Visit to the Columbus Museum of Art

I have a bit of a rowdy crowd on my hands. Playground and farm-type kids. But they surprise me every day with their curiosity and interests. So, I thought we would try something totally different today, given that the weather was pretty dreary and that EVERYONE has been talking about our newly-renovated Columbus Museum of Art.

Parking was much easier than I expected, and free. We got a little taste of the Museum with these pretty sculptures outside.

Inside, we waited in a short line to buy tickets ($14 for me, kids under 5 are free). If you have a Franklin Park or Ohio History Connection membership, you can use it at CMoA for a BOGO ticket deal. And off we went!

The new wing does not allow photos in most areas, but I wish I could show you the art inside. Larkyn was very curious about most of it and asked good questions about the materials and "What is that?" quite often. I was thankful for the markings on the floor to show her how close she could get. The lobby areas seemed to be a hit (?) and they loved looking at the city from the tall windows.

 Shoes on him last about 4 minutes.

Onward to the other half of the museum, which allowed more pictures. Our favorite area was the Glass exhibit.

I always like spending a few minutes in the courtyard with the Chihuly glass and the amazing light, but someone had to go potty. It happens. So, no photos there. Luckily, the bathrooms are a short elevator ride down to the lower level and are very nice. I suggest the Family restroom. There are changing tables, and also a family time room where you can nurse or just have some quiet time.

Next, we went to the best part: the Wonder Room.  This area reminded me of a forest and was staffed with kind, child-friendly employees who interacted with the kids and answered questions. At this point, a huge school group came in, and I watched for a while. They never got bored...they were engaged with the open-ended activities for the longest time. Impressive! My kids loved the tree house (pillows upstairs) and the building materials. There was also a dress-up area with costume pieces that are, again, open-ended.

I liked this table the best because I didn't have to worry about the kids falling off high stools. And Larkyn spent the entire time in the tree house, so I got lots of time with this little builder.

In the hallways surrounding the Wonder Room, there were several materials out for our use. It was funny to see adults playing with the same materials, having just as much fun as the kids. You could make your own comic book, add a piece to the Gingerbread house, play with Kinetic sand, and build with wooden pieces.

Have you heard the term Makerspace? It is big right now in the education world and in the art community as a whole. Put simply, giving people (not just kids) an area and the materials and letting them direct their own learning and product is the best practice. I can see that the new features to the CMoA are very Makerspace-ish.

At the end of our visit, I thought we could try out the new restaurant for lunch. Everything had gone so well.  The Schokko Art Cafe was so welcoming and bright. I was happy to see everything from Grab and Go items to delicious looking salmon and pastas. We grabbed several snack items and ordered a PB and J and soft pretzel. While waiting for our food, every disaster that could happen, did.  Between a head smash to the table and the screams that followed and two consecutive potty trips, I asked for a box and we were out of there.

For the few moments that I did get to enjoy in the cafe, it was gorgeous and my food was good. There wasn't really a great spot for the stroller and I didn't see high chairs...thus the head smash trying to reach the table from the stroller. If you have little ones, I'd suggest skipping a sit-down meal and maybe just getting a bakery item to go. Although their desserts sound amazing! Check out the menu here.

When the weather turns freezing, we plan to go back again and head straight to the Wonder Room. What do you think of the beautiful, new museum?

Our Cbus Family Favorites

While we attempt to try something new each weekend, we definitely have our favorite spots in Columbus. I thought we'd give a quick list of answers to our most commonly asked questions, based on service/friendliness/quality/convenience. This list was a collaboration between myself, my decisive 4.5 year old, and my 20 month old (who answers "daddy" and "beep beep" to all questions asked)...

Breakfast: Beechwold Diner (Clintonville)
cinnamon rolls and breakfast potatoes, quick service

Lunch: Hot Chicken Takeover (North Market)
Chicken for me, double mac for them

Dinner: City BBQ (Upper Arlington)
Demolished, every time. Even better if delivered by Skip the Dishes!

Pizza: Donatos
Oh hi, Hawaiian pizza the kids won't touch and a personal cheese for them.

Farmer's Market: Worthington (favorite vendor is Bak!)
Produce galore and adorable shops along the way. PS, the pecan rolls. Amazing.

Donuts: Destination Donuts (North Market)
About that chocolate ganache...does it come in a vat?

Cupcakes: Our Cupcakery (Dublin) and Kittie's (German Village)
Kids love the cupcake bar with ridiculous toppings, I love the bite-sized Kittie cakes with flavors I dream about. I'm not kidding. Ann, you know I'm not kidding.  

Cookies: Kittie's face cookies (German Village)
Ummm, they're literally the size of my child's head. She concurs. 

Ice Cream: Graeter's (Old Worthington)
I've always loved the view and the chocolate chunks as big as my thumb. We have issues.

Cinnamon Roll (yes, it IS a category): Fox in the Snow
Larkyn is a cinnamon roll connoisseur. If it isn't fab, she's not eating it. She's a clean-plater at Fox!

Park: Whetstone (Clintonville) and Goodale (Victorian Village)
There are so many to love. These happen to be the closest to us or the areas most often visited, and therefore they win. The ponds/bridge/fountain don't hurt for beautiful photo backdrops.

Playground: Fancyburg (Upper Arlington)
Handicap accessible= ramps for the littlest walkers!

Walking trip: German Village
Even with the "gorgeous" brick roads and "charming sidewalks" (aka: stroller-eaters), we love to walk around the area that has everything.

Indoor activities: Saturday morning activities at Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus Main Library
Somehow, the FPC never gets old, especially with the different activities from 11-2 every Saturday. And we love to see the trains at the library each winter!

