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Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio

These are the top 10 things to do in Columbus with kids!

Columbus has so much to offer families! It’s a great place to live, work, play and visit! Every day it seems I run across something new going on or a special event to check out! My family moved here over 10 years ago and we have fallen in love! (Make sure to follow us on Instagram for every day ideas of things to do in Columbus, Ohio with your kids!)

It’s hard to narrow down the list to just 10 of the most family-friendly attractions in Columbus, Ohio, but this is my attempt! 😉 Use it as a jumping off point to all of the family fun there is to be had in Columbus!

If you’re new to Columbus, planning a trip to Columbus or a new parent in Columbus, these are the top 10, can’t miss family-friendly things to do in this amazing city! 

1. COSI (Center of Science and Industry)

  • Address: 333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215
  • Website
COSI Science Center, Columbus, Ohio
COSI Science Center

One of the top science museums in the country and one of the most popular things to do with kids in Columbus, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) has something for kids (and adults) of all ages!

There are 2 full floors of hands-on science exhibits with different themes from Oceans to Gadgets to Energy, a cafe, a little kidspace that’s perfect for the 6 and under crowd, a permanent American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery and seasonal, traveling exhibits.

Dorrian Green in Downtown Columbus
Dorrian Green

Within the museum is a cafe serving coffee, wine and snacks, a restaurant serving full meals and a great gift shop! Parking is available in the underground garage or at nearby meters. Outside COSI is Dorian Green, a great park and playground area where the kids can run around and you can eat a picnic lunch!

You can eat your lunch at the cafe at COSI or check out one of these downtown Columbus restaurants for a nearby meal.

Oceans Exhibit at COSI in Columbus Ohio
Oceans Exhibit at COSI

2. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

  • Address: 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065
  • Website
young boy at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Another gem in Columbus is the Zoo and Aquarium! Highlights include the Heart of Africa, the Polar Frontier and the new Shores Play Park! The Zoo is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Don’t miss the special shows, programs for kids and holiday events like Boo at the Zoo and Wildlights! During the summer you can combine your visit with water play at Zoombezi Bay (additional tickets required)!

shores play park at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Shores Play Park at Columbus Zoo

Within the zoo are several snack shops and a food court. You can also bring in your own food – but no glass bottles or straws! Check the website for their bag policy to make sure your bag fits the size specifications. Coolers and food storage bags can be stored at your own risk in a pavilion just outside of the zoo entrance. 

Lions in the Heart of Africa at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Heart of Africa at Columbus Zoo

3. Columbus Metropolitan Library: Main Library and Topiary Park

  • Address: 96 S Grant Ave, Columbus, OH 43215
  • Website
entrance to the Children's Department at Columbus Metropolitan Library
Children’s Department at Columbus Metropolitan Library, Main Library

The Main Library in downtown Columbus was remodeled in 2016 and offers a large children’s area, reading rooms, a coffee shop and cafe, gift shop with unique items, and outdoor patio and access to the internet. 

art in the atrium of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Main Library
Main Library, Columbus Metropolitan Libray

It’s worth stopping here even if just to check out the unique Topiary Park just East of the library. There is access to the park from the library. The park is a sculptural interpretation of Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte.

There are 54 people made of plants and bushes as well as boats, dogs and other animals, standing up to 12 feet tall! Read more about Topiary Park in 3 of the Most Unique Parks in Columbus Ohio.

Topiary Park in Columbus, Ohio

4. Columbus Commons

  • Address: 160 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215
  • Website
carousel at Columbus Commons in Columbus, Ohio
Columbus Commons

Looking for a green space in the middle of the city to put your feet up and let the kids run around? Look no further than Columbus Commons. Not only is there a huge green space for kids to run around in, during the warmer months there is access to art supplies and books on most days and a carousel!

Kid playing at Commons for Kids, Columbus, Ohio
Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons

There are two permanent cafes in the park, Tortilla – Mexican street food and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – some of the best ice cream in Columbus! Throughout the season the park hosts many events, concerts and festivals including Commons for Kids on Friday mornings during the summer.

Easy and convenient parking is available in the Columbus Commons Garage at 55 E. Rich St.

Downtown Columbus Ohio
Columbus Commons

5. Columbus Museum of Art

  • Address: 480 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215
  • Website
kids building with blocks at Columbus Museum of Art
Columbus Museum of Art

Believe it or not, there is a lot for kids to do at the Columbus Museum of Art! Check out the Wonder Room, a space completely dedicated to kids where they can explore various textiles and activities to inspire the artist inside. Throughout the museum there are rotating activities for kids to make connections to the art on the walls.

Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art
Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art

Each year the museum is home to Think Outside the Brick, a huge LEGO display and opportunities for free building. Look for opportunities to take a Family Adventures Tour or drop in on a Young Child Studio. Bonus: the museum is FREE on Sundays!

6. Inniswood Metro Gardens

  • Address: 940 S Hempstead Rd, Westerville, OH 43081
  • Website
Inniswood Metro Park in Columbus, Ohio
Inniswood Metro Gardens

Many of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks offer amazing play and learning opportunities for kids, indoors and outdoors, but Inniswood Metro Gardens is especially magical for children. The park includes a Sister’s Garden with places for kids to play, look for frogs and hide in the Secret Garden.

Kids can walk amongst the trees on suspension bridges and climb into a treehouse. The park also offers programs for children throughout the year. Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks offers programs throughout the year for preschoolers, families and adults at this park!

Inniswood Metro Park in Columbus, Ohio
Inniswood Metro Gardens

7. Franklin Park Conservatory

  • Address: 1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43203
  • Website
boy looking at fish at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio
Franklin Park Conservatory

Franklin Park Conservatory offers the opportunity to step into another climate, be it the desert or the rainforest! Amazing botanical displays are a guarantee and exhibits rotate throughout the seasons. In the spring Blooms & Butterflies opens and your family can watch newly emerged butterflies be released into the habitat.

play area at Franklin Park Conservatory for kids in columbus ohio
Children’s Play Area at Franklin Park Conservatory

There is a small children’s play area, preschool programs and family friendly activities throughout the week and on Saturdays. The conservatory itself has indoor and outdoor components and in 2018, they added an amazing Children’s Garden which is included in admission and offers a full experience in itself! 

Children's Garden at Franklin Park ConservatoryChildren’s Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory

Franklin Park, the public grounds around the Conservatory, are beautiful in themselves and also include a playground!

8. Scioto Audubon Metro Park

  • Address: 400 W Whittier St, Columbus, OH 43215
  • Website
boys playing in sandbox at scioto audubon metro park in columbus ohio
Sandbox and Chalk Board Area at Scioto Audubon Metro Park

The only Metro Park in downtown Columbus is the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Within it is the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. The best views of downtown Columbus can be seen from the Center and inside there is a children’s play area, live animals on display and lots of opportunities for bird watching!

Indoor play area at scioto audubon metro park nature center in columbus ohio
Indoor Play Area at Scioto Audubon Metro Park

Walk through the park, over the boardwalk to the climbing wall and playground area for extra exercise! Outside the Audubon Center there are hiking trails, a chalk board and overlook decks to spot wildlife!

View of Downtown Columbus from Scioto Audubon
Scioto Audubon

9. Ohio History Center

  • Address: 800 E 17th Ave, Columbus, OH 43211
  • Website
Ohio History Center in Columbus, Ohio
Ohio History Center

Ohio History Center is the hub of the Ohio History Connection, which includes 58 historic sites around Ohio. The Ohio History Center features exhibits highlighting the history of Ohio including a life in the 1950’s, pioneer Ohio, Ohio animals, including a large Mastodon on display, a children’s play area, vehicles and airplanes on display and much more.

Ohio Village at Ohio History Center in Columbus, Ohio
Ohio Village Muffins Base Ball Players

During the summer months, Ohio Village, an outdoor village that recreates life in the 1800’s is open for exploring and special events including Storybook Village and 1880’s style Base Ball games! The special events at Ohio Village are lots of fun but if you happen to visit on a weekday when the Village is less crowded, there is something pretty magical about stepping back in time and exploring the 1800’s at a relaxed pace!

Ohio History Center in Columbus, Ohio
Ohio History Center

10. Easton Town Center

  • Address: 160 Easton Town Ctr, Columbus, OH 43219
  • Website
train at Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio
Easton Town Center

Easton Town Center is your one stop destination for shopping, eating, playing and more! This open air mall offers just about any store you can imagine! One of the the best things to do with kids there is to splash in the fountains and watch the nearby model train! Look for kid-friendly stores like Build-A-Bear, American Girl, The LEGO Store plus the amazing LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Columbus!

fountains at Easton Town Center
Splash Pad at Easton Town Center

When it comes to dining, Easton offers tons of stand-alone restaurants to choose from as well as a food court. If you’re looking for some kid-friendly dining options check out: 5 Tasty Kid-Friendly Restaurants at Easton Town Center for the scoop!

kid playing at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus
LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton Town Center

Ready for more? Check out Off the Beaten Path: 15 Unique Things to do in Columbus Ohio!

Wanting to explore beyond Columbus? Try 25 Super Fun Things to do in Ohio with Kids!

Need even more ideas? Try 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio


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