This week we’re going global! Natalie from Blissmersion is here to tell you 5 things to do in Columbus Ohio – an area of the USA I’d never even considered visiting before but it sounds like a wonder place for a vacation.
While Columbus, Ohio isn’t a typical tourist destination, it’s a great city that shouldn’t be overlooked. There are many things to do, especially with families. Here are a few of the wonderful things this capitol city has to offer visitors!
Somewhere Free: Splash Pads
All summer long, there are splash pads operating around the city and suburbs of Columbus. A splash pad, also called a spray pool, is a small water park usually located within another park. Easton and Polaris Malls also have splash pads on their property.
Splash pads are designed for kids to play, spray, run, and get wet. The water drains almost immediately, so there isn’t a risk for drowning. It’s fun for parents, too. There are at least 12 free splash pads in Columbus and surrounding area, so it’s easy to find one close to you. It’s an excellent way to keep cool during a hot day.
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Somewhere For The Whole day: The Columbus Zoo
The Columbus Zoo was one of my favourite places to take my kids when they were really small. Now that they are getting a little older, we still have fun there! During the summer months, you can feed giraffes, watch cheetahs run, and see lions, kangaroos, orangutans, gorillas, bobcats, bald eagles, and more!
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Even in colder weather or rain, there is plenty to see. There are two outdoor playgrounds, as well as several indoor exhibits to enjoy. The Columbus Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the USA. The zoo is also involved in many conservation efforts around the world and programs to help endangered species. It’s an awesome place to visit year round!
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Somewhere Outdoors: Columbus Metro Parks
Columbus has amazing parks and there are well over 30 parks in Columbus and surrounding areas. Sharon Woods and Highbanks Metro Park are two wild parks with great hiking trails. Located in Westerville and Lewis Center respectively, both will heed the call to be in nature. One of my favorites is Shale Hollow Preserve, also located in Lewis Center, which has hiking trails, a nature play area for kids, and a fantastic, shallow creek that’s perfect for wild water play.
Located off of Whittier St on the south side of Columbus, is the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. It used to be an industrial and ugly site. It was turned into a park around 12 years ago and is now a thriving green space in the middle of the city. It has a walking path and offers rock climbing, an obstacle course, along with other normal metro park activities.
Glacier Ridge in Plain City offers up an obstacle course of its own, touted to be similar to what you’d see on American Ninja Warrior. Alum Creek has a freshwater beach (yes, you can swim there). With so many parks in and around Columbus, it’s easy to find one with the amenities you like!
If that isn’t enough, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden offers up a Children’s Garden. It opened in 2018. It has an unique combination of nature walks, nature play areas, playground, splash pool, and more for your little ones to enjoy. If it happens to be cold, you can head indoors to the jungle. Or the desert. Or whichever garden room interests you!
Somewhere To Eat: Cap City Diner
Cap City Diner is one of my favourite restaurants in Columbus. It’s kid friendly, allergy friendly, and the food is excellent quality. Cap City Diner is one of the restaurants owned by Cameron Mitchell. All of his restaurants are able to accommodate allergy restrictions and are especially good with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder that causes gluten intolerance). Don’t let the diner in the name fool you, it’s high end quality food. My favourite appetiser is the gluten free calamari!
Columbus actually has a great foodie scene. Even fast food restaurants debut their test products into the Columbus market. It’s easy to find great cuisine here.
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Somewhere For A Rainy Day: COSI
COSI (the Center of Science and Industry) is a huge museum that is fun and interesting for all ages. Starting with their Little Kidspace, which is a dedicated area for kids ages 0-6. It’s wonderfully designed with children’s needs in mind. Everything is small enough for little hands and age appropriate. Our favorite area has been the water play area. For 2nd graders and up to age 11 is the BigKid Lab! There are all kinds of cool activities for bigger kids to get into, too.
The rest of the massive museum has a huge variety of different exhibits from Big Machines, Oceans, Space, and my personal favourite, Dinosaurs. This is a small sample of what you can explore during your visit.
If you visit during the summer, COSI also has a splash pad outside.
Plus So Much More
This is just a little snapshot of the things in Columbus. There is so much to do in the city and surrounding areas. It also makes a great base for day trips all over Ohio. Though often overlooked, don’t miss this exciting city on your next trip to the Midwest USA.
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