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Splashing required: 10 free and fun Columbus splashpads

614now Staff



Splashpads: Free and fun water spraygrounds without the worry of deep bottoms or high dives. We don’t know about you but to us, that seems like a home run, nay, grand slam.

This summer, diversify your cool down routine by hanging at one of Columbus’ many exciting splashpads.

Also, how old is too old to horseplay in one of these? ….asking for a friend.

Ballantrae Community Park

6350 Woerner Temple Road, Dublin

Are we in Colorado? Haha, no silly! That’s just the expert landscaping at Ballantrae Community Park! This outdoorsy themed splash pad will have your kids begging for a watery, mountainous vaca.

Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. May 17 to Sept. 5.

Barnett Community Recreation Center Sprayground

1184 Barnett Road [Linwood], Columbus

Barnett Community Recreational Center Sprayground will have your kids jumping with joy!

Hours: noon-7 p.m. daily.

Bicentennial Park in the Scioto Mile

233 Civic Center Drive [Downtown], Columbus

Enjoy some sweet relief from the summer heat right in the heart of downtown. Parents, while your kids romp through the sprinklers, be sure to take in the beautiful Scioto Mile view!

Hours: 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily, mid-April to mid-October. Special events may alter operating hours.

Blackburn Community Recreation Center Sprayground

263 Carpenter St. [Olde Towne East], Columbus

Turn your kid loose on this sprayground and you’ll be staring down at least two hours alone with the book you’ve been trying to read for years.

Hours: noon-7 p.m. daily.

Easton Town Center

3900 Easton Station, Columbus

In the South District’s Town Square, just south of Brio Tuscan Grille, sits a little agua oasis just begging to be played in. For ages 8 an under.

Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday between June 5 and Aug. 28 but it closes at 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays for the weekly Sounds on the Town Concert Series.


Hilliard’s Station Park

4021 Main St., Hilliard

Make sure to pack a lunch because this will definitely be an all-day affair. These super sonic water jets are so smart that they dance to the music. Lounging area available for parentals!

Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily as of mid-May.

Indian Mound Community Recreation Center Sprayground

3901 Parsons Ave. [South Side], Columbus

Aren’t all those brightly colored shapes so inviting? How could your kid resist?!

Hours: noon-7 p.m. daily.

North Bank Park in the Scioto Mile

311 W. Long St. [Arena District], Columbus

While it may be smaller than the rest, don’t underestimate North Bank Park’s ability to cool you off on a smokin’ hot day.

Hours vary based on pavilion rental periods.

Polaris Fashion Place

8781 Lyra Drive, Columbus

You drug your kids through your shopping spree, they deserve a splish-splashy release. Unleash them on the water fountain near Benihana and Cantina Loredo on the east side of the mall to earn some mommy/daddy brownie points.

Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Village Green Park

47 Hall St., Powell

Colorful buckets that dump water on your head? Yeah, we’re sold and we’re sure your kids will be, too.

Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

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Things To Do

Hit Your Peak: 3 worth-the-drive ski slopes near Columbus

Asa Herron



The cursed Ohio Winter Monster has made its presence known to all with its 5pm sunsets, snow storms, and seasonal depression for all. How are you going to fight back against the gloom this year? It may seem like it’s impossible to do fun things with your friends or to stay active in the winter, but I’m here to tell you that not all hope is lost. Finding a new hobby is a great way to kick your winter woes to the curb and start the new decade on a good foot.

Skiing can be a great way to casually exercise with friends and resuscitate your serotonin levels. Here are three high quality places to ski within driving distance of Columbus for you to check out.


Located in Zanesfield, Mad River Mountain is about an hour's drive northwest of Columbus. They have the most reasonable prices of all the nearby ski resorts. Plus, their on-property bar, The Loft, has 12 taps of craft beers on rotation to add a little more fun to the night. Mad River is open until 1 a.m. on Fridays, too, so you’re getting a full Friday night of flurries.

Mad River is home to over 20 trails (spanning 3.9 miles) and four terrain parks making it the largest ski resort in Ohio. They also bolster ten ski lifts (the most in Ohio) and are tied with Snowtrails for the largest vertical drop in the state with their 300 foot slope. An added perk of Mad River is that they just built a new $6.2 million facility in 2016 to replace the space they lost to a fire in 2015. Plus, most of their trails are designated “easy” difficulty. Mad River has everything you need to have a relaxing, affordable day of skiing.

