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25 Free Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio this Winter

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This list of free things to do in Columbus, Ohio will keep you and the kids busy and cabin-fever free this Winter!

Winter is tough with kids. I’m sure some of you die hards will disagree, but for me it takes so much more effort to get out of the house: coats, gloves, hats, taking off coats for carseats, defrosting the car. And the list goes on. But I’ve put together a list of free kid-friendly things to do around Columbus that will make all the effort worth it! Good luck! 🙂

25 Free Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio this Winter:

boys watching planes take off at Ohio State University Airport

1. Watch planes take off at Ohio State University Airport

kid getting buckeye candy at Anthony Thomas Candy Factory in Columbus, OH

2. Tour Anthony Thomas Chocolate Factory. Tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the winter. (I consider this free because at the end you get to use your admission price ($2 for adults and $1 for kids) towards a purchase of candy in the gift shop! 😉 ).

3. Play at The Naz indoor play area in Grove City. This one’s open until 8:00 PM or 9:00 PM on weekdays!

4. See the Living Stream at Battelle Darby Metro Park.

5. Look for the bison at Battelle Darby Metro Park. (A brisk .5 mile walk from the Nature Center!)

6. Attend a story time at Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Story times are typically Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10:00 AM. Afterwards play in the free indoor play area!

7. Check out a free “culture pass” to Franklin Park Conseratory, Wexner Center for the Arts and Ohio History Center at a participating Columbus Metropolitan Library branch for free access. Participating libraries include Driving Park, Martin Luther King, Shepard, Karl Road, Linden, Northern Lights, Northside and Whetstone. Call 614-645-2275 to check for availability.

The Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art

8. Go to Columbus Museum of Art on a Sunday. Admission is free on Sundays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

9. Visit Franklin Park Conservatory on Community Days (the first Sunday of each month). Residents of Franklin County and the City of Columbus get in free with valid ID during regular operating hours (10:00 AM – 5:00 PM).

cookie and cup of coffee at Sassafras Bakery

10. Get a free cup of coffee or glass of milk when you buy a cookie at Sassafras Bakery during Milk and Cookie Happy Hour.

11. Play in the kids area at Coffee Connections in Hilliard. (After you buy a cup of coffee, of course!)

Story Garden in Worthington Library

12. Visit the totally cute Story Garden at Northwest Library in Worthington.

13. Play in Småland, the awesome indoor childcare area for free for one hour at IKEA. IKEA Family Members (rewards card holders) get an extra half hour (and free coffee)! Kids must be between the ages of 4 and 10 and potty trained!

14. Watch for birds at the Blacklick Woods Metro Park Nature Center.

play area at Westerville Christian Church15. Play at Central Park at Westerville Christian Church. Check the link for hours because they are very specific!

16. Attend KidX at Polaris Fashion Place! This monthly event features free activities for kids!

17. Participate in the Winter Reading Challenge at Columbus Library. Kids get a pencil and bookmark just for signing up!

18. Look for fairies on the Dublin Irish Fairy Door Trail.

19. Play free arcade games at Old North Arcade (with the purchase of a drink or food)! Old North Arcade is kid-friendly until 8:00 PM. (You might want to cover their eyes to avoid seeing some of the writing inside the bathroom stalls – don’t say I didn’t warn you.) 

pizzuti collection free sundays columbus ohio

20. Look at art at Pizzuti Collection on Sundays – Pizzuti Collection is now part of Columbus Museum of Art, meaning admission is also free here on Sundays as well! The details have changed a bit, but you can get an idea of what to expect from our visit a few years ago.

21. Attend one of these story times. The Cheryl’s Cookies story time includes a free mini cookie!

22. Read 5 books and get a free kid’s meal at Rusty Bucket. (Check the link for a whole list of Kids Eat Free options!)

23. Go on a Winter Hike with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. Hot drinks and food provided afterwards!

dinosaur bones at Orton Hall

24. Visit the dinosaur at Orton Hall. Click the link for a list of things to do with your kids on the campus of The Ohio State University!

25. Visit the fish (and other interesting sea creatures) at Aquarium Adventure in Hilliard! There’s even a hands-on pool!

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

ICYMI: Story Times for Kids in Columbus, Ohio


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35 FREE Things to do with Your Kids This Summer in Columbus

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Summer is the best time to get out and explore lots of fun things with the kids! Luckily for us, Columbus is full of lots of FREE things to do this summer! If you need some inspiration, here are 35 things you can do for free around town!

