Columbus family-friendly Things to Do
Spring, summer, winter, or fall, there are always things to see in Columbus Ohio. Make a turn here, go past that valley there, and you’ll more than likely be surprised by the diversity and beauty of this Midwestern state tucked up against the south side of Lake Erie. It doesn’t matter if you like historical landmarks, out-of-the-way restaurants or hot air ballooning – Ohio’s got something for everyone.
Ohio’s major cities are filled with exciting this to see and do, from art galleries to museums to botanical gardens, theatres, and movie houses. Outdoor lovers will love the Botanical gardens and arboretums located throughout the state. The Columbus Zoo and the Ohio Railway Museum always manage to enthrall the kids and adults too.
Use this guide to plan your family-friendly vacation in Columbus, Ohio.
Formerly run by Jack Hanna, this zoo is now a well-known wildlife preserve that houses more than 6,000 animals from all parts of the globe. The zoo is divided into five regions. Visitors to the African Forest can expect to see gorillas, leopards, monkeys, and other animals you never knew existed. The African Forest is proud to be home to over seven hundred species of African plant life.
In the Asian Quest, guests will experience a complete Himalayan village. Animals in this area include sun bears, red pandas, Siberian Tigers and giant bats. Australia and the Islands region treat visitors to native birds, leopards, kangaroos, orangutans, and komodo dragons. The North American region allows visitors to see cougars, bobcats, otters, wolverines and polar bears.
In The Shores area, visitors will be amazed by manatees and sharks. Be sure and stop by Discovery Reef and touch a starfish. Don’t miss the Reptile Building. Kids will love the rides at Jungle Jack’s Landing. Rides include a log flume, roller coaster, bumper cars, spinning rides such as scramblers, dust devils, Jack’s tea party, a swinging ship, and the African express train.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065
Center of Science and Industry
This 320,000 square foot building with ten exhibition areas will keep visitors busy. Families go through the exhibits at their own pace. In the Space exhibit, children can land a space shuttle and walk-in space. While visiting the Ocean exhibit, children can board a real submarine, learn about sonar and run a remotely operated vehicle to explore the floor of the sea. The center even has a giant wave tank filled with 1,000 pounds of water and 150 pounds of sand. Children can interact with the water in the tank to learn about waves. In the Gadgets exhibit, children can split lasers, test gravity, try to lift their own weight on a pulley, and learn how to operate robots.
Center of Science and Industry, 333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215; (614) 228-2674
The Olentangy Indian Caverns
Check out beautiful underground caverns formed by an underground river several million years ago. Travel the winding passages and investigate the underground rooms. The Wyandotte Indians used the caves as shelter from weather and enemies. Cave depths vary from fifty-five to one hundred five feet below ground. Remember that the temperature in the cave hovers around fifty degrees so bring a jacket. Surfaces may be slippery so be sure to wear sensible shoes. Above ground, visitors can enjoy mining for gems, rock climbing, a playground, and a miniature golf course.
Olentangy Indian Caverns, 1779 Home Rd, Delaware, OH 43015; Phone: (740) 548-7917
Great Things to do in Central Ohio
Central Ohio loves to have a good time, and from March through December, visitors can attend events and festivals from powwows to jazz fests to the Apple Butter Stirrin’ event. Summertime is especially fun, with Shakespeare in the Park events and Statehouse Ghost Tours. There’s plenty of things to see in Ohio – or not – depending on what type of ghosts you’re looking for!
There are lots of free museums located throughout Ohio as well, including but not limited to the Museum of Medical History, the Spirit of ’76 Museum, or for some laid back fun, the Pencil Sharpener Museum or the Wyandot Popcorn Museum. Ohio is a state rich in history and famous residents, both past and present, and visitors as well as residents often visit the birthplaces of such famous Americans as President James A. Garfield or stand in the very same spot where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married at Bromfield’s Malabar Farm.
Ohio offers plenty of outdoor adventure also, from water skiing in the summer to snowboarding in winter. Take a drive and enjoy the Mohican Fall Foliage Tour or enjoy a weekend getaway at Pine Lakes Lodge or take a drive through Amish Country. Though it comes as no surprise to Ohio residents, many visitors passing through are often amazed at the things to see in Ohio – and are captivated by the spirit of friendship and welcome that they find when they get there.
One of the best things to do when you’re in northern Ohio is to visit the Kalahari Water Park Resort in Sandusky, for water fun, spa treatments, fast-paced entertainment, and fine dining – located conveniently between Cleveland and Toledo, the Kalahari Convention Center is the place to visit if you’re in the area.
For family-friendly fun or a romantic honeymoon, to the Cleveland Museum of Art or Cedar Points, famous roller coasters in Sandusky, Ohio has got your entertainment needs covered. There are lots of things to see and do in Ohio – come see for yourself!