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MEGA Train List for Central Ohio and Beyond

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My kids love trains! I have been to *almost* every place on this list! When Jaden was 3, he could have gone to Barnes and Noble every single day to play with Thomas. This list isn’t so much for your kids as it is for you! Of course your kids will love these places, but this list is to keep YOU from going insane from doing the same thing every day! 😉 A good number of these things are special events that are only available for a short time! So check the list and mark your calendars because many of those are coming up this month! You, too, can be a really useful engine! 😉

1. Paul Busse Model Garden Railway at Franklin Park Conservatory, downtown Columbus

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The train in the picture below is up nearly year round, but the one above makes a special appearance during the holidays! Check the link for info on Merry and Bright!

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2. Grandview Library, Grandview Heights

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One great library with a train table!

3. Huntington Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library, downtown Columbus

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The Huntington Holiday Train arrives in mid-November and the Main Library hosts an Open House on November 30th, which will include hot chocolate and cookies, crafts and the lighting of Topiary Park! For even more trains, keep an eye on the Hilliard and Gahanna branches which will offer Polar Express programs this year!

4. Ohio Railway Museum, Worthington

The museum has been working on repairing the tracks so no train rides are available as of today, but they hope to be up and running for the holidays!

5. The Train Station, Clintonville

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Model trains are for sale here and they also have a small play area for kids!

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6. Moody Street Trains, Clintonville

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Model trains are for sale here and there is a train table for playing. On Saturday, December 3, 2016, they will host the 2nd Annual National Lionel Train Day which will feature prizes, face painting and a visit from Santa!

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7. Model Railroad Days at COSI, downtown Columbus

Model Railroad Days are November 16-20, 2016 this year and large model train sets are available for viewing and there are also trains to play with! During the weekend you can watch the movie Rocky Mountain Express in the theater. At Christmastime, The Polar Express is shown as well! (p.s. there is also a train to play with in the little kidspace at COSI!)

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8. Barnes and Noble, various locations

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Barnes and Noble offers the hope that your children will play with trains while you quietly sip coffee and read a magazine.

9. Hilliard Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Hilliard

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The Hilliard Branch is a fun library for kids and has a Chuggington train table.

10. Von Maur, Polaris Fashion Place

In the children’s section of the store, there is a train that runs along the wall and a train table for playing!

11. Easton Express Railway, Easton Town Center

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This outdoor train track is always decorated for whatever season it happens to be and is a big hit with the kids!

12. BrickUniverse, Columbus Convention Center

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There are lots of working LEGO trains at this once-a-year LEGO Expo!

13. Delaware County Model Railroaders’ Open Houses, Delaware

Model railroads are set up on these special open-house dates!

14. Great Train Show at Ohio Expo Center

This expo is coming January 14-15, 2017 and includes model railroads, train dealers, hands-on exhibits and more!

15. Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville

We stumbled upon this train track behind the offices at Inniswood. I couldn’t find any info on if/when it is used, but if you know, please leave a comment below!

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16. Holiday Train Display at Ohio History Center

This special train is on exhibit during the holiday season! It will be on display November 28, 2016 – January 4, 2017.

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There are other trains on the grounds of the Ohio History Center year round, including one inside the building that can be sat in, and the one seen below that sits outside.

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17. Schiller Park in German Village

This is a great park with a train that can be played on!

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18. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville

This park is affectionately known as “the train park” – and aptly so!

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19. Henceroth Park, Grove City

This park offers lots of vehicles to play on including a jeep, boat and this wooden train!

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20. North America Train Ride at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

For $1 per person, you can ride a train around the North American exhibit at the zoo!

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21. Christmas Time Open House at Central Ohio Model Railroad Club

For 4 weekends in December, the club puts on an open house featuring giant model railroad layouts, an interactive Thomas the Tank Engine display and more! Admission is free!

22. Open Garden Tour by the members of Columbus Garden Railway Society

On the second Sunday in September, members of the Columbus Garden Railway Society open their houses (gardens!) for a tour of their own Garden Railroads!

BEYOND COLUMBUS . . .

23. Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, Mansfield

One of the larger exhibits at the Little Buckeye Museum is the model train display and nearby train tables for playing!

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24. Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum, Bellevue

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There are tons of trains on display here, may of which you can climb aboard! This museum has indoor and outdoor components and the gift shop has a train table for playing!

25. Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc., Findlay

This organization offers train rides and holiday events (including the North Pole Express), a museum, gift shop and model train displays!

