Teens and Tweens can be difficult. They can be opinionated and sometimes hard to please but with some planning, you can have a fantastic vacation. This article is full of tips on how to have an amazing visit to Columbus with teens and tweens.
Have them Help Plan The Itinerary
Be sure when planning your trip that you take everyone’s interests into account. You will get much more buy-in (and less complaining during the trip) if you have the teens/tweens help with the planning. I wrote a whole article detailing the itinerary my girls and I chose for Columbus. Check out our Family Vacation Ideas – Columbus Ohio here. Another great planning resource is Experience Columbus which has so much information on everything Columbus. Have your whole family check out their site and see which attractions work best for your trip.
Let The Kids Take The Lead
One our favorite activities on this trip was the Adventure in the Valley of the Unkown Exhibit at COSI. In The Valley of the Unknown is an entirely self-contained, mysterious world inside COSI. Step inside and you are transported to another place and another time: a remote island, shrouded in darkness, where remnants of an ancient culture guard a secret that only you can unlock. We split into two groups and let the kids discover clues and solve the riddles. This is a great activity for teens and tweens and I loved watching the girls work together to solve each challenge. A perfect example of when learning is fun. We completed the first level of the Adventure but there is another level that can take 20 hours to complete. This would be perfect for pass holders. This attraction does require an additional add-on admission ticket but it was well worth the price. Visit the COSI website for more information and to purchase tickets.
TIP: Purchase Tickets for Adventure in the Valley of the Unkown for the first time available. It is much less crowded and helps make the experience even more special with fewer people in the attraction.
Have a Mixture of Educational and Active Activities
Each day of our trip I tried to include some of each type of activity. COSI was full off educational and active activities. The hands-on exhibits made learning fun. The Columbus Zoo is full of learning opportunities as well and home to over 10,000 animals. We were excited to see Nora the Polar Bear Cub and cute kola bears. In addition, we visited Zoombezi Bay which was full of thrilling attractions on a hot summer day. Since it was back to school time and we were near an amazing mall, Easton Town Center, we spent some time shopping as well. This would not have been at the top of my list but the tweens and teens LOVED it. The girls loved swimming at the hotel pool too and just hanging out. Don’t forget with teens/tweens that downtime can be just as important as attraction time.
Check Out Special Events
Be sure to check out the Columbus Annual Events Calendar when planning your trip. There just might be a great event you want to attend. Cosi had a special Game Masters Exhibition we visited on our trip which we enjoyed.
Get There Early and Avoid the Crowds
I know teens and tweens love to sleep in but getting to attractions early can help you have your best day. We arrived at the Columbus Zoo right before opening and we were able to get to see Nora the Polar Bear cub up close and personal. That is my daughter’s feet right by the glass and Nora! A zoo employee told us how very busy the attraction gets as the day goes by so we were so happy to have this experience. By arriving at COSI before opening as well, we were able to visit the museum before it got too crowded. This was especially beneficial at the Adventure in the Valley of the Unkown exhibit because it helped create that mysterious island feel.
Take Advantage of Time Saving and Money Saving Offers
My favorite time-saving tip of our trip was taking advantage of the ZOOMPASS system at Zoombezi Bay. This system was an extra price (just $14.99 per person) but it enabled us to spend our time having fun instead of waiting in line. You just use your Zoomband to check into a ride and then when it is your turn to slide an alert is sent to your band. You all can then go to a special very short line and ride. This is fantastic technology!! I wish every amusement park and water park offered something similar at such as reasonable price. Instead of waiting in line, we played in the wave pool or lazy river . Our day was so much more enjoyable since we were having fun instead of waiting in line. Additionally, we rode many more slides because without the passes we all would have just gotten sick of waiting in line and started doing other things. The ZOOMPASS system really makes a big difference and I highly recommend it.
My favorite money saving tip is if you are traveling 5o miles or more you can get an exclusive Experience Easton discount book. This book is filled with over 85 exceptional discounts and offers and makes your visit even more rewarding! Get Your discount book here.
Don’t Forget to Take Breaks and Try Local Flavors
It isn’t a vacation unless you have ice cream…. at least that is what my kids say. We had heard amazing things about both Graeters and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. When I posted on my Instagram that we were in town, I was informed that we must try Graeters and it did not disappoint. Experience Columbus shared a great article with Columbus ice cream flavors to try. We know what will be doing on our next visit!
Go With the Flow
We had hoped to visit German Village and have a leisurely lunch on the patio but we had so much fun at COSI that we stayed there longer than we expected. Instead of trying rush and try to fit it all in, we had a quick lunch before we went to Easton Town Center. I would rather fully enjoy the attractions then rush and I know the kids do as well.
I have something special for you for your next trip to Columbus. I am giving away a $100 Dine Originals Columbus card to one lucky reader! This gift card is good at any one of their almost 50 member restaurants. What a fun way to enjoy the local dining scene in Columbus.
You can enter to win below.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Experience Columbus. The opinions and text are all mine.
Is Getting Dinner on the Table Every Night a Challenge? This can help! Learn Simple Ways to Meal Plan.
Sign up for the Everyday Savvy newsletter and get a meal planning checklist and weekly meal planner sheet.