If you're looking for a fun activity to do with the family, consider taking a behind-the-scenes tour at one of these favorite spots around Columbus. Kids (and adults) can learn about how favorite products are made, or get an inside look at some of their favorite places.

Have a favorite local tour that's not on the list? Please add it in!

    Tours at The Wilds

     (299.0 mi)

    Open-air safari tour: May - Oct

    Winter tour: Nov - Apr

    Katie G.:  The Wilds is a conservation center owned by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, encompassing over 10,000 acres of land that is home to wild horses, deer, rhinos, zebras, cheetahs, giraffes and more. There are several tour options available at The Wilds year round. In the summer months, enjoy the open air safari tour where your tour guide will take you by bus to see the animals in their natural habitat. During the winter months, you will get up close with the animals in the pasture and in their winter habitat.

    Ages: all ages

    Cost: $20 - $125/person

    Velvet Ice Cream Tour

     (352.5 mi)

    Tours available Mon - Fri on the hour 11 am - 3 pm

    Katie G.:  Who doesn't love ice cream? And what could be more fun than visiting an ice cream factory here in central Ohio? Velvet Ice Cream offers a 30-min walking tour of the factory in Utica, about 45 min Northeast of Columbus. Tour guides will teach you about the history of the 100 year old company, the Historic Ye Olde Mill, and the seven step process it takes to make ice cream. Afterwards grab a bite to eat at the Wheel Room Restaurant or dessert at the Ice Cream Parlor. There's a small playground, farm animals and a picnic area on the property. No appointment necessary.

    Ages: all ages

    Cost: free

    Ohio Statehouse Tours

     (386.9 mi)

    Tours are Mon - Fri between 9am - 3pm and Sat & Sun at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm

    Katie G.:  Take a tour of the state capital building at the Ohio Statehouse. During the tour, you will learn all about Ohio's history and the important people from Ohio. Plus see the beautiful structure and design of the Statehouse. Tour guests will be able to see the House and Senate Chambers (when not in session), which are only accessible by tour. Tour guides are knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions.

    Ages: all ages

    Cost: Free

    American Whistle Corporation Tours

     (388.4 mi)

    Tours are Mon - Fri, by appointment only.

    Katie G.:  Did you know that the only manufacturer of metal whistles in the US is located right here in Columbus? The American Whistle Corporation produces over 1 million whistles each year. The 45-min tour will teach you about the whistle making process, the machines that are used and the history of the company. All tour guests will leave with a shiny new whistle to take home!

    Ages: all ages

    Cost: $4 per person

    The Ohio State University Ohio Stadium Tour

     (388.7 mi)

    Tours are Mon - Thur between 9am - 3pm, by appointment only

    Katie G.:  If your family loves the Ohio State Buckeyes then consider taking a tour of Ohio Stadium. This 1.5 hour guided tour will teach you all about the history of Buckeye football. You will be able to walk the sidelines, visit the press box, see the field from a club level suite and visit the band center where the "Best Damn Band in the Land" plays. Tours are scheduled year-round by appointment only and require a two-week notice.

    Ages: all ages

    Cost: Tickets start at $100/person

    Al's Delicious Popcorn Factory Tour

     (392.2 mi)

    Tours are given January 15th through September 15th

    Katie G.:  Have popcorn lovers in the family? You won't want to miss out on a popcorn tour at Al's Delicious Popcorn. During the tour you will watch a short, entertaining and informative video showing how gourmet popcorn is made at Al's. Then you will be able to sample some of the delicious and unique flavors available at Al's, including Cookies N Cream, Pizza, Bubblegum, Jelly Bean and more. There will be a question and answer session and a chance to purchase a yummy sample to take home at the end.

    Ages: all ages

    Cost: Free (appointments must be made online)

    Anthony-Thomas Chocolate Tour

     (395.2 mi)

    Katie G.:  This is by far one of my kids favorites activities to do every year. In an hour tour, you walk around the upstairs of the factory to view the assembly lines from the glass windows. A guide teaches you the step-by-step process of how candy is made. At the end of the tour, guests will receive a chocolate sample.

    Columbus Zoo and Aquarium - Tours and Experiences

     (396.9 mi)

    Kelly R.:  Columbus Zoo offers guided tours that bring you behind the scenes to learn about the animals and their care from the vantage point of the keepers. Tour options include Animal Health Center, Discovery Reef, Manatee Coast, and Giraffe Barn.

    Phoenix Bats Tour

     (402.1 mi)

    Mon & Fri: 1:30 pm. Wed: 6 pm

    Katie G.:  Have a baseball fan in the family? Then take a trip to the Phoenix Bats Plant for a baseball-bat-making tour. The one-hour tour will teach about the history of the company, how they design and create bats and the professional baseball players they work with. All paying tour guests will receive a pre-engraved mini bat to take home. Tours are open to the public. No appointment necessary.

    Ages: all ages
    Cost: $10 per person

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