26. The Buckeye Express Diner, Bellville

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Eat dinner in an OSU-themed train car! There is a train playground outside too!

27. Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Dennison

This museum has a railroad car just for kids, model trains and a scavenger hunt just for kids!

 28. Lodi Station Outlets, Lodi

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This outlet mall is built with a train theme! You can purchase tickets to take a train ride around the property!

29. EnterTAINment Junction, West Chester

This venue offers displays, a museum, seasonal rides and a funhouse!

30. Day Out with Thomas, various locations

These special days only happen a few times a year at Ohio locations and include a 25-minute train ride, kids activities, live music and more!

31. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Northeast Ohio

The trains here run mainly on the weekends and there are several events scheduled throughout the year, including a Christmas Tree Adventure!

32. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Nelsonville

This railway offers special trips throughout the year including a Santa Train on December 18, 2016. Tickets are limited.

33. LM & M Railroad, Lebanon, Lebanon

This historic railroad offers special events including the Day out with Thomas and North Pole Express!

34. Train-O-Rama, Marblehead

One of Ohio’s largest multi-gauge model railroad displays open to the public! Trains are for sale in the gift shop as well!

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ICYMI: 5 Moms of Nationwide Share their Favorite Places to take their Kids in Columbus


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What Should We Do This Weekend? August 19-21, 2016

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1. Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons

When: Friday, August 19, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

This week’s Commons for Kids includes putt-putt golf, a bubble play zone and music from Columbus Folk Music Society! This is the next to last Commons for Kids of the summer! (Also Saturday night, there will be a free showing of The Good Dinosaur at Columbus Commons!)

2. Movie Night at Blacklick Woods

When: Friday, August 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Beech Maple Lodge, 6975 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Phone: 614-508-8111

During this program, kids can learn about beavers and then watch Leave it to Beavers, a movie. There will be free popcorn!

3. Great Columbus Duck Race at Creekside, Gahanna

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: Begins at 8:00 AM
Location: 101 Mill St., Gahanna, OH 43230

Races, family friendly activities, prizes, live music and a humongous duck race are all part of an event that supports the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital! See the link for info on how to register and/or purchase a duck for the Duck Race! Online purchasing ends Thursday night at 11:59 PM.

4. Back to School Party at Buffalo Wings & Rings

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 6325 E Broad St, Columbus, Ohio 43213
Phone: 614-856-9464

Kick off the new school year with a bounce house, balloon animals, a magician and more! Other activities include a corn hole tournament, dance off, and karaoke!

5. BrickUniverse at Columbus Convention Center

When: Saturday & Sunday, August 20 & 21, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Hall E, 400 N High St., Columbus, OH 43215

See amazing Lego creations, enter building challenges, participate in free-building and enjoy all things Lego! There is also a Duplo building area for the younger kids! Tickets often sell out and can be bought online.

6. Grove City Eco Fest at Henceroth Park

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 2075 Mallow Lane, Grove City, OH 43123

This festival is all about healthy living and sustainability! Activities include touring a tiny house, a family bike tour with Mayor Ike, planting trees, an Art Zone, a Kids Zone, a Zoo Tent and more!

7. International Fun Festival at Grace Polaris Church

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 8225 Worthington Galena Rd, Westerville, Ohio 43081

This free outdoor party with an international theme celebrates unity in diversity! The event features food trucks, live entertainment, activity stations, bounce houses, crafts and more!

8. Family Fun Day at the Shops at Worthington Place

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 7227 N High St, Worthington, Ohio 43085

This free event includes a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, crafts, games and prizes!

9. Origami: Puppets at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E Broad St Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

Origami artists from Ohio Paper Folders will be on site to teach families how to fold origami puppets and toys. This event is free with admission or membership.

10. Hit Like an iGirl at Title Boxing

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:15 AM
Location: 955 W. 5th Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

Girls ages 9-17 can attend a boxing session with iGirl and Title Boxing! iGirl is an organization “committed to providing young women with a safe place to discover and reach their full potential through self-awareness, self-confidence and personal goals.” Cost is $10 which includes wraps the girls can keep. Gloves are provided and so is lunch! Moms can also attend when accompanying a girl ages 9-17! Must register in advance.

11. I Spy Nature Challenge at Sharon Woods Metro Park

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: meet at Schrock Lake Restrooms, 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111
Families can pick up an Adventure Backpack and take the I-Spy Nature Challenge for a chance to win a prize.

