Columbus is a smart city. Thanks to that nerdy undercurrent, there are tons of amazing educational experiences around town.
From tried and true standbys like COSI to hidden gems full of fossils, there are so many good ways to have fun while learning in Columbus. Yes, there are activities for the kids, but there are also engaging things to do for teens and adults. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
About: Ironwood Wolves is, hands down, one of the coolest things in central Ohio. In fairytales, wolves and other wild canids get a pretty bad rep. But educational groups like Ironwood Wolves are working to change that. With their ambassador animals which include wolves and foxes, they travel around teaching people about the importance of these animals in the wild and their impacts on our natural ecosystems.
Location: You can catch Ironwood Wolves at a variety of events around the state throughout the year. Click here for more details.
Cost: Most programs are free, but if you’d like to schedule a meet and greet with the animals for yourself, you can learn more here.
About: COSI is a classic Columbus experience. From hands-on experiments to special events, COSI has been entertaining and educating kids for decades with a planetarium, a theatre, and a variety of exhibits. In addition to exploring the science center on your own, you can also attend special nights where science-based activities abound. In fact, some of the events are 21+, so don’t go thinking all the fun is for the kids.
Location: 333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215
Cost: Prices vary. Click here for more details.
About: Since 1927, the Columbus Zoo has been educating visitors from around the world about animals. With a message focused on conservation, a trip to the zoo and aquarium is a great way to learn about what we as humans can do to protect the world around us.
Location: 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065
Cost: Admission prices vary. Click here for more info.
About: It doesn’t matter how old I get, I’ll never stop believing that dinosaurs are the coolest creatures that have ever roamed the planet. With the arrival of Cryolophosauraus to OSU, dinos are all the rage at Orton. But they have so much more to offer, like other unique fossils, meteorites, and more. Orton is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Location: 125 Oval Dr S, Columbus, OH 43210
About: It wouldn’t be a list about education without including our amazing library system. The Columbus Metropolitan Library isn’t just a great place to curl up with a good book, they also provide all sorts of auxiliary activities, including classes, meet-up groups, children’s activities, and more.
Location: There are scores of locations around the city, but you can find the Main Library at 96 S Grant Ave, Columbus, OH 43215.
About: I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know anything about plants. Not how to keep them alive or what they need to thrive, but I do enjoy looking at them, which makes Franklin Park Conservatory a little slice of heaven. The Conservatory offers camps, classes, and outreach programs on topics ranging from horticulture to cooking and culinary arts. Plus, while you’re fostering your new green thumb, your kids can take a run around the new Children’s Garden. It’s epic.
Location: 1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43203
Cost: Admission ranges from $11-18 for non-members.
About: Take a step back in time to the 1800s at Slate Run Historical Farm. Guests can experience first-hand what life was like on an Ohio farm, learning about the daily chores and difficulties of life in the 19th century.
Location: 1375 OH-674, Canal Winchester, OH 43110
About: The Ohio History Center is the home of the Ohio History Connection, a society that works to preserve and educate visitors on everything from life in the 1950s to extinct and endangered Ohio species to personal ancestry to Civil War history.
Location: 800 E. 17th Ave, Columbus, OH 43211
Cost: Admission ranges from $6-$12
About: So this one is a little bit of a drive, but trust me, it’s totally worth it. The John Glenn Astronomy Park (JGAP) is dedicated to sparking an interest in science, learning, and exploration by sharing with visitors the wonders of the sky. Named for Ohio’s beloved senator and astronaut, the park is inspiring a whole new generation of Ohioans to look to the skies. JGAP offers weekend stargazing programs and other astronomy-related activities.
Location: 20531 OH-664 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138
Cost: The programs are free, but a reservation is recommended. You can get more info here.
Get out there and learn something new.
Originally published 9/26/18. Updated 10/9/19.
A daily Columbus email you'll actually love. ❤️
Every morning we compile the best of Columbus news & events and deliver it in a quick 5 minute read that sets you up with everything you need to be a well informed Columbusian. Columbusite. Cbussian? Whatever, give it a try, you'll love it.