Maybe you aren’t heading to a warm beach for Spring Break this year, but there’s no reason you can’t have lots of fun around Columbus! With Easter falling in mid-April this year, Spring Break in Columbus ranges from mid-March to mid-April at schools around the area. Take short (less expensive) trip, or stay in town and enjoy one of many events going on during Spring Break.
We have plenty of options, including ways to enjoy the (hopefully) warmer weather, free indoor play areas (for the inevitable rain), some culture, cheap eats, fun outings, day trips, and so much more!
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Featured events for Spring Break in Columbus
(Scroll down for a FULL calendar of fun)
PBJ and Jazz Concert Series at Lincoln Theatre: Saturday, March 21: PBJ & Jazz with Waves de Ache. PBJ and Jazz concerts are 1 hour long interactive and casual concerts intended to introduce young children and their families to jazz and American music and feature some of Columbus’ finest musicians and ensembles. Kids can dance, sing, and may have a chance to interact with the performers and their instruments. The cost is $5 per person, with a $20 max per family. Children receive a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, juice, and a cookie.
Reduced admission at COSI for Family Friday Nights: March 27 from 5-9 pm.
Hoot Family Film Series is the last Saturday of each month at Gateway Film Center. The theme for March 28 is Farm!
Pictures with the Easter Bunny, Pony Rides & Petting Zoo: April 4-5 at Madison County Fairgrounds with Horse-n-Round Fun. Bring your camera’s and join us for pictures with the Easter Bunny & ponies in a heated indoor arena! Enjoy the petting zoo and hand led pony rides. All ages welcome including infants, teens & adults! Infants just require a parent walking aside them while being led around.
Eggs Paws & Claws at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: April 10-11. Meet lots of famous bunnies, see the diving Aqua Bunny, treat stations, animal encounters, animal egg hunt, and photos with Easter Bunny (for a fee).
Hilliard Kidsfest and Easter Fun at the Franklin County Fairgrounds: April 20 from 9 am-1pm Fun run and 5K Bunny Hop, Egg and Candy Hunt, Sleeping Beauty and the Bunny Pancake Breakfast, kids activities, and more.
Get outside for some fresh air!
Columbus Metro Parks offer programming year round for all ages, with 19 natural area parks with more than 200 miles of trails. Pick a new one each day and explore! In addition to hikes and outdoor exploration, they offer indoor activities, and most offer open play activities (and a chance to warm up) in the nature centers.
Check out the best playgrounds around the city (via Columbus Parent)
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a great way to spend an entire day. No matter the weather, there are plenty of indoor exhibits to tuck into, and some of the animals are more active in the cooler weather.
The Irish Fairy Doors of Dublin Trail: Pick up your Trail Guide at the Irish Fairy Garden in the Dublin Visitor & Information Center (9 South High Street) and follow the path on your trail guide through Historic Dublin to 8 different businesses to find tiny magical fairy doors. Find the name of each resident fairy, fill in your passport and return your completed passport to the Visitor’s Center for a FREE Fairy Doors of Dublin t-shirt.
Short North Arts District Art Trail: Enjoying arts and culture in the Short North Arts District is easy and rewarding with the Short North Arts District Art Trail. Follow the trail and gain access to a series of exciting offers and deals from businesses in the Short North area! From iconic permanent murals to colorful Short North Arches and the Six in the Short North temporary mural series, the streets in the District are filled with enlightening and oft-unexpected works of art. Pricing: Free; access the trail app at arttrail.shortnorth.org.
Columbus Taco Trail: Tacos are cheap enough to grab a few different kinds at multiple places without spending to much! No matter what kind of taco you prefer, you’ll probably find it on the Columbus Taco Trail.
Olentangy Indian Caverns open on April 1 for the season! This place is awesome, even if you don’t plan to tour the caverns (the actual caverns have lots of stairs and tight spots, so it’s not as accommodating with babies or young toddlers). There are outdoor play structures and lawn games, gem mining, treasure hunt maze, and the highlight for my kids is the huge animal encounters area (just $4 per person). They loved feeding the friendly animals and frolicking with them in the “petting zoo”.
Museums and more (learning can be FUN!)
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State has exhibits and programming that comic book and cartoon fans will love, and walking around campus is a fun way to spend a hour or two.
Wexner Center for the Arts offers FREE admission for exhibitions for everyone on Thursdays from 4 -8 p.m., as well as on the first Sunday of every month.
