While plans to travel to lively tourist attractions and white-sand beaches for spring break aren’t as feasible this year because of COVID-19, Columbus residents can still satisfy their sense of adventure.
“I think as we take the time to explore, appreciate and look a little closer to the things we have here, it can be just as exciting as going on a trip,” said Sam Corlett, director of operations at Otherworld, an immersive art experience on the East Side.
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And given the beauty of the area’s offerings, there’s a host of possibilities for residents to explore things they have yet to do or see, Metro Parks Spokeswoman Peg Hanley said.
“People always say they have to go to New York or California, but Ohio is a vacation destination,” she said. “I think there are great things to do, whether going to a park or the zoo.”
For those seeking a little adventure, here’s a sampling of things to do in and around central Ohio.
Residents can immerse themselves into Otherworld, a 32,000-square-foot art installation filled with large-scale interactive art, mixed-reality playgrounds and secret passageways.
The center, located at 5819 Chantry Drive on the East Side, offers visitors a chance to explore a world of science fiction and fantasy throughout its 40 rooms. Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Otherworld is open on Mondays and Wednesdays through Sundays. Tickets must be purchased online in advance at https://www.showclix.com/event/otherworldohio.
Across central Ohio’s landscape, Metro Parks such as Battelle Darby Creek, Highbanks, Walnut Woods and others feature a combined 28,000 acres of scenic forests, prairies, wetlands and seasonal swamp ponds — along with other natural hallmarks.
Forest areas are laced with trails that wrap around each park’s grounds, allowing visitors to see a variety of songbirds, waterfowl and other wildlife. Visitors can also go fishing, kayaking, sightseeing and take part in many other activities, including archery at Scioto Grove, boating at Prarie Oaks, rock climbing at Scioto Audubon and other offerings.
For a list of Metro Parks and trails in and around central Ohio, visit https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/.
Instead of residents being trapped inside their homes for spring break, they can opt for an escape-room experience.
Groups of friends, family members or co-workers can alternate roles as special agents, treasure-hunters or superheroes at a number of Columbus locations. At the Escape Room USA, 459 N High St. Suite 2, and Lockology Escape Rooms, 1625 Bethel Road, guests have one hour to find clues and solve puzzles to escape from a themed room. Every room is now limited to one group of participants, which will then be disinfected after their departure.
Breakout Games, 835 Grandview Ave, offers in-person and virtual experiences, in which a Breakout Gamemaster will join an online group in a Breakout Video call to walk them through one of the center’s various escape rooms.
All players younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the liability form. And any participants younger than 15 must have a parent or guardian present in the escape room.
To reserve an escape room at The Escape Room USA, go to https://escaperoomusa.com/columbus. For Lockology Escape Rooms, visit https://www.lockologyescaperooms.com/choose-location or go to https://breakoutgames.com/columbus/bookings for Breakout Games.
Operating hours and prices vary, so check websites for more information.
Olentangy Indian Caverns
Formed by an underground river that cut through limestone rock millions of years ago, the Olentangy Indian Caverns, 1779 Home Road, Delaware, is a gripping excursion of Native American lore. Visitors can see a maze of winding passages, artifacts and underground and ceremonal rooms that were occupied by the Wyandot tribe.
The caverns are open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Sundays through October. For a list of cavern tour prices and more information, visit https://olentangycaverns.com/ratesandhours.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Housing more than 10,000 animals representing nearly 600 species from around the globe, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 W. Powell Road, Delaware County, is a great place for animal lovers to explore the world’s wildlife.
Throughout the month of April, the Columbus Zoo will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, reservations are required for members and guests until 2 p.m. After 2 p.m., guests can visit the zoo without a timed reservation.
With a special spring savings offer, admission is $5 off the regular price through April 18. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.columbuszoo.org/home/visit/plan-your-visit/admission.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
As spring breeds the reblossoming of Columbus’ landscape, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., houses some of its most picturesque elements. Situated just east of Franklin Park, the conservatory houses acres of botanical biomes, lush gardens and special horticulture.
Along with its natural attractions, annual exhibitions such the Paul Busse Garden Railway and Blooms & Butterflies are also available to guests.
For more information about the conservatory and its offerings, go to https://www.fpconservatory.org.
At the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours and ZipZone Outdoor Adventures, local thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies can dive headfirst into central Ohio’s zip lining attractions.
ZipZone Outdoor Adventures, 7925 N High St., has zip line tours, a treetop obstacle course and a ground-level kids park. The locally-owned and operated business will open the Adventure Park, a self-guided tree-top obstacle course, on April 17.
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours, at 10714 Jackson St., Rockbridge — recognized as Ohio’s first zip line canopy tour — also boasts the X-Tour, which is larger and faster than the original tour; the Dragonfly Tour for kids ages 5 to 12; and the SuperZip Tour, a dual racing zip line that starts from an 85-foot-tower.
Hours vary at each location.
Baseball game in Cleveland or Cincinnati
It’s baseball season! For those eager to take in a ball game, why not head to Cleveland or Cincinnati for a Major League Baseball game?
Cleveland will face the Kansas City Royals at 4:10 p.m. on Monday during their home opener and 1:10 p.m. on Wednesday at Progressive Field. Then the team will host the Detroit Tigers at 7:10 p.m. on Friday, 6:10 p.m. Saturday and 1:10 p.m. Sunday.
And Cincinnati will square off against the Pittsburgh Pirates at 6:40 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and then again at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday at the Great American Ball Park.
Cleveland and Cincinnati tickets can be purchased at https://www.mlb.com/ and other online platforms.
At Topgolf, guests can take a swing in various climate-controlled hitting bays where patrons can compete in various golf-inspired mini-games – Jewel Jam. Top Pressure, Angry Birds and others.
The facility, located at 2000 Ikea Way, near Polaris, is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. To reserve a hitting bay, go to https://topgolf.com/us/plan-a-visit.
For high-spirited fun, Coliseum X — the largest indoor laser tag facility in the state — combines the best elements of traditional laser tag, video games and paintball.
Coliseum X, 100 Dillmont Drive in Park Place Center on the North Side, is open Thursdays through Sundays.
Hours vary, so check the website for details.
In line with COVID-19 regulations, many of these activities will require the use of face coverings, social distancing, online ticket reservation and other related protocols. Check the websites of the listed companies for further information on these guidelines and pricing for these offerings.