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4 Nature-Themed Story Times Around Columbus

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These four nature-themed story times around Columbus combine stories with great educational, hands on experiences!

I’ve mentioned probably more than a few times that my kids are really into bugs right now. So, when I saw that Ohio Wildlife Center had a story time about insects, we were there! It prompted the idea to put together a list of story times with a nature theme.

The bonus is that these story times also come with so much more than just a story! Maybe there’s a craft, animals to meet or a woods to explore – whatever the case may be, these story times make a for a great way learn AND have an up-close, hands-on experience with nature!

1. Ohio Wildlife Center

Times: Second Wednesday of the month
Location: 6131 Cook Rd. Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-734-9453
Cost: $5 for anyone over 5, including adults.

Ohio Wildlife Center hosts a Wild Story Time on the first Wednesday of each month. Check the calendar here. We went in July and the theme was Insects. As I said, my boys are REALLY into bugs right now so they were completely enthralled! There were a couple of stories with an insect theme and then a visit from a resident opossum!

After the story time, we all got to take a tour of the grounds, check out the animals that live there, and then do an insect-themed craft!

When the program part was over, we were allowed to explore the grounds on our own so we borrowed some binoculars and went on a hike through the woods and looped back around to visit the animals again! Ohio Wildlife Center cares for wild animals that have been hurt or abandoned and then releases them as they are able. Some of the animals housed on the grounds included raccoons, coyotes, owls, turkeys and more.

The Ohio Wildlife Center is not open to the public on a daily basis so in order to visit, you need to attend a story time or one of their “Open to the Public” events which takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

2. Grange Insurance Audubon Center

Times: Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:00 AM
Location: 505 W. Whittier St. Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-545-5475
Cost: Free

Twice a week the Pre-K Storytime is held at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center in partnership with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. See the calendar of events here (search for Scioto Audubon program). The story time takes place in the beautiful library at the Audubon Center with a stunning view of downtown Columbus.

Afterwards you can visit the aquatic animals and play in the indoor play area. Outside the Audubon Center is a sandbox, playground and rock climbing wall. See 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon.

3. Franklin Park Conservatory

Times: Thursdays at 10:30 AM
Location: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000
Cost: Included with admission or membership

Franklin Park Conservatory is currently hosting a Nature Storytime on Mondays and Thursdays at 10:30 AM in the Scotts Miracle Grow Foundation Children’s Garden. This is appropriate for kids ages 3-8 and features stories that celebrate gardens, plants and nature. Of course afterwards you can enjoy the amazing Children’s Garden which is full of hands on activities!

Franklin Park Conservatory hosts several new events and programs in the garden. See the upcoming schedule of events here.

We attended the Little Adventurers Program last summer, which took place indoors. The book was The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle and the craft was making a firefly with a glittery (“glowing”) body. Ok, let’s be honest, due to a rain storm and circumstances beyond my control, we were about 10 minutes late and missed the story, but you get the point! 😉 The boys had just spent the previous weekend catching fireflies at their grandparents’ house so this craft was extra appealing to them! The Little Adventurers program is free with admission or membership!

 

Afterwards, check out the Enchanted Forest, a children’s play area on the lower level and take a walk through Blooms and Butterflies (open March – September) to see butterflies up close and personal. Newly emerged butterflies are released every day at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

4. Stratford Ecological Center

Times: Second Tuesday of the month from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: 3083 Liberty Rd., Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-363-2548
Cost: $5 per family

Stratford Ecological Center hosts Story Time on the Farm on the second Tuesday of each month at 10:00 AM starting in March and running through November. See the Calendar of Events. We haven’t actually been to the story time here yet, but we have been to the farm and I have heard that the story time is very popular! The story time lasts an hour and is based on what is going on at the farm during the current season! After the story time, you can explore the farm, dig in the dirt and visit the animals! See A Day on the Farm: 5 Things to do at Stratford Ecological Center.

 

Where is your favorite local story time?