Details on hours and pricing can be found at


Founded in 1961, Snowtrails is Ohio’s oldest ski resort. It is located in Mansfield, so also about an hour drive north. This resort is only slightly more expensive, with lift rates starting at $31 for midweek evenings and $52 for all-day on the weekends, with skis, boots, and pole rentals are $37. If there’s one day this month that you visit Snowtrails, let it be January 25 for their mid-season party. Get ready for an outdoor DJ, a custom built snowbar, and a fireworks show 30 minutes after the slopes close for the night. Not into skiing? No problem! The party is free and open to the public, so let your expert friends hit the slopes while you hit the spirits at the snow bar.

Snowtrails is the second largest resort in the state with six ski lifts and 3.3 miles of trails. The majority of their trails are designated “intermediate” difficulty, so more experienced skiers will enjoy their time here.

More information can be found at www.


Boston Mills & Brandywine is the farthest ski resort from Columbus on this list, but great for a full weekend away. This quaint resort is in Peninsula, OH is a two hour drive from Central Ohio. Their pricing is $40 after 3:30 p.m. and $45 for an all-day pass. Staying another night? Come back on Saturday for $5 Late Nights admission from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM.

Boston Mill & Brandywine ski resort is known for being especially conducive to beginning skiers. They offer high quality lessons and will walk you through the process. This is the place to go if you have “stupid” questions about skiing, or just want to tube. However, they also appeal to veteran skiers as the majority of their 18 trails are designated “advanced”. Despite the high quantity of trails, this resort is much smaller than the other two, with only 1.2 miles of skiable trails, and their largest vertical drop being 264 feet. But for these prices? Could definitely be worth the trip.

Learn more about Boston Mills & Brandywine at

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Arts & Culture

Watch: “World’s largest mural” in Short North is more than meets the eye

Regina Fox



At a glance, "The Journey AR Mural" adorning the Graduate Columbus hotel in Short North is stunning. Look a little harder, and it actually comes to life.

Standing at over 107 feet tall and over 11,000 square feet of augmented reality, "The Journey AR Mural," is the world's largest AR mural, offering technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

The gaily-painted snapdragons, hibiscus, Easter lilies, and hummingbirds bloom and fly when viewed through the Journey AR Mural app (free for iPhone and Android). Watch the murals come to life in the video below.

Los Angeles-based artists Ryan Sarfati and Eric Skotnes (going by “Yanoe” and “Zoueh," respectively) are the creatives behind the project.

In an interview with Short North Arts District, Skotnes revealed he was inspired to take on the project after learning that Columbus is home to the second largest population of Somali immigrants in the country—he hopes the murals symbolize strength and prosperity for its viewers.

To learn more about The Journey AR Mural, visit

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Food & Drink

Worth the Drive: Lima’s Kewpee Hamburgers

Regina Fox



Lima, OH may not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a road trip, but you may have to reconsider after learning about a little (AKA one of the oldest burger chain in the world) not-so-hidden gem called Kewpee Hamburgers.

It all started in 1923 when Kewpee Hotel Hamburgs opened in Flint, Michigan. This was home to the "Mity nice Hamburger," which could be purchased for just a nickel. Kewpee was also known for its life-sized naked mascot baby, created to the likeness of the classic comic strip Kewpie dolls.

By 1940, the chain rebranded to simply "Kewpee Hamburgers," and was 400-locations strong. From Ohio to New York City, Kewpee's stole the hearts of Americans with its square patties, hot chili, thick shakes, homey diner atmosphere, and not-to-be-beaten prices.

During its rise to popularity, Kewpee also managed to revolutionize the fast food game by becoming one of the first restaurants to offer a drive-thru.

But much to the dismay of its fans far and wide, most restaurants in the franchise met their demise during WWII meat shortages.

Kewpee's time-honored legacy lives on in Lima, OH where the only three remaining restaurants are located. Despite its novelty across the country, Kewpee continues to offer guests their beloved greasy grub at rock-bottom prices ($2.45 for a cheeseburger? Take that, Five Guys).

It's hard to believe that such a famed piece of America's food history is just 90 minutes from Columbus, but it's true and definitely worth the drive. How could you say no to this innocent, yet slightly ominous face?

To learn more about Kewpee Hamburgers, click here.

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