If you’ve got kids, this is a pretty big weekend. As I type, teachers are scraping children off of classroom ceilings because Winter Break is mere hours away. Although two weeks of completely unstructured time with extra-hyper kids can be daunting, there are lots of ways to set the tone for a fun and festive holiday vacation. This weekend is a perfect opportunity to do just that, and there are hundreds of events around Columbus to hit up! I search through them all, and selected my top 5 family events in Columbus this weekend.
1. A Christmas Carol at the Civic Theater
Kick off your holiday celebration with the quintessential Christmas tale–A Christmas Carol! This classic Dickens tale has been condensed to an 85 minute play that covers the entire, magical Christmas Eve that turns a crusty old miser into a kind man who, as the book says, “knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”
7:30pm, December 16-18
Tickets: $17.50-$20 each
2. The Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival at the Ohio State Fairgrounds
There are plenty of holiday light installations around town, but this one is completely unique. The Chinese Lantern Festival features lighted figures of all types, from traditional Chinese dragons to holiday characters. The displays are whimsical and colorful and basically unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Kids and adults can wander among the 28 giant lanterns, filled with over 15,000 LED lights!
5pm-10pm, Now through January 2, 2017
3. Holiday Carriage Rides at Easton
Easton has all its holiday finery up, with thousands of sparkling lights, truly gigantic Christmas trees, and, of course, Santa Claus. If you haven’t seen it all lit up at night, it’s really lovely. What better way to take it all in than from an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage? Carriage rides begin this weekend at Easton, but they’re only offered for two weekends between now and Christmas, so if you want to catch one, you don’t have long!
6pm-10pm Fridays & Saturdays, 3pm-7pm Sundays, Now through December 23
$10 per person, Children under 15 ride free with a paying adult
4. Make Cookies with Mrs. Claus at the Franklin Park Conservatory
- The Franklin Park Conservatory is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, but this weekend, they have three very special guests! After you walk through the rainforest and the desert and see all the bonsai trees, head over to Mrs. Claus’s kitchen to make a special cookie and meet two of Santa’s reindeer! That’s right, Mrs. Clause will have two live reindeer friends with her! They’ll only be there this Saturday, though, so catch them before they head back to the North Pole!
11am-2pm December 17
Free with admission
5. See Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Performed Live at MadLab
Another Christmas classic with a twist! Kids will love the story of Rudolph and friends accepting themselves and being accepted for who they are. Such a great story. This is such a great opportunity for kids to experience live theater for less than the price of a movie ticket! Even better, all proceeds will go to the Mid Ohio Food Bank. Check it out this weekend.
5pm December 17
Tickets: $5 or a food donation