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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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OSU Airport and Barnstormer Diner

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Watching planes take off and land at the Ohio State University Airport is a fun (and free) activity for kids in Columbus! While you’re there, plan to have breakfast or lunch at Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner next door!

Fun for Families at Ohio State University Airport and Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner:

The Ohio State University Airport was one of our favorite places to visit! The observation deck was a great place to watch planes take off and land! The Airport recently went under a major renovation and the tower was closed for several months in 2018.

We recently revisited the OSU Airport to see what was new! I’ve updated this post with details about the newly remodeled observation deck so you know what to expect when you visit with your kids!

BEFORE:

Ohio State University Airport

AFTER:

Ohio State University Airport

The remodel is stunning! The observation tower is now an entire floor in the building and it’s beautiful! 

BEFORE:

observation deck at OSU airport

AFTER:

NetJets Observation Deck at OSU Airport

Here are a few highlights:

Snap a pic with Brutus!

boy standing next to Brutus Buckeye at OSU Airport

Shop for unique airplane related gifts!

gifts at OSU airport

Pick up a free coloring book!

free coloring book at OSU airport

Watch for planes, of course:

boys watching for planes at OSU airport

 

boys watching for planes at OSU airport

planes at Ohio state university airport

Identify planes using the pictures posted along the windows!

observation deck at OSU airport

Hang out in the lobby and enjoy some free popcorn!

lobby at OSU airport

lobby at OSU airport

free popcorn at OSU airport

Visit the timeline of the Ohio State University Airport to learn some fun facts about the history of the airport:

info wall at OSU airport

A few fun facts: the Columbus Zoo has used the airport when transporting manatees and panda bears and Barbara Bush landed at the airport in Air Force Two while President George H.W. Bush was in office.

Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner

We love the breakfast at Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner, the diner at the OSU Airport.  This is a really fun outing for kids AND adults!  The diner is adjacent to the terminal of the Ohio State University Airport and is filled with airport and airplane memorabilia.  The walls are covered with pictures and awards.

Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner

A door in the diner opens to a garage full of small planes:

planes at OSU airport

All kinds of breakfast (and lunch) options are available and reasonably priced.  Our meals were excellent!  The kids meals came with drinks and they gave us adults coffees to go!  Needless to say we were all happy!

Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner

What kid could resist pancakes cut out like airplanes?!  That was a fun surprise:

pancakes at Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner

boy eating pancakes at Jack and Benny's Barnstormer Diner

Mmmmmmmmm.

Know Before You Go:

Jack and Benny’s Barnstormer Diner
2160 W. Case Rd, Columbus, OH 43235
Hours:
Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Saturday-Sunday 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
614-292-5699

Ohio State University Airport
2160 W. Case Road, Columbus, OH 43235
Observation Tower Hours: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM
1-800-777-5488

Tips:

  • The best times to see planes landing and taking off are Monday and Friday mornings when the weather is clear!
  • There are no restrooms in the restaurant, they are on the first floor of the the airport terminal.
  • There is ample parking right in front of the restaurant and terminal.

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

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boys watching for planes at OSU Airport


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9 Things to Do with Your Kids This Fall in Columbus

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Fall is such a fun time in Central Ohio! Here are 9 things you can only do during the Fall in Columbus and Central Ohio!

What Are Some of the Best Things to do with Kids During the Fall in Columbus?

There are so many things that can only be done during the fall season and we love to take advantage of as many as we can! From pumpkin farms, to marching bands to model trains, here are 9 things we enjoy doing as a family during the fall!

1. Attend a Skull Session at St. John Arena

My kids love instruments and any kind of band, so we were excited, though a little nervous, about taking them to a Skull Session at OSU! It’s a great way to get caught up in the football spirit, even if you don’t have tickets to the game!

A Skull Session is basically a pep rally where the marching band plays, the players come out and the coach gives a little speech . . . it’s very high energy and really a lot of fun!

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I’d recommend either parking on West Campus (parking is $20!) and taking a shuttle or parking in a neighborhood along the Olentangy bike path and walking up the path to St. John Arena.

The Skull session happens 2 hours and 20 minutes before each game and lasts an hour. When it’s over, you can mull around amongst the tailgaters, pick up some free samples (1/4 of a Sugardale hot dog, anyone?) and enjoy the energy of game day.

