Frugal Foodie Mama: Family Friendly Fun in Columbus, Ohio

Friday, September 26, 2014

Family Friendly Fun in Columbus, Ohio

Plan a trip to the family friendly city of the Midwest with my guide to Family Friendly Fun in Columbus, Ohio...

Family Friendly Fun in Columbus, Ohio via #familytravel
Pin It

As some of you who have been following me a while may already know, I was once a very content resident of the city of Columbus, Ohio.  In fact, my son and I lived there for over 8 years until we moved back to our hometown in 2010.  Columbus is a bigger city with a small town feel to it.  I fell in love with the city, all it had to offer, and made lasting friendships that draw me back there to visit at least a couple of times each year. 
Whenever we do visit we usually spend 2-3 days there, but with all that the city of Columbus has to offer we could easily spend an entire week.

If you have always wanted to check out Columbus with the family or are planning a trip there soon, then let me share with you a few of our favorites from our most recent trip to the capitol of Buckeye nation to help you plan...

Family fun at Fort Rapids Water Park- Columbus, OH via #familytravel
We spent the first day of our 3-day stay at Fort Rapids Water Park.  This was actually our first time visiting the water park, and everyone had a blast! My daughter spent most of her time at the toddler friendly Kiddie Korral and floating in Cowboy Creek with myself and her dad. My son disappeared for hours at the Slide Tower, racing down their four different 4 story water slides. And bonus? You can visit Fort Rapids all year round as it is an indoor water park kept at a constant 84 degrees. :)

Family Friendly Travel in Columbus, OH- North Market via
The North Market in the Arena District is almost always on our must-do list every time that we visit Columbus. The North Market houses it all- local artisans, spices, chocolates, food merchants, and local staples like Jeni's Ice Cream and now Stauf's Coffee. For all my foodies out there, this is a must for you to do when planning a trip to Columbus...
Family Friendly Travel in Columbus, OH- North Market via
From the open upstairs dining area, you can survey all that the North Market has to offer (of course, this is just a small section of it pictured above. ;) ).  If you are looking for a budget friendly & family friendly option for lunch or dinner while visiting the market, I cannot recommend picking up a fresh baked NY style pizza from Sarefino's enough. Trust me on this, folks. ;)  And if you happen to be visiting Columbus on the weekend, the North Market hosts a farmers market every Saturday starting at 8am.

Fun for the entire family awaits at COSI in Columbus, OH via #familytravel
A visit to COSI (aka, Center of Science & Industry) is sure to keep all members of the family busy and having fun no matter what their ages.  My husband and son disappeared rather quickly, heading off to make discoveries in the Life and Progress exhibits.  While little miss kept herself quite busy in Little KidSpace and then outside for a while in the Big Science Park...
Fun for the entire family awaits at COSI in Columbus, OH via #familytravel

I enjoyed a little stroll through the Native Prairie that is part of the Big Science Park exhibit...
Fun for the entire family awaits at COSI in Columbus, OH via #familytravel
COSI offers educational family fun all year round, and they are always bringing in new exhibits and experiences.  COSI can get a little costly at around $18 for an adult general admission and $13 for a children's admission, but if you are planning on spending the day there it is definitely money well spent. You will still end up leaving there wishing you and your family had had more time to explore! They do host a Family Night on the last Friday of each month if you are looking for a more budget friendly option- general admission is just $10.95 each after 5pm on those nights! :)

You can't go wrong with a budget friendly and Columbus Clippers game- Columbus, OH via #familytravel
If you happen to have baseball fans in the house or maybe just love the live baseball game experience like myself, you must add attending a Columbus Clippers game to your Columbus travel agenda.  There current season just ended, but if you are visiting any time between April and early September be sure to snag tickets for a game. We happened to attend during their Dime-A-Dog night and like the name suggests, you can buy a hot dog for just 10 cents during those games! Talk about eating on the cheap for dinner one night... ;) 
To check out the Clippers 2015 baseball schedule, CLICK HERE

Tasty fun for every member of the family at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams- Columbus, OH via #familytravel
And no trip to Columbus is complete for us until we make a visit to one of the ten Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams locations there.  The original Jeni's was actually opened in the North Market (which I mentioned above), and is still open even though it is now located in a different section in the market than before.
Most people have tried Jeni's ice cream by now or have at the very least heard of it as shops have opened and stores have started carrying her ice creams nationwide over the past few years.  I can proudly say that I can remember when there was just ONE Jeni's and only one place you could get it from- the North Market. ;)

Tasty fun for every member of the family at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams- Columbus, OH via #familytravel
On this particular visit, we met a girlfriend of mine at the Jeni's located in Dublin, just outside of Columbus proper. Not only does Jeni's serve delicious ice cream made from locally sourced ingredients, but they are such a family friendly place to visit. Just about every location we have been to offers a huge chalkboard wall and lots of chalk to keep the little ones busy while the adults catch up.

Have you visited Columbus, Ohio before? What is on your must-do list when visiting?

Other family friendly locations and attractions in Columbus that deserve a mention...
  • Columbus Zoo & Aquarium- If you traveling during the holiday months (November through early January), don't miss Wild Lights! It is truly a must-do for the entire family, and always on our agenda when visiting during that time of the year.
  • Easton Town Center- There is a store (ahem... stores) for every member of the family here in this huge indoor/outdoor shopping mall.  I will say that I prefer to visit Easton when the weather is warmer and nice since many of the stores require you to walk outside to get to them. But the variety of stores and restaurants offered there is impressive.
If you loved this post, you might also like my...

Be sure to check out more of my family travel reviews on my Family Travel page! :)