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

train car in Hilliard, ohio columbus, ohio

1. Climb aboard the train at Homestead Metro Park.

westgate farmer's market in columbus, ohio

2. Check out a farmer’s market. See this list from Columbus Moms Blog, listed by day of the week!

3. Watch an outdoor movie. See this list from 614 Mom.

kids splashing in fountains at polaris fashion place, columbus, ohio

4. Have fun at KidX at Polaris Fashion Place.

Columbus Commons Park in Columbus, Ohio

5. Play at Commons for Kids every Friday.

tree house at Inniswood Metro Park in Columbus, Ohio

6. Climb into the tree house at Inniswood Metro Park.

7. Win prizes in a Summer Reading Club. Register at your local library or take advantage of one of these national programs listed by Mission to Save.

8. Try out one of Columbus’ many festivals. Check out this list of festivals around Columbus from Columbus Underground!

park in gahanna, ohio

9. Try out a new park. I have some ideas here and here!

10. Follow the path of the Dublin Irish Fairy Door Trail.

kids at a splash pad in columbus, ohio

11. Get wet at a local splash pad! See my list of Free Columbus and Central Ohio Splash Pads and Fountains!

12.. Bowl for free with the Kids Bowl Free program! There are 3 locations in the Columbus area!

hilltop bean dinner meal in columbus, ohio

13. Attend the Hilltop Bean Dinner commemorating the role the Hilltop played in the Civil War! Admission is free and there is a huge car show, food vendors, arts and crafts and more!

14. Shop 100 local vendors at the Powell Street Market.

kid getting a book from a little free library in columbus, ohio

15. Visit a Little Free Library to borrow or donate books.

16. Attend one of the Cap City Nights Festivals hosted by Columbus Recreation and Parks! (2019 info not yet released.)

kids participating in free metro park program in columbus, ohio

17. Learn about nature at one of the Preschool Programs at Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks.

18. Enjoy some music at Polaris Live every Thursday night beginning June 13, 2019. Also see Summer Nights in Columbus: Concerts, Movies and More for Every Night of the Week!

kid at story time at chic fil a on sawmill, columbus, ohio

19. Hear a story or two at the Storytime at Chic Fil A on Sawmill.

celebration at the station in hilliard, ohio

20. Enjoy a free concert at Celebration at the Station at Hilliard’s Station Park – Thursdays at 6:00 PM beginning June 6, 2019.

kid at IKEA smaland

21. Explore IKEA and get free childcare and free coffee for IKEA Family Members (rewards card holders).

22. Get artistic at Arts in Uptown on the Second Friday of each month!

23. Watch a free movie at Gateway Film Center! Admission to their Book to Film series is free with your library card!

kid climbing in the natural play area at Blendon Woods Metro Park in Columbus, ohio

24. Explore the Blendon Woods Natural Play Area where kids can build forts, swing through the woods on a wooden swing, go creeking and more!

arches in the short north in columbus, Ohio

25. Attend Gallery Hop in the Short North on the first Saturday night of each month from 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM! Enjoy street performers, special deals and treats and the shops stay open late!

26. Watch a movie and have fun at Bexley Main Event.

27. Visit Franklin Park Conservatory on Community Day – the first Sunday of each month when Columbus and Franklin County residents (with valid ID) get in free! Make sure to play in the Children’s Garden!

28. Stop to smell the roses at Columbus Park of Roses.

play for free at the columbus museum of art on Sundays!

29. Explore Columbus Museum of Art when admission is free on Sundays! Don’t miss The Wonder Room, an area just for kids!

30. Explore an ancient burial mound, Shrum Mound.

kids riding the CBUS in Columbus, Ohio

31. Take a ride on the CBUS. All rides are free and the buses go in a loop around the Short North, downtown, Brewery District and German Village.

32. Take a ride on the Smart Circuit – a self driving shuttle that will take you around the Scioto Mile!

free indoor play area in columbus ohio

33. Beat the heat with a free indoor play area.

hoot family film series free this summer in columbus ohio

34. Enjoy music, activities and movies at Hoot Family Film Series – free with a non-perishable donation to the Open Shelter.

35. Do a craft, hear a story and listen to jazz music at PBJ & Jazz.

Feel free to share what kind of free activities your family likes to do around Columbus in the comments!

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35 Free Things to do this summer in Columbus, Ohio

 

More Fun with Kids in Columbus, Ohio


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