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3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Abby Hallstrom

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Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus!

Thanks to Abby for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Abby Hallstrom:

1. Blacklick Ridge Community Park 

boys holding a fish at Blackridge Community Park

My boys love to fish and spend time outdoors. We luckily found a wonderful park close to home that has a pond. Blacklick Ridge Community Park has a small catch and release pond at the back of the park. The boys love going here because they always have luck with catching several fish.

We also pick Blacklick Ridge Community park as one of our favorites  because of the fun community events that take place throughout the year. An Ice cream social, Hog Roast, and a Halloween party are just a few of the fun events.

2. Pickerington Public Library

Boys at Pickerington Library, Columbus Ohio

The library has always been a fun place that we enjoy going to as a family. The Pickerington Public Library Sycamore Branch has become the favorite one to visit for the boys. The kids section is top notch. Games, books, nature backpacks, and videos can all be checked out to continue the fun at home.

The cherry on top for Sycamore is the fun and educational programs they frequently put on for the kids. We have attended programs about reptiles, hedgehogs, and tarantulas. We recently learned the process of making apple cider, and have participated in a fun Noon Years Eve celebration with games, dance parties, and crafts.

I have also enjoyed being creative with a class by AR Workshop Pickergton and creating String Art, all for free at the library. Make sure to frequently check the events page or follow them on Facebook. They are always posting events and classes. 

3. Lego Store at Easton

Boys at LEGO Store at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

My boys are huge Lego fans and are constantly building and creating with Legos and Duplos. We are fortunate to have both LEGOLAND Discovery Center and a LEGO store here in Columbus.

We visit the LEGO store frequently for the free mini builds that take place once or twice a month. You can stop into the store or call at the beginning of each month to register for the free builds. On the night of the build you come, make the build, and take it home.

The store also has several LEGO stations out where the kids can build and create. One Monday a month you can bring in minifigures to trade with the employees.You can find the monthly events calendar online, or pick one up in the store. 

Abby Hailstorm, @Cbusboymomma
Hello! I am Abby and I am a momma to three amazing little guys, a wife to a pretty cool man, an educator, and an online small shirt shop owner. We love to explore and have fun in our city Columbus, Ohio. Being a momma of 3 and an educator for 13 years I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way. I love to share our adventures and activities on my Instagram @cbusboymomma or on my blog www.cbusmomma.comMy creative side can be found at my shirt shop www.cbusgalsdesign.com. Columbus is an amazing place to live, work, and play! I am proud of our great city!


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5 Tasty Kid-Friendly Restaurants at Easton Town Center

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If you’re spending a day shopping at Easton Town Center take the kids to refuel at one of these 5 family-friendly restaurant options!

A BIG thank you to Easton Town Center for sponsoring this post!

We love spending time at Easton! With the addition of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus, we’re finding ourselves there more and more often! There are plenty of summer events happening at Easton and it is a destination for back to school shopping! With movies, shopping and plenty of activities available, it’s easy to spend an entire day there! When you’re with the kids and need to find a bite to eat, try out one of these 5 kid-friendly restaurants at Easton Town Center!

kids eating at Cafe Zupa at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio

5 Family-Friendly Restaurants at Easton Town Center:

1. MELT Bar and Grilled

  • Located in Easton Gateway – 4206 Worth Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43219
  • Casual, sit down restaurant, patio seating available 

grilled cheese meal at Melt Bar and Grilled at Easton Town Center

MELT is a super fun restaurant to eat at while shopping at Easton! The decor itself is enough to keep kids occupied at least until the drinks arrive! Decorated with light up Halloween and Christmas decor, plus murals all over the walls and neon lights, the restaurant is colorful and entertaining! Not to mention the restaurant is filled with TVs – often playing classics. When we were there, they were showing the movie Jurassic Park, which entertained my 4 year old dinosaur lover!

