My family and another family recently spent a weekend in Columbus, OH for spring break. We stayed at a Drury Inn & Suites just outside the city in a town called Grove City. Columbus may be in the north but with hospitality like this we thought we were in the south! Upon checking into our room we were greeted with a hand written welcome note from the manager and an array of gourmet goodies from local businesses delivered by the Grove City visitor’s bureau. I’m talking gourmet cupcakes, cookies, lollipops, and cake pops to fight over from the locally owned Lollipop Stop and Capital City Cakes. As if that wasn’t good enough, a few minutes later we discovered bottles of water, Chex mix, pens, a candle, and other goodies. Our friends that we were traveling with ended up getting a free upgrade to a 3 room suite. Despite my jealousy, it did give us a place to hang out and play games at night. Kids loved the heated pool which was half indoor and half outdoor. Kids thought it was awesome to be swimming outside in April. There is an evening happy hour in which adults get three alcoholic beverages for free and free hotdogs, salad, and soft drinks. If that’s not your taste there are plenty of restaurants around to choose from. We also gave the free hot breakfast two thumbs up. Drury quickly became a new favorite hotel chain for us.
Our first day in Columbus we went to COSI which is a great hands on science center for kids. Some of the highlights of the museum is a statute of Poseidon, a unicycle on a tightrope that kids can do (be prepared to wait in a long line for that), and an outdoor play area. Be prepared to spend a full day and you might want to bring along some snacks and water, the food in the center is pretty pricy. My only complaint about COSI is that there is an extra charge for some of the cool parts of the museum. I understand having to pay a little more for the IMAX show, but they have five experiences that all cost extra and after spending about $70 plus parking to get in and another $30 on snacks, I wasn’t about to fork over another $100 to do all the experiences. So just be prepared that if you go to COSI it’s going to be an expensive day.
Our second day in Columbus was spent at the Columbus Zoo. There is a good reason this zoo is one of the best in the United States. It has animals that our home zoo doesn’t have. The zoo houses 9,000 animals representing 650 species from around the world and we saw a lot of animals we’d never seen before. Several times we really got pretty close to many of the animals, maybe because it was a warm spring day the animals were especially active. Some of the animals that we especially liked were the red panda, very active brown bears, artic foxes, manatee, Bornean sun bears, koalas, mandrill, moose, wolverines (who don’t look anything like Hugh Jackman by the way) and so many more. This zoo seriously has it all and was well worth the money and the drive. The only downside was that despite going on a warm mid-April day, the African animal exhibit sign still said “Closed for the Season.” This zoo will absolutely take you the whole day so get there early!
There is a great kid-friendly restaurant I simply must endorse called Melt. There are two locations in Columbus. Melt is well known for their delicious grilled cheese, but don’t let that fool you; there is plenty more to offer including some scrumptious desserts like the M&M Cookie Dough Bread Pudding. But just a warning, if you are on a diet or lactose intolerant, you might want to rethink this place, but they do have salads and other options. Melt is a cheese lovers paradise!
If you are visiting in the summer there is also a water park next to the zoo, called Zoombezi Bay that you might want to check out. There are also a lot of parks around Columbus, including the Bicentenial Park. There are seasonal events and activities around this fabulous downtown park so you might check their schedule before your visit! Have a great time in Columbus!