Winter Break in Columbus Part 1: December 23-29, 2019

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This handy list of special events and activities will help keep your kiddos entertained during Winter Break in Columbus!

If you’re looking for What Should We Do This Weekend? this is the list for this week and weekend! Scroll to the end for events happening during the weekend! Otherwise, this list will help you find something to do every day of this week during Winter Break in Columbus! (See Week 2 here!)

WonderLIght's Christmas in Ohio

WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio

Ongoing events in Columbus for every day this week:

Holiday Bricktacular at Legoland Discovery Center Columbus – from December 7 – January 5 when you visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center you can take part in special activities like meeting LEGO Santa, creating holiday builds, special additions to MINILAND and more! All special actives are included in admission. 

Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

Think Outside the Brick is on display through January 17, 2020 at Columbus Museum of Art! This LEGO set up shouldn’t be missed and would make a great weekend outing! Don’t forget the museum is free on Sundays! (Closed 12/24 and 12/15.)

Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt at Blendon Woods Metro Park – through January 5th, search for winter creatures hidden around the Nature Center. All ages welcome.

Visit the Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library – Main Library downtown!

School Days Off at Hilltop YMCA – kids on Winter Break can swim, play games, do crafts and more each day! $30/child if you preregister. $40 day of.

Christmas Corner at State Auto – State Auto’s Christmas Corner is lighted each night from 5:00 PM – 11:30 PM and until 12:30 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Each Friday and Saturday night there are live performances from local choirs and musicians. Free hot chocolate is available (donations accepted)!

Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – Wildlights takes place at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from November 15, 2019 – January 5, 2020 from 5:00 PM to close and features millions of LED lights, animated light shows, Rudolph and Friends, Santa, a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer 4-D theater short and much more! (Closed 12/24 and 12/15.)

Display at Franklin Park Conservatory

Franklin Park Conservatory

Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory – visit the Conservatory decorated for the holidays! This year is the biggest show yet and extends into the Children’s Garden and the Grand Mallway! Visit The Pool in the Grand Mallway for an interactive art display! This nightly event runs from November 15, 2019 to January 5, 2020 from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM. There is a special engagement rate for this event and members receive 50% off. Closed on 12/25 and closes at 5:00 PM on 12/24.

WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio at National Trail Raceway – this new event features a 2-mile car ride through more than a million LED lights, all synchronized to music! The show happens rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 15 to January 5 from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

Light display at Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds – Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights is celebrating 20 years with 30 new displays this year! This drive through light show is 3 miles long and features 160 light displays! The show runs rain or shine, November 15, 2019 – January 1, 2020 from 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM Sunday – Thursday and 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM Friday and Saturday.

Holiday Carriage Rides at Easton Town Center – take a ride through Town Center in a horse drawn carriage. Cost is $10/person, children under 15 ride for free with a paying adult. Beginning today, these rides will be available Fridays 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Saturdays 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM and Sundays from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Available 12/23, 27, 28 and 29.

The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre – watch a traditional performance of The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre through Saturday, December 28, 2019. This performances has two acts with a 20 minute intermission. (No performances Christmas Day.)


A BIG thank you to WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio for sponsoring this post!

Santa’s not the only one coming to town!! “WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio”, a drive-through Christmas light show, will be coming to National Trail Raceway in Hebron this holiday season!

This family-friendly event will feature 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 favorite of children of all ages) three enchanting tunnels of light 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 will be offered rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 15 to January 5! The cost of admission is affordable at $7 per person and children 3 years old and under are FREE! You can also purchase a “Carload Pass” for vehicles with up to seven passengers for just $30!

Learn more at www.christmasinohio.com!


Road Trip Ideas for Winter Break:

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 goes on through January 5, 2020.

Winterfest opens at Kings Island on November 22 and operates select nights through December 31. . It includes ice skating, holiday characters, millions of lights, holiday shows, carolers, and the park will included 10 winter wonderlands to visit.

Clifton Mill Lights opens the day after Thanksgiving! Gates open at 5:00 every night and the display runs through New Year’s Eve!

PNC Festival of Lights at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden features 3 million LED lights, a black-light puppet show, a train ride, Fiona’s Fairyland and more. Closed Christmas Eve evening and Christmas Day. The event runs through January 4, 2020.

Christmas at Kingwood at Kingwood Center Gardens is $5/person. Kids 12 and under are free and it is open on Thursdays through Sundays from 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM through January 5, 2020. There will be a Trail of Lights, a Community Tree Walk, a greenhouse display and other festive events. 


Things to do on Winter Break (December 23 – 29, 2019):

holiday train at Main Library

Holiday Train at Main Library

Monday, December 23, 2019

8:00 AM – Mommy and Me – Candyland & Gingerbread Men Christmas Party at Sunny Street Café (Sawmill) – this event features $1 Dino Pancakes and toppings bar, games, crafts and Christmas treats!

9:00 AM – Photos with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place – get your photo taken with Santa during mall hours.

9:30 AM – Our Village: Polar Express Themed Class & PJ Party at Amelita Mirolo Barn – join FIT4MOM UA for a special Polar Express themed class and PJ party! Kids will watch the movie while the moms work out! Afterwards there will be holiday crafts, “hot” chocolate milk and other holiday goodies. Your first class is free!

10:00 AM – Santa Photos at Easton Town Center – this is one of your last chances to get a family photo with Santa for $5 or take your own photo! Reservations are full but you can still wait in line for your turn!

10:00 AM – Family Gingerbread House Decorating at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna – build a gingerbread house together! All supplies will be included. Reservations are required.

11:00 AM – Messy Monday Afternoon at We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus – messy, sensory play will be available in the party room for kids to explore! This is included in the cost of open play! 

