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28 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

Mitch Hooper

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Coming from a small town, I am baffled whenever I hear someone say they are bored in Columbus. Are you serious? Do you know what we did for fun in my hometown when winter time hit? We did laps around WalMart and drank $2.29 PBRs at the local Applebee’s. If we were lucky, they’d hand us the AUX cord after 10 p.m.

I won’t take it any longer, Columbusites. Sure, it’s cold out, and getting anywhere in this weather adds an extra 15 minutes to your drive, but there’s only one way to beat these winter blues and that means distracting yourself until warmer weather returns.

North High Brewing: Brew Your Own Beer | 1288 N High St.

This is a hobby that is best done with friends, and with patience. North High Brewing offers a brew your own beer event where you and your friends will be using a recipe from North High Brewing to craft your own beer. The cost is in the $190 to $240 (plus taxes) range plus an additional $90 for the bottling process, but that’s per batch, not per person, so load up on friends so the price per person drops significantly. After three hours at North High, and a three week waiting process, you’ll be looking at about 15 gallons of beer (roughly a keg) that can be bottled with your own customized logo!

Studio 614 | 2487 Summit St.

All the crafty people on Pinterest create the illusion that these DIY projects are quick, simple, and fun for the family, that is, until you sit down and spill your glue on the carpet. Don’t let this discourage you. You just need some assistance, and with Studio 614’s myriad of DIY classes, painting courses, and anything in between, you’ll have the skills necessary to start crafting your very own decorations for your home.

Omega Artisan Baking | 59 Spruce St.

Columbus, let’s get this bread! Better yet, let’s make this bread! These classes offer a variation of breads from flatbreads to sourdoughs, and it offers refreshments midway through as the bread baking business is a lengthy process (about three hours in total).

Bareclay Pottery Classes | 734 E Lincoln Ave.

Whether it’s Monday afternoon or good old date night, Bareclay Pottery Classes is probably hosting some sort of pottery class. Here you will learn how to use the pottery wheel which is visually satisfying alone, plus instructors will be on hand to dish out tips for glazing and the addition of other art media to your creation.

The Seasoned Farmhouse | 3674 N High St.

Isn’t it weird how our day revolves around our eating schedule, but when it comes time to whip up a meal in the kitchen, we hardly venture from the norm? At The Seasoned Farmhouse, each class is a chance to learn how to cook with seasonal ingredients so you can go home with the knowledge on how to wow your guests at your next (and potentially first ever) dinner party, or simply add a new recipe to your wheelhouse.

Planthropy: Public Workshops and Private Planting Parties | planthropy.co

Living in the city doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your green thumb; it means you have to get creative. Luckily, the interior designers and “plant people” at Planthropy are here to help an urban gardener in need. With their private parties, you and 12 friends can dive into the world of planting and maintaining succulents. Alternatively, the public workshops offer classes at places like The Candle Lab.

The Candle Lab | thecandlelab.com

The Candle Lab hosts tons of events each month pairing different things with candles. Events include the aforementioned succulent and candles class, or the Lights and Flights events where patrons can create an 8 oz. candle in addition to enjoying a flight of wine. There’s also chances to get active while you’re here where you’ll pour your own candle, and while they harden, you’ll spend time practicing yoga.

Glass Axis | 610 W Town St.

It’ll take a little time and lots of patience, but once you get the hang of it, glass blowing could be the most satisfying crafting hobby on this list. From learning the basics to venturing into sculpting and flamework, Glass Axis offers an extremely comprehensive course load to flame your glass blowing fires.

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The Nest Theatre Improv Classes | 894 W Broad St.

SNL has streamlined the improv comedy bit, but an insider’s view shows it’s much harder than it looks. Reigning in from Chicago is Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto who are here to help a potential improviser. Courses are broken up into four levels, and each one is a prerequisite for the next so don’t worry about being in over your head with more experienced improvisers.

Sew To Speak Sewing Classes | 752 High St.

Sew a man a shirt, clothe him for the day. Teach him how to sew, and he’ll be clothed for life… probably. Sew To Speak hosts sewing classes for anything from knitted stocking caps to medallion quilts to roll rugs. And if your sewing skills are subpar, they offer a general sewing class to stitch together your loose ends.

Columbus State Language Institute | 550 E Spring St.

Learning a language is tough, and it’s nearly impossible to break your native language habits on your own. That’s why Columbus State’s Language Institute is a great way to keep you learning week-in and week-out, plus the camaraderie of a classroom helps you grow with other like-minded individuals!

Westerville Public Library: Meet The Authors | 126 S. State St.