We were nervous because we weren’t sure what would happen to our strollers when we got there! We were able to take our strollers (yes, we had two) into the arena, but we left them outside the gymnasium, along the outer wall. It was a risk, but no one decided to walk off with a stroller on game day. Phew! I don’t know where else you could put your stroller, as the seating in the gymnasium is very tight. It worked out for us and we were really glad we did it!

You can see the schedule of OSU games here! Friends recommended arriving 20-25 minutes early to get good seats, and I will pass that advice on to you. We got there around 9:20 AM for the 9:40 AM Skull Session and were able to get good seats facing the band.

2. Visit a Pumpkin Patch

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There are so many pumpkin patch options, it’s kind of amazing! Every weekend in October is filled with Fall Festivals – honestly, I had no idea before I started this blog how many there are! Make sure to visit my post, Central Ohio Pumpkin Patches and Fall Festivals for a complete list!

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We recently visited Jaquemin Farms on a Monday! This one is great, in my opinion, because it is open during the week and for only $2 kids ages 3-10 can play in the corn box and run through the straw maze! Kids 2 and under are free! During the weekends, they have bouncy houses and the price is a bit higher. So if you have preschoolers at home during the week, this is a great way to spend an inexpensive morning at a pumpkin patch! Other weekday options include Circle S Farms, evenings at Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm.

If you want the BIG pumpkin farm experience complete with kettle corn, a zip line, a huge pumpkin trampoline, mazes, corn bins, pedal carts and more, make sure to check out 15 Things to Do at Leeds Farm!

Another place we love to go is Smith’s Farm Market! The picture below is a few years old, but they always have a large selection of pumpkins and picturesque settings for fun pictures with pumpkins!

smith-farm-market

3. Go Apple Picking

I’ve shared about our visit to Orchard and Company, and Branstool Orchards, and here’s a list of more apple picking ideas from Columbus Moms Blog! It’s getting late in the season, but there are still apples to be picked at many farms and a lot of them have farm festival weekends as well! If you’re looking for some options during the week (as opposed to the weekend), a few farms are open on select Fridays: Lynd Fruit Farm, and Cherry Hawk Farm, to name a few.

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4. Attend Boo at the Zoo at Columbus Zoo

boo-at-the-zoo

Boo at the Zoo happens for THREE weekends in October this year! The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has added an additional weekend for 2019! The weekends in October are the 11-13th, 18th – 20th, and the 25th – 27th. Dress your kids (or yourself!) in costume and visit a lot of vendors in different areas of the zoo who want to fill your kid’s basket with candy! It’s also totally acceptable to take your baby in a cute pumpkin costume in a stroller and accept candy on his or her behalf! 😉

5. Take a Road Trip

I shared 6 Ohio Road Trips to Take This Fall here, one of them being the Fall Festival at The Farm at Walnut Creek. Even if you can’t make it for the festival, a drive to Amish Country will be beautiful when the leaves (finally!) start to change!

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More fun road trip ideas include:

Fall is my favorite time of year for a road trip!

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6. Visit a Metro Park

Once the leaves start to change, there are some great options for leaf viewing in our local Metro Parks! A great one is Battelle Darby! There are walking paths through the woods and also bison viewing! While you’re there, check out the living stream in the Nature Center!

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Inniswood Metro Park is also beautiful in the fall. Seriously, check out this picture I took during the fall (below)! It felt like a fairy tale! It was amazing!

7. Visit a City Park

Don’t underestimate your local city park for fall beauty. Here is a list of all the Columbus City ParksFranklin Park is particularly beautiful in the fall! Keep an eye out for the Harvest Parties at Columbus Rec Centers. You don’t have to go far to celebrate! 🙂

columbus parks

8. See Model Railroads at COSI

Mark your calendars for Model Railroad Days at COSI: November 20-24, 2019. My kids LOVE this special couple of days when several model railroad clubs take over a few galleries at COSI. There are a lot of model trains to see and also trains to play with! It only comes once a year, but it’s one of those things my oldest son always asks about!

model railroad days at COSI

9. Visit the Huntington Holiday Train at Main Library

This is something I consider a Christmas tradition for our family, but it does arrive before Thanksgiving, so technically, it’s a fall activity, right? 😉  In mid November, the train will be installed at the New Main Library! It’s really beautiful, and if you have train lovers, like I do, it’s something you have to see!

Huntington Train

What else would you add to the list of “can’t miss” fall activities in Columbus?

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ICYMI: Fun for the Whole Family at EnterTRAINment Junction

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9 things to do with your kids this fall in Columbus, Ohio


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