Fun Filled Weekend Getaway in Columbus, Ohio – Plus Zoombezi Bay Waterpark Ticket Giveaway!!

 

Fun Filled Weekend Getaway in Columbus, Ohio – PlusZoombezi Bay Waterpark Ticket Giveaway!!

expcols frnaklin butterfly2

Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to the various venues and lodging to facilitate this review.  All photo’s and opinions are honest and my own.

Have you ever thought about going to Columbus just for fun?   I never even considered it until we were recently invited for a visit. I thought why not!  We had a BLAST!  I would summarize our trip up as being Fun, Friendly, and Yummy.  I had no idea there was so much to do and see in Columbus.   I also didn’t realize that it’s only a little over a 3 ½ hour drive from the Detroit area.

 

For starters, we stayed at a great hotel with a great location — The Hilton Columbus at Eastonwhich is located in northeast Columbus.

expcols Hilton

The rooms were great with comfy beds and super friendly service.

expcols hilton lobby

Room prices start at $159 per night.

expcols hilton hotel room

My son’s favorite thing about the hotel, of course, was the large swimming pool. The hot tub was a hit with my niece.

exp cols hilton swimming pool

My favorite thing about the hotel was that it was right across the street from the Easton Town Center.  It’s only a minute walk to some great stores, fabulous restaurants and an AMC Theatre.   For shopping, we loved the West Elm store, Lego Shop, and the recently opened American Girl Doll Store.

The American Girl Doll Store celebrated its grand opening the weekend we visited (the weekend of June 21, 2013).

expcols american girl storefront

The Columbus store is only the 15th store to be opened nationwide.  Doll crazed girls were everywhere! We had a tour of the store, which was nice since I had never been inside one of their stores.

exp cols american girl doll skiers

I had no idea that they had their own bistro, doll hair-salon, make a matching t-shirt station and so many adorable dolls and doll costumes.  I also discovered that they offer birthday party packages.

 

For great food, The Northstar Café was an excellent place to grab a bite to eat – we loved it for breakfast.  It’s local and organic with outstanding fresh food.  When you go, I would suggest the Cloud Nine Pancakes and the Mushroom Frittata.

expcols Northstar Dish

There were several other great restaurants at the Easton Town Center – The Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang and the California Pizza Kitchen.

 

The go to place for scrumptious dessert is Jeni’s ice cream.

expcols jeni's

 

 

The flavor combinations are so unique and yummy!

ExpCols Jeni's Flavors

 

 

We spent most of Saturday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

expcols zoo entrance

The Zoo was only about a 20 minute drive from the hotel and easy to find.

expcols zoo signage

The Columbus Zoo has received the “No. 1 Zoo in America” designation by USA Travel Guide!    Adult admission is $14.99, kid’s ages 2-9 years are $9.99 and kids under 2 years of age are free.  There is also a parking fee of $8.

 

This place is humungous so make sure you budget enough time to see everything.  This summer the Zoo is hosting Dinosaur Island – it was a HUGE hit with my son; this special exhibit runs through September 2nd.

expcols zoo dino

You get to take a short boat ride ($3) through the jungle that has 25 animatronic dinosaurs hidden around the route.

 

The touch pool inside the aquarium was really nice – you can get up close and personal with some chocolate chip star fish!

expcols touch tank

In addition to the normal zoo admission price, you can purchase a zoo-it-all wristband for $10 that allows you to ride the carousel, pet the stingrays at StingrayBay, and cruise the rides at Jungle Jack’s Landing.  MOM TIP #1:  you can also purchase tickets individually to these attractions, which might be cheaper if you’re not planning on doing everything offered with the zoo-it-all wristband.   The log ride at Jungle Jack’s Landing was the perfect ending to our zoo trip.

expcols log ride

There are several other amusement park rides at Jungle Jacks.  We were exhausted so we headed back to the hotel.  MOM TIP #2:  We made the mistake of leaving the park, not realizing that the log ride and other amusement rides (Jungle Jack’s Landing) were part of the Zoo – we thought they were part of the waterpark.  Turn right at the big globe water fountain to get there.

expcols zoo 1

 

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is right next door to the Zoombezi Bay Waterpark!  We didn’t have time to visit but it looks like a ton of fun. Parents will love that you can hit two attractions without moving the car.  Bring your sunscreen and towels and have double the fun at the waterpark.  Since we didn’t have time to use our tickets; we will be giving them away to one of our lucky readers!  See below for details.

