Fun Filled Weekend Getaway in Columbus, Ohio – PlusZoombezi Bay Waterpark Ticket Giveaway!!
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 Easton — which is located in northeast Columbus.
The rooms were great with comfy beds and super friendly service.
Room prices start at $159 per night.
My son’s favorite thing about the hotel, of course, was the large swimming pool. The hot tub was a hit with my niece.
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).
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.
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.
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.
The flavor combinations are so unique and yummy!
We spent most of Saturday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
The Zoo was only about a 20 minute drive from the hotel and easy to find.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to the plants and butterflies, there was a Dale Chihuly Glass exhibit going on. His pieces are so creative and colorful.
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). This 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.
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.
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.