Last year, my family had the opportunity to visit Columbus with three other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families. We had such a good time that I reached out to Experience Columbus to see if we could come back for a repeat visit. They agreed and have sponsored this post below. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.
If I had a dollar for every time Arianna and Evan asked if we could go back to Columbus in the past 12-ish months, I’d be a very wealthy woman. It’s safe to say that they loved our trip out there last summer. But now? They are older and have two ‘lil sisters so they wanted to do it all again and see how different things were in 2015.
We stayed at the Drury Inn Convention Center again, because, well…
- Nightly Kickback was dinner…and relaxation for Mommy and Daddy. We scheduled our days to save money and make it back for this each night.
- Breakfast…we’ve stayed in a few hotels this past year, but the offering at Drury’s buffet beat any of them by far.
- Comfort…we stayed in a suite to accommodate the six of us. There was plenty of space and two TVs that allowed the big kids to fall asleep to the Disney Channel while we watched sports. We also had space to have family game night every night we stayed!
- Customer Service…because we went during the week, the hotel was pretty empty. We feel like the staff became our friends during our stay – but noticed they were that awesome with everyone who walked through the door. (We did have one small issue with kids at the pool at the end of our stay, but the staff handled everything with class.)
After a night of getting settled in, we headed to COSI (Columbus’ Center of Science and Industry).
We started our day in the area specifically for ‘lil kids because it’s Arianna’s last year to go in it (2nd grade and up have other areas to explore) and I needed to feed the girls. Greg focused on water play and imaginative stations while I parked it in the Mother’s Room and still got to talk some science to the ‘lil ladies.
After I was done, the girls even got a chance to do some water play in a station specially designed for ‘lil ones.
The big kids definitely got a lot more out of COSI this trip. So much more that I wish we’d had two days to explore. The rest of the day was spent in the other levels of the center, including several learning carts and the body then Ocean exhibit.
Our second full day was spent at the Columbus Zoo. It was a hot day, but we covered pretty much all of the zoo (leaving a few things because we knew we had part of a second day with our Zoombezi Bay passes). I’m telling you, we love our Pittsburgh Zoo, but the Columbus Zoo is so much fun that it’s really hard knowing it’s 3 and a half hours away.
I Periscoped about the Manatees because these giants are so awesome…and the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Program is really incredible, too. The ‘lil guy is Cadbury, an orphaned manatee who has been accepted by Stubby.
The big kids got to do some paid extras (we definitely recommend bringing some extra cash (or card) to do these) when they fed a giraffe and rode a camel.
And of course, we enjoyed our favorite animals all throughout the zoo.
We had to cut the day short because of an oncoming storm (and in the process lost Isla’s “Key-Key” pacifier), but knew we’d be back the next day.
Our last day in Columbus was mostly spent poolside; however, we did have a few regions to get to in the early morning before Zoombezi Bay opened. The tickets (thankfully) also include zoo passes, so we headed over to the aviary and then to see the gorillas and had an entertaining time with them “fighting” in the exhibit.
I took a moment to find a quiet spot to feed the girls and let the kids play off some “anxious about the waterpark” energy.
Next up was Zoombezi Bay. The ‘lil girls didn’t love it (the water was cool on the last weekend the park was open), but I didn’t mind. I’d somehow gotten poison ivy, so was content sitting under the big umbrella and watching the fun from afar. The big kids did the little slide and then a bigger slide and we ended our day with a few rounds of the lazy river.
Oh, and I’m not sure a trip to Columbus can be complete without a stop at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream!
Thank you, Experience Columbus, for helping us relax the week before Arianna went back to school and enjoy our favorites in your awesome city! This trip got 12 thumbs up.