Whether you’re a longtime resident of Westerville, Ohio, or you’re new to the area, there are tons of great family attractions nearby that you should know about. Because Columbus is so close, there’s a lot to do around the city, but Westerville itself also offers some fun spots worth visiting. Here are five family attractions in the area that you’ll want to check out.
1. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Image via Flickr by marada
Open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a great place for families and is located just 30 minutes west of Westerville. There’s something fun and interesting for every age, and y ou can buy tickets online before your trip to ensure a reserved time.
See 10,000 animals in six different habitats while touring the zoo. Head to Congo Expedition to visit the apes and big cats, then to Australia and the Islands for kangaroos and koala bears, and later to Asia Quest for elephants. The Heart of Africa features lions, giraffes, zebras, and much more. Don’t forget to stop by the Shores and Aquarium area to see sharks, otters, sea lions, penguins, and loads of colorful fish.
If you want to make your visit even more special, there are several unique experiences and tours you can purchase, too. Watch the elephants get a bath and even help out the zookeeper during the process with the Elephant Bath Experience. During the holidays, rock your kids’ world with an up-close encounter with reindeer. Other experiences include Chatting with Cheetahs, Okapi Encounter, Behind the Marina Sea Lion Tour, the Red Panda Experience, the Animal Health Center Tour, and Night Hikes. If you’re looking for a great holiday gift, consider purchasing one of these experiences for the family.
If you and the kids get hungry during the visit, there are several places for food scattered throughout the park. The Columbus Zoo has tired parents covered with numerous spots to grab a coffee along the tour.
2. Franklin Park Conservatory
A 20-minute drive south of Westerville, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to experience with your family throughout the year. If it’s cold or rainy outside, a trip to the colorful conservatory is a great way to warm everybody up and lift the spirits with exhibitions like the Paul Busse Garden Railway and Harvest Blooms. In warmer months, the outdoor areas are great for relaxing walks.
Be sure to plan a visit during the holidays to enjoy the magic of Franklin Park’s winter wonderland. From November 14 through January 10, the Conservatory Aglow exhibition has thousands of twinkling lights creating memorable displays throughout the gardens and indoors. Poinsettias and other traditional holiday plants are on display during this time as well. Stop in during the month of December to see the 14th annual Gingerbread Competition and vote for your favorite display.
In addition to these exciting exhibitions, there are many gardens and collections to enjoy all year long. The Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse and John F. Wolf Palm House were built in 1895. These Victorian-style greenhouses are home to more than 43 different species of palms including the fiddle-leaf fig tree. Inside the main building of the conservatory, you’ll find more than 400 species of plants. Stay for lunch and enjoy great food from the Garden Cafe and Food Truck with great options for kids.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus is about 15 minutes south of Westerville and offers a bunch of fun and exciting indoor activities for the family. Fight to free the princess at Kingdom Quest, check out intricate displays at MINILAND, learn about the making of Legos during the Lego Factory tour, and have some fun in DUPLO Village. To make the most of your family’s visit, plan ahead and get ideas of activities you can enjoy during the visit. Maybe you could do a timed build or challenge the kids to build specific things like animals, cities, or automobiles.
Purchase tickets online to ensure that you and your family can get in on the day you plan to visit. If you love your time at LEGOLAND, consider an annual pass. Check out the Lego store for holiday and birthday gifts. And don’t leave without stopping by the cafe for lunch or a treat.
4. Rockin’ Jump
Right in Westerville, Rockin’ Jump is the ideal spot for your kids to get out some serious energy. This trampoline park and climbing area has something for all ages and loads of opportunities for fun. Play an intense game of trampoline dodgeball, jump or flip into a huge pit of foam cubes, and challenge yourself and the family on the rock wall. Parents might even enjoy a good workout during the visit. Weekly events offer organized fun for different ages, so be sure to check out their specials.
Keep Rockin’ Jump Trampoline Park in mind for future group events or birthday parties. The birthday package includes two hours of jumping time for five jumpers, pizza and soda, a party host, and a private area.
5. Hoover Reservoir
As a great outdoor option for families in the Westerville area, Hoover Reservoir Park provides more than 4,700 acres of beautiful landscape. Visit with the family for a picnic, hike, nature exploration, and bird watching. The Big Walnut Trail is a great walk or bike trip for all skill levels and even welcomes pets. It runs along the Hoover Reservoir for a nice view of the water and surrounding foliage. During warmer weather, consider a kayaking trip with the family on the water. This is an easy place for young kids and beginners to learn to paddle since the water is very calm.
So there’s our list of great family-friendly activities in and around Westerville, Ohio. If we missed a local attraction that you and your family love, contact us at Crème de la Crème of Westerville to let us know. If you checked out any of these places, let us know what you thought. We’d love to hear from you.