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57 Things to Do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus

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Looking for things to do in Columbus around Thanksgiving? If you have family in town and/or a few days off of work and are looking for something to do, check out this list of 57 events and things to do Thanksgiving week in Columbus!

Disclaimer: Franklin County is currently under a Stay At Home Advisory. Many events are being cancelled or going virtual. Please check links before making your plans and use your best judgement when deciding to attend an in-person event. Stay safe, Columbus!

57 Things to do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus:

If there’s a chance you’ll need to walk (or skate) off an extra piece of pie (or two) or get bickering family members out of the house….tuck this list away! And have a happy week of thankfulness! (As always, please double check the link for exact details, dates and times!) There will not be an additional What Should We Do This Weekend? post this week. This is the list! 🙂

Things to Do Any Time Thanksgiving Week and Weekend:

Light Tunnel at Conservatory Aglow

Tunnel of Light at Franklin Park Conservatory.

1. Conservatory Aglow is happening at Franklin Park Conservatory! Tickets must be purchased in advance.

2. Wildlights is in full swing all weekend at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! Tickets must be purchased in advance.

3. Visit LEGOLAND Columbus Discovery Center at Easton Town Center. LEGOLAND is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday this year. Purchase tickets online.

Light Tunnel at WonderLight's Christmas in Ohio in Hebron, Ohio

Drive Through Tunnel at WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio!

4. Drive through WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio in Hebron, Ohio to see over 1 million synchronized LED lights! Open every night from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

5. Christmas at the Castle, a Kingdom of Lights! at Landoll’s Mohican Castle features over 100,000 lights, a Christmas tree, holiday music and visits from Santa! This event will be $8.00 per car on Friday & Saturday nights, free Sunday-Thursday nights. This event begins on Friday, November 27th.

Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights, Alum Creek Campground

Drive Through Lights at Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights!

6. Drive through Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights, a holiday light display at Alum Creek Park Campground any night through January 3, 2020. 5:30 PM – 9:30. Ticket booth closes at 9:00 PM.

7. Take a road trip to visit the PNC Festival of Lights at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Reservations required.

8. For many people this is the week to get their Christmas Tree! Pick a farm or tree lot from this list of Christmas Tree Farms in Columbus and Beyond!

9. On Saturday and Sunday you can take a Holiday Carriage Ride at Easton Town Center!

10. Pick up a Family Gingerbread House Decorating kit from Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna.

11. Clifton Mill Lights opens the day after Thanksgiving! Gates open at 5:00 every night and the display runs through New Year’s Eve!

12. Take photos with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place. Check the link for times. Reservations encouraged.

13. Run the Chase Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot when it’s convenient for you! – use the code “esff” for $6 off your registration!

14. Drive through Light Up Camp at Flying Horse Farms beginning November 27.

15. Dazzling Christmas Lights in Westerville begin on November 27!

16. Take a trip to Cleveland for the Wild Winter Lights Drive Through in Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

17. Visit the Lucy Depp Park Light Show in Powell beginning November 27!

18. Visit the Holiday Lights at Columbus Commons! They will be lit every night from 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM until January 3.


A BIG thanks to WonderLight’s Christmas for sponsoring this post!

Santa’s not the only one coming to town!! “WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio”, a drive-through Christmas light show, is back this year at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio! This family-friendly event features a 2-mile car ride through more than a million LED lights, all synchronized to music!

Giant Christmas trees, floating snowflakes, shooting stars, dancing candy canes, and (a crowd favorite) enchanting tunnels of lights will illuminate the night! Guests will be able to watch the lights dance around them to traditional and newer, rocking Christmas music from the warmth of their own vehicle.

This dazzling Christmas display is open rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 13 to January 3! The cost of admission is super affordable at $7 per person and children 3 years old and under are FREE! OR, you can purchase a Carload Pass for vehicles with up to seven passengers for just $30! Learn more at www.wonderlightschristmas.com!