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3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Melissa Stands

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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 Melissa for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

1. Franklin Park Conservatory

In just the past year we’ve discovered all the fun and excitement that Franklin Park Conservatory has to offer! FPC is the perfect place for little ones who love to explore. Emily loves to look at the plants, flowers, fish and waterfalls, or water-walls as she calls them. Not only is it lots of fun for her, but little does she know, it’s educational too! They offer fun programs almost every weekend and even have story time during the week. Plus, regardless if it’s rain or shine, there’s always something to do which is great for our unpredictable Ohio weather! Be sure to add their Pollinator Palooza to your calendar for the end of June, where you can learn all about bees, butterflies and more!

2. The North Market

As a food lover, my list wouldn’t be complete without a destination like the North Market! It’s always been one of my personal favorites and now I love seeing it through Emily’s eyes. She’s a definite foodie, like her mama and she loves to look at, smell and sample all of the delicious foods. If you’re like me and are trying to introduce lots of different foods to your young children, this is the perfect place to go! You can get anything from Mediterranean or Polish for the more adventurous to Pizza and Mac ‘n Cheese for those who aren’t. My one tip though, go during the week when they open at 10:00 to beat the weekend and lunchtime rush. This way you can take your time to leisurely explore all of the foods, sights and smells they have to offer!

3. Hayden Falls + Diamond’s Ice Cream

This activity’s a two for one! It’s perfect for a quick afternoon or evening adventure when you just want to get out of the house for a little bit. Hayden Falls is a small nature preserve and waterfall located just off of Hayden Run, near Tuttle Mall. Every time we go I’m always surprised something like this exists where it does. Emily loves looking at the waterfall and seeing ducks and geese swimming around. Don’t forget the two observation decks from above the waterfall, along the road. Since this doesn’t take very long to do, we usually head up the street afterwards to Diamond’s Ice Cream for a little treat. The have a wide variety of homemade popsicles (paletas), ice cream and other Latin specialties like aguas frescas. My personal favorite is the Oreo paleta although everything I’ve had has been delicious!


Hi! I’m Melissa and am currently a stay-at-home-mom of a very active two-year-old! Emily loves to run, climb on all the furniture and go down every slide at the playground. When I’m not chasing her around I write the blog Made by Melissa Lee, where I share my daily #momlife with easy recipes, fun kid-food, and all the adventures Emily and I have around our wonderful city of Columbus!


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ICYMI: 35 Free Things to Do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus


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What Should We Do This Weekend? May 19-21, 2017

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1. Touch a Truck at Worthington Community Center

When: Friday, May 19, 2017
Time: 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 345 E. Wilson Bridge Rd., Worthington, OH 43085
Phone: 614-436-2743

There will be over 40 vehicles for kids to touch and explore! Kids can meet the drivers and participate in other children’s activities! Columbus Public Health will be doing car seat checks and the Ohio Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics will be handing out free bike helmets while they last! The whole event will be “no horn” and you can bring a canned or non-perishable food item to donate to Worthington Food Pantry!

2. Easton Food Fest at Easton Town Center

When: Friday-Sunday, May 19-21, 2017
Time: See link for times for each day.
Location: 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219
Phone: 614-416-7000

Easton’s 3rd Annual Food Fest is this weekend! There will be Food Truck Friday, Sippin’ Saturday and Sweet Sunday! Sunday might be particularly kid-friendly with samples of sweet treats and live music!

3. Der Dutchman Heritage Days at Der Dutchman Restaurant and Bakery

When: Friday & Saturday, May 19 & 20, 2017
Time: Friday at 6:30 PM and Saturday: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
Location:445 S. Jefferson St., Rt 42, Plain City, OH 43064
Phone: 614-873-3414

Celebrate Plain City’s Amish heritage with a hog roast and concert on Friday night and celebration on Saturday! Saturday’s activities are free and include a horse parade, vintage baseball game, horse-drawn wagon rides, a petting zoo and lots more!

4. Above the Noise at Westgate Community Recreation Center

When: Friday, May 19, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: 455 S. Westgate Ave. Columbus, OH 43204
Phone: 614-645-3264

The Olentangy Orange High School a cappella pop group, Above the Noise, will be performing an outdoor concert in front of the Rec Center! This is a free concert – bring a chair!

