The BIG Cbus Kids Fall List

Wow! My Summer list was shared over 2,000 times! I hope you got out there and tried something with your kids that was exciting.

Now, I am not ready to think about Fall at all. We know that Columbus stays pretty warm through September, but the pools close and apples are ready for picking!  I hope you find this list useful and enjoy some new adventures with your families.

Farmers markets (list courtesy of Experience Columbus)
The produce and the feel of the markets changes in September, but farmers markets are always a hit and a good way to source dinner for the night while supporting local growers and makers. Our favorite is Worthington, but it is also convenient to stop at the weekday afternoon markets, such as Dublin's.

Franklin Park Conservatory
(Downtown) I'll tell you what-- I am so pumped that we have a membership for this fall, because the calendar of events (linked above) looks amazing! Zoo visits, apple prints, pumpkin experiments, Trick or Treating, multiple Bugman visits, will we do anything else?! Also, there are many hands-on classes that involve cooking and art (you must register for those).  Don't forget, their cafe has delicious food and the lighting for pictures is perfect.

Metro Parks
The link above will take you to the Parkscope, listing their scheduled activities this fall. Darby Creek Day (10/4) sounds amazing for little nature-lovers! Many parks do butterfly programs in September when the monarchs hatch, I see Bison Day on 11/7, Pumpkin Harvesting on 10/24, campfires, dog hikes, and so much more. Of course, any day is the perfect day to go play, hike, and picnic on your own in our Metro Parks.

Stratford Ecological Center
(Delaware)  There are many opportunities this fall to go visit Stratford, including farm chores, story times, campfires, The Harvest Festival, and just visiting on your own for a self-guided tour. This is the best time of year to see the colorful farm and hike the easy trails!

Whetstone Park of Roses 
(Clintonville) Surprise! Roses peak again in September. The park is gorgeous through the fall months for family photos, and the playground and pond are a fun bonus.

Special Events, in order by date

Greek Festival 9/4-9/6
(Downtown)  I have never been, but have always wanted to go simply because the Cathedral is GORGEOUS!  During the festival, you can take a Cathedral tour, see live music and dancing, learn how to cook Greek food during cooking demonstrations, and visits many street vendors. There is a kids' area as well.

Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival  9/5-9/7
(Canal Winchester)  This festival has a kids parade, rides, festival food of course, and a focus on music performances. There is a car show and canal boat races during this 3-day event.

UA Labor Day Arts Festival 9/7
(Northam Park, UA) This is one of my family favorites, as the artisans are of the highest quality. You will see some beautiful items, and I suggest bringing a second adult who isn't interested so they can take the kids to the kids' area while you have time to browse the artist booths. For the kids, there are arts and crafts, demonstrations, hands-on areas, and food galore!

Great American Camp out  9/11
(Heritage Park)  This family overnight activity is a great introduction to camping in a non-intimidating setting. Bring all your camping gear for a night of s'mores, singalongs, and more! Registration is required.

Old Hilliardfest  9/12
(Hilliard)  My mom took the kids last year and they had a ball with their first festival. There is a children's area (with games, inflatables, arts and crafts) in addition to a car show, music, and food trucks. I am thinking the sunflower display would be great for photos!

Hotel Transylvania cupcake class at Smidge and Pinch  9/21
(Powell)  The ladies at Smidge and Pinch are so sweet and have such a good eye for party planning. While your kids take the cupcake class, you can plan their next birthday party or your own girls night while browsing their selection of party supplies.

Jack Hanna's Fall Fest  9/23
(Powell)  Meet Jack Hanna, watch the animals bob for apples, see Superman visit, and many more special activities and exhibits on this special day at the zoo.

Columbus Oktoberfest  9/25-27
(Ohio Expo Center, Fairgrounds)  Whether you are German or not, this is a great excuse to enjoy some of the best of Columbus' food scene all in one place (Schmidt's, Mozart's, Juergen's and DK Diner to name a few). Watch the stone throw, visit the merchant market, and check out the kids area (Kinderplatz). Did you know admission is free? (parking is not)

Stratford Ecological Center Harvest Fair  9/26
(Delaware)  I LOVE Stratford and visit there each Fall, but have never been to the Harvest Fair. This will actually be our first Little Adventures Await Family Meet-up!  We hope to meet up with you to see the animals, hike the trails, make cider, take wagon rides, and all sorts of other farm activities geared toward children.