Holiday Lights in Bicentennial Park, Columbus, Ohio

Holiday Lights in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Monday, November 23, 2020:

19. Register for and attend Friendsgiving Open Play at We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus

20. Watch Songs for the Community, a free virtual concert presented by The Columbus Foundation by Talisha Holmes. 

Christmas tree made of lights at WonderLight's Christmas in Ohio

Lights at WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020:

21. Attend the North Market Tuesday Before Thanksgiving Market for all your Thanksgiving needs!

22. Pick up a Weekly Take & Make Craft at Grandview Heights Public Library.

23. Pick up some food from SmokeOut BBQ & Catering in Whitehall Community Park during Heartland Bank Food Truck Days.

24. Pick up a free from Works@Home STEM Mini-Kit Giveaway at Mary E Babcock Library from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM. First come, first served.

hanging holiday decor at Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio

Holiday Decor at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020: 

25. Go skating during Schools Out Skate at Skate Zone 71.

26. Attend Songs for the Community, a free virtual concert presented by The Columbus Foundation by Popgun.

27. Skate for $5 at the Thanksgiving Eve Glow Skate at Skate Zone 71.

28. Skate for $5 at the Thanksgiving Eve Family Skate at United Skates of America.

Blendon Woods Metro Park, Columbus, Ohio

Blendon Woods Metro Park

Thursday, November 26, 2020, THANKSGIVING DAY:

Happy Thanksgiving!

29. Enjoy a Thanksgiving Skate at Skate Zone 71.

Trees at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Friday, November 27, 2020:

Black Friday doesn’t have to mean shopping! Check out shopping ideas plus these other fun things to do!

30. Shop Black Friday Record Store Day at Spoonful Records.

31. Attend BLACK FRIDAY Record Store Day 2020 at Used Kids Records.

32. Play Grandview Heights-OPOLY by visiting stores and shops in Grandview Heights.

33. Another chance to shop Black Friday – Record Store Day at Lost Weekend Records

34. Pick up a Take & Make Kit: Leaf Garland at either branch of Southwest Public Libraries!

35. Shop Black Friday Weekend at Discount Fashion Warehouse.

36. Support Black owned businesses at Black Out Weekend at The Filipinos Centre.

37. Attend the BLACK FRIDAY MOMS RETREAT at AR Workshop Grove City for lunch, snacks, prizes, drinks and more while you complete a regular sign of your choice, 8 Christmas ornaments and a mini tray.

38. Get your skates on for Black Friday Roller Skating at Skate Zone 

39. Sign up for the Hootie Christmas Family Friendly Paint Class at Pinot’s Palette.

40. Shop Holidaze 2020 in the barn at Blystone Farm LLC.

41. Eat and skate at the FREE Dinner Skate at Skate Zone 71!

42. Join Poppy, Branch & DJ Suk at Troll Pizza Skate at Skate Zone 71!

43. Take a break from the kids and skate at Thanksgiving Break Adult Night at United Skates of America!

Christmas Trees at HTH Farm Market, Columbus, Ohio

HTH Farm Market

Saturday, November 28, 2020:

44. Shop in your jammies during the NYMCM + BrewDog Holiday Virtual Craft Market!

45. Pick up a Take & Make Kit: Comfort Me with Coloring Pages at either branch of Southwest Public Libraries!

46. Shop for fresh produce at the Franklinton Farm Stand.

47. Get out your skates for $5.00 Skating at Skate Zone 71.

48. Support Black owned businesses at Black Out Weekend at The Filipinos Centre.

49. Start your holiday shopping at the Handmade Market in Powell at Nocterra Brewing Co.

50. Attend a Bird of Prey Presentation at Mohican State Park Lodge.

The word "Rejoice" in lights at Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights in Columbus, Ohio

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Sunday, November 29, 2020:

51. Support Black owned businesses at Black Out Weekend at The Filipinos Centre.

52. Sing, Dance and More at Mommy, Me and Mrs Claus with Paulettes Princess Parties.

53. Shop and visit with Santa at the New Albany Oakland Nursery Holiday Event with Cousins Maine Lobster.

54. Attend the Holiday Open House in Worthington which includes horse-drawn carriage rides, live music, photos with Santa and a tree lighting each half hour beginning at 6:00 PM. 