Libraries: Many libraries are holding special Spring Break activities, like Spring Break Movies and more. Check you local branch, or check the Columbus Metropolitan Libraries, Southwest Libraries, Worthington Libraries, Grandview Heights Public Library, Upper Arlington Public Library, Delaware County District Library, Marysville Public Library, Bexley Public Library, or your closest library.
See if any shows are available at The Ohio State University Planetarium. The schedule for upcoming shows is usually released the week prior.
Get reduced admission on the last Friday evening of the month (March 27, April 24) at COSI Family Friday Night.
Cheap eats in Columbus
Kids Eat Free each day of the week at various restaurants (verify details before you go, as promotions can change)
Find other dining freebies and deals in Columbus here.
Hit up a happy hour! Kids shouldn’t have all of the fun on Spring Break! Take some time for yourself.
Milk & Cookie Happy Hour at Sassafras Bakery in Worthington: Weekdays from 3-5pm, get a free glass of milk or cup of coffee with purchase of a cookie.
Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt shops. Too many to name, but there’s probably one right around the corner from you. It’s never too cold for ice cream.
Take a short drive outside of Columbus
Road trip to Cincinnati and find 20+ things to do with kids
Explore sea life at Newport Aquarium near Cincinnati, featuring the new Jim Henson’s Splash & Bubbles Reeftown Adventure, Freshwater Falls exhibit, and more.
SPI Discovery Play Space in Mount Vernon has tons of activities for all ages, included a special tech area for teens. There are climbing structures, separate play area for toddlers, art activities, experiments, and creative play. Admission is just $3.
Tour the Butler County Donut Trail at your leisure and earn a tshirt if you complete all of the stops
The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology in Newark is like a mini-COSI for kids of all ages
Little Buckeye Children’s Museum in Mansfield: Exhibits in the arts, sciences, transportation, and imagination play for ages 2-12. See website for hours. Admission is $8 for 2 and up.
Hike at Hocking Hills: So much to explore, with trails, waterfalls, caves, and more. Book a cabin or take a day trip!
Farm at Walnut Creek: Check out the working farm, feed exotic animals, and enjoy family time in a beautiful setting.
A-ha Children’s Museum in Lancaster is a fantastic play museum that encourages creative play for kids 1-8. They now have an amazing outdoor play and exploration area, so the kids will have tons to do no matter if the weather is good or bad. There are so many fun things to do in Fairfield County as well – check out some other family-fun we enjoyed in Lancaster!
Comfort Inn Splash Harbor is Bellville is a great affordable option for a “trip” that is just one or two nights and totally affordable. Kids love staying in hotels, and this one has an amazing pool area, including water slides, hot tubs, fountains, and so much more.
Free Indoor places to play
The weather is always unpredictable in March and April, so keep this HUGE list of FREE Indoor Places to play for when you need to get out of the house and let the kids play off some energy for an hour or two! I’m highlighting a few options below, but check out the list if you are looking for other ideas.
Mall Play areas: Polaris, Tuttle, and the Shops at Worthington Place (which is a favorite because it’s clean and less crowded.
Libraries: Most local libraries have a kids area with puzzles, small toys, and other fun activities, plus story times for all ages. Activities may be limited over spring break at some branches, so check the schedule. The Columbus Main Library is a favorite with lots of play structures, double-sided fish tank, and more. Staff often walks around and interacts with kids. You can easily spend a couple of hours playing and exploring.
Graeters Scoops and Shoots Play Area: There’s a great play area in the Graeters on Bethel Rd. with slides and structures to climb in and around. No purchase necessary, but it’s ice cream, so just plan to get some while you’re there. Otherwise, the play area is completely free! Geared for ages 9 and under.
Columbus Museum of Art (Free on Sundays)- The Center for Creativity offers hands on imaginative and creative play in several areas for all ages. Free on Sundays, Kids under 5 are always free, and Thursdays from 5-9 pm are “pay what you want”.
Coffee Connections in Hilliard: This coffee house has a separate space behind with more seating and a kids’ area on the second floor with comfy seating and creative play opportunities.
Roller skating in Columbus
Whether your kids are new to roller skating or experienced, it will make for a fun and tiring activity. There are 3 roller skating rinks in the Columbus area, and all are offering fun activities and skating parties over spring break. Sessions are 2-3 hours long, and some are discounted admission or included meals. Most of the websites offer additional coupons, so be sure to look for those
- Skate America in Grove City: Great pricing and plenty of discounts
- Skate Zone 71 near Morse Rd: Tons of skate parties with character visits. Little kids skate is on Saturday mornings. There are also discounted days, young teen nights, and adult nights, and Easter Day Skate
- United Skates of America on Refugee Rd: Lots of family skate, character skate, and discount days.