Apple Butter Day  10/10
(Groveport)  Right now, there isn't current information available, but looking at previous years, it sounds like a unique way to spend the morning. There is a focus on heritage, with handmade crafters, blacksmithing demonstrations, and of course apple butter! Check back soon for more details on their fb page.

Upper Arlington Fall Fest  10/11
(Fancyburg Park, UA)  I miss walking to this free festival for families. We love the corn box area, there are inflatables, ride-on toys, face-painting, arts and crafts, and just running around in a safe grassy area to let off steam.  Also, a chili cook off and fantastic kettle corn. Insider tip: If you know someone in the neighborhood, park at their place and walk together...parking can be tricky!

Haunted Statehouse tours 10/16-17 and 10/23-24
(Downtown)  The description reads that the tour is appropriate for all ages, but I think that older kids would LOVE this! Be guided through the hallways by a lantern light as you learn about the Statehouse history through its halls and chambers. 

Easton Town Center Pet Parade and Fall Festival   10/18
(Easton) Dress up the pooch for a costume contest and parade. More details to be announced soon, but family activities including carriage rides are offered.

Circleville Pumpkin Show  10/21-24
(Circleville)  I have never made the drive down for the famous festival but have wanted to every year!  There are performers, demonstrations, a Little Miss Pumpkin pageant, and food GALORE.

Ohio Wildlife Center Howl-O-Ween Hike  10/30
(Powell)  Come see "creepy" animal friends like bats, owls, and snakes. Snacks, stories and crafts are all part of the event for this organization who does such good things for our wildlife. Costumes and flashlights are welcome!

Ongoing Farm Activities

Apple Picking at Lynd Fruit Farm  weekends in September/October

(Pataskala)  We love going here each year to get apples we use for many weeks. Pay attention to the picking schedule on the link and note that traffic to get to the orchards can be very heavy if you go on Honeycrisp weekend. We pick whatever varieties are available in the orchards and buy Honeycrisp in the market:)

Pumpkin Picking at Lynd Fruit Farm  weekends "Late September-October"

Corn Maze at Lynd Fruit Farm  weekends 9/4-11/1

Lynd Fruit Farm Pumpkinpalooza  9/19
(Pataskala)  This is a benefit for Nationwide Children's Hospital and includes wagon rides, barrel train, corn maze, bounce houses,

The MAiZE at Little Darby weekends 9/19-11/1
(Milford Center)  Check out the aerial shot of that maze-whoa! Little Darby boasts a 9-acre maze, petting zoo, inflatables, corn cannons, hayrides, laser tag, and too many other attractions to list. They also have fall home decor items and mums for sale.

Hidden Creek Farm Fall Festival  Saturdays/Sundays 9/19-10/25

(Galena)  We absolutely love this event every year!  The farm is easily accessed from 71 in Galena, and there is plenty of grass parking. For $6, activities include a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch, playground, farm animals, corn pit (my kids are obsessed), and a hay maze. They have a delicious BBQ food truck that comes as well as their own market for specialty food items.

Leeds Farm    Saturday/Sunday 9/19-10/31
(Ostrander)  Come to feed the animals, pick out a pumpkin, examine exotic pumpkins, enjoy a barrel train and inflatables. This sounds like an active place, with a zipline and hayride!  Leeds has plenty of lunch options and features pies, kettle corn, and baked goods.

Kuhlwein's Saturday/Sunday 9/28-10/31
(Hilliard)  This farm also has a deli, so you will be set for lunch on your day of fall fun. Kuhlwein's Fall Fest includes hayrides to a corn maze, pumpkin picking, a petting zoo, bounce castle and crafts.  

Fall Field Days at Jacquemin Farms   Daily in October
(Plain City)  We have been to the farm for strawberry picking, and love its convenience right outside of Dublin. There is a pumpkin patch, hay rides, a market, inflatables, grain boxes, and even raspberry picking!

