Skip to main content.
Guides

Exploring Columbus with Kids - A Family Guide

Find a place to stay

Columbus is home to plenty of attractions that make it ideal for a family getaway. The world-famous Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is sure to be a hit with kids of all ages. The city's museums, including COSI and the Ohio History centre, offer educational fun that encourages young minds to learn. When the kids need to burn off some energy, the city's parks are perfect for running, romping, and exploring.

Meet the animals

 

No family trip to Columbus would be complete without a visit to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Here, kids can see more than 9,000 animals representing 650 species. Exhibits like Asia Quest and Heart of Africa are home to elephants, rhinos, and giraffes. You'll see endearing Humboldt penguins and Florida manatees in the zoo's Shores area. A close-up encounter with one of these creatures is sure to be the highlight of your child's trip.

 

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

 

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to animals from around the world. In addition to visiting exhibits, your family can participate in special experiences like giraffe feedings and keeper talks.

 

4850 Powell Road, Powell 43065Tel: +1 614 645 3400

 

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium website

Water parks

 

Need to cool off from the summer heat? Columbus offers several spots for young ones to splash and play. Zoombezi Bay, located next to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, is a full-scale water park with exciting slides and activities for kids to enjoy. Closer to downtown, the Scioto Mile Fountain along the Scioto River is a popular spot for kids to play in the warmer months. It's in operation from mid-April through mid-October.

 

Zoombezi Bay

 

Take the kids for a day of fun in the water at this 22-acre park. Attractions include thrills like Big Boa Falls and Python Plunge. Younger kids will enjoy the Tiny Tides area.

 

4850 Powell Road, Powell 43065. Tel: +1 614 724 3600

 

Zoombezi Bay website

 

Science, history, discovery

 

If you're looking for fun family activities that incorporate learning, the centre of Science and Industry (COSI) should be at the top of your list. Its exhibits on science are sure to fascinate youngsters. You can also plan some time to visit the Ohio History centre and learn about the state from prehistoric times to the present.

 

COSI

 

Visited by more than 30 million people since it opened in 1964, COSI offers more than 300 interactive exhibits designed to teach kids about science. Let them explore everything from space to the ocean, and save time for special shows.

 

333 W Broad Street, Columbus 43215. Tel: +1 614 228 2674

 

COSI website

 

Ohio History centre

 

The fascinating exhibits at the Ohio History centre follow the state's history beginning with the Ice Age. Kids can marvel at a huge mastodon skeleton, learn about today's endangered species, and stroll through Ohio Village, a re-created 1860s town.

 

800 E 17th Avenue, Columbus 43211. Tel: +1 614 297 2300

 

Ohio History centre website

 

Parks and gardens

 

Kids have lots of energy, and when you need to let them run around for a bit, you can head to one of Columbus's many parks. You'll find traditional parks like Columbus Commons, Scioto Mile, and Scioto Audubon Metro Park. For something a little different, you can take the family to explore the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

 

Columbus Commons

 

This downtown Columbus park features a carousel, gardens, and an outdoor reading room with children's books. Friday mornings in the summer, all games and activities are free. The park also hosts special events and concerts throughout the year.

 

160 S High Street, Columbus 43215. Tel: +1 614 545 4700

 

Columbus Commons website

 

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

 

Perfect for a relaxing outing with the kids, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens features acres of colourful gardens, greenhouses with seasonal displays throughout the year, and glass art by Dale Chihuly. Special exhibitions focus on butterflies, bugs, and bonsai.

 

1777 E Broad Street, Columbus 43203. Tel: +1 614 715 8000

 

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens website

 

Dining with kids

 

You'll find lots of kid-friendly restaurants in and around Columbus. From spots that just serve hot dogs to authentic, family-oriented dining experiences in German Village, the city has all kinds of options to tempt tiny palates. Plan ahead and choose a restaurant that's near local attractions for easy access when you're sightseeing with kids.

 

Milestone 229

 

This popular downtown restaurant serves an extensive array of American comfort foods complemented by sweeping riverfront views. There's a children's menu with selections like pizza and burgers, and the interactive Scioto Mile Fountain is steps away.

 

229 Civic centre Drive, Columbus 43215. Tel: +1 614 427 0276

 

Milestone 229 website