The Indiana Insider Blog

Columbus: Unexpected Family Fun

Last week I visited Columbus to tour the town and see its top attractions. This is the second post in a three-post series about my trip.

The feeling I got when I stepped into downtown Columbus was delightful. The area is vibrant and youthful but still maintains its small-town charm. Another tourist, Edith from Maryland, called Columbus “Mayberry in the 21st century” after noticing the unusual combination of brilliant architecture and small-town heart. So many opportunities for fun await downtown and more family attractions are in the works.

Energetic kids could play all day in kidscommons, a hands-on children’s museum that lets little ones explore the world they live in. Take off your shoes and enter a Japanese house, test your strength on the climbing wall and learn about heat with infrared screens. Climb up, down and all around a playhouse designed to look like an actual house. The toilet slide that makes a flushing sound as you go down is always a big hit-I even tested it out! In the Bubble-ology exhibit, I watched a child smile in delight as he became the center of a giant bubble. Children learn about clean water and the importance of exercise as they go through the many activities.

I was impressed by kidscommons because it is a small space, but there is so much to do! The design gives you the feeling of exploring as you make your way through the exhibits and you can let your kids run free since the exhibit area is too small for them to get lost.  Admission is only $6 and coupons for $2 off can be printed here.

I stepped back into the turn of the century at Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum, right next door to kidscommons. This classic soda fountain is a town treasure first opened in 1900 by three Greek brothers and restored and re-opened in 2009. The collection of marble soda fountains, a mahogany double backbar and a Tiffany-style lamp are both beautiful and authentic. Half of the restaurant recreates a general store with yummy candies for sale.

The menu features all the old favorites and some modern treats like Diner-Style Hamburgers, Homestyle Ham, Grilled Cheese and Avocado, Tantalizing Turkey and a collection of delicious sides and salads. Of course you can’t forget the ice cream! Sundaes, shakes, malts, floats and banana splits cool you down on a warm afternoon and bring smiles to everyone’s faces. Listen to the lively music of the orchestrion as you enjoy a family experience you won’t soon forget.

Other downtown attractions include the People Trail, which is a 19-mile nature walk through the surrounding area, charming local shops, frequent festivals, a Saturday farmers market and an impressive collection of restaurants that range from gourmet to casual. In 2011, The Commons will reopen downtown, featuring a performance space, an indoor playground, retailers, restaurants, and the sculpture Chaos. Several beautiful parks are nearby as well. Columbus is a great place for families to come together and create healthy happy memories by playing together inside and out.

Tagged as:

, , , , , , ,