2:00 PM – Author Visit: Heather Shumaker at Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers – this award-winning author will visit Cover to Cover Bookstore to read from her book “The Griffins of Castle Cary” – a book for kids ages 8-12. 

2:00 PM – Open Play at KSM Sports Facility – kids can run around and get out excess energy with various sports, activities, games, toys and more! $10/person.


Christmas Corner in Columbus Ohio

State Auto’s Christmas Corner

Tuesday, December 24, 2019, Christmas Eve

6:00 AM – $5 Tuesdays at Marcus Theatres – every Tuesday (including Christmas Eve) movies are just $5 and if you’re a Magical Rewards member you can get a free complimentary-size popcorn.

8:00 AM – Mommy and Me – Candyland & Gingerbread Men Christmas Party at Sunny Street Café (Polaris) – this event features $1 Dino Pancakes and toppings bar, games, crafts and Christmas treats!

10:00 AM – Santa Photos at Easton Town Center – get a family photo with Santa for $5 or take your own photo!

9:00 AM – Photos with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place – get your photo taken with Santa during mall hours.

3:00 PM – Christmas Eve Ceremony at Christmas Corner – the Christmas Eve ceremony includes a live performance by Alan Tyson and placing baby Jesus into the life-sized nativity.


lighted tree at Christmas in Ohio

WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio

Wednesday, December 25, 2019, Christmas Day 

10:00 AM – Holiday Bricktacular at Legoland Discovery Center Columbus – from December 7 – January 5 when you visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center you can take part in special activities like meeting LEGO Santa, creating holiday builds, special additions to MINILAND and more! All special actives are included in admission. 

5:30 PM – WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio at National Trail Raceway – this new event features a 2-mile car ride through more than a million LED lights, all synchronized to music! The show happens rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 15 to January 5 from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

5:30 PM – Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds – Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights is celebrating 20 years with 30 new displays this year! This drive through light show is 3 miles long and features 160 light displays! The show runs rain or shine, November 15, 2019 – January 1, 2020 from 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM Sunday – Thursday and 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM Friday and Saturday.


Ohio Theatre in Columbus, Ohio

Ohio Theatre

Thursday, December 26, 2019

10:00 AM – Little Tykes Open Play at KSM Sports Facility –  kids ages 6 months to 5 years old can play in the soft play area, with balls and games and burn off energy running around the large indoor play area. $6/kids, $3 for siblings.

11:00 AM – My First Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre – this is a kid-friendly, general admission event that will be performed with the lights dimmed and last for one hour. This is perfect for younger kids and kids who would prefer a sensory-friendly environment! There will be crafts in the lobby area and a quiet area on the second floor. 


lights at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Friday, December 27, 2019

9:00 AM – Our Village: Stroller Strides Pajama Party! at Polaris Fashion Place – join FIT4MOM Columbus North for a pajama party workout and coffee date at Starbucks afterwards! Kids are welcome and your first class is free! 

10:00 AM – Toddler Open Gym at Thompson Recreation Center – drop in for a free Open Gym time at the rec center!

2:00 PM – For Families: Backyard Birds at Homestead Metro Park – make a bird feeder to take home and learn how to attract birds to your own backyard.

2:00 PM – Open Play at KSM Sports Facility – kids can run around and get out excess energy with various sports, activities, games, toys and more! $10/person.

4:00 PM – Family Night Fridays at Tree of Life Play + Cafe – for $30 enjoy a family pass to the play area and a large 1 tipping pizza and a drink pitcher.

6:00 PM – Night at the Nature Center at Battelle Darby Nature Center – come to the Nature center to see what animals awaken after dark in the living stream!

7:00 PM – Friday Nights Unlimited Pizza Skate at Skate Zone 71 – family skate is available from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM for $10/person. That includes admission, skate rental and unlimited cheese pizza!


lights at Franklin Park Conservatory's Conservatory Aglow

Conservatory Aglow – Franklin Park Conservatory

Saturday, December 28, 2019

9:00 AM – Inclusion Saturdays! at Get Air Pickerington – private hours are available on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month for children with special needs to play!

9:30 AM – Sensory Friendly Storytime at Barnes & Noble Easton – come before the store opens for a sensory activity geared towards kids on the autism spectrum or who needs a less overwhelming story time. An RSVP on Facebook is preferred.

11:00 AM – Disney Movie Saturday at Westland Area Library – watch the movie Tangled and get a free treat. Kids 12 and under welcome.

11:30 AM – Free MEALS for KIDS! at Hilltop YMCA – free meals will be available for kids until 12:30 PM.

1:00 PM – LEGO Design Challenge Day at Columbus Museum of Art – compete in fast-paced challenges using LEGO bricks! There will be prizes for each winning team! Included in general admission!

2:00 PM – Snow Day! (Kraft-n-Play/Stay-N-Play/Drop-n-Go) at Dublin Toy Emporium – there are several crafting options at this special event with varying levels of parent involvement, including drop off opportunities. Free hot chocolate and prizes! See link for pricing.


holiday lights at Columbus Commons

Columbus Commons

Sunday, December 29, 2019

9:00 AM – Toddler Time! at Get Air Pickerington – kids under 46 inches are welcome to jump during these special hours (9:00 AM – 11:00 AM).

11:00 AM – Baby & Me Storytime at Barnes & Noble Dublin – this story time is perfect for kids ages 0-2 and their care giver. There will be a story and sensory activities. Adults will receive a coupon for the cafe!

1:00 PM – Harlem Globetrotters at The Schottenstein Center – watch the original Harlem Globetrotters at The Schottenstein Center.

4:30 PM – Families in the Kitchen at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna – kids and adults can create recipes together. All ages welcome. $25/person. Register in advance.


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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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