This interactive Columbus family fun list isn't curated by an editor...it's crowdsourced from regular parents adding the best Columbus family attractions they've tried with their kids.
Zoom in on the map to see fun kids activities near you around Columbus, read parent reviews, and remember to chime in to share your own favorites.
This is only the beginning of the Columbus family activities you'll find on Upparent. Set your location at the top of the screen, check out our family event calendar, and browse Upparent for many more things to do in Columbus with kids!
Free (donations accepted)
Kelly R.: The Newark Earthworks are the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures in the world, built by the ancient Hopewell Culture between 100 BC and 500 AD. They are believed to be part cathedral, part cemetery, and part astronomical observatory. A self-guided tour of the site is a fun family activity, or check the schedule for the next free guided tour.
Katie G.: Unlike any other art museum you've seen, Otherworld is an experience the whole family will enjoy. Visitors can immerse themselves in over 40 rooms of interactive art mystery and mixed reality playgrounds. This museum encourages guests to touch and play all while learning about the art surrounding them.
Creekside Paddle Boats
Kelly R.: Gahanna's Creekside District boasts plenty to see and do, including waterfalls, fountains, boardwalks and paths, shops and outdoor dining. Rent a paddle boat for a unique family activity, and enjoy the peaceful scenery.
Inniswood Metro Gardens
Hannah Scott: Inniswood is a delightful collection of botanical gardens and trails that span 123 acres. You'll find over 2,000 species of plants as you explore the grounds, including native wildflowers and wildlife. Families will love the children's garden with its interactive water stations and other outdoor play areas designed to inspire the imagination.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Hannah Scott: This favorite Columbus family attraction is home to indoor gardens with over 400 plant species inside the glass conservatory greenhouse. There are several traveling exhibitions and a stunning display of Chihuly glass artwork. Be sure to check out the 2-acre Children's Garden, where a myriad of programs and activities for kids and families are offered and included with the price of admission.
South Drive-in Theatre
Kelly R.: This nostalgic Columbus drive-in theater opened in 1950 and still runs seasonally as weather allows. Concessions are available for purchase, or bring your own.
Topiary Garden Park
Hannah Scott: The Topiary Park is a truly unique Columbus gem! The plants in this public garden are sculpted to recreate Seurat's famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte. It's beautiful, whimsical, and a lovely place to spend a couple hours with your family and a picnic.
Columbus Museum of Art
Hannah Scott: Worried your kids aren't ready for something as sophisticated as an art museum? Fear not!The Columbus Museum of Art offers an amazing interactive experience tailored to families. In addition to its galleries containing a varied and impressive art collection, the museum hosts numerous hands-on activities for kids.
The Book Loft of German Village
Hannah Scott: The Book Loft is a one-of-a-kind bookstore located in three historic buildings that were a general store, a saloon, and a cinema in a former life. Besides having a super cool history, it's a mecca for a family of bibliophiles with 32 rooms of books, gifts, games and puzzles.
Scioto Audubon Metro Park
Kelly R.: Scioto Audubon Metro Park is an oasis in the city. Two paved hiking trails loop around the park, but the real attraction is the amenities. There's a fun playground (with an interactive electronic game), teens can try out the rock climbing wall (BYO harness), and there is a smaller 10 foot boulder for younger kids. A parkour-style obstacle course features a tire run, 8-foot wall, tunnel crawl, balance beams, monkey bars, and more. While you're there, check out the nature center, eat lunch at one of the shaded picnic tables, and take in a breathtaking view of the Columbus skyline.
Bicentennial Park Scioto Mile Fountain
Brigitte Nohra Miller: The Scioto Mile Fountain at Bicentennial Park has it all, including a fun splash pad area with unique architectural designs. By night, this marvelous fountain displays special effects with lighting and fog!
Hannah Scott: Want to eat local, but can't agree on a place to suit the whole family? North Market has a little bit of everything: international cuisine from countries like Belgium, Poland, Vietnam, India, and Tibet, plus specialty treat shops the kids will love.