Book worms are probably invested in many groups, forums and clubs for reading, but the Westerville Public Library gives readers the opportunity to meet some of their favorite authors. Each session is a chance to hear more about a book, ask the author questions, and get your book autographed.

House Wine: Wine And Cellar Club | 644 High St.

Oenophiles have the option of two different clubs here. The first is the Wine Club where members pay $30 per month to be apart of a revolving door of two bottles of red or white wines that are delivered to House Wine at the first of the month. The other club, Cellar Club, is a bit more expensive, $60 per month, but you’ll be sipping exclusively red wines—sometimes two bottles of the same blend, other times it’s different blends.

First Choice Music Studio: Learn An Instrument | 25 North St.

It’s cliche, but at some point in our lives, we’ve probably uttered the phrase, “I wish I knew how to play an instrument.” First Choice Music Studio has a staff of qualified music instructors to teach you anything from piano to guitar. Courses are offered at $115 for one 30 minute private session per week, or $240 for one 60 minute private session per week.

Seabolt & Co.: Makeup Classes | 225 E Fifth Ave.

At this point, makeup is a master’s work of art when it comes to contouring and other makeup trends which is why it’s best to learn from an expert. With Seabolt & Co.’s three-hour makeup and cocktail class for $120 per person, you’ll learn how to do anything from smokey eyes to what skin care products work best with your skin type. Plus, you know, cocktails!

Wine & Canvas | 132 Graceland Blvd.

Bob Ross makes painting on canvas seem like the easiest thing in the world, but anyone who has attempted to follow along with his painting tutorials knows it’s hard as hell. Your beautiful nature scene looks more like something your three-year old whipped up with his fingers. Instead of getting frustrated, check out Wine & Canvas with their public and private workshops where talented artists will walk you through step-by-step on how to create on canvas, plus you’ll be sipping on wines at places like Camelot Cellars.

Idea Foundry | 421 W State St.

When it comes to the Idea Foundry, you’re only limited by your own imagination. Looking to get into welding and sheet metal work? There’s a class for that. Want to learn how to create your own mini speaker? There’s a class for that too. There’s even lectures, guest speakers, social nights, and just about anything you can dream up.

Columbus Scuba: Open Water Certification | 4680 Indianola Ave.

Sure, scuba diving in Ohio doesn’t exactly sound like an exciting hobby with our lack of beautiful beaches, but this is more of a long-term hobby. With an open water certification, you are certified to scuba dive for the rest of your life, so book that cruise vacation whenever. This course will teach you everything you need for $399, or you can dip your toes in the water with their $49 trial run of scuba diving basics.

Columbus Dance Center | 1000 B Morrison Rd.

People always say dance like nobody’s watching, but with the viralness of social media these days, you can never be too cautious. At the Columbus Dance Center, you can remove all those fears of being embarrassed on the internet with their private lessons that will teach you anything from the Waltz to the Tango to the Foxtrot. Best of all, you can dip your toes into the waters of these private lessons without shelling out some money as the first lesson is free!

Parkour Horizons | 7020 Huntley Rd.

Parkour might look dangerous on the surface, and well, that’s because it is. It’s best done with experts who have taken many of bumps and bruises to perfect their craft, and that’s what you’ll find at Parkour Horizons. Their classes will work your entire body from head to toe with strength, endurance, and flexibility training. I won’t lie to you—you’ll probably get a few bruises during the learning process, but being able to seemingly scale walls like Spiderman seems like a fair trade-off.

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Crossfit Grandview | 880 Kinnear Rd.

Alright, Crossfitters of the world, you win. This is clearly not just some fad in fitness that will go by the wayside once a newer and trendier workout routine comes into play. Crossfit is a great way to work on all the core muscles in your body, and the beginning prerequisite courses here are affordable, $10 per class, while also making sure you don’t venture into a more experienced form of crossfit that could cause you to hurt yourself.

Bikram Hot Yoga | 937 W Third Ave.

It’s cold outside and finding a way to stay fit and warm is always a challenge. But with Bikram Hot Yoga, you can get your stretch on while you get your sweat on with their studio that’s heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Just make sure you bring a towel and water because you’re going to work up a serious sweat by the end.

Cycle614 | 1636 Northwest Blvd.

Ah, cycling. All the leg-burning fun of running without having to deal with the unpredictable weather. Just like the Columbus Dance Center, don’t worry about sinking too much money into something because your first class is free here. Clip-in shoes are recommended and not provided, but obviously if this is your first time, rocking the some good old running shoes will get the job done.

GOLFTEC | golftec.com

When it comes to improving your golf game, heading to the driving range and crushing a few with the driver really isn’t going to do much. At GOLFTEC, they take the coaching aspect of golf to a whole new level. I’m talking iPads that tell you why your swing sucks. Coaches that will also tell you why your swing sucks. Hell, they even have clubs that will break down statistically why your swing sucks!