kid at Melt Bar and Grilled at Easton Town Center

The menu at MELT is huge! The star here is CHEESE! Choose one of their grilled cheese sandwiches (and calling it a “grilled cheese” is certainly an understatement!) or one of the macaroni and cheese dishes to let it shine! MELT is also known for their large selection of craft beers.kid-friendly meal at Melt Bar and Grilled at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio
What’s great here is that the kid’s menu is so affordable! The kids’ meals are $4 and include drink! And they are not skimpy portions! The options included grilled cheese (of course!), baked mac and cheese, a burger, PB&J, chicken fingers and french bread pizza. Kids get their choice of a side (fries, chips, salad or banana) and a small drink.

While $4 with a drink is pretty much a bargain in the kid’s meal department these days, if you’re lucky enough to be eating on a Tuesday, kids’ meals are $2! My kid said the chicken fingers were “delicious” and they were big fans of the fries! The back of the kid’s menu doubles as a coloring page which kept us busy until the food arrived.

indoor decor at MELT Bar and Grilled At Easton Town Center

In the warm months, MELT Bar and Grilled also offers a great patio! 

Kid Friendly Points: Fun decor, TV’s, affordable kid’s menu, easy parking, great patio.

2. Koko Tea Salon & Bakery

  • Located next to the model train – 3951 Easton Square Place East, Columbus, OH 43219
  • Bakery for to-go sweets, coffee and teas

cake pops at Koko Tea Salon and Bakery

If you’re in need of a sweet pick me up or a tea or coffee, stop in at Koko Tea Salon and Bakery! We visited on my youngest son’s birthday and he appropriately picked out the Birthday Cake cupcake! The bakery case tempted us with truffles and other flavors of cupcakes, sugar cookies, brownies and cake pops! KoKo Tea Salon’s macarons have been voted best in Columbus for 5 years in a row!

koko tea salon at easton town center

What’s really impressive about KoKo Tea Salon is the long list of drink options! The kona coffee is grown by a relative of the owner of the bakery and delivered straight from Hawaii! All of the coffee drinks are 100% Kona Hawaii Coffee! Beyond just a cup of coffee, Lattes, Mochas and Frappés are available.

bubble tea at koko tea salon and bakery at easton town center

If you’re a tea drinker, you can choose from Bubble Tea, Iced Tea, Tea Frappés, Tea Lattes and loose leaf teas in a variety of fun flavors like cotton candy, Lavender, Taro, Coconut and more! Add in some popping pearls to your bubble tea for extra fun!

KoKo Tea Salon & Bakery is right next to the model train and the fountains! It’s the perfect spot to pick up a treat and then play! (There is no indoor seating so look for the seating around the train and fountain area!)

Kid Friendly Points: Sugar. Seriously, though, if your kid has a sweet tooth, this place will be a dream.

3. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

  • Located in Easton Gateway – 4020 Stelzer Rd., Columbus, OH 43219
  • Casual, sit-down restaurant 

Let’s just start by saying the menu at BJ’s is huge! There is truly something for everyone on this menu! This is a great spot for a sit down, yet casual meal. The restaurant is large with just enough noise to drown out the sound of kids being kids. The kids menu has a lot of options featuring pasta, pizza, grilled chicken, tacos, burgers, broiled shrimp and more. On the back of the menu are quite a few fun activities and games to keep the kids occupied while they wait.

father and son at BJ's Restaurant at Easton Town Center

Our waiter brought the kids out some fresh rolls and a fruit bowl with our appetizer. That was a thoughtful touch and my kids loved the rolls!

Boy eating at BJ's Restaurant at Easton Town Center

BJ’s is a safe bet if you’re looking for a menu that offers something for everyone! And don’t miss their famous Pizookies – a freshly baked cookie in a pizza tin served with a scoop of ice cream on top! Yum!

Kid Friendly Points: TVs for entertainment, a great kids menu with activities on the back and Pizookies!

