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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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2016 Columbus Holiday Scavenger Hunt: 25 Things to Find Before New Year’s Day!

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Welcome to What Should We Do Today’s Holiday Scavenger Hunt! If you’re out and about over the next two weeks, entertaining kids on winter break, doing last minute Christmas shopping or trying to squeeze in all Columbus has to offer during the holidays, here’s a list of 25 things to look for on your way! I’ve made a printable list so you can take it with you!

****CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SCAVENGER HUNT PRINTABLE!****

Please, enjoy Columbus and have a Merry Christmas!

1. Glass Ornament Tree at Franklin Park Conservatory


2. Rotating Railroad at Franklin Park Conservatory


3. Polar Express Train at Ohio History Center


4. Book Tree at Grove City Library


5. Thomas Train at Main Library


6. Larger than Life Nutcrackers outside Grove City Library


7. Nutcracker display at Grove City City Hall


8. Christmas Tree in the Lazarus Building

 


9. Nativity Scene at Easton


10. The Three Wisemen at the State Auto Christmas Corner


11. Santa on the train at Easton


12. The Holiday Tree Farm at the Think Outside the Brick Exhibit


13. Santa’s Fire Truck at Columbus Commons


14. Large glowing balls at Bicentennial Park


15. Rudolph at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo


16. “Short North Pole” sign in Short North Arts District


17. Gingerbread Carousel at KDB Easton Town Center


18. Gingerbread North Market at Franklin Park Conservatory


19. Santa’s Gingerbread Camper at The Shops at Worthington Place


20. Life-sized Playmobil Knight at Learning Express Toys


21. Christmas Tree at Topiary Park


22. An underground world at Main Library


23. A painting snowman at Polaris Fashion Place


24. “Happy Holidays” on the Nationwide Building


 25. Large Hanging Wreaths at North Market


****CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SCAVENGER HUNT PRINTABLE!****


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ICYMI: Columbus Museum of Art: Think Outside the Brick


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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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