12. Clintonville Quest

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Begins at the Quest Booth at Crest Fest, corner of Tulane and Calumet

Want to explore Clintonville for a good cause? The Clintonville Quest is a scavenger hunt in the style of Amazing Race! Earn points and complete challenges as you discover various checkpoints around Clintonville. The money raised supports the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center! If you want to do this event as a family with young kids, consider entering the Quest Mini, which is open to all ages but contains fewer checkpoints and a shorter distance to cover! Adults can save $10 by registering by 10:00 PM on Friday. The race ends at Crest Fest, a neighborhood festival including food trucks, live music and a kids’ activity zone!

13. Lego Build Event at Barnes and Noble

When: Saturday August 20, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: your local Barnes and Noble

Kids age 6 and older can build with Legos at this free event!

14. Glow in the Dark Trail Run for Kids at Grove City YMCA

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 8:30 PM
Location: 3600 Discovery Dr, Grove City, Ohio 43123
Phone: 614-384-2295

This fun run supports cancer survivors  in the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program! Ages 5-17 are welcome to participate and glow sticks and s’mores will be provided! Register here.

15. Back to School Bash with the Hilliard Arts Council at Hilliard’s Station Park

When: Sunday, August 21, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: 4021 Main St, Hilliard, Ohio 43026

Another opportunity to kick off the back to school season with kid-friendly musical performances, pop-up art, face painting, a food truck and more!

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ICYMI: Exploring Downtown Powell with Kids

*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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12 Columbus Parks to Try This Summer

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These 12 Columbus Parks and Playgrounds will keep your kids from being bored this summer in Columbus!

Change up your playground routine by picking one of these fun parks and playgrounds around the Columbus area! Most of these playgrounds have areas for various ages and stages. We have enjoyed exploring all of these playgrounds! Feel free to share any of your favorites in the comments below!

12 Columbus Parks to Try this Summer:

1. Friendship Park, Gahanna

  • 150 Oklahoma Ave., Gahanna, OH 43230

This park has a play area for younger kids and older kids, and the Gahanna Story Trail, where a story is on display for reading as you follow a path through the woods. Restrooms are available on site.

Playground at Friendship Park in Gahanna, Ohio

Friendship Park, Gahanna

Playground area at Friendship Park outside Columbus, Ohio

Friendship Park, Gahanna

2. Carriage Place Park, Columbus

  • 4900 Sawmill Rd., Columbus, OH 43235

This park is part of the Carriage Place Community Recreation Center and has a play area for older kids and younger kids. There is also a path around the park for walking, jogging, etc. Restrooms are available inside the Rec Center.

Playground at Carriage Park in Columbus, Ohio

Carriage Place Park, Columbus

 

playground area at Carriage Place Park in Columbus

Carriage Place Park, Columbus

3. Fancyburg Park, Upper Arlington

  • 3375 Kioka Avenue, Upper Arlington, OH 43221

This park has play areas for all ages, including toddlers. There is a shelter house with restrooms close to the playground. This park is also shady, which is nice! This is the site of several festivals in Upper Arlington throughout the year!

Fancyburg Park in Upper Arlington Ohio

Fancyburg Park, Upper Arlington

 

Kids playing on playground equipment at Fancyburg Park in Upper Arlington, Ohio

Fancyburg Park, Upper Arlington

4. Planet Westerville Playground, Westerville

  • 362 Huber Village Blvd., Westerville, OH 43081

This playground is part of the larger Huber Village Park and has a lot of opportunity for climbing and sliding for all ages! This park is fenced in, which is really nice. There is a restroom nearby and a shelter with picnic tables.

playground area at Planet Westerville Park

Planet Westerville Playground

toddler play structure at Planet Westerville Park, columbus Ohio

Planet Westerville Playground

5. Whetstone Park, Clintonville

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

The park pictured here is not the park next to the Whetstone Community Recreation Center, though there is a playground there as well! This play area is further into the park, past the Park of Roses. There is a super high slide here for your daredevils and a metal fire engine for climbing on. 

Fire Truck Play Structure at Whetstone Park, Columbus, Ohio

Whetstone Park, Columbus

There are port-a-potties near the park, but to get to an indoor restroom you’ll need to go back to the Rec Center or Library which is close by, but not within walking distance. There are picnic tables here and a pond nearby.

play structure at Whetstone Park in Columbus, Ohio

Whetstone Park, Columbus

6. Wyman Woods, Grandview Heights

  • 1016 Grandview Ave., Grandview Heights, OH 43212

This park just opened a few years ago and offers a lot of space for rock climbing! This park isn’t the best for toddlers (it’s recommended for ages 5-12), but there are some toddler swings and a small tunnel slide. 

