Looking for things to do around Columbus this summer? Here are some attractions worth visiting

Becky Kover Earl Hopkins
The Columbus Dispatch

Ready to venture beyond your own backyard this summer?

We know that everyone has been longing for the change of season and a return to more normal circumstances, Well, here we are! 

To help guide you on your journeys throughout the Buckeye State, we, with the help of media partners from around Ohio, put together a guide to statewide fun.

The guide starts in the Columbus area, but you can seek out things to do far beyond in the rest of our summer guide covering the rest of the state.

Things to do in Ohio: Plenty of adventures, festivals and music await in Southwest Ohio

Take a trip: Delightful things to do and see this summer in Northeast Ohio

Home to wonderous summertime offerings such as the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Columbus Clippers baseball team and the Columbus Crew SC soccer team in its new stadium, there is a bounty of exciting things to do and places to visit right here in central Ohio.  

We hope you enjoy this sampling of ideas, and please be safe out there. 

Theme parks 

Why not enjoy a little fun in the sun at Zoombezi Bay?

Zoombezi Bay

4850 Powell Road, Powell area (Delaware County)

Devote a day cruising through the rushing tides at Zoombezi Bay. The water park, located just north of Columbus, boasts exciting slides, funnels and other rides. Attractions such as the Cyclone, SoundSurfer, Python Plunge and other attractions await this season. 

Admission: $30.99, or $24.99 for children 3 to 9 and guests 60 and older

Information: https://zoombezibay.columbuszoo.org/, 614-645-3400

Ohio summer attractions:It's time to have some fun! Here are things to do in Ohio this summer

Conservatories, botanical gardens and zoos

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

4850 Powell Road, Powell area (Delaware County)

With nearly 10,000 animals to see, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has a multitude of areas that are bound to strike visitors' curiosity. Travel through the zoo's Australia and the Islands, Asia Quest, Congo Expedition and Adventure Cove, the newest attraction at the zoo, which features sea lions and harbor seals, Jack Hanna's Animal Encounters Village and Stingray Bay.

Admission: $21.99, or $16.99 for children 3 to 9 and guests 60 and older for those who live outside Franklin County; $16.99, or $11.99 for children 3 to 9 and guests 60 and older who live in Franklin County

Information: https://www.columbuszoo.org/home, 614-645-3400

Columbus Zoo:What's new at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium? Meet its newest baby animals

Nature in bloom at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden

1777 E. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Filled with more than 400 species of plants and an extensive list of programs and exhibitions, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is where guests can enjoy their appreciation for the arts and nature's wonders. 

Through Dec. 31, 19 installations of Dale Chihuly's glasswork projects work will be on display at the conservatory's biomes for the "Chihuly Collection"; and exhibitions such as "In The Garden: Color To Discover," that features thousands of carefully tended foliage and flowers through Sept. 12.

Admission: $19 for ages 13 to 59, $16 for guests 60 and older and $12 for children 3 to 12; free for members and children younger than 2.

Information: https://www.fpconservatory.org/, 614-715-8000

The Dawes Arboretum offers a respite from daily life.

The Dawes Arboretum

7770 Jacksontown Road, near Newark (Licking County)

Filled with more than 15,400 plants on its grounds, Dawes Arboretum offers a collection of trees, gardens and natural areas that span over 2,000 acres. Engaging exhibits and programs are also held at the arboretum, including the Sunday Strolls from 1 to 2 p.m. on June 27, Mindful Meditations: Walk and Stretch from 9 to 10:15 a.m. on July 14 and others. Plus, you won't want to miss the "Ribbit the Exhibit" on display at the arboretum.

