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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? July 29-31, 2016

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1. Ohio State Fair 

When: Wednesday, July 27 – Sunday, August 7, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Location: Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211

Concerts, rides, roving entertainment, food, educational exhibits, animals, shopping and LOTS of events make up the Ohio State Fair!

2. Preschoolers: Creek Adventures at Battelle Darby Metro Park

When: Friday, July 29, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: 1775 Darby Creek Dr., Galloway, OH 43119
Phone: 614-508-8111

Your preschoolers can wade in the creek and meet little creatures that live there!

3. Book to Film at Gateway Film Center

When: Friday, July 29 – Thursday, August 4, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM
Location: 1550 North High St., Columbus, Ohio 43201
Phone: 614-247-4433

Watch the movie Coraline free with your library card at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM screenings. This is also the weekend for the Hoot Film Series.

4. Tram and Campfire at Glacier Ridge

When: Friday, July 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Red Oak Trailhead, 9801 Hyland Croy Rd., Plain City, OH 43064
Phone: 614-971-5211, Chrissy Hoff

Take a tram ride through the park and have s’mores at the campfire! Tram rides are offered every 45 minutes from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. S’mores will be provided by Metro Parks along with roasting sticks and you are free to bring your own food to roast over the campfire! All ages are welcome!

5. Paddington at Topiary Park

When: Friday, July 29, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: 480 East Town St., Columbus. Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-645-0197

Come watch a movie in Topiary Park! The movie starts at dusk but there will be food trucks, crafts and more before hand! Bring a blanket!

6. Drive-In Movie at Zoombezi Bay

When: Friday, July 29, 2016
Time: 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Location: 4850 W. Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3550

Watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip from the Wild Tides Wave Pool! There will be activities before the movie, as well.

7. Bugstravaganza at Walnut Woods

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: Buckeye Area, 6716 Lithopolis Rd., Groveport, OH 43125
Phone: 614-508-8111

All ages are invited to celebrate bugs, insects, butterflies and more! Learn about pollinators, see these insects close up and participate in crafts and games!

8. Drop In: Ocean Adventure at Hilliard Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library

When: Saturday July 30, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 4772 Cemetery Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026
Phone: 614-645-2275

All ages are welcome to stop in to explore the wonders of the ocean!

9. Crafts for Kids at Slate Farm

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Farmhouse, 1375 State Route 674 N., Canal Winchester, OH 43110
Phone: 614-508-8111

Come to Slate Farm to make and take some old-fashioned crafts!

10. Gahanna’s Great Outdoors “Throwback” Parks and Rec Party at Friendship Park

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Location: 150 Oklahoma Ave., Gahanna, OH 43230

Gahanna Parks and Rec celebrates National Parks and Recreation Month with games from the 70’s and beyond! Participate in activities like Olympic themed track and field events, lulling chickens to sleep, stickball, music and crafts, canoeing, hiking and more! There will also be a campfire and food trucks! The evening ends with the movie Swiss Family Robinson.

11. Harry Potter Release Party at Barnes and Noble

When: Saturday, July 30, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: your local Barnes and Noble

Join other Harry Potter Fans for the countdown to the midnight release of the eighth Harry Potter book!

12. Powell Street Market

When: Sunday, July 31, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Downtown Powell

The streets of downtown Powell will be lined with vendors selling arts and crafts, edibles, jewelry and more! There will also be food trucks on site and pony rides! Admission and parking are free!

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ICYMI: 12 Columbus Parks to Try This Summer

*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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