Fall Fun Days at Circle S Farm Daily in October
(Canal Winchester) If you grew up in Columbus, you went to Circle S. And it was awesome. Come relive those days with the big slide, goats, hayrides, the pumpkin patch, and fall decor items. Stop in the bakery for treats to take home.

Trick or Treating Events

I am all about the traditional neighborhood trick or treating. However, nothing is worse than having it rained out all 4 years of your child's life. So...I like to get in an indoor or non-traditional session to make sure we get good use of that "high quality" costume we wanted so badly.

Creepy Crawly Halloween Party  10/15
(Worthington Community Center)

Spooktacular at Dublin Rec Center  10/15




(Grove City)

Spooktacular at The Depot  (date TBA)
(Upper Arlington)

Dublin for Kids

Downtown Historic Dublin is one of my favorite places in Columbus. I am so lucky to work in the area and love that it has maintained its charm and quality tenants while the rest of the city is growing up around it. I will focus mostly on activities close to High Street, as the city of Dublin is a pretty huge area to cover.  Dublin is the perfect place to meet friends for lunch and go play afterwards!

I partnered with the City of Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau, whose staff was so welcoming and excited to tell us all about their city. Check out their beautiful office and their wall FULL of visitor information. Like all of my neighborhood guides, they are a work in progress and I will add to them as I visit new places with the kids. Please reach out if you have a favorite Dublin place to be added!

Where to eat:

Barry Bagels
5760 Frantz Rd, Dublin, OH 43016
(614) 798-8293

There is so much more to Barry's than just bagels!  My kids are not crazy about bagels YET simply because they are a little difficult to eat. But I scarfed a delicious breakfast bagel (on the softest everything bagel ever, with a freshly scrambled egg) and they gave the chocolate chip and the vanilla cinnamon a try. We will have to go back to try their salads and incredible-looking cookies. What a great addition to the casual breakfast/lunch lineup in the Frantz road area. PS- they deliver and their website is very user-friendly! I noted both high chairs and changing tables.

Vitality Fresh Juice
22 South High Street, Dublin, OH 43017
(614) 636-1174

This area of town has been in desperate need of a fresh juice bar and it has arrived!  Vitality JUST opened in their adorable and clean location right in Old Dublin, and we stopped in to try it out. On a hot day, doesn't strawberry and pineapple sound awesome? Brian let us sample a few juices and I went with the "Crazy Monkey" (banana, coffee, peanut butter, chocolate...there's a fruit in there, right?)  I am PUMPED that they will soon be serving acai bowls and expanding their menu. This is a popular spot for the older kids to walk and get their drink fix without caffeine AND with their daily fruit servings. Old Dublin has inviting seating areas around every corner, so grab a juice or smoothie and have a seat next to the stone fences and historic buildings (there is no seating inside Vitality).

Dublin Village Tavern
27 S High St, Dublin, OH 43017
(614) 766-6250

When I was expecting both of my kids, I stopped in the DVT for their chicken salad and fries ALL the time. They have taken it off the menu (the horror!), but their sandwiches and fries are all still delicious lunch time favorites. The patio has umbrellas and a pleasant view, and we always experience friendly service. If you want to stop for lunch with the kids in Old Dublin, this is my recommendation for kid-friendly food and the convenience of not getting back in the car and driving.

Bad Frog Frozen Yogurt
15 N High St, Dublin, OH 43017
(614) 389-4035

After lunch, hit up Bad Frog for their big bowls of frozen yogurt and a million toppings. We always like watching the slideshow of neighborhood kids and sitting on the comfy couches. I love frozen yogurt places like this because everyone gets what they want and they feel like they have choices. Personally, I am a Nutella/cookie dough/mini chocolate chip fan. There is a nice courtyard out back that is totally shaded during certain times of day. And out front, the fountains and fairy garden are fun when it isn't too hot outside. This is also your best bet for a bathroom break in a kid-friendly, clean restroom.