Admission: $10, or $5 for children 5 to 15, free for children younger than 5 

Information: https://dawesarb.org/, 740-323-2355

Special exhibit:Dawes Arboretum features the work of the 'Frog Man' for the summer

Josie Zmuda, left, is turning 2 on June 3, and her mom, Jennifer Zmuda, far right, wanted to get some new photos to post. The photoshoot happened at Inniswood Metro Gardens in Westerville on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Josie's grandmother, Diane Zmuda, background, came along for the shoot. Jennifer said they live in the Eastmoor neighborhood.

Inniswood Metro Gardens

940 S. Hempstead Road, Westerville (Franklin County)

Nestled inside a nature preserve, the 123-acre Inniswood Metro Gardens is filled with beautiful landscape areas. Inniswood's streams and woodlands are filled with majestic flowers and wildlife, with the area housing more than 2,000 species of plants, specialty collections and theme gardens. 

Admission: free

Information: https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/inniswood-metro-gardens/, 614-208-4301

Outdoor concerts 

Concerts in Columbus:Summer 2021 brings concerts and music festivals big and small back to Columbus area

Kygo will perform during the Breakaway Music Festival

Breakaway Music Festival

Historic Crew Stadium, Interstate 71 near East Hudson Street, Columbus (Franklin County)

With the return of the Breakaway Musical Festival following last year's cancellation, the annual, multi-day music event will take place at the Historic Crew Stadium from Sept. 3-4. Performers will include Kygo and Chelsea Cutler on Sept. 3 and Illenium and Sofi Tukker on Sept. 4.

Admission: single-day tickets cost $69.99, two-day tickets cost $119.99, two-day VIP passes cost $249.99 and VIP tables start at $2,000. Additional packages are available on the Breakaway Music Festival website

Information: https://breakawayfestival.com/breakawayfestival.com

Columbus concert:Breakaway Music Festival making its return Sept. 3-4 with unique presale offerings

Green Day: Hella Mega tour

Historic Crew Stadium, Interstate 71 near East Hudson Street (Franklin County)

As musical venues are seeing a return to traditional concerts, a number of events are making their way to the Historic Crew Stadium this summer. Among its list of upcoming musical showcases, one of the biggest highlights includes a performance by Green Day, Fallout Boy, Weezer and the Interrupters on Aug. 17 for the band's The Hella Mega Tour.

Admission: beginning at $59.50 and VIP packages are available at up to $400. 

Information: https://www.livenation.com/event/vvG1fZplZ7txQ6/the-hella-mega-tour-green-day-fall-out-boy-weezer

Things to do in Columbus:Legendary rock band Green Day to perform in Columbus at Historic Crew Stadium on Aug. 17

The Groove at Rock The Ridge Music Series

Ridge Golf & Gardens, 17487 Robinson Road, Marysville (Union County)

Come out for a mid-summer musical experience at the Rock The Ridge concert series event on Aug. 27 to hear some classic rock, rhythm and blues from local artists. The event will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Ridge Golf & Gardens, which features an outdoor patio overlooking the golf course.

Admission: free 

Information: https://stayhappening.com/e/the-groove-at-rock-the-ridge-music-series-E2ISTNPHLG6

The Music Elevates Stage (left) and River Stage (right) in between music acts at the WonderBus Music & Arts Festival in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday August 17, 2019.

WonderBus Music and Arts Festival

2540 Olentangy River Road, Columbus (Franklin County)

Live and in-person, this year's WonderBus Music and Arts Festival will feature an incredible lineup of musical acts on the lawn at CAS on Aug. 28-29. Performers such as Kesha, Wilco, AJR, Grouplove, Black Pumas, The Band CAMINO and others will take center stage.

Admission: Weekend tickets for adults is $175, or $85 for children 3 to 10. VIP tickets cost $450, or $250 for children. One-day ticket prices can be found on the WonderBus website

Information: https://www.wonderbusfest.com/

Things to do in Ohio: Looking for things to do this summer? There's plenty of activities in Northwest Ohio


Special museum exhibits:What you'll find visiting Columbus museums, other attractions this summer

COSI has welcomed back visitors to the science center.

Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

333 W. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Having reopened earlier this month, the nationally recognized facility is back and displaying some new exhibitions. While the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater, Gadgets Live Show Stage, Motion Simulator and other areas are closed for the foreseeable future, COSI's ¡Cuba! exhibit will give visitor's a look into the island's history and unspoiled biodiversity.

Admission: $25 for ages 13 and older, $23 for guests 60 and older and $20 for youths 2 to 12; free for members

Information: https://www.cosi.org/, 614-228-2674

COSI:Families introduced to magical world of animation at new COSI exhibit

The Columbus Museum of Art

Columbus Museum of Art 

480 E. Broad St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Considering the long list of enriching art museums throughout the state, the Columbus Museum of Art is certainly among the top historic centers — and for good reason. Current and ongoing exhibitions of note include "Think Outside the Brick: The Creative Art of LEGO On View" through Aug. 20 and "Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Robinson’s House and Journals" through Oct. 3. 

Admission: $18, or $9 for senior citizens and students; $5 Thursdays evenings; free for ages 4 to 17, age 3 and younger, members, veterans and active military and their families; and free on Sundays 

Information: https://www.columbusmuseum.org/, 614-221-6801

Free things to do:Columbus Museum of Art kicks off free-admission campaign for local youth, caregivers\

AHA! A Hands-On Adventure, A Children's Museum

1708 River Valley Circle South, Lancaster (Fairfield County)

Designed for children 6 months to 8 years old, the museum invites children to engage with the adults in their lives for a playful and educational experience. Through the center's Steam Zone, Ball Mountain, Block Table and other exhibits, each child and participating adult is able to explore their curiosity and celebrate the childlike wonder within them. 

Admission: $8, or free for children 1 and younger

Information: https://www.aha4kids.org/, 740-653-1010

Things to do in Columbus:Ready to get the family out of the house? Things to do with kids in the Columbus area this summer

The Ted Lewis Museum

133 W. Main St., Circleville (Pickaway County)

The Ted Lewis Museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Circleville-born musician and entertainer who died in 1971. Guests are free to visit exhibits that follow “The King of Jazz” through his career. 

Admission: free

Information: https://www.tedlewismuseum.org, 740-477-3630

The Works: Ohio Center For History, Art And Technology

 55 S. 1st St., Newark (Licking County)

The Works offers a hands-on look at art history, science and glassblowing. Daily events include Discovery labs, art gallery, glassblowing demonstrations and other activities. For upcoming events and programs, visit the organization's website

Admission: $12 for those 18-54, or $10 for senior citizens 55 and older; $8 for children 3 to 17, free for children 3 and younger

Information: https://attheworks.org/habitat/, 740-349-9277

Sporting events

Columbus Clippers

Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane in the Arena District, Columbus (Franklin County)

Miss the smell of Cracker Jacks that's long been synonymous with America's favorite passtime, then go out to a Columbus Clippers game at Huntington Park. The Clippers will face off against Indianapolis for a stretch of home games between July 6-11.

Admission: starting at $7 

Information: https://huntingtonparkcolumbus.com/, 614-462-5250

Columbus Clippers:Fans, employees at Huntington Park happy to be back

The Columbus Crew will soon be playing in their new stadium, Lower.com Field.

The Columbus Crew 

Lower.com Field, 560 W. Nationwide Blvd., Columbus (Franklin County)

With a new logo and stadium at the center of Downtown Columbus, attending a Columbus Crew game is a surefire way to bring out your inner pride for the capital city. For the first game inside the newly built Lower.com Field on July 3, the Crew will square off against the New England Revolution for an evening game.

Admission:  limited single-ticket prices range between $150 to $241 (for the first game), tickets vary per game

Information: https://www.columbuscrew.com/

Watch the Crew:How to buy Columbus Crew tickets to the inaugural game at Lower.com Field

Festivals and fairs 

Franklin County Fair

Franklin County Fairgrounds, 4100 Columbia St., Hilliard Franklin County)

Harness racing, livestock auctions and animal showcases all make their return this year from July 19-25 at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

Admission: Advance tickets are available for $6 through July 18. After that, admission will be $8.

