The Columbus Foundation is celebrating 75 years of helping to better our community as a philanthropic advisor for giving. The grants they help create with the donors support a range of nonprofits, initiatives, and other programs.
As a thank you for these 75 years, they have partnered with some great Columbus institutions for The Big Explore on Saturday, December 29, 2018. Everyone can take advantage of free bus rides on COTA (if you choose) and free admission to some of Columbus’ most renowned cultural institutions. Participating locations include Columbus Museum of Art, COSI, Franklin Park Conservatory, the new National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Ohio History Center, The Pizzuti Collection, and Wexner Center for the Arts. Plus you can enjoy a super cheap treat at Jeni’s scoops shop!
At COSI, you will have the opportunity to explore all of the classic exhibition areas including the new American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery and featured temporary experiences Hot Wheels: Race to Win and The Power of Poison plus other popular features like COSI’s giant screen theater, planetarium, highwire unicycle and live shows. Guests visiting COSI should allow time to check-in at COSI’s Box Office before beginning to explore the exhibits. Advanced reservations are not required. Note: COSI’s motion simulator will be available for $5 per person per ride. Parking in the garage is $5 per car. Open from 10 am – 7 pm.
Columbus Museum of Art will be open from 10 am – 5 pm for free as part of “The Big Explore” Explore all of CMA’s exhibitions including the annual celebration of the creative potential of LEGO® bricks, Think Outside the Brick, our nationally acclaimed special exhibition I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100, and new brunch menu in our Schokko Café. Families don’t want to miss the Wonder Room, Big Idea Gallery, and The JPMorgan Chase Center for Creativity. If you can’t make it on Saturday, CMA also offers free admission on Sundays!
The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is open from 10 am – 5 pm, featuring the experiences of veterans, past and present. This brand new museum is located near COSI, so make sure you stop by and check out while you’re in the area.
Head to Franklin Park Conservatory from 10 am – 9 pm to explore the beautiful exhibits, check out the Children’s Garden, and see the amazing lights display for Conservatory Aglow!
Visit the Ohio History Center from 10 am – 5 pm. You can explore all Ohio History Center exhibit areas including a fully reconstructed pre-fab Lustron home and the art exhibit Black Heritage through Visual Rhythms. Parking is free.
The Wexner Center for the Arts on the campus of The Ohio State University will be open from 11 am – 8 pm, where you can explore the gallery and exhibits.
The Pizzuti Collection is located near Goodale Park in the Short North and features a range of exhibitions drawn from a collection of paintings, sculpture, film, photography, drawings, and prints. They are open from 10 am – 5 pm. If you can’t make it there on Saturday, they are hosting a free Family Day on Sunday, December 30 with art-inspired crafts and Gallery Journeys.
Need a treat while you’re exploring our city? Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has joined the celebration by offering $.75 scoops of ice cream at all of their Columbus shops that day.
Free admission is available at all participating locations during their regular business hours. Free COTA rides will be available from 5 a.m. on December 29 until 1 a.m. on December 30. This interactive map by COTA can help you plan your day: https://www.cota.com/bigexplore/. The Transit app (available in the App Store) has real-time bus information and special features showing Big Explore venues.
You do not have to ride the COTA to enjoy free admission to the attractions. No tickets or reservations are required for admission at the attractions, and they are open to all.
This is such an amazing chance to experience some of the best attractions in Columbus! Find out more here!
If your Saturday is busy with holiday plans, there are other days throughout the year to enjoy reduced or free admission at some of these great museums. Check out our list of Discounted and Free Museum Days in Columbus.