Indoor Ice Skating
- Chiller Ice Rinks in Easton, Lewis Center, Dublin and Downtown: Check public skate times and pricing for each location.
- The Ohio State University Ice Rink, 390 Woody Hayes Drive, Columbus. Phone: (614)292-4154
Public admission is $6, skate rental is $3. Check here for updates for open skate sessions.
- Lou & Gibb Reese Ice Arena, 936 Sharon Valley Rd, Newark. Phone: (740) 349-6784
Admission $3-$6, skate rental is $3.
Bowling in Columbus
Plenty of options, but here are a few nice suggestions for families. Check for coupons and Spring Break specials on the website!
- Star Lanes Polaris, 8655 Lyra Drive, Columbus
- Rule (3), 650 Windmiller Dr., Pickerington
- Columbus Square Bowling Palace, 5707 Forest Hills Blvd., Columbus
- AMF Sawmill Lanes, 4825 Sawmill Road, Columbus
- Gahanna Bowling and Family Fun Center, 215 W. Johnstown, Gahanna
- Ten Pin Alley, 5499 Ten Pin Alley, Hilliard
Indoor Swimming in Columbus
It’s not the beach, but the air and the water is warm, and most of the pools offer lots of fun activities, including zero entry for the tots, slides, lazy rivers, and more.
- Dublin Community Recreation Center (price increase to $5-$15 for daily admission, depending on residency) 5600 Post Road, Dublin. Lazy river, zero entry for area, waterslides, and more. Check link for leisure pool hours.
- Worthington Community Center ($5-$8, free under 3) 345 E. Wilson Bridge Rd., Worthington, OH 43085, Ph: (614) 436-2743. Great option for little kids with zero entry, little kids slide, plus lazy river and vortex and larger slides. Check link for leisure pool hours.
- Westerville Community Center ($5-$12) Westerville Community Center also has a climbing wall (fees required), and a great, free indoor playground for kids off of the lobby. 350 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43082, Phone: (614) 901-6500. Renovated pool features shallow area, lazy river, fountains, slides, and more. Check link for leisure pool hours.
- Columbus Aquatic Center ($1) 1160 Hunter Ave. Columbus, OH 43201 (614) 645-3129 Must also get a $1 leisure card; good for 3 years. Check link for pool hours.
No matter the weather, its nice to just sit and relax with a movie and a popcorn for a couple of hours. Matinees are always less expensive and usually less crowded, so they are a great option for families.
Hoot Family Film Series is the last Saturday of each month at Gateway Film Center with cartoon shorts, crafts, and music by the Shazzbots while the kids dance on the big screen! It’s free with a canned food donation,
$3 Movies at Marcus Theatres Kids Dream Winter Film Series. Catch a family-friendly movie for just $3 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m., from February 21 to April 5. Popcorn and fountain drinks are just $2.75 each.
- The Addams Family – March 13 – 15
- The Secret Life of Pets 2 – March 20 – 22
- Arctic Dogs – March 27 – 29
- Ugly Dolls – April 3 – 5
Discounts at Cinemark Theaters every Tuesday: Tickets range from $4.50 – $5.75 depending on theater.
Kids Crafts in Columbus
Michael’s offers Kids Club every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. where kids can do weekly craft projects for just $2. They are also hosting a bunch of Make Break events for older kids from 1-3 pm. Most require small purchase to complete project, though many supplies are provided.
Lakeshore Learning stores have free crafts on Saturdays from 11 am – 3 pm.
Home Depot Kids Workshops are held on various Saturdays. Check the Lowe’s or Home Depot site for dates, times, and schedule projects and help teach your kids about safety and building.
Lowes Build and Grow Workshops are back! These free workshops teach kids how to use tools safely, as they build a fun project to keep! Workshops are the second Saturday of each month from 9:00am to 12:00pm at participating stores. Registration required.
- Saturday, March 14: Tabletop Basketball
- Saturday, April 11: Bulldozer
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Looking for Easter fun in Columbus? We have a HUUUUGE list of Easter events in Columbus, including photos with the Easter Bunny, Easter Egg Hunts, dining with the Easter Bunny, events for adults-only, Easter-themed races, and so much more! These are still being updated, so please check back in mid-March!
Want to see what else is going on during other days of the week?
- See our calendar of Columbus free and cheap events by day.
- Find the latest free events and promotions in Columbus
Want more? Sign up of daily email updates of upcoming events (one per day), and/or like our Facebook page to see updates there (just know that Facebook doesn’t make every post visible to each follower).
See more Spring Break fun here!