Our Cupcakery
16 N High St, Dublin, OH 43017
(614) 659-1555

This might be my favorite little building in Dublin, with its stone outside and cozy hardwood interior. This bakery has a few areas; the cupcake cafe where we select and decorate one of the MANY choices, a nice seating area, a classroom (wouldn't that be a fun class to take!?) and a party area. I can't wait until Larkyn is old enough to have her birthday party here. So, take a look at the giant chalkboard with all the options. You can have them filled and iced any way you like...all cupcakes are made to order. I love the presentation in the little glass domes and have taken an embarrassing amount of pictures of those. Another option is to decorate your own cupcake, which of course, any 4 year old is ALL OVER. We took her skittle covered, high heel bedazzled creation outside to eat under the umbrella out front. I always like their icing to cake ratio and especially like their grab and go chocolate cupcake with white buttercream.

Jason's Deli
225 West Bridge Street, Dublin, OH
(614) 336-3853

My co-workers and I are BIG Jason's fans. The food is absolutely consistent every time we go, the service is fast, and we can be in and out of there in time to get back. This makes it perfect for kids. Mine have enjoyed the broccoli soup, grilled cheese, and hot dogs. On this particular visit, they were on their "not best" behavior, so we took our lunch to go. If you call your order in, you can skip the line and easily pick up and go. The salad bar is expansive and creative, and it seems to be a popular choice. My favorites, in case you need to know, are the taco salad, chicken salad sandwich, and chicken pasta primo. Their kid's menu is thoughtful and also award-winning, and who doesn't love free ice cream at the end of every meal?

Tuula's Cafe
3856 Hard Road, Dublin, OH 43016
(614) 932-3083

Tuula's is toward the Sawmill area of Dublin (in the plaza with Kroger Marketplace and Tim Horton's), and is worth the stop if you are headed to the zoo or to Emerald Fields Park. Tuula and her staff are friendly and have quality breakfast and brunch items (and dessert) that aren't a dime a dozen. There are quiches, European pastries, soups, and a full coffee menu. I felt like my messy, Reese's brownie-eating kids were very welcome, but the crowd inside looked so relaxed and happy that I took mine outside to the shaded patio. I think this is the perfect place to meet grandma for treats!

Wendy's Flagship store
Wendy's is Wendy's, right?  Not really. I know firsthand that the Wendy's that sits across the street from the corporate headquarters has their act together and will go out of their way to make sure you are happy. We don't ever get out of the car to eat at fast food restaurants, but we will at this location. The patio is carefully landscaped, the kids got a kick out of the Dave Thomas statue, and we watched construction vehicles the whole time. The staff even brought a high chair outside for us (you will always find us outside if it is an option).

The Morgan House
5300 Glick Rd, Dublin, OH 43017
(614) 889-0037

The Morgan house is both a restaurant and an enormous gift shop. I could look around the rooms of the shop all day! It is not stroller friendly because there are many steps, but fun for the older kids to browse the gift selection. There is everything from Melissa and Doug toys to Ohio State gifts, to high quality jewelry and furniture.

We ate lunch with my mom, and I thought it was nice that we could still browse the store while listening for our name to be called. We ordered chicken and tuna salad baskets and those were both great. Matt liked his turkey reuben as well. They have a small kids menu, and Larkyn enjoyed her little pizza and fruit. We all LOVED the teeny muffins served before the meal, and I'd love to take a box of those home next time. If you have out of town guests who love shopping make this a destination shopping/lunch trip in Shawnee Hills.

There are so many restaurants in Old Dublin, many of them a little more appropriate for date night or a nice lunch with girlfriends (and leave the kids with a sitter:)  Oscar's is one of my favorite restaurants in Columbus, and J. Liu has an outstanding Sunday Brunch!

Where to play/shop:

75 S High St, Dublin, OH 43017(614) 760-0047

Are you Irish?  If you are, here is your spot to buy clothes and home decor to represent your heritage. If you aren't, you will still find unique and high quality items and gifts in here. My favorite part was actually the owners! They are welcoming and informative, and very kid-friendly. Stop in to buy a sweet little onesie, pretty wool sweater, or gorgeous piece of china. Their wedding gift selection is impressive, and the owners are so helpful in their Dublin suggestions and pride. PS- they also organize group trips to Ireland, if you plan to go one day!