4. Northstar Cafe

  • 4015 Townsfair Way,
Columbus, OH 43219, next to Barnes and Noble
  • Order at the counter and seat yourself, patio seating available

The Short North location of Northstar Cafe is where my husband and I filled our the application for our first apartment when we moved to Columbus! We have always loved Northstar and we continued the tradition of eating there each time we found out we were pregnant!

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The Easton location is one of my favorites because it is so bright and happy and it has a great patio! We have taken our kids there numerous times over the years and know that it is a favorite of many Columbus families!

kid looking at magazine at Northstar Cafe, Easton Town Center

When you enter the restaurant you will pick up a menu and then wait in line to order at the counter before seating yourself. There is a kids menu but you will have to ask for it. (Or check out the kids menu online before you go.)

I think about Northstar Cafe in two capacities: Brunch and Everything Else. Brunch is served until 11:00 AM on weekdays and 3:00 PM on the weekends and is my favorite menu.  The ricotta pancakes are to die for and they are my kids’ favorite. If it’s brunch, they’re gonna order the pancakes.

kid eating pizza at Northstar Cafe Easton Town Center

Now let’s talk about Everything Else. The sweet basil burrito is one of my favorites (friend brought it to me in the hospital after Jaden was born) and that’s what I usually get if it’s not Brunch. On our last trip, my kids ordered the grilled cheese and a pepperoni pizza. If your kids can easily agree on pizza, one pizza is plenty enough to feed 2 young kids. We aren’t that lucky so we took home a lot of pizza!

Kid Friendly Points: great patio, magazines are available for passing time while waiting for your food and the cookies are super yummy!

5. Café Zupas

  • Located near LL Bean – 4226 Easton Loop W, Columbus, OH 43219
  • Fast casual, order at the counter, patio seating available

salad at Cafe Zupas at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

I may have a new favorite fast-casual restaurant at Easton! On our first trip to Café Zupas I was really impressed! There were a lot of simple and healthy choices and the kids meals were just as enticing! You can expect a wide variety of soups, quinoa bowls, salads and sandwiches with a Try 2 Combo option!

drink infusions at Cafe Zupas at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

One of the highlights was a drink bar with 4 kinds of house-made “Drink Infusions” – uniquely flavored juices, teas and lemonade. The drinks are made with raw, unfiltered clover honey and are not super sweet. If they’re not sweet enough, they offer simple, flavored syrups to sweeten your drink. (Regular soft drinks are also available!)

chocolate covered strawberry at Cafe Zupas, Easton Town Center

My boys chose chicken strips and a side of fruit. The kids meals are around $5 and include a drink! Each meal (kids included) came with a chocolate covered strawberry! That was a nice surprise!

boy eating at Cafe Zupas, Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

Choose Café Zupas if you’re looking for a reasonably priced and quick dining experience. The atmosphere is bright and upbeat and all of the menu items are made fresh daily in the restaurant.

Kid Friendly Points: the kids meals are $4.99 and include a drink and a chocolate covered strawberry, laid back environment and healthier drink options.

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Related: Kids Eat Free or Cheap in Columbus and Central Ohio

 


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8 Ways to Enjoy Easton with your Family this Summer

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Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio is a one-stop destination for family-friendly fun! With unique shopping and dining options, weekly events and live entertainment, there is something for everyone in the family!

Thank you to Easton Town Center for sponsoring this post.

I love Easton! I love the way they’ve managed to make it feel like vacation whenever I’m there! Believe it or not, this year Easton is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

Train at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

I have always loved shopping at Easton and after I had kids, I would often bring them to Easton when they were babies just to push them around in the stroller and sip on an iced coffee from Starbucks. As they grew, they loved looking at the model train, running around the fountain and eventually graduated to coveting everything in The LEGO Store!  When it was built last year, we moved on to spending hours at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus!

fountain at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

Easton has become a destination with live entertainment, the addition of LEGOLAND and a whole slew of summer activities you can enjoy your with your family! Read on and mark your calendar for the fun!