 

The next day, since it was a very hot and humid day, we decided to see some indoor attractions, so we headed to the downtown Columbus area. The first stop was the Franklin Park Conservatory, I LOVED this place.

expcols franklin pond

Their current exhibit is called Blooms and Butterflies ($12).  The park was loaded with gorgeous plants and butterflies.  We went on a Sunday morning and there were only a few other people there.  Take your camera and see if you can get a picture of the Blue Morpho butterfly – I had no luck with this.   However, I did snap this little guy.

expcols franklin butterfly

In addition to the plants and butterflies, there was a Dale Chihuly Glass exhibit going on.  His pieces are so creative and colorful.

 

expcols chihiluly

On the way out of the Conservatory, we stopped by to watch a glass blowing demonstration by one of the artists – the finished pieces are sold in the gift shop.

 

We saved the better part of the afternoon for the COSI (Center of Science and Industry).  expcols cosi pendelumThis place is huge – 320,000 square feet of hands-on science!  Adult Admission starts at $17.95, kid’s age 2-12 start at $12.95, children under age 2 are free.  You pay extra for a few special exhibits or to attend a movie.  There is also a $5 fee for parking.

 

COSI is packed with fun and educational activities and exhibits. The various sections cover; energy, the Ocean, a high-wire unicycle, the human body, gadgets and technology, electrostatic generator show, and a weather stage.

explcols zipline

There are special exhibits scheduled for the summer, make sure to check their website for details. There is also an Extreme Screen Theatre that was showing Flight of the Butterflies and Titans of the Ice Age both in 3D.   We spent a lot of time in the Ocean section. My son was able to crawl into a submarine and also navitgate an underwater moving camera.

explcols cosi submarine

You could easily spend a day here. There is a restaurant on site.

 

There were a few other things we wanted to do but we ran out of time. We’ll have to hit them next time.  We wanted to visit GermanVillage, the Olentangy Indian Caverns and North Market.

 

If you’re looking for something different to do this summer, maybe it’s time to give Columbus a try.  If you decide to go, here is a great website to get you started:  https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/

 

One lucky Detroit Mommies reader will win a set of four complimentary tickets to the Zoobezi Bay Waterpark (which is right next door the Columbus Zoo).  The tickets expire September 2, 2013.  Please use the rafflecopter link below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

News Reporter
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
19 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Julie M.
Julie M.
7 years ago

We would love to take a trip to Columbus! We already wanted to go to the American Girl store 🙂

tracie
tracie
7 years ago

Never knew there was so much to do there. Looks like we will put it on our places to visit.

Emily m
Emily m
7 years ago

We woukd go to the zoo!

Stacy
7 years ago

I have always wanted to visit a COSI. I think we would start there.

Devon
Devon
7 years ago

We would definitely hit up the zoo.

Betty mahan
Betty mahan
7 years ago

We would go to Cosi, that is an incredible museum, best kids museum I’ve ever been to.

keri szawara
keri szawara
7 years ago

i would totally hit up the zoo with my kids!!!

Sadie B.
Sadie B.
7 years ago

We would head to COSI first and then the zoo.

Mindy S
Mindy S
7 years ago

I didn’t realize that there was so much to do in Columbus so I’m not considering making a trip there this summer. We would probably go to the zoo first, although I’m sure that my son would beg to go to the Lego store first. 😉

Alison
Alison
7 years ago

Hard choice but probably the waterpark

Phedre
Phedre
7 years ago

I would love to stop by Cosi first.

Lisa
7 years ago

Last year we went to the Columbus Zoo. It was the best Zoo I have ever been to. Amazing big cat shows. We were eyeing the waterpark, saying to ourselves next year we’ll have to try the waterpark- Zoombezi. My kids would love the waterpark!

Christopher Sorel
Christopher Sorel
7 years ago

love to go to zoo there

Sherry Lykins
Sherry Lykins
7 years ago

I would go to Cosi!

Nicole P
Nicole P
7 years ago

I was just researching this very trip!

Heather Hayes Panjon
Heather Hayes Panjon
7 years ago

Crew Stadium To See The Columbus Crew In Action!

Kevin Jones
Kevin Jones
7 years ago

Great review! I had no idea Columbus had this many family activities to offer.

Jennifer
Jennifer
7 years ago

We would love to visit North Market and Cosi. The aquarium would be a close second or third.

Adam
Adam
7 years ago

This looks awesome my son would love it!