Information: https://www.fcfair.org/franklin-county-fair/, 614-876-7235

County fairs are back:2021 fair season begins

Madison County Fair

Madison County Fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London (Madison County)

Like other neighboring fairs and festivals, the Madison County Fair will be showcasing local entertainment, exhibits and competitions. Scheduled for July 10-17, the annual event will ultimately celebrate all that the local community has to offer. 

Admission: to be announced

Information: https://www.madisoncountyfairoh.com. 740-852-1654

Things to do in summer 2021:Here are all the festivals and fairs taking place in the Columbus area this summer

Union County Fair

Union County Fairgrounds, 845 N. Main St., Marysville (Union County)

From July 25-31, the county will host an event filled with entertainment, agriculture, education, arts and crafts and community togetherness. In addition to the fair, the Union County fairgrounds will host community events, horse shows, 4-H events and other showcasings. 

Admission: $10 for a daily pass for those ages 5 to 65, or $50 for a weekly pass; free for guests 5 and younger or 65 and older. Tickets will go on sale online starting July 1

Information: https://www.ohiounioncountyfair.com/

Delaware County Fair

Delaware County Fairgrounds, 236 Pennsylvania Ave., Delaware (Delaware County)

With a storied history of entertainment and interesting exhibitions, the Delaware County Fair looks to forge the same offerings from Sept. 18-25. From harness racing, hundreds of exhibitors and a full schedule of motorsports events, the county fair offers something for everyone. 

Admission: $7 for all ages; individual ride tickets are priced at $1.50 each; all-day wrist bands cost $15; free for children 8 and younger and visitors age 55 and older are free on Sept. 21. And military veterans or active members have free admission on Sept. 24

Information: http://www.delawarecountyfair.com/, 740-362-3851

Ohio State Fair:State fair will not be open to the public this summer

Lancaster Festival

Various venues, Lancaster (Fairfield County)

Driven to promote artistic growth and outreach, the 2021 Lancaster Festival will feature a string of outdoor performances from July 24-31. 

The first performance of the festival will feature The Band Perry and the Lancaster Festival Orchestra on July 24, with the grand finale headlined by legendary guitarist Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles, on July 31 (both at the Ohio University-Lancaster's Wendel Concert Stage).

Admission: varies; check website for details

Information: https://www.lancasterfestival.org, 740-687-4808

Breweries and wineries 

Crafted Culture in Gahanna is the first Black-owned brewery in central Ohio. Peyton, left, and Zac Baaske, right, get the brewery ready for opening on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. Peyton is responsible for food and events, while Zac is the brewer. Both are part of the ownership group.

Crafted Culture Brewing

505 Morrison Road, Gahanna (Franklin County)

Stocked with an assortment of librations to match any guests' flavor palate, the newly established Crafted Culture Brewing company offers fresh ciders, ales and IPAs. 

Information: https://www.craftedculturebrew.com/, 614-269-8920

Columbus craft breweries:Crafted Culture Brewing breaks barriers as the first Black-owned brewery in central Ohio

Cans wait to be filled at Lineage Brewing in Clintonville. [Courtney Hergesheimer/Dispatch]

Lineage Brewing

2971 N. High St., Columbus (Franklin County)

If you're looking to kick back with a fresh brew in hand, this is a great place to start. Housed in an old car wash, the brewing company offers 10 to 12 beer styles on tap, delicious comfort food and scenic patio seating. 

Information: https://www.lineagebrew.com/

Old Dog Alehouse & Brewery

13 W. William St., Delaware (Delaware County)

With its wide selection of IPAs, ales, stouts and other offerings, Delaware's Old Dog Alehouse & Brewery is truly a place that mirrors its mission of "good food, good beer, and life over dinner." Along with its long list of libations, Old Dog also has a wide range of shareable items, entrees, salads, sandwiches and side dishes.