(Woerner Temple Road)

To my knowledge, this was the first splash park in Columbus, and it is a blast!  The dancing bunny statue is of course, perfect for photos and lends itself to the playful feel of the park. You have to drive past the park to get to the parking, and there are restrooms near the parking lot. I recommend getting there right when it opens so that you can claim a table (with an umbrella). The grassy area can get muddy. The kids had so much fun playing in the various fountains; some are small and gentle, and some are powerful waterfalls. The kids had so much fun and it was easy to watch them from the table that was nice and close. The only thing that made me so nervous was the children walking above the waterfalls...please don't let your kids go up there!  I'd love to see a barrier of some sort to avoid any accidents.

(Riverside Drive)

If you grew up in this area and ever had a snow day, this is where you went to go sledding, right?  The iconic Leatherlips statue is still there, now with a really nice looking stage and clean area for the Sundays at Scioto concert series. Down the hill, there are 3 picnic shelters right on the river. We actually just used one for our high school reunion and it worked out great. One is next to the large playground with three structures and all kinds of swings. Your more adventurous kids might wander to the river, so be ready to hold hands and to spot wildlife like Blue Herons and lots of geese!  My kids loved the little bridge over the creek, and we brought our Jason's carryout for a picnic that worked out just fine. 

Monterey Park
(Monterey Drive)

Right behind the hustle and bustle of 161 is one of my very favorite playgrounds. Monterey is surrounded my hills, trees, and even the tiniest of creeks when there is some rain. There is a large and a small structure, swings, basketball and tennis courts. To my knowledge, there are no restrooms. This park is easily accessible from Old Dublin by taking Waterford Drive to Monterey Drive, and parking is a dedicated lot right in front. 

This is a very new, very AWESOME playground behind the Kroger Marketplace on Sawmill road. There are large picnic shelters for parties and shade, several innovative structures, and enough to keep the kids busy for over an hour. Most notably, much of the park is dedicated to children with special needs and adaptive equipment. This makes is great for any kid, especially those with special needs or very young children. Please watch the linked video, which is much more informative than any photos I have.

(Hayden Run Road)

Another childhood favorite, Hayden Falls (at Griggs Nature Preserve) has become much safer now that the city of Columbus has provided steps and a walkway to see the falls. We went after about a month of rain in July and the falls were STRONG!  It is a peaceful walk down there and perfect for pictures in the shade. I'd love to see some seating down there to hang out for a bit, but it is worth seeing (maybe after a trip to nearby Barry Bagels?)

(behind Dublin Library)

I have been down here without kids, and will wait a while before I take them down. The trail is not stroller friendly and the ravine is pretty steep, but your older children will love the walk. You are rewarded at the bottom with the falls and the Indian Run watershed. This is accessed from the Dublin Library parking lot, and you can stop by the Grounds of Remembrance on your way. 

75 North High Street, Dublin, OH 43017

Speaking of the library, let's hear it for the friendliest library staff in Cbus!  The Dublin staff is all about kids, and they have a packed schedule for your little ones. Even if you don't make it in for a story time (they are very popular), their children's area is fabulous. It is inviting, bustling, and full of little tables and books on display to motivate little readers. We happened to stop in as our friend The Turtle Lady was packing up!

6175 Shamrock Court, Dublin, OH 43016
(614) 407-3474

Goldfish is a little further out than other places I have mentioned, but if you have a reluctant or inexperienced swimmer, I very much recommend it. We took a Jumpstart Clinic last summer and Larkyn went from shrieking on the side of the pool to putting her face in and swimming (with help) across the pool in a week. The pool is specially designed for young children, is heated, and not laden with heavy chlorine. They are organized, their facility is adorable, and the instructors are nothing short of miracle-workers. They love kids and will use specialized equipment to make each child comfortable. 

Dublin Irish Festival
(first week of August every year)

I linked to our trip this year for a full write-up on a FUN night!

Dublin residents are so lucky to have an amazing Rec Center. I have taken tennis lessons as a non-resident and know many families who enroll in their programs as non-residents. Check out their listings for classes and a fabulous indoor pool!

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