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Weekend Warriors: Going Family Friendly

in 3 min read

By Lacey Luce

I have a family reunion this weekend, and there will be a lot of wee ones there. I am not known as a “kid person.” Don’t get me wrong, while I may not want kids of my own I don’t dislike them. Once they are interactive, house broken and can share their toys I like them just fine. But I’m not much of a Mary Poppins and this got me thinking—what the heck would I do if these relatives of mine suddenly put me in charge of their children for a day? Yes, this is how my brain works.

(Side note to all relatives and friends: DO NOT get any ideas).

If you do a search on you’ll come up with plenty of “family friendly” results. But not all family friendly events are created equal. Just because an event won’t offend your 8-year-old, doesn’t mean it will amuse her.

So I went through the results and came up with a bunch of things you could do with a kid or two this weekend—should one of your friends or relatives suddenly decide to unload some wee ones on you.

First there’s the Ohio State Fair. It’s the last weekend and what could be more amusing for a kid? Between the cute animals and midway rides you should be able to both entertain them and tire them out. Question: why do small children have sooooo much energy? We’re the ones that need it—we have JOBS.

Found in Schiller Park.

Found in Schiller Park.

My office neighbor Nick Dekker (aka Breakfast with Nick) recently posted that the Fine Arts Exhibition at the fair also has a scavenger hunt for the kiddos. BTW his kids are two of the most entertaining human beings I’ve met in a long while, and they don’t even drink.

COSI is another great option, and like the fair they have activities to suit a wide range of ages. I loved COSI when as a child and I still love it. FYI: Their Top Secret License to Spy exhibition is fun for adults too (at least it was for this adult). Pro Tip: the Top Secret exhibition is probably more fun for kids old enough to read.

One thing I’ve become sensitive to is that going out with children can be expensive. They don’t have jobs and refuse to pay their own way.

So, here are some ideas on the cheap. Columbus Parks and Recreation has these amazing little tree houses installed in several city parks. You can turn visiting each one into an epic adventure. If you have particularly imaginative children, get them to make up a story about the inhabitants of each house.

There’s also the Franklin Park Conservatory and the Big Bug exhibition. I can’t think of a more kid-fun photo moment. Franklin Park also has more structured activities that are free with admission—this weekend they are doing an “Explore the Outdoors” activity.

Festival Latino is also a fantastic budget friendly outing. Plenty of fabulous music for inhibition-free kids to dance to plus great food and hands-on activities.

Finally, Columbus Children’s Theatre is doing Grease right now. I saw this group perform at the Columbus Arts Festival and this is a theatre troupe that knows how to reach its audience. They are WAY fun.

I’m going to wrap up with a recommendation for all of us adults who still feel like kids inside—This is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind. The summer movies series at the Ohio Theater is showing them as a double feature on Friday. I’m not recommending you take a kid, just your inner child.

Lacey Luce is a marketing, communications and event strategist for the Greater Columbus Arts Council who has enough trouble keeping in inner child in line and can’t imagine trying to wrangle an actual child.