55. Sign up for Mr. & Mrs. Claus Zoom Visits on Sunday!

56. Attend the Granville Village Tree Lighting.

57. Adults only can skate at Skate Zone 71 Sundays!

Need more ideas? Try 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio


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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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5 Socially Distant Summer Adventures for Kids in Columbus

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These fun outings in Columbus will get your family safely out of the house and exploring this summer!

This summer has been a summer of major change for most of us and one of the biggest changes is how much time we have been spending at home! We managed to snag one of the coveted blow up pools for our backyard, we have taken a gazillion walks around the neighborhood, and I’ve even bought 3 (!) bird feeders for our yard! 

But while we are trying to make the most of a life lived mainly at home, we have also been on the search for new, outdoor activities this summer in order to keep our cabin fever at bay!

Please remember that masks are currently mandatory indoors in Franklin County and outdoors when you are not able to socially distance. 

5 Fun Outings for Kids for the Summer of 2020:

Here are 5 things we’ve done this summer that pass the test for being outdoors and also able to be socially (or physically) distant from other groups!

1. The Paul Busse Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory

  • 1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43203

model train at the Paul Busse Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory

The Paul Busse Garden Railway will be on display at Franklin Park Conservatory through January 10, 2021. This is an outdoor display that takes up a large portion of the Grand Mallway.

The Garden Railway is made of all-natural plant materials and features 4 botanical themes: Fairytale Land, Wild West Town and an animal themed “Who Lives Here” and a European Travels section! Each theme has its own section of the display and there is a sign listing what each building is and what to look for! It was fun for the kids to find all of the different displays!

Masks are currently required at Franklin Park Conservatory.

boy looking at the model railway at Franklin Park Conservatory

Read more about the railway and see more photos here: The Paul Busse Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory is Now on Display and it is Magical!

2. Suspension Sculptures in Schiller Park

  • 1069 Jaeger St, Columbus, OH 43206

suspended statues at Schiller Park in German Village, Columbus, Ohio

Polish artist Jerzy Kedziora’s floating sculptures will be on display through September in Schiller Park in German Village! This is part of an exhibit of around 30 some sculptures that are hanging all around Columbus including Thurber Park Livingston Park, Main Library and more!

Schiller Park is home to the bulk of these suspended sculptures and my kids had a lot of fun looking for them throughout the park! Our favorite was The Rower over Schiller Pond! 

Balance Statues in Schiller Park

Schiller Park has a great playground and lots of shaded picnic tables! We spent the late morning looking for all the sculptures and then had a picnic in the park!

3. Creeking at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

  • 1775 Darby Creek Dr, Galloway, OH 43119

two boys playing in the creek at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Battelle Darby Creek has become our go-to metro park since moving to the west side of Columbus! But we have always entered through the same entrance and done the same hike again and again. Now don’t get me wrong, seeing the bison in the park and visiting the Nature Center are two of the best things you can do in the park, but trying out a new entrance gave us an entirely different experience in the park!

In order to find this creeking spot you can enter through the Indian Ridge Picnic Area or the Canoe Access Area. If you walk the Terrace Trail, you will come across even more creeking opportunities! The Indian Ridge Picnic Area also has a playground and lots of picnic areas.

railroad bridge over Darby Creek

4. Whetstone Prairie

  • 3923 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214

deer peeking his head out of the grass at Whetstone Prairie in Whetstone Park, Columbus

My husband and I stumbled upon the Whetstone Prairie while visiting the Columbus Park of Roses in June! We were shocked to find that this area existed after years of visiting the park and having no idea! The prairie is in the western part of the park along the Olentangy Trail. (Park in or near the Park of Roses parking lot.)