8 Ways to Enjoy Easton with your Family this Summer:

1. Movies by Moonlight

This year, in honor of their 20th anniversary, Movies by Moonlight is going to include movies released in 1999! Movies by Moonlight happen on Tuesday nights at dusk at the Town Square. (Actual start times will vary throughout the summer).

The 2019 Movies by Moonlight line up this year includes:

June 4 – The Wizard of Oz
June 11 – Stuart Little
June 18 – Tarzan
June 25 – Ralph Breaks the Internet
July 2 – Field of Dreams
July 9 – Pokémon: The First Movie
July 16 – Inspector Gadget
July 23 – The LEGO Movie 2
July 30 – Muppets from Space
August 6 – The Iron Giant
This year marks Easton Town Center’s 20th anniversary!
August 13 – Mary Poppins Returns
August 20 – Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century
August 27 – Runaway Bride

2. Sounds on the Town

Sounds on the Town begins June 5th and runs through August 28th, featuring live music from local  and regional bands. Concerts begin at 6:00 PM at the Town Square.

2019 Sounds on the Town Concert line up includes:

June 5 – Teeny Tucker Band
June 12 – Divas of the 90’s
June 19 – Topher James & Biscuit Brigade opening for New Basics Brass Band
June 26 – Fool House
July 3 – Songs at the Center LIVE!
July 10 – Ark Band
July 17 – The Fabulous Johnson Brothers
July 24 – Tony Monaco Trio with Byron Stripling Quartet
July 31 – SWAGG
August 7 – Urban Jazz Coalition
August 14 – The Menus
August 21 – Yumbambe
August 28 – Funk Worthy opening for Who’s Bad

3. 20th Annual Easton Art Affair

sign for Easton Art Affair, Columbus, Ohio

The Easton Art Affair is a juried fine art show that features artists who work in all kinds of mediums and will take place June 21st -23rd, 2019. Admission is free to this fun event that is a combination of street fair and art gallery. You can enjoy seeing and shopping for paintings, photography, jewelry and more! There will also be art for kids!

4. Superhero Day

Superhero Day at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

Mark your calendar for Superhero Day!  On Saturday, August 10, 2019, Superheroes will roam the streets of Easton with fun activities for the kids, games, live music, face painting, photo ops and a Superhero parade! 

Superhero Day at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

5. Fenlon Square Activities 

boy at the Frog Fountain, Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio

Hang out at the Frog Fountain outside American Girl on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer for kid-friendly happenings like caricature artists, face painting, balloon artists and more! Activities take place from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM beginning June 1, 2019.

6. Pop-up Fountains at Easton Town Square

splash pad at Easton Town Center, Columbus, ohio

The Pop-up Fountains at the Town Square offer a great way for the kids to cool off after a day of shopping! Complimentary towel service is available on the weekends and don’t miss the model train display just on the edge of the fountain area! Benches are available around the fountains or I recommend bringing your own blanket to sit on!

7. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus

boy at LEGOLAND Columbus, Easton Town Center

LEGOLAND has been a huge draw to Easton for my family! My boys are LEGO fanatics so it’s hard to go to Easton without going to LEGOLAND or at the very least stopping in at the attached LEGO Store! LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus offers 2 rides, 4D movies, 10 play areas, a MINILAND, cafe (they serve Starbucks!) and building workshops! To save time you can purchase a ticket time online.

Boy at LEGOLAND Columbus, Easton Town Center

8. Safelite AutoGlass Rally for The Ranch Car Show

Kids who love vehicles will love this free car show featuring 100 exotic, historical and racing cars! Wander the streets of Easton from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM to see the sights! The weekend of events (which also includes a banquet for car owners and a live auction) benefits The Buckeye Ranch, an organization that provides emotional, behavioral and mental health services for children and families in Central and Southwestern Ohio. 

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8 Ways to Enjoy Easton with Your Kids this Summer


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