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Winter Break

Mama in Columbus is going to be taking a break for a few weeks before coming back better than ever.  In the meantime though, I wanted to leave you with a couple ideas of places to go and things to do in Columbus this winter.

  1. Learn about Geckos at Cosi.  The exhibit featuring live geckos will be there through early May.  Round out your lizard knowledge with a trip to the library to read about these little creatures.
  2. Check out the new and improved Columbus Museum of Art.  With family programming on the weekends, this makes a great place to explore art.   The new Center for Creativity has specific exhibits and activities aimed for children 3 – 14.  Plus admission is always free on Sundays.
  3. Wear the kids out.  There are so many indoor places for kids to run and jump (and get covered in germs, err, scratch that last part, but do bring some hand sanitizer) around Columbus.  Recreations Outlet in Powell, SuperGames in Worthington, Galaxy Games around Hilliard and World of Bounce in Grove City are just a few of the wear them out options.  Pick one that is close to home and spend a morning or afternoon.  Do check the web sites before you leave because hours and admission information seems to change.
  4. Learn a new skill.  Winter is a great time for swimming lessons (indoor of course).  Being in the pool is a treat in January and the kiddos will be pool safe by the time Memorial day comes around.  Check out your local rec center or gym for lesson information.  You can also take lessons through Aquatic Adventures (located near Hilliard).

Enjoy the winter months!  When you aren’t out and about, remember to bake cookies, play in the snow, cuddle up with books and enjoy this hibernating season with your kiddos.

This Week on Wednesday: December 22 – January 5

Each Wednesday, I let you know about select fun events and other important updates in the Mama / kid world of Columbus.  These week we are looking forward into the New Year.  Happy Holidays everyone!

  • The Cosi Joy of Toys exhibit of trains runs through tomorrow (Thursday, December 23).   This is worth a visit if you still have time to go.  There are three ginormous trains set up to view as well as plenty of wooden track for kids to design their own.   In other Cosi news the building is open 7 days per week through the school break (typical winter hours have Cosi closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).  Cosi is also open on New Year’s Day and Dora will make an appearance.  Finally, if your tyke was a fan of the Clifford display be aware that it goes away after January 2.
  • Should you find yourself with some energetic kiddos who need to get out of the house this holiday season, it is helpful to have a few ideas prepared in advance.  Since there is still snow on the ground in central Ohio (and seems like it will be there for the foreseeable future) sledding is a nice choice for an active afternoon.  The MetroParks offer sledding hills at several locations including Battelle Darby Creek, Blacklick Woods Golf Courses and Highbanks.  In fact, don’t count out your own favorite park  just because it is cold.  (Most) parks remain open and there is quite a bit to see even with snow cover – just bundle up and have some hot chocolate waiting for the ride home.
  • New Year’s Eve with children isn’t quite the same event it was for me in the past.  Thankfully there are plenty of options other than a fancy dinner or night out on the town.  Several area hotels are offering overnight packages for families to swim, eat and ring in the New Year together.  First Night Columbus is another great option for families.  This event has several locations (Cosi and Vet’s Memorial both with plenty of activities) throughout downtown complete with entertainment, games and crafts.   Activities are ongoing, with fireworks at 10:30.

This Week on Wednesday: December 15-22

Each Wednesday, I let you know about select fun events and other important updates in the Mama / kid world of Columbus.

This Week on Wednesday – December 8 – 15

Each Wednesday, I let you know about select fun events and other important updates in the Mama / kid world of Columbus.

  • Let’s be honest: Santa Claus is around every corner this time of the year.  It can be a little tricky to decide which big guy in the red suit you want to take your kids to (or even if you do want to make a visit).  My pick for the best Santa visiting destination in Columbus is the original Oakland Nursery (we go to the one actually on Oakland Park otherwise known as the Columbus store).  Each year the staff decorates a themed Santa’s village which is beautifully detailed.  This year’s theme is friends of the Congo and features huge stuffed animals and working fountains.   You can visit the village anytime, but Santa is only there on the weekends.  They also have other holiday programming and you can purchase a tree while you’re there.
  • Tonight (Wednesday, December 8) at Whole Foods Dublin there is special book signing, caroling and crafting for kids event from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Franklin Park Conservatory: a Holiday Destination in Columbus

For me, Franklin Park Conservatory is a happy place year round.  There are plants to feed my senses, gorgeous glass art installations, and surprises around each turn of the meandering walkway.  During the holidays though, the facility really shines.  The colors seem a little brighter and the lights are shinier.  It is a wonderful destination to find holiday cheer.  This year, the people at the Conservatory have provided plenty of opportunities to create lasting memories.

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into the Conservatory are some stunning Christmas trees decorated with bold blue lights.  After checking in at the desk, you’ll find this year’s fairytale inspired train set.  I really enjoyed the setting of the trains.  Adults and older children will have fun picking out the various fairytale characters (my favorite is Jack and the beanstalk), toddlers will just take it all in.

If you can tear yourself away from the train fairytale, there is a Currier and Ives display in a nearby gallery.  Older kids can be challenged to match up the artwork with the accompanying gingerbread houses.  Younger children can be challenged to not touch the gingerbread houses!

Moving on from the front area of the Conservatory there is a pathway leading to the Palm House which is like walking through a winter wonderland.   This area is a perfect location for photo taking because it features giant trees made of up of poinsettias.