The prairie area is a peaceful place to walk, look for butterflies and other wildlife! I did not expect to come upon a deer in the middle of Whetstone Park! There are large clear paths for walking and enjoying solace in the middle of the city!

path at Whetstone Prairie in Columbus, Ohio

In addition to The Park of Roses and the Prairie, Whetstone Park is home to a library, rec center, pond and playground!

5. Rope Bridge at Scioto Grove Metro Park

  • 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, OH 43123

two boys walking the rope bridge in Scioto Grove Metro Park

Let this be another lesson to us all about the value of exploring new parts of the Metro Parks! Again at Scioto Grove Metro Park, I have been guilty of only driving to one area within the park: the playground (which is more of a large climbing structure)!

There are a lot of good hiking areas around the playground, so don’t discount that if you haven’t done it, but this summer we were on a mission to find the Rope Bridge! We kept driving on past the playground to the Grove Lodge (where we parked) and then headed south on the REI River Trail. The Rope Bridge can be found where the REI River Trail meets the Mingo Trail (and it’s marked on the official Metro Parks map.)

view of the creek from the rope bridge in Scioto Grove Metro Park

The path to the Rope Bridge is very shady which is great, but I will caution you that it can be muddy and there were a lot of mosquitos. 

Exploring Columbus with Your Kids

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The Paul Busse Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory is Now on Display and it is Magical

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The Paul Busse Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory is an outdoor model railroad that will delight children AND adults through January 2021!

On July 1, 2020, the newest exhibition at Franklin Park Conservatory opened to the public and it is MAGICAL! This exhibit makes its temporary home in the Grand Mallway outside Franklin Park Conservatory and is made up of 1,122 feet of track!

A train runs a long a track in the Paul Busse Garden Railway.

Paul Busse graduated from Ohio State University in 1972 and he first created a public garden railroad in 1982 for the Ohio State Fair! He started a business called Applied Imagination which creates garden railway displays all over the United States! He has since retired, but the company is run by his daughter and he remains involved in the work! 

The Garden Railway is made of all- natural plant materials and features 4 botanical themes: Fairytale Land, Wild West Town and an animal themed “Who Lives Here” and a European Travels section!

A whimsical hanging house made to look like an acorn.

 My kids especially enjoyed the animal houses. Each house was made with the theme of a different animal such as a zebra, turtle, giraffe and snake as pictured below! They are adorable!

houses on the model railway made with animal themes

Don’t miss the waterfalls, the magical lights inside the tree cove or the Thomas Trains scooting around the tracks! There is so much to see and so many details that are easy to miss!

A boy looking up in a Tree Cove

Each theme has its own section of the display and there is a sign listing what each building is and what to look for! It was fun to try to find all of the different displays!

A sign listing things for people to look for in the railway scenes

Enjoy some photos from our visit on July 1, but make sure to get your timed ticket to visit yourself this summer!

train on the track of the garden railway

Bridges from the Paul Busse Railway Garden crossing over the path overhead.

Two boys watching the train at the Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory

boy watching the model train at the Garden Railway in Columbus, Ohio 

Some things to know before visiting Franklin Park Conservatory:

  • You need to reserved a timed ticket before visiting. The ticket designates your arrival time but you are free to stay as long as you want to.
  • Members are still asked to reserve their tickets online.
  • You must maintain a social distance of 6 feet between groups.
  • Face coverings are strongly requested unless you have a health issue or your child is under 2 years old.
  • The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden will be limited in capacity.
  • Restrooms are open.
  • Hours are available specifically for vulnerable populations on Thursdays at 9:00 AM.
  • No cash will be accepted within the Conservatory.

model train made of plant based materials

–>> Need more to do this summer? Try 5 Cool Outdoor Activities for Kids in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks or one of these 25 Fun Outdoor Activities in Columbus for the Whole Family <<–

Exploring Columbus with Your Kids

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Paul Busse Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory


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