Staircase re creation from “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” at COSI in Columbus (photo courtesy of COSI)
Travel | Cities

4 Reasons to Explore Columbus This Season

From experiencing Titanic at COSI to taking in a game at Huntington Park to enjoying the outdoors, our capital city offers plenty to experience. 

See “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” at COSI

As the clocks spring forward, visitors to Columbus’ Center of Science and Industry can travel back in time with “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.” Opening March 9, the 10,000-square-foot exhibition runs through Sept. 2 and shares the captivating tale of the famous ship that met its tragic end after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic in 1912.

“It’s a really immersive experience that’s telling you the story of the ship from the beