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5 Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus PART 2

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Last month I shared with you 5 Things to do with Your Kids this Summer in Columbus and this is my second round of “things we’ve actually done”! 😉 I hope you enjoy exploring Columbus with your kids! Here are 5 more things to do together this summer:

1. Attend Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons

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Columbus Commons is a great downtown park and on Fridays there are all kinds of special FREE activities for kids like bounce houses, story time, crafts, sports activities and special visitors. One of the weeks we attended there was a show by Ronald McDonald and the Columbus Zoo brought live animals to see and touch. Carrousel rides (normally $1) are free during this time and there is a parking garage right across the street if you can’t snag a meter.

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Tortilla is open for lunch at the park and there is also Jeni’s ice cream on site! Commons for kids lasts from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Check their schedule here for what is going on each week.

2. Make Origami Art at the Franklin Park Conservatory

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The latest exhibit at the Conservatory is Origami in the Garden. On display are several works of origami art and there are related family activities going on during the exhibit. On Saturdays, kids can learn how to fold an origami crane from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

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In the children’s area there are tables set up with paper and instructional booklets about how to fold different things like cranes, airplanes, boats and more. Throughout the Conservatory, Japenese Garden is the theme! Outdoors, there are origami sculptures as well. During the summer, the Franklin Park Conservatory is open until 9:00 PM on Wednesdays (through August 31st). See the full listing of family activities here.

3. Try Out a New Splash Pad

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So far, my kids aren’t big fans of splash pads! We’ve tried out Ballantrae Park/Bunny Fountains in Dublin, the fountains at Easton, FountainSide at Bicentennial Park, and the fountains at Polaris Mall and my kids still are unsure about getting water splashed in their faces at unpredictable times. I feel like I might be reaching the limit of how many times I should try this activity, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it! 😉 Here’s a list of 8 Columbus Splash Pads from Columbus Moms Blog!

4. Visit a Brand New Library

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I can’t go without mentioning the new Main Library! It’s a must visit this summer! Enjoy the remodeled Children’s Department and then take a walk through the outdoor reading room to Topiary Park. There are PBJ&Jazz concerts in the park on the second Saturday of each month this summer (which happens to be this weekend, July 9!). We were able to catch a little bit of the first one which took place at the Grand Opening Celebration of Main Library in June.

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Main Library is not the only new library opened this year! The Parson’s Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library (seen above) opened earlier this summer and it has a open area for story times and a Ready For Kindergarten area that has fun, educational toys. We’re also keeping an eye on the new Grove City Library, slated to open sometime late this summer or early fall! Summer is also a great time to try out a new-to-you library! Here are a few of my recommendations: Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing! Part 1 and Great Libraries for Reading AND Playing! Part 2. Make sure to join the Summer Reading Clubs available at most libraries around the Columbus area and win prizes just for reading!

5. Play on the “Little” Big Machines at COSI

Hopefully you got to see the Big Machines exhibit a few weeks ago, but if not, these “little” big machines are on display for driving and climbing for the rest of the summer! Inside the little kidspace there is a special construction area with pretend tools for lots of fun play!

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COSI is open every day during the summer and until 9:00 PM on the last Friday of each month. They do close down for most of September for their yearly cleaning, so make sure you get to see this exhibit before summer ends! Mark your calendars for August 10-14, 2016 for the next outdoor exhibit at COSI, Farm Days! There are plenty of big machines at this one, too (mostly in the form of tractors)!

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We’re having a lot of fun this summer and I hope you are, too! Columbus has so many things to do and places to explore! In fact, I’ve already started on a Part 3 to this post, so check back soon! 🙂

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ICYMI: 5 Things to do at Stratford Ecological Center


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Coffee + Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop

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Spring is in the air and park season is upon us.  All of us parents, weary from passing endless hours indoors, break out of our shells, stretch and yawn, opening our eyes to the bright sunshine.  It’s time to head outside.  And I know what you need:  coffee.  If I had a nickel for every parent I see at the park holding a cup of coffee, I would at least be drinking a Venti right now.