Wyman Woods Park in Columbus, Ohio

Wyman Woods Park, Grandview

Seasonal restrooms are available at the shelter house and there are sand volleyball courts on site. Several picnic tables are also available. Another bonus here: free Wifi!

slide and swings at Wyman Woods Park in Grandview Heights, Ohio

Wyman Woods Park, Grandview

7. Scioto Audubon Metro Park, Columbus

  • 400 W. Whittier St., Columbus, OH 43215

This playground is part of the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. There is a play area for older and younger kids and a mister for really hot days! There are several picnic tables with umbrellas overhead. The closest restrooms are at the nature center, which is a bit of a walk from the playground. 

playground area at Scioto Audubon Metro Park

Scioto Audubon Metro Park, Columbus

There is a rock climbing wall and an obstacle course nearby, not to mention the gorgeous views of downtown from the park!

Rock Climbing structure at Scioto Audubon Metro Park, Columbus, Ohio

Scioto Audubon Metro Park, Columbus

8. Rocky Fork Metro Park, Westerville

  • 7180 Walnut St, Westerville, OH 43081

This metro park opened in 2015 and the playground here is simple, but unique. It’s mainly a slide and a wooden bridge, but it was fun for my kids to run around on. There is also a rope climbing area.

slide at Rocky Fork Metro Park playground near columbus, Ohio

Rocky Fork Metro Park, Westerville

If you visit this park, make sure to check out the large shelter area nearby where there are big wooden chairs for sitting and watching for wildlife! Restrooms are right by the playground.

boy running on playground area at Rocky Fork Metro Park

Rocky Fork Metro Park, Westerville

9. Henceroth Park, Grove City

  • 2075 Mallow Lane, Grove City, OH 43123

This park is a great park for younger kids, though there is a play structure for older kids as well. There is a train, boat, and jeep for climbing and driving. There’s also a butterfly garden and a wooded path for walking. 

train play structure at Henceroth Park in Grove City, Ohio

Henceroth Park, Grove City

No restrooms on site. (Someone please visit this one just to make it worth all the times I had to stop auto correct from making this Henceforth Park!) 😉

playground area at Henceroth Park, Grove City, Ohio

Henceroth Park, Grove City

10. Wickliffe Playground (Castle Park), Upper Arlington

  • 2405 Wickliffe Rd, Upper Arlington, Ohio 43221

Here’s a unique park to check out this summer! This park is the playground for Wickliffe Progressive School and is only available during non-school hours. 

Playground at Wycliffe Elementary, Upper Arlington, Ohio

Wickliffe Playground (Castle Park), Upper Arlington

This park made up of a large, wooden structure also known as the Castle Park, and my kids love running around in here! There are also swings and, on the other side of the school, another play area set up like a little town. Restrooms are not available.

Castle Park in Upper Arlington, Ohio

Wickliffe Playground (Castle Park), Upper Arlington

play structure at the Castle Park in Upper Arlington, Ohio

Wickliffe Playground (Castle Park), Upper Arlington

11. Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville

  • 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road Westerville, OH 43081

This playground at Blendon Woods Metro Park is on the west side of the park near the Natural Play Area. My kids loved the tunnels to climb through. While you’re at the park, be sure to check out the Nature Center, too! 

Playground at Blendon Woods Metro Park, Ohio

Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville

There are restrooms at several locations in the Metro Park. You can also read about more things to do in the park in Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!

boy at playground at Blendon Woods Metro Park, Columbus, Ohio

Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville

12. Westgate Park, Columbus

  • 455 S. Westgate Ave. Columbus, OH 43204

This fun playground is part of the Westgate Community Recreation Center. There are two playgrounds here, a pond, two murals and a small shelter with picnic tables. Restrooms are available in the Rec Center. 

playground at Westgate Park, Columbus Ohio

Westgate Park, Columbus

This is also the location for the large letters A, B, C that were moved to the park from Westland Mall.

Columbus Bluejackets Playground at Westgate Park in Columbus, Ohio

Westgate Park, Columbus

If that’s not enough for you, I’ve also got more parks listed in these posts: 6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers and Coffee + Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop. Happy park hopping! 🙂

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