! (Oh yeah, the kids loved it, too!)

Chocolate chip cookie and coffee from Sassafras Bakery in Columbus Ohio

5. Dough Mama, Clintonville

  • 3335 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43214

Outside of Dough Mama Cafe + Bakery in Columbus, Ohio

Dough Mama is the home of my 3rd salted-chocolate chip cookie. Once you go salted, you never go back! Dough Mama is famous for their pies and I’ve also had a really amazing breakfast sandwich here! Please see below for this amazingness.

breakfast sandwich at Dough Mama in Clintonville

This bakery has a lot of space for kids and is in the heart of Clintonville so you can spend some time shopping, thrifting and checking out this great neighborhood!

salted chocolate chip cookies from Sassafras Bakery in Columbus, Ohio

The research for this post was painful, as you can imagine. 😉 What bakery should be next on our list?

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Playdate in Uptown Westerville

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Confession: other than dropping off our taxes to the accountant, I haven’t spent any time in Uptown Westerville!  So who better to show me the ropes than a friend who grew up there? A playdate was in the plans so she suggested meeting for donuts before heading to Alum Creek Park North.  No one’s going to argue with that plan! We met up at Schneider’s Bakery to pick out our goodies before heading to the park.  This was my first time at Schneider’s Bakery, but from what I hear it is a Westerville institution.  The bakery opens at 1:30 AM.  Yes, in the morning.  I had to ask twice just to be sure!  This works well near a college campus and across the street from a bar . . . but keep this in mind if you get some middle of the night pregnancy cravings!  IMG_4007

IMG_3997There are a lot of goodies to choose from here including donuts, pastries, cookies and fresh bread and rolls.  Your kids will enjoy the I Spy Cake in the display case – a cake covered in lots of fun items with a list of things to look for.  We also got to sample a Celebration Donut, which is basically a humongous donut (10 inches in diameter, to be exact!) that you can order for special occasions!IMG_4003

Kids . . . they’re so funny.  They just haven’t learned yet that all that glitters isn’t gold.  They always choose sugar cookies with brightly colored sprinkles or bright blue ice cream with a name like Superman.  And then they spend the rest of the time asking me and their dad for bites of what we ordered – you know, the better tasting things like chocolate and normal colored foods.  Anyway . . . my kids both wanted a smiley face cookie, but then spent the morning asking for bites of my amazing glazed donut.  When will they learn?  And when will Mama get to eat her own food?  If you know the answer, do tell!  😉

The donut WAS one of the best I have ever had.  Really.

Don’t you, though?

Once we had our sweets, us mamas had to head down the street to Java Central for our daily dose of caffeine.  Don’t plan to eat your donut here (the signs are very clear about that), but pick up some coffee before you head to the park. (You probably already know this is a theme of mine.)  Java Central is a cute coffee shop with a lot of regulars, a lot of coffee choices, and a variety of food and snacks for sale.  (I didn’t try the Nitro, but I am definitely curious.)IMG_4021

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IMG_4014This day in particular was beautiful, not too hot, not too cold and it would have been totally possible to walk to the park, but I was on a time crunch, so we got back in our cars and drove to Alum Creek Park North.  The parking for the park is along Alum Park Dr.  The first time I came here, a few years ago, I took a few wrong turns around Otterbein, unsure where to enter.  There are spots lining the edge of the park and a small lot at the bottom of the hill.

This is a fun park with a lot of different areas to play in (I also featured it here.)  There’s a play train for the younger kids, an older kids play area, a climbing wall, a play-web structure, a sand pit and an Neos 360. There are also swings for all ages. The boys spent the majority of their time on the train and then in the sand pit.IMG_4047

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IMG_4031Something super serious is being discussed at this meeting of the minds – like, “is my smiley face cookie as good as your donut?”IMG_4066

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Caffeinated mamas are happy mamas!

I’ve seriously been thinking about that donut ever since our visit so I’m thinking a return visit to Uptown Westerville is in order! Anywhere else I need to visit while I’m there?

Know Before You Go:

Schneider’s Bakery
Location: 6 S. State St., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-882-6611
Hours:
Monday: 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Tuesday -Thursday: 1:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday: Apr-Oct: 1:30 AM – 9:00 PM; Nov-Mar: 1:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 1:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Sunday CLOSED
Cash or Check only!

Java Central
Location: 20B South State St., Westerville, Ohio 43081
Phone: 614-839-0698
Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 7:00 AM-9:00 PM
Friday: 7:00 AM-10:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM-10:00 PM
Sunday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Alum Creek Park North
Location: 221 W. Main St., Westerville, OH 43081

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ICYMI: 6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers


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