What am I giving you in this post?  Three coffee/park combinations.  And my promise to you is that these will be easy to do.  I have chosen three places where you can, with the least amount of effort, pick up your coffee and head to the park.  Sure, you could go through the drive through . . . but I’m all about making this an “outing” that’s fun for the child AND the parent.  Stop by the coffee shop and then head to the park . . . that’s what spring’s all about, isn’t it?

1. Luck Bros’ Coffee House + Pierce Field

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You can literally see the coffee shop from the park. Easy Peasy.

You can literally see the coffee shop from the park. Easy Peasy.

It doesn’t get much easier than this when it comes to coffee and park proximity!  I stopped in for coffee and got tempted by the yummy chocolate chip cookies.  We stayed here to share a cookie and then headed across the street to the park.  Pierce Field has two play areas, one for older kids and one for younger.  There is also a smaller slide and a lady bug to ride on for the toddler set.  The park is fenced in and restrooms are available.  This park also has free wi-fi!

Coffee:  Luck Bros’ Coffee House, 1101 W 1st Ave, Grandview Heights, OH, 43212

Park:  Pierce Field, 1st Ave, between Oxley and Northwest Blvd, Grandview Heights, OH, 43212

Where to Park: I recommend parking on 1st Ave, which separates the park from the coffee shop.  You can park in the parking lot in front of the shops or on the road along the park.

2. Caffe Apropos + Harrison Park

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Coffee to park is a mere 4 block walk in this case.  Caffe Apropos serves a large selection of coffee drinks and features a hopping happy hour if you’re arriving after nap time!  My favorites here are the Italian sodas, lattes and cookies from Pattycake Bakery.  Harrison Park (which is a different park from Harrison West Park if you happen to be Googling) is a newer park with a great play area for toddlers (and one for older kids, too!).  The park is along the Olentangy River and the bike path.  There’s a lot of green space here for running around, too.  There are no restrooms available (so you might want to limit your caffeine intake! 😉 ).

Coffee:  Caffe Apropos, 443 W. 3rd Ave., Columbus OH, 43201 (on the corner of 3rd Ave. and Michigan Ave.)

Park:  Harrison Park, on Harrison Park Place between W. 1st and W. 2nd avenues.

Where to Park:  There is only street parking available here but it is free and without a time limit.  I recommend parking on Harrison Park Place, right along the park and then walking to the coffee shop.  If parking is unavailable there, one of the parallel streets will work just fine – Michigan tends to be busy so try Perry, or Oregon between 1st Avenue and 3rd Avenue.

3. Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees + Schiller Park

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Be forewarned that your kids will want chocolate when you get to Winans to order your coffee.  Who wouldn’t?!  The coffee is good and perusing the beautifully made chocolates is worth the stop on its own!  When we visited, the friendly staff gave my kids a free treat – which was awesome!  The walk to the playground will set you back about a half a mile through the park, but walking through the park is, well, a walk in the park.  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!  You could add in a detour around the pond to feed the ducks or through Huntington Garden, around the Statue of Schiller, which is beautiful in the springtime!  The playground area is great for all ages.  My kids have loved playing on the train.  The playground is pretty well fenced in and shady!  Restrooms are available.

Coffee: Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees, 897 S. 3rd St., Columbus, OH 43206,  Hours: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Park:  Schiller Park, 1069 Jaeger St., Columbus, OH 43206

Where to Park:  My first suggestion would be to park on Reinhard, along the park.  Winans is about 2 blocks from the park entrance on Reinhard.  The playground is on the other side of the park, and there is also a parking lot inside the park, closer to the playground area, if you want to start there.  (Enter at the corner of Jaeger and Deshler).

I hope you have as much fun trying out these combinations as we did!

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ICYMI: 5 Go-To Places to Take Your Kids in Columbus


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