COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Financially, it has been a rough year, so here are seven outings that won’t break the bank for a family of four Monday through Saturday.
Monday — Hike & Lights
Start the day off by driving north of the city to Highbanks Metro Park. Follow signs to the trailhead for viewing the eagle’s nest. The path is gravel and can be muddy, so sturdy shoes are required. Restrooms are generally clean; parents should accompany children into park bathrooms. Picnic shelters are covered with tables for packed lunches — 70 are non-reservable. Grills for hot food are provided, but bring your own charcoal for the fire.
Then head north on U.S. 23 for a light display in Delaware. Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights offers a Monday discount ticket for $20, leaving enough for hot chocolates for four people at a drive-through window. Low on cash? Take in the FREE display at Lights of Glenross. The show now includes Glenross, Glenross North, Braumiller and Dornoch Estates subdivisions, located between U.S. 23 and South Old State Road.
Tuesday — Day at the Movies
Marcus Theatres offers $5 admission with a free complimentary-size popcorn when you sign up for Magical Movie Rewards, a free service. A family of four can see two movies for $40 — and get free popcorn too.
AMC Discount Tuesday: Become a Stubs member by downloading the app, and you’ll get tickets for $6 each Tuesday. Add to that two cameo popcorn deals for $5 each for the kids, and your night out will be $35, coming in $10 under budget.
Wednesday — Michelangelo, a Different View
This show at the Convention Center’s Union Station Ballroom runs from Dec. 22 to 31. This is the only exhibition showcasing the entire set of works and is officially licensed by the Vatican Museums, the website says. On 50-plus pieces, including the Last Judgement and the Creation of Adam, this experience allows visitors to view superb reproductions of the elaborate paintings of the Florentine master from a short distance with no time constraints, meaning they will be able to appreciate fully their beauty and fine detail.
Tickets: Children’s admission is $10/each, adults $17, and a group of four is $45. If you have a strict $40 budget, the adult less interested in art can wait in a coffee shop. But the description looks worth the stretch.
Thursday — Pretend to be in Germany
Park the car at Schiller Park, 1069 Jaeger Street, Columbus. Walk the park and take pictures with the public art, and admire the lights on the houses that border the park. Then walk up the cobbled South Third Street lined with European-style red brick buildings.
Stop in for a hot chocolate at Winans, or continue north to The Book Loft. Buy fudge for the family (including sugar-free) at Schmidt’s Fudge House, test the hand cream at Tiki Botanicals. Macarons at Pistacia Vera, or coffee at Stauf’s to warm up, before circling back to the car. And if you need a hamburger bigger than your head, walk a couple of blocks to the Thurman Cafe — walk there, waddle home.
Friday — 12 Elves of Dublin
Twelve elves are hiding all over historic Dublin. Pick up an entry card at a business and join the FREE scavenger hunt that lasts until Dec. 23. Enter to win a grand prize in the drawing at the end of the month. If elves aren’t enough, add your own discovery of Dublin’s Christmas trees to your trail.
Walk the Dublin Link, the longest span, single tower S-shaped suspension bridge in the world, connecting Historic Dublin to Bridge Park.
If you drive north on Riverside Drive, you’ll be able to see some of the Columbus Zoo lights from the road. Head over to a FREE neighborhood display: Sawmill Meadows Lights, 2691 Sawmill Meadows Avenue, Columbus 43016. Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 11 p.m.
Saturday — Leave home late, get back early
Central Ohio Fire Museum: 260 North 4th Street, Columbus. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $6 each for kids, $8 for adults.
Short North: Core business hours open between noon and 5 p.m. Check individual locations for opening times.
Sunday — Culture Vulture
Columbus Museum of Art Sundays are FREE, 480 E. Broad Street, Columbus 43215, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.