Information: https://www.olddogalehouse.com/, 740-990-4506

Homestead Beer Company Delaware Public House

59 Potter St., Delaware (Delaware County)

The brewery houses 20 taps behind the bar, mainly pouring a standard lineup of house beers, with two taps reserved for guest beers from nearby breweries such as Restoration Beer Worx and Old Dog Alehouse. There are also ciders on tap, a selection of wine, and custom cocktails, including “no proof” cocktails.

Information: https://homesteadbeerco.com/, 740-513-3908

Double Edge Brewing Company

158 W. Chestnut St., Lancaster (Fairfield County)

Offering flights, pints and half-pints in the brand's taproom. Double Edge Brewing Company is an ideal spot for fans of flavorful craft options. Along with its long list of ciders, wines and ales, Double Edge also hosts food truck events. 

Information: http://www.double-edge.beer, 740-277-7465

Rockside Winery and Vineyards

2363 Lancaster-Newark Rd NE, Lancaster (Fairfield County)

In believing wine is a source of enjoyment, Lancaster's Rockside Winery and Vineyards is fitting for groups of friends and families seeking vinos made locally and those selected from international wine-growing regions. 

Information: https://www.rocksidewinery.com, 740-687-4414

Manchester Hill Winery

13160 Tarlton Road, Circleville (Pickaway County)

The winery, which has been an award-winning and family-owned and operated establishment since 2011, is a source for hand-crafted wines and ciders from locally sourced fruits. The winery is home to events such as yoga at the winery on Monday evenings and special deals on wine slushies, hard ciders and glasses on Thursdays,

Information: http://manchesterhill.com/, 845-893-8724

Outdoor adventures 

Campers put on harnesses inside painted squares promoting social distancing before a ziplining session at ZipZone inside Camp Mary Orton in north Columbus on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

ZipZone Outdoor Adventures

7925 N. High St., Columbus (Franklin County)

Offering zip line tours, a tree-top obstacle course and a ground-level kids park, ZipZone is an outdoor experience that offers something for everyone. Locally owned and operated since 2012, ZipZone will provide a unique adventure that's suited for an entire family of thrill-seekers.

Admission: Canopy Tour, $79; Night Flights, $89; Adventure Park, $49, or $44 for ages 7 to 11; and Kids Park, $19 for ages 4 to 7 . 

Information: zipzonetours.com, 614-847-9477

Outdoor sports in Columbus:Kayaking, canoeing popular in Ohio during and after COVID-19 restrictions

Jet Pack Water Adventures

2715 Sugar Grove Rd SE, Lancaster (Fairfield County)

Seeking an adrenaline-packing, airborne experience? Visit Lancaster's Jet Pack Water Adventures. Like a superhero in flight, the daring can elevate 30 feet in the air or run alongside water with the jet pack and flyboard experience.

Admission: $99 for a 25-minute experience; $139 for a 35-minute experience; $189 for 45 minutes; and all-day experience for up to 6 people costs $1,500. Full payment is required to schedule an appointment.

Information: http://www.jetpackwateradventures.com, 740-359-8463

Hocking Hills and more: 24 exciting things to do in Southeast Ohio this summer

Ohio Adventures

2340 Dry Creek Rd NE, Granville (Licking County)

Located in the Granville area, Ohio Adventures is one of the prominent centers for those who enjoy outdoor explorations, with attractions such as zip lining, water tag, laser tag and a two-story challenge course on-site. With a day pass, guests will also receive free access to Ohio Adventure's basketball court, volleyball court, horseshoe pit and other areas. 

Admission: prices vary per activity; to rent supplies, guests must fill out a rental request form online

Information: https://ohioadventures.biz/, 740-366-4385