Family-Friendly Activities To Do in Columbus Before School Starts

A Parent’s Guide to Columbus Family Fun Before School is Back in Session

little girl sitting on her father's shoulders



Jan 21, 2021

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As the old saying goes, “They grow up so fast”—as uttered by every parent, ever. So, as a parent, you have to love summer—it’s a much-needed opportunity to bond with your children before they go off to school and grow another year older and busier!

If you’re looking for some family fun in Columbus, OH, this summer,we’ve got you covered. Here’s our top picks for activities to do before school starts.

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Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

Explore science from the deep ocean blue to the vast starry sky at COSI this summer. Image courtesy of COSI.

Address: 333 W Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

Hours: Daily, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

COSI is a fan-favorite among Columbus locals—for good reason! This science center has been up-and-running for 55 years and features a staggering number of over 300 exhibits, hands-on activities, galleries, and more to engage the community in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics. 

This summer 2019, be sure to check out COSI’s special feature, the Jim Henson: Imagination Unlimited exhibit! This exhibit will run from May 25 to Sep 2, exploring Jim Henson’s “groundbreaking work for film and television and his transformative effect on popular culture.” The exhibit will “[reveal] how Henson and his team of builders, performers, and writers brought to life the enduringly popular works of The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and much more.”

You can also buy family memberships for as low as $49 if you’d like to return more throughout the year.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Did you know that sea turtles can travel over 10,000 miles across the ocean in one trip? One female leatherback was recorded to have traveled 12,000 miles during migration. Image courtesy of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Address: 4850 W. Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065 

Hours: Summer hours (through the end of August)—daily, 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been in operation since 1927 and proudly brings the community closer to the wonders of wildlife. It has over 7,000 different animals, so your children are sure to find exhibits that they love!

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium proudly takes wildlife conservation efforts quite seriously, donating $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation efforts around the world.

Don’t forget to stop at the animal sculptures, which make for a great photo-op—holiday card picture, anyone? 

Central Ohio Fire Museum

The Central Ohio Fire Museum is the perfect stop for the aspiring firefighter in your life! Image courtesy of Columbus Family Adventures.

Address: 260 N 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215

Hours: Tue-Sat 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Why let your kids stay in and play with toy fire trucks when you can go out as a family and see the real deal? 

The Central Ohio Fire Museum is perfect for your little firefighters! Stop by to learn about the rich history and service of firefighters, vintage fire trucks, and the day-to-day life of a modern firefighter.

You can even browse the gift shop to find the perfect souvenir, like a firefighter suit, to take home, so that your child will have memories of the real thing! 

Of course, don’t forget to slide down the pole! 

Columbus Children’s Theater

Pictured: 2017 production of James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Image courtesy of David Heasley

Address: 512 Park St, Columbus, OH 43215

Schedule: Check out the CCT website to see what’s playing now

Appreciation for the arts isn’t just for grown-ups!

Check out a summer production at the Columbus Children’s Theater for a wide range of plays and musicals that the whole family is sure to enjoy. Their mission is to “[transform] families through the power of the stage” by “educat[ing] and involv[ing] young people of all backgrounds in theatre arts.” 

If your child is especially interested in the magical world of theater—good news! The Columbus Children’s Theater even offers classes for all your little actor’s needs at the CCT Academy

LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Creative building fun happens at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Columbus! Image courtesy of Columbus Underground.

Address: 157 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219

Hours: Sun-Fri 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM, Sat 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Do you have a little LEGO builder on your hands? Can’t stand to keep LEGOs in the house in case you step on them with your bare feet? We have the perfect place for you!

Make sure to check out the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Columbus, a 36,000 square foot facility with 10 themes LEGO play areas, two rides, 4D cinema, and loads of fun!

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a beautiful greenspace and the perfect place to take your family for some easy-going nature appreciation this summer. Image courtesy of Stephanie Kase

Address: 1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43203

Hours: Daily 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

If you’d like a family-friendly activity that will suit all age ranges, then look no further than the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This facility features both glass-enclosed and outdoor gardens with exotic flora and beautiful water fixtures.

Special summer exhibits include the fan-favorite, Blooms & Butterflies, where you can step into “an enchanted land of tropical butterflies and splashes of floral color during the Conservatory’s 25th anniversary of Blooms & Butterflies”!

Don’t miss out on this magical experience this summer.

Grange Insurance Audubon Center

Pictured: The Scioto Audubon. Image courtesy of Metro Parks.

The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is a nature preserve in Columbus situated along the Scioto River. Its mission is to “conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.”

Kids will love the Audubon’s enclosed play area that features an enclosed climbing structure, but there are also plenty of educational stations where kids and parents can learn about the environment. 

Over the summer, the Audubon has special events like Preschool Storytime and Weekly Beginner Bird Hikes, and programs such as Audubon Adventure Camp and K-8 Youth STEM programs

Columbus Commons

Whether you’re going to a concert on a cool summer evening or taking an early-morning yoga class, the Columbus Commons is the perfect place to spend time with the family. Whatever you want to do, it’s here at the Commons! Image courtesy of Columbus Commons.

Address: 160 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215

The Columbus Commons is a privately-owned park that is home to over 200 events year-round! It’s a perfect spot to stop by for a casual morning, afternoon, or evening with the family.

Events at the Commons include concerts from local and international bands, fitness classes, family activities, food trucks, festivals, and more! There’s always something going on here—so be sure to check the calendar to see what’s going on today. 

Rockin’ Jump

Lots of indoor family fun to be had at the Rockin Jump trampoline park near Columbus, OH! This amazing facility not only has trampolines but also rock climbing and sports. There’s something here for every kid!  Image courtesy of Atlanta Parent.

Address: 1220 County Line Rd, Westeville, OH 43081

Rockin Tots (Ages 6 and under) hours: Tue-Fri 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM, Sat 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM, Sun 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM 

Open Jump (All ages) hours: Sun-Fri 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM, Sat 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Summer storms got you down? You can still go out and have fun with the family! 

Check out Rockin’ Jump, an indoor trampoline park. Rockin’ Jump has over 10,000 square feet of trampolines and more. Park attractions include the main jump arena, a dodgeball arena, the slam dunk zone, the vertical ops climbing wall, the ninja course, and more! You’ll have loads of fun and feel like a kid again trying to catch up with your kids on these attractions. 

For ages 6 and under, be sure to visit the park during its “Rockin Tots” hours in the morning before the park opens to all ages. 

You can even host parties and events at Rockin’ Jump for all of your summer needs. 

Summer Fun Starts Now

Now you’re equipped with all of the tools you need for this summer in Columbus, OH. 

Have you done all of these things? Or, are you looking for more tips on your beautiful city? We’ve got you covered!

Be sure to check out our blog for more guides on the area as well as real estate tips and more. 

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Find Your Perfect Columbus Home with HER

Are you thinking about moving to Columbus, and you still need to find your perfect home for you and your family? Look no further than HER, REALTORS® today.

August 2, 2019
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