Outdoor activities: Fountainside at The Scioto Mile (downtown)
So. Much. Fun.

Library: Old Dublin
Attend a story time with Miss Val or Miss Loren and then go see the rest of walkable, food-centric Old Dublin (or the Indian Run Falls behind the library)

Pumpkin Patch: Hidden Creek (Galena)
Just the best of all worlds: an actual pumpkin patch with a wagon ride, far animals, a market, and playground. Oh AND a delicious food truck. 

Farm:  Stratford Ecological Center (Delaware)
Get up close with the animals, take a walk to the pond, through the prairie, or into the woods.

Play Cafe: Treehive (formerly Lattes and Lollipops) and Firefly 
Larkyn has grown up going to Lattes and Lollipops, and I have been able to catch up with many friends by letting the kids play in the other room. Firefly is so nice and close now!

Toy/Gift store: Learning Express (Worthington Mall), Wholly Craft (Clintonville), Morgan House (Dublin)

Clothing/shoes: To be totally honest, Target and Zappos all the way! We have major shoe-fitting meltdowns and it's just soon easy to pick up leggings along with the sour cream, right?  I also do huge hauls at Once Upon a Time in Dublin and Trader Tots in Grandview. Secret: I often get lucky at the Von Maur (Polaris) clearance rack for shoes.

Local Celeb: Nancy Lockard (The Turtle Lady)
We always seem to be in the same place as Nancy and her reptile babies. We love her!

Grocery Store: Giant Eagle Market District (Kingsdale)
Ugh. We still miss everything about you. Please open a new one on High Street. 

Festival: Columbus Independents Day Fest (Franklinton)
This was the surprise of the fall! Hassle-free parking, amazing food options (Hiiiii, Tortilla and Rime Time!), fun kids' activities, and tons of crafters.

To feel fancy: Mozart's Bakery and Piano bar (Clintonville)
It just feels fancy, but is full of kind and understanding staff who roll with it when your child fist pumps when she walks through the door. 

Place to splurge: Smidge and Pinch (Powell), Helen Winnemore (German Village), Lily Limes (Worthington Mall)
When it is birthday party season, all bets are off with Smidge and Pinch. We love the play room upstairs at Helen and we pick up and admire pretty much everything at Lily Limes!

Let's remember that this is the list of family favorites. If it was just for me, the list would look quite different. It would be made up of Fox in the Snow, Hubbard Grille, The Pearl, Lennonheads, The Jones Market, Lululemon, and Clothe Ohio (aka: mules, lattes, jewelry and leggings. The basics)

Train time at The Depot!

Rhys is a man of few words, but one of them happens to be "choo choo!" and it is adorable. So any chance we get to show him some trains, we take it. It was a beautiful (BRIGHT!) day and The Depot was hosting their free trick or treat event, Spooktacular, so we thought we'd give it a try.

Only a few miles away from our house, and tucked behind a few restaurants on Old Henderson road is The Depot Event Center. It is literally a train depot from the 1880's that was moved from its original location in Brice, Ohio and brought to Upper Arlington in 2003. 

The Depot is made up of a few different parts, all settled around a miniature 1/3 scale railroad track with an actual train you can ride. Larkyn was not a fan of the loud whistle, so she passed on the train ride, but my little man would have ridden it all day long. Because I had to hold onto my child, I didn't take pictures while I was riding (priorities, people!), but this shows the scale of the train. 

Car 100 is the fancy executive car that belonged to Ringling Bros. Circus. As we walked through there, I kept imagining scenes from Water for Elephants!  There is a little kitchen, bedrooms, and a beautiful dining area. The boys just wanted to look out the window at the bouncy house...

From here, we had our own tour guide (Bill) through the dining car and conference center. I wondered why he was so excited about showing us the dining car. Then he opened the door. The pictures do not do it justice. It is a sight, and it breaks my heart that my dad missed seeing this by 3 months. We totally would have had his last birthday here, and I actually did begin to plan it for this venue. Anyway, Dan told us all about the original car having Pinto skin upholstery and Native American tilework. Don't even get me started on the bar. So cool.

The unique feature to this car (or any train car) is that is seamlessly attached to the conference center. The word "conference center" makes me think of fluorescent lights and generic 6 foot tables, which is not the case. I was impressed by the beautiful wood and how comfortable it all felt. They had the Charlie Brown Pumpkin movie and coloring sheets out for the kids. It was a good place to stop for a restroom break. I noticed a nice kitchen in the back as well, separate from the conference room. 

 crayons...a favorite snack

For Spooktacular, they had local vendors handing out candy, a bouncy house (always a hit in our family), holiday decorations everywhere, and s'mores.  There is some greenspace and a nice patio with a locomotive (PS- that little green car in front of the locomotive is a grill!) We experienced all of these and then headed to the last car, the caboose. 

 "choo choo!" he says in the tiniest voice every time it goes by

I had no idea there was so much to know about a caboose.  They had the lights off and made it "creepy" inside, so please look at the linked photos to see it for yourself. What a beautiful backdrop for family photos!

The Depot would be the perfect birthday party venue, but also a fun bachelor party, a change of scenery for a business meeting, and I see a few baby showers on the event calendar as well. As I mentioned, if you have a special grandpa or older man in your life, they would especially love it.  There are several packages available, and some even include catering.
Call for tour times and tour availability. The cost is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for kids 4-13 and 3 and under are free. A train ride is included in the tour of weather permits.

I was most impressed with the authenticity and cleanliness, where it could easily turn tacky.  We hope to go back soon!

The Depot Event Center
921 Old Henderson Road 
Columbus, Ohio 43220
(614) 324-5945
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...