What is there to do in Greater Columbus for spring break? Here are 10 staycation ideas
Are you and your kids spending spring break in Greater Columbus? You should be able to find plenty of ways to stay busy and entertained.
If weather permits, the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks offer opportunities to run, jump, climb and otherwise burn off energy.
Mini golf centers are also in full swing, and the animals of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are likely to be out taking in the sun.
If the sun isn't shining, Columbus still offers a chance for kids to meet some butterflies, interact with Marvel heroes, go ice skating or swimming or trampolining, or play games of all sorts.
Here are some ideas for designing your own staycation:
Take a trip to see the bison at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, 1415 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway. Or check out the newly opened Quarry Trails Metro Park, 2600 Dublin Road, with its waterfall, fishing lakes and hiking and mountain bike trails. Or dig out the flying discs and play a round or two of disc golf at the free 18-hole courses at Blendon Woods Metro Park (4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road), Glacier Ridge Metro Park (9801 Hyland Croy Road, Plain City) or Scioto Grove Metro Park (5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City).
Free programs are scheduled almost every day at the parks, so be sure to check out their website for the latest offerings. (www.metroparks.net)
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The zoo is open all year, but it really starts heating up in mid-April, when the Heart of Africa exhibit reopens for the season, complete with cheetah runs, camel rides and giraffe feedings..
Elsewhere in the zoo, get a glimpse of polar bear sisters Anana and Aurora in the Polar Frontier area, watch giant bats snoozing and stretching in Asia Quest, look for red pandas high in the trees of their habitat, cruise through the new Orangutan Indoor Habitat, and check to see if brown bears Brutus and Buckeye have roused themselves from their winter torpor.
The zoo, located at 4850 Powell Road in Delaware County, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day in April. Admission ranges from free to $17.99 for Franklin County residents, and free to $22.99 for those from outside the county. Parking is $10. (614-645-3400, www.columbuszoo.org)
It's the time of year to take aim at those miniature windmills and other surprisingly difficult obstacles.
Head to Delaware to try your hand at the two 18-hole courses at the lovingly landscaped Olentangy Mini Golf, 63 Olentangy Crossing West, Delaware. A round of golf is $7 for those 14 and older, and $5 for those 2 to 13. Second round is $3. The current hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, weather permitting. (740-201-8728, www.olentangyminigolf.com)
If rain looks likely, steer toward Gahanna for an 18-hole blacklight prehistoric and safari-themed mini golf experience at Glow Putt Mini Golf, 161 Granville St. The first round is $8 for adults, or $6 for senior citizens or those 8 and younger; a second round is $6. (614-428-4569, www.glowputtohio.com)
Franklin Park Conservatory
Inside and outside, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., is ready for the season. Outside the Conservatory, visitors to Franklin Park can enjoy the 100,000 tulips, daffodils and pansies of “Columbus Blooms” as well as the other plantings and water features of the park, while kids take advantage of the park's playground.
Inside the Conservatory, it's the time of year for Blooms and Butterflies in the Pacific Island Water Garden area, and kids can check out the Metamorphosis Lab in the Grand Atrium.
Admission to Franklin Park is free. Admission to the Conservatory is $22 for those 13 to 59, $19 for those 60 and older, and $15 for kids 3 to 12, members and kids younger than 2 admitted free. (614-715-8000, www.fpconservatory.org)
Ready to be overwhelmed? Head to Scene75, 5033 Tuttle Crossing Blvd., Dublin, a 220,000-squarefoot entertainment center, where attractions include arcade games (25 cents to $3), an indoor roller coaster ($6), a drop tower ($5), a laser maze ($3) and much, much more. The venue has extended hours for spring break. (614-495-8660, www.scene75.com/columbus/)
No list of kids' activities in Columbus would be complete without a mention of the Center of Science and Industry, 333 W. Broad St. For regular admission, enjoy the traveling Cuba exhibit, the Dinosaur Gallery, the Ocean Exhibit, Big Science Park and more. For an extra fee, explore the Marvel exhibit, which includes Marvel art, costumes, including those worn by Chadwick Boseman, Letitia Wright, and Danai Gurira in Marvel Studios’ "Black Panther" (2018) — will be on display as well as a variety of interactive experiences. The exhibit will be in Columbus only until May 30, so now is a great time to check it out.
In April, COSI will normally be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Check calendar for days when the museum stays open until 7 p.m. Advance tickets are required. Admission: $25 for 13 and up, $23 for military and 60 and up, $20 for 2 to 12, free under 2. Admission including the Marvel exhibit: $40 for 13 and up, $35 for 60 and up, $35 for 2 to 12, free under 2. (614-228-2674, www.cosi.org)
Want to hold onto winter a little longer? Or just want to get some exercise while having a good time? The Chiller has four locations open for public skating: 200 W. Nationwide Blvd., Columbus; 3600 Chiller Lane Columbus; 7001 Dublin Park Drive, Dublin; and 8144 Highfield Drive, Lewis Center. Prices start at $4. Check website for days, hours and pricing. (www.thechiller.com)
Ready to hit the pool? The Columbus Aquatics Center, 1160 Hunter Ave., has a baby pool, lap lanes, an open swimming area and diving boards. Participants will need to purchase an ID tag ($1). Prices are $5 for those 18 to 49, and $1 for those under 18 or 50 and over. Kids 12 and under requires attendance by a responsible adult. Check website for open swim times. (columbusrecparks.com)
The Westerville Community Center, 350 N Cleveland Ave., Westerville, offers a water playground with slides, fountains, buckets and other water features, as well as a shallow pool and lap lanes. Day passes cost $5 to $12, and can be purchased online. (parks.westerville.org)
Trampoline parks abound in the area, for those looking to bounce off some energy, Check out the Bounce Club, 3967 Presidential Parkway, Powell, or its sister the Big Bounce, 1645 Gateway Circle, Grove City, both of which offer open jumps beginning at $10 an hour, as well as kids' nights out, toddler time and family jump nights. (thebounceclub.com)
Or check out Get Air Columbus, 3708A Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard, which includes not only multiple trampoline areas but also a ninja course, dodge ball, a foam pit and a “fidget ladder.” Prices start at $11.99 for a three-hour experience, if booked online. (https://bit.ly/3ux4d2o)
Ohio History Center and Ohio Village
Ohio Village, the 19th-century recreated town at the Ohio History Center, Interstate 71 and East 17th Avenue, opens for the season on weekends in April, with the first weekend for members only. Stroll around the village, meet folks from the 1890s and try out some activities from the era. Inside the Center, find out about Ohio in the Ice Age, or check out exhibits covering sports, nature and more. The Ohio History Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission (which includes admission to Ohio Village when it is open to the public starting Saturday, April 9): $13, or $11 for 60 and older or college students with ID, $7 for kids 4 to 12, free for kids 3 and younger. (www.ohiohistory.org)
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Greater Columbus spring break staycation ideas: Parks, zoo and more