In addition to these attractions, there are  plenty of special events happening at the Conservatory throughout the holiday season.  Wednesday evenings the entire building is open late (until 8 p.m.) for candlelit walks and entertainment.  Select weekends also offer crafts for kids.

If you go:

  • Parking is free and plentiful.
  • The facility is stroller friendly.
  • A cafe on site offers lunch items and treats.
  • Bring your camera!* Thanks to Kate from http://thekatephotos.wordpress.com/ for providing photographic proof of our most recent Conservatory trip.

This Week on Wednesday: December 1 – 8

Each Wednesday, I let you know about select fun events and other important updates in the Mama / kid world of Columbus.

We’re heading into that most wonderful time of the year.  My thoughts on keeping it all joyful without the added stress?  Decide now what you want to commit to, get those dates scheduled, and feel just fine when you are also spending time at home.   Kick off the holiday season with one of these fun activities.

  • Tonight (December 1) is the Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival with free activities for kids, holiday music and Santa arriving by helicopter.  Even if you can’t make it this evening, a trip to the “People’s House” is a nice holiday tradition.  The gift shop offers fun shopping, the building is beautifully decorated, and there are free lunch time concerts throughout December.
  • Several area communities (including  Bexley, Dublin, Hilliard and Columbus) are holding their tree lighting ceremonies this week .  German Village also hosts Village Lights this Sunday, December 5.
  • The Alum Creek Festival of Lights is happening now through January 2.  On particularly cold nights, this is a great option because you stay in the warmth of your car as you drive through the decorations.  Pack a thermos of hot chocolate and make it an event!
  • December 5 is the annual free community day at Cosi.  This is a great opportunity to tour the museum and decide if you want to purchase a membership for the upcoming year (or ask Santa for one).

This Week on Wednesday – November 17 – 24

Each Wednesday, I let you know about select fun events and other important updates in the Mama / kid world of Columbus.

  • Wildlights is coming to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.  The special member preview night is Thursday (November 18) and the lights stay up through January 1.  This is a really, fun holiday tradition to start if you haven’t already.   You can stroll through the lights, see the indoor animals, visit with Santa Claus on select nights and take in special shows.   In my experience warmer nights tend to be more crowded and weekends are typically always busy.
  • Speaking of lights, there are plenty of other options to put a shine on your holiday season starting with Easton Town Center’s tree lighting ceremony this Friday.  After the tree lights up stick around to visit with Santa, check out the train display, take a carriage ride or sneak in some early shopping.
  • In decidedly less holiday news, Sesame Street Live will be taking the stage at Nationwide Arena this weekend.  With tickets starting at just $12 it may be just the diversion you need before immersing yourself totally into the hoopla of the holidays.

This Week on Wednesday – November 10 – 17

Each Wednesday, I let you know about select fun events and other important updates in the Mama / kid world of Columbus.

  • I hope everyone has been enjoying the higher temperatures and sunshine.   Even if our little ones have not yet adjusted to the time change, we need to remember these days in the midst of gray January.
  • This Saturday, November 13 is the return of the PBJ & Jazz concert series.  These interactive concerts are a terrific way to introduce new sounds to your tots.  The concerts take place in the historic Lincoln Theater which is a beautiful and unique setting.
  • Get a jump (or plie) on the holiday season, by attending the Dance with the Nutcracker event this Sunday.  A donation of a jar of peanut butter gets you and your budding ballerinas a chance to get behind the scenes with the beloved characters of the Nutcracker.
  • If you happen to have a date night or dinner with friends planned this weekend, don’t forget it is Dine Originals week at several local Columbus restaurants.  Take a look at the menus and try something new!

This Week on Wednesday

Each Wednesday, I let you know about select fun events and other important updates in the Mama / kid world of Columbus.

  • Toddlers of Columbus rejoice!  There is a new water table in little kidspace at Cosi.  The new wet play area opened today.  New features include a slightly higher area for older children and a fun water ramp in the middle.  Mamas, be prepared with an extra shirt, this water table seems to be even better at soaking the little ones (there are plenty of new raincoats, though).
  • Franklin Park Conservatory continues their family fun weekends on Saturday with fallen leaf art.   Also, the Savage Gardens exhibit is only on display through November 14.
  • Most weekly community farmers markets are done for the year as of last weekend (sad day in our house), but the North Market is open all year round.  Stop by for cheese, meats, veggies, spices and lunch.

Facing Fear

Today my husband and I dropped our little guy off at his grandparents house while we headed down 33 to the Hocking Hills area.  Hocking Hills is well known as a fall foliage destination with great hiking and plenty of cabins for rent.  This trip, however, we wouldn’t be seeing the fall colors from the ground, but up close and personal in the trees: we went on a zip lining tour of the Hocking Hills canopy!  It was a very fun day, with just the right amount of adrenaline, meaning I never felt like I was truly in danger, but I had some nice butterflies in my stomach.  The guides were professional and made  our group (including a 74 year-old woman) feel quite comfortable in our abilities.   If you have older children (over 10), this would be a great family activity.  It is also a nice couples, friends or co-workers thing to do.   Seriously, I don’t like heights, but I faced that fear and found this to be an enjoyable couple of hours.

Speaking of facing fears, I am also over at Rookie Moms today talking about being fearless as a new mom.  Check it out and add to the discussion.