5. Market Sprouts at Worthington Farmer’s Market

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 646 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Check out the information tent at the Worthington Farmer’s Market every 3rd Saturday for activities for kids inspired by the farmer’s market!

6. Babies and Bumps 2017 at Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time: 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 100 Green Meadows Dr. S., Lewis Center, OH 43035

This convention is for new and soon-to-be parents! Meant to be a source of support and resources, there will be seminars and demonstrations, activities and organizations who will cater to you and baby!

7. Busy Bees Garden Club at Dutch Mill Greenhouse

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: 18443 State Route 4, Marysville, OH 43040
Phone: 937-642-0511 Ext 13

This free activity takes place on the third Saturday of each month and is ideal for ages 3 and up! This month’s theme will be DIY seed bombs!

8. Touch a Truck at Grove City UMC

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 2684 Columbus St., Grove City, OH 43123

Check out big rigs, construction vehicles and more! There will be a quiet break from 11:00 AM – 11:15 AM for children with sensitivity to sound.

9. First Annual Book Bash at Maryland Avenue Elementary School

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 2754 Maryland Ave., Columbus, OH 43209

This family-friendly event includes face painting, book-themed crafts, food trucks, author talks and a silent auction!

10. New Albany Founders Day at New Albany Elementary 2-8

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 177 N. High St., New Albany, OH 43054

This free community event includes a parade, carnival rides, vendors and food trucks! The parade begins at 11:00 AM!

11. Wild Wonders at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E. Broad St. Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

The new topiary exhibit, Topiaries at the Conservatory: Wild Wonders, opens this weekend at FPC! To celebrate the grand opening and Endangered Species Day, animal ambassadors from Ohio Wildlife Center will be visiting at 11:00 AM! You can also learn about the endangered species of Ohio from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM!

12. Spring Fling at Sunny 95 Park

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 4395 Carriage Hill Ln.
Phone: 614-583-5000

The UA Parks and Recreation department hosts this fun event which includes a fishing derby, touch-a-truck, The Turtle Lady, arts and crafts, inflatables, live music and more!

13. Open House at Burnt Toast Farms

When: Saturday & Sunday, May 20 & 21, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM both days.
Location: 18230 Raymond Rd., Marysville, OH 43040
Phone: 614-547-3276

Help Burnt Toast Farms kick off the season with this open house event which includes farm tours, games, flower picking, sunflower seed planting, photo booth, lawn games and more!

14. Water Safety Awareness Day at Goldfish Swim School

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Time: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: Westerville and Dublin locations
Phone: Westerville: 614-407-3474 Dublin: 614-407-3474

This free event is open to the public and will include Water Safety Presentations, family entertainment, family swim, refreshments and visits from community helpers (including fire trucks!)! Drowning is the leading cause of accidental-injury death in kids age 1-4. Come learn about ways to say safe in and around water taught by Goldfish and safety professionals! Each child will receive a Water Safety Badge from Bubbles! Click the links for the details at each location!

15. EMS & Safety Day at COSI

When: Sunday May 21, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 333 West Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-2674

Check out a police cruiser, learn about what police officers, firefighters and other first responders do and watch the Columbus Fire Department use the Jaws of Life during a mock crash! Free with COSI admission or membership.

16. Natural Play Area Grand Reopening at Blendon Woods Metro Park

When: Sunday, May 21, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Rd., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-891-0700

Celebrate the re-opening of the newly designed natural play area at Blendon Woods Metro Park! Kids can build forts, climb trees, dig in the dirt and more! There will also be free ice cream!


Thanks to Goldfish Swim School for sponsoring this post!

Goldfish Swim School offers perpetual, year-round swim lessons for kids ages 4 months to 12 years old. Our pools are warm and inviting (90 degrees) and our class sizes are small (4:1) so kids receive the personalized attention from our Ellis-trained swim instructors. Our curriculum focuses on water safety so we teach kids at all levels how to be safe in and around water. Goldfish Swim School has two Central Ohio locations, in Dublin and Westerville, and for more information, visit http://westerville.goldfishswimschool.comand http://dublin.goldfishswimschool.com.

Want to sponsor What Should We Do This Weekend? click here!

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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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