The Ohio State University

Kid’s Guide to Columbus

Entertaining young kids in a college town doesn’t have to be a challenge, especially in Columbus.  Whether younger kids are coming in for siblings weekend, a football game, or just to visit for a few days, there is an abundance of fun things to keep both you and your little visitors entertained. From where to eat, play, and visit, below is a list of places to check out while entertaining a younger crowd in Columbus:



MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS…Gain a little knowledge:


Anana at the Columbus Zoo. Photo courtesy of

333 W. Broad Street
Voted by Parent’s Magazine as the #1 Child’s Center in the Country, COSI is a great place to let kids (and you) play and learn. This hands-on science center is filled with live shows, simulations, and adventure that can leave you and youngsters getting lost in for hours.  If you haven’t read our article exclusively on COSI, be sure to check it out!
Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm; Sun. 12pm-6pm

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
4850 West Powell Road
Powell, OH 43065
800-MONKEYS (666-5397)

Voted the best zoo in the nation by multiple sources, you can find all of your favorite animals separated by continental area throughout the zoo. North America, Asia, Australia, and Africa all boast numerous species of animals. Among visitor favorites are the expansive primate area and the manatee house located in the aquarium. If you have time and the weather is nice, there is an amazing waterpark located right next door!


PARKS & RECREATION…Blow off some steam:


Carousel at Columbus Commons. Photo courtesy of

Goodale Park
120 West Goodale Street
Goodale Park is an expansive green space located in the Short North area of Columbus. This park has benches, updated playgrounds, and fountains that can keep kids busy for hours while visiting the area. It is a great place for a picnic or to go on a bike ride. Also, it’s convenient location in the Short North puts it right next to a multitude of shops and restaurants that you can wander to after you are done.

Columbus Commons
South High Street & East State Street
This brand new nine-acre space in downtown Columbus is a beauty. This would be a great place for a game of kickball or tag because of its wide open spaces. In addition, there is a carousel that kids can ride on for the low price of $1 per ride. The park offers shows in its large pavilions multiple times throughout the week as well as a variety of food trucks that come to cater to visitors. It is a wonderful place to spend a nice, sunny afternoon.

Park of Roses Floral Garden
3923 North High Street
USA Today named this park one of the most pristine rose gardens in the United States because of its scenic and intricate rose arrangements. This would be a great place to take a stroll at any time of the day, and certainly a beautiful place to take a family picture!

Magic Mountain Fun Center
8350 Lyra Drive
(614) 840-9600
For those kids who love a challenge, Magic Mountain Fun Center is a great fit.  Bumper cars, go karts, and laser tag are just a few of the activities kids can participate in while visiting.
Regular Hours: Mon-Thurs, 10am-12am; Sat, 10am-1am; Sun, 11am-12am. Times vary for certain activities.




KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS…Fuel up and have a few treats:


Cap City’s ‘Seriously Big Chocolate Cake’. Photo courtesy of facebook @cameronmitchellrestaurants.

1725 Lane Avenue

(614) 481-5555
Located just 5 minutes away from Ohio State’s campus, this family-friendly place has a cozy, casual atmosphere, and delicious foods that will appeal to everyone’s taste buds, especially kids!  Who doesn’t love some great pizza and pasta?  The best part is that you can create your own pizza from a variety of toppings, so it will work out well for even the pickiest of eaters.  If you have room, be sure to try their famous Stromboli!
Mon-Thurs, 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-11pm; Sun, 12pm-9pm.

Cap City Diner
1299 Olentangy River Road
(614) 291-3663
Cap City offers all of your diner-style favorite foods with an upscale twist. You can get anything from meatloaf, to chicken wings, to salmon, to salads, to pasta. Everything is delicious and reasonably priced; not to mention, kids will love the giant gumball machine and menus that they can color on.
Mon-Thurs, 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-11pm; Sun, 11am-9pm

North Market
59 Spruce Street
(614) 291-3663
If everyone is craving a little something different, North Market is the perfect location. This expansive building located just past the Short North, holds a ton of different food stands that are both unique and tasty. The market has options that include barbeque, New York and Chicago style pizza, hot dogs, fried chicken, deli sandwiches, the world famous Jeni’s ice creams, and much more. It is a fun, eclectic environment. Not only is it a great place to eat, but a nice location to walk around with kids and waste a little time if you need to.
Mon, 9am-5pm; Tue-Fri, 9am-7pm; Sat, 8am-5pm; Sun, 12pm-5pm.

Cuzzin’s Frozen Yogurt
1629 West Lane Avenue
(614) 488-8248

For dessert-loving kids, Cuzzin’s is the jackpot. This location, which is very popular amongst the college crowd, allows you to create your own dessert. You can pump your own yogurt with as many flavors as you’d like! Kids can top off their creations with fresh fruit, warm toppings, candy, and cereal for your own personalized treat. But beware, you pay by the weight of your dessert! Mon-Fri, 12pm-10pm; Sat-Sun, 12pm-11pm.


PRE-GAME ACTIVITIES…kid-friendly football fun:

OSU Marching Band Skull Session


Located just to the north of Ohio Stadium (immediately south of St. John Arena), you can find various food trucks, places to get your picture taken, free giveaways, and various activities that fans can partake in. The best part is that the stadium is right across the street so you won’t have to walk to far with younger kids to get to your seats!



About: Kelly Rogers

Kelly Rogers is a Senior at The Ohio State University and is majoring in Strategic Communications. She is originally from Moline, Illinois, but her loyalty remains to the Buckeyes. She is involved with sorority life, campus programming, and undergraduate research at Ohio State. She plans to pursue a career in Public Relations and Journalism.