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Whether you are traveling through Ohio’s capital city, planning to take a trip there, or live nearby and are looking for new things to do with your family, Columbus has so many options for fun family activities.
From impressive parks and gardens to interactive museums and exciting sporting events, there’s sure to be something in Columbus, Ohio that will create a lasting memory for you and your family.
Here’s a small sampling of some of the best things to do in Columbus with kids.
While technically not in Columbus, this is one of the most popular family destinations in the area and is consistently included in roundups of the best zoos in the United States.
Even if you’ve never heard of the zoo itself, you’re probably familiar with Jungle Jack Hanna, the zoo’s Director Emeritus, who has made regular appearances on talk shows for nearly four decades, usually with a menagerie of animal friends.
Not only will you see a huge number of animals, but you can also play a round of golf at the 18-hole Safari Golf Club, cool down at Zoombezi Bay water park, or get some thrills at Jungle Jack’s Landing amusement park.
If you have a LEGO lover in your family, you won’t want to miss the LEGOLAND Discovery Center.
Test your building skills on the Earthquake Tables, explore interactive models of Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, and ride the Merlin’s Apprentice and Kingdom Quest rides.
Space is limited, so be sure to pre-book the date and time you’d like to visit for guaranteed entry. And keep in mind that contrary to the usual rules, adults must be accompanied by a child and can’t visit by themselves.
Known to locals as COSI, this Columbus fixture is sure to have something that will interest every member of your family.
With a Dinosaur Gallery, a giant screen theater, a Planetarium, an outdoor laboratory in warm weather, and plenty of events and temporary exhibits, you could easily spend an entire day exploring and not see everything.
To make sure you get the most out of your visit, grab the COSI Science app and plan your day before you go.
4. Sporting Events
If your family enjoys sporting events, Columbus has a lot to offer.
Depending on the season, you could catch a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game at Nationwide Arena, a Columbus Crew SC soccer match at the soon-to-be constructed Downtown Crew Stadium, or catch a Columbus Clippers minor league baseball game.
For an even wider range of sports, check out the collegiate athletic events at Ohio State University.
For a thrilling zip line canopy tour, look no further than ZipZone Outdoor Adventures.
With a treetop Adventure Park and a Kids Park at ground level, you can find activities suited for most ages.
ZipZone even offers a Night Flight Tour and Zip Rush tours to get your adrenaline pumping. Be sure to book your tickets early; at the time of writing, the soonest available tickets were four months out.
6. Public Gardens
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens offers art collections along with their truly awe-inspiring gardens, temporary displays and exhibits, and a special garden and water feature for kids.
Columbus Park of Roses is one of the largest of its kind in the United States and has an arboretum, herb garden, and perennial garden in addition to several rose gardens.
With 19 parks and over 230 miles of hiking and walking trails, the options are endless with Metro Parks.
From free-roaming bison to golf courses, and from sandstone cliffs to a covered bridge, each park has something unique to offer.
Be sure to check out the list of parks for relaxing and affordable family fun. It’s a great way to explore Columbus with kids.
Columbus has two Magic Mountain Fun Centers with attractions including miniature golf, go-karts, laser tag, and other family activities.
Instead of a park-wide admission fee, Magic Mountain is a pay-as-you-go park, which makes it an appealing and affordable option if you have a couple of hours to fill between other activities.
Spark your child’s interest in birds and the natural world with a visit to Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Hands-on education programs for youth and adults are available year-round, including birdwatching, storytime, and classes.
Museums are always a great family-friendly option, and Columbus has quite the variety to choose from.
- Central Ohio Fire Museum and Learning Center – Located in a restored 1908 engine house, the Central Ohio Fire Museum offers personal guided tours with a focus on fire safety. Historical and modern fire fighting vehicles and gear are on display.
- Columbus Museum of Art – This museum offers an impressive display of works of art and many fun family activities. Visit the Big Ideas Gallery for activities like building a mobile or explore the museum in a new way with puzzles and scavenger hunts.
- Ohio History Center offers an interactive way to learn about Ohio’s history, including the summertime-only Ohio Village, which is a recreation of a 19th-century community. Be sure to check the website for special events.
With proper planning, you could feasibly visit more than one of these attractions in a day and keep your kids entertained with the variety.
As always, be sure to check out the websites for each location for special considerations, hours, exhibits, and admission prices.
Columbus is a great place to explore with your family. There’s so much to do there beyond the activities on our list. It’s the perfect location for your next weekend getaway or next family vacation. There’s so much to do in Columbus with kids.
About the Author: Ashley Hartsock is a
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