REI Rock Climbing Classes | rei.com

If there’s anything on this list giving parkour a run for its money for “Hobby Best Done With An Expert,” it’s rock climbing. With rock climbing, there’s not a lot of room for error so getting educated is an absolute must. With REI’s rock climbing classes, you’ll travel to an outdoor location where an expert will provide you with the know-how as well as the gear to get you off the ground.

Columbus Recreation And Parks: Sports Leagues | Varies

The weather outside is unpredictable. Is it going to snow today, or will it be sunny and 55? That might put a damper on outdoors sports, but the Columbus Recreation and Parks Sports Office has the solution. While the weather is still not ideal, they offer indoor leagues like basketball or volleyball (sign ups end Feb. 15 so don’t hesitate!), and once the weather gets back to being warm, you can put together squads for other sports like softball.

Orangetheory Fitness | orangetheoryfitness.com

Orangetheory takes the idea of “keeping up with the Joneses,” but makes it fitness. At Orangetheory’s fitness classes and courses, your heart rate is monitored and quantified into five different stages of effort with the goal that you’ll enter the “orange effect” zone where your body is operating at optimal caloric burning. These stats are displayed on a large board in the class to keep you honest, and creates a mild competition to have the most time in the “orange effect” zone.

millennial | writer | human

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Great Apes: Two gorillas coming soon to Columbus Zoo

614now

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is no stranger to primo primates. Colo (RIP) who was both the first gorilla born in captivity and the oldest known gorilla in the world, called the zoo home for 60 wonderful years.

Now, two new additions from a zoo in Wisconsin will be joining the storied Columbus troop:

17-year-old Shalia and her 4 ½-year-old offspring Sulaiman will be transferred to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin sometime in the next few weeks.

When the duo arrive, it will be something of a family reunion. Two-year-old gorilla Zahra is half-sister to Sulaiman, and has been at the Columbus Zoo since 2018.

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Play like a kid at R Adventure Park in the Hocking Hills

Mitch Hooper

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Tucked away from the main road leading into Hocking Hills sits a world that rivals most theme parks you can find. Complete with a multimillion dollar ropes course, 68 miles of riding trails, a speed course, off-road vehicles, zip-lining, a paintballing arena, and a damn roller coaster, this dreamland sounds just like that—a dream. But for Karry Gimmel, owner, curator, imagineer, and engineer—R Adventure Park is every bit of his wildest dreams made into reality.

Upon arriving at the park, we drove up the long drive-way and eventually our playground was unveiled from behind the tall trees. The ropes course towered in the background as Polaris quads, side-by- sides, and three-wheeled Slingshots were scattered about near the front desk area. As gray skies filled the sky, we knew the Ohio weather was going to do its best to give us its worst.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

“Don’t worry,” Gimmel assured us. “We have some of our best days when it rains.”

It didn’t take much to convince us. Gimmel has worked and continues to work as an engineer for Disney World—if anyone can be trusted as a reliable source for fun, it’s him. Combine his knowledge of theme parks from Disney World with seemingly unlimited space (thanks, unplotted land!) and a little horsepower, and you have a place where kids, mom, dad, and even grandma can participate.

He took us to the eye-grabbing rope course to begin our day. I’ve never been one to call myself an adrenaline junkie, but heights haven’t really bothered me before. Whether it be the roller coasters at Cedar Point or working summer construction on scaffolding 60+ feet off the ground, I came, I saw, and I conquered. So when I approached the first tier all strapped in my safety harness with my guide on hand, I was befuddled to find how nervous I was.

The first obstacle is an easy one: a balance beam. But to my eyes and brain, it was a tightrope across the Grand Canyon. And when I took that first step, I was sure it was a tightrope across the Grand Canyon and the slightest gust of wind would send me to my doom. Slowly and methodically, I stepped forward making sure to follow OSHA tips like always keep three points planted when at high altitudes. Turns out that summer construction job is paying off.

After making it down and back comfortably, we continued to turn the heat up. Each level higher presented more difficult obstacles—all seemingly insane until you actually complete them. Every obstacle completed might just bump your confidence to the point where you might just try a few backwards, hopping on one foot. But if you’re feeling more comfortable staying on the first tier, there’s no shame in that.

As we finished up the ropes course, the rain seemed to be moving in which made for an appropriate time to switch. We ditched our belays for helmets and safety glasses and made our way to the Polaris side-by-side vehicle. To say this vehicle was covered in dirt, mud, and dust is an understatement. Our driver went to brush some off the seat, but Gimmel quickly stopped him.