Kelly R.: One of the best Columbus family attractions, COSI is a hands-on science center featuring a giant screen theater, planetarium, and a number of exhibits including a dinosaur gallery, an interactive ocean area and an outdoor science park. Everything at COSI is kid friendly, but the fabulous Little Kidspace keeps the first-grade and under set coming back.
Columbus Clippers Baseball at Huntington Park
Katie G.: The Columbus Clippers are the AAA affiliate for the Cleveland Indians. Games are played at the beautiful Huntington Park in downtown Columbus. There are a variety of inflatables for the kids to play on, delicious and healthy kids meal options and lots of entertainment from mascots Krash and Lou Seal.
Ohio State Stadium Tours
Hannah Scott: Buckeye football fans won't want to miss the opportunity to go behind the scenes with a guided tour of Ohio Stadium. You'll get up close and personal with the sidelines, the Yassenoff Recruit Center, the press box, suite level seats, the Steinbrenner Band Center and more!
Columbus Park of Roses
Kelly R.: Columbus is home to one of the largest public rose gardens in America, with more than 12,000 roses and 13 acres to explore. The Formal Rose Garden reaches peak bloom in June and September. Picnicking on the park lawns is permitted.
Worthington Farmers Market
Brittany Kozielski: The Worthington Farmers Market is the largest farmers market in central Ohio. You will find all of your favorites here including seasonal fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, syrups, flowers, plants, soaps and so much more! Every third Saturday, check out the Market Sprouts program at the information table, which invites kids under 12 to engage with activities like scavenger hunts, art projects, and bird feeder building.
Kelly R.: We loved taking a self-guided tour of the caverns' winding (and chilly!) underground passageways, which were formed millions of years ago by the flow of an underground river and likely used as a haven by the Wyandot tribe. There are also plenty of other things to do with kids, including gem mining, mini golf, a petting zoo and a maze.
Anthony-Thomas Chocolate Tour
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.
Hayden Falls Park
Hannah Scott: Waterfalls are often tucked deep into the woods and difficult to reach (especially for younger family members with smaller legs). Since it's located on just 2 acres, Hayden Falls Park gives the whole family a chance to experience a stunning 35-foot waterfall surrounded by a lovely nature preserve. Be ready to snap a family selfie to document the moment!
Dublin Arts Council Riverboxes
Kelly R.: Take the family on a treasure hunt, following clues to locate one (or all!) of the 18 artist-created Riverboxes hidden in Dublin's parks along or connected to the Scioto River. The boxes each contain an artist-made stamp, journal, and learning opportunities. Bring along your own journal to document the different stamps you discover, and your own stamp to leave your personal mark in the Riverbox journals.
Irish Fairy Door Trail
Kelly R.: Find the magical fairy door at each of 11 Historic Dublin businesses, record the name of each resident fairy, and turn in your completed passport at the Dublin Visitor & Information Center to receive a free fairy door t-shirt. All participating businesses are family friendly and within 3 blocks of each other, so this is a great way to explore Dublin with your kids!
Katie G.: With over a dozen slides and water attractions (including a wave pool!), Zoombezi Bay offers Columbus family fun for groups of all sizes. Plus, admission to the seasonal, outdoor water park also includes entry into the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on the same day!
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Kelly R.: We were lucky to live just down the road from the Columbus Zoo for years, and I spent many hours there with my kids. It truly is a world class zoo with beautiful exhibits, many hands-on opportunities, and fun play areas sprinkled around. One of the essential things to do in Columbus with kids, whether you're a local or a visitor! I appreciate the convenient suburban location, so no navigating of city traffic is required, and you can see a lot without feeling like you're doing a ton of walking.
Battelle Darby Creek Nature Center
Katie G.: Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is one of the largest Metro Parks in Columbus, stretching 13 miles along the Big and Little Darby Creek rivers. The nature center, which blends in with the landscape, overlooks the park's enclosure of roaming bison. Inside the nature center a 53-foot "living stream" flows through the exhibits and is stocked with several kinds of creatures (fish, turtles, frogs) that can be found in the Big Darby Creek. There is also a variety of educational and interactive exhibits to learn about the park's ecosystems.
Primary photo: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, courtesy of Kelly R.
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