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that; you’re going to get muddy,” Gimmel said. “Do you want to do the trail, or the ‘trail’ trail?”

Of course, we picked the “trail” trail.

After a crash course in how not to crash, we took off into the woods cruising through the curvy trail surrounded by trees and nature. We continued as tree branches brushed by us and the mud slinging party only grew bigger. Each dry strip of land was a chance for the mud to come free from the tires and these human-seeking dirt bombs were on a mission. Our trek through the trail eventually took us to a speed course where we could finally let loose and see how this machine works. Gimmel knew exactly where to take us: the drag strip.

On the count of three, we screamed off down the quarter-mile dirt strip like a rocket shot out of a cannon. Gimmel, leading us in a one-man side-by-side, gave us a few seconds head start and still managed to smoke us in a cloud of dust. (We’ll get him next time, though.)

All-in-all, the 30-minute adventure on the trails felt like an eternity—in a good way. The twists and turns of the trails remove all your sense of direction, making you feel as though you just traveled miles away from the park. But with a few turns here and there, we wound up right next to the ropes course where our day all started. Of the 68 miles of trails, we covered about three.

The mantra at R Adventure Park is fun for everyone with an added bonus: instant gratification. Gimmel said the park started when he would have business partners visit for various reasons and inevitably, he’d be scrambling for a way to entertain them. He always keeps vehicles nearby and he had a few ATVs on stock which quickly became the favorites for his friends—anyone who’s ever tried to rent quads before knows how much of a headache it can be just finding a rental place, let alone finding trails.

Gimmel recognized the lack of options as well as the high overhead with getting into off-roading. At R Adventure Park, he could offer both without the big investment. But he was going to need some more off-road vehicles to accommodate. After some reluctancy, he was able to work on agreements with Polaris, making R Adventure Park one of the few spots in North America where you can rent, learn, and ride ATVs without having to purchase your own.

There’s another mantra for R Adventure Park and Gimmel says its thanks to his Canadian genes: creating a community. While you’ll find adventure and excitement in nearly every corner here, you will not find lodging. And Gimmel seems like he has no plans for that in the future. Instead, he encourages visitors to look into lodging options near the park as to support his neighbors. For him, it’s not about having the entire pie, it’s about everyone getting a slice. It just helps that his slice comes served in a Polaris Slingshot that can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds.

R Adventure Park is located on 15155 Sauerkraut Road, Logan, Ohio 43138. For hours and operations, visit radventurepark.com.

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Local canine training company won’t heel until human, canine bond is created

614now

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SPONSORED

Everybody knows that dogs are mankind's best friend, but being bffs with someone who speaks a different language can prove difficult. That's where ALL PURPOSE K-9 LLC comes in.

ALL PURPOSE K-9 LLC was founded with one goal in mind: to deepen the human canine bond. It's a one-stop-shop for pet owners seeking professional dog training, behavior modification services for aggressive, reactive, and fearful dogs, on- and off-leash obedience coaching, boarding services, grooming, and so much more.

But what makes ALL PURPOSE K-9 LLC different from all the other doggy daycares?

"ALL PURPOSE K-9 LLC has cracked the code between human and dogs by learning to understand what makes us human, our genetics, how we communicate, how we learn, and knowing about sensory and emotional responses," said owner Jordan Hickle. "Canines vary from their human counterparts, greatly. Having the understanding and knowing what these differences are allows us to go above and beyond in our educational experience."

Hickle attended The Tom Rose School for Professional Dog Trainers in High Ridge, Missouri where he completed both the Professional and Master In-Residence Certification Programs, graduating with honors.

ALL PURPOSE K-9 LLC teaches a fully comprehensive and practical handling course with all their Premier Dog Training Programs. These programs are tailored with your dog at the forefront of the program’s design process, explained Hickle.

And it's not called Columbus’ Premier Dog Training Company for nothing. Hickle leads his pack of experienced, well-informed, passionate professionals on a path towards singularity between you and your canine companion.

"Well behaved dogs who are knowledgeable in how to appropriately interact in our human world are able to accurately do their jobs of being a blood pressure lowering companion," said Hickle. "Not only that, their human companions can sleep peacefully at night knowing their dog is a well-behaved member of society and NOT a nuisance or liability!"

Is your dog a well-behaved member of society, or...not so much? Choosing ALL PURPOSE K-9 LLC is choosing commitment, concentration, and a livelong companionship between you and your dog.

"Above all, we recognize that your dog is family!" said Hickle.

ALL PURPOSE K-9 LLC will be moving from Reynoldsburg to 510 East Main Street, Columbus in September. For more information, call (614) 623-4593, email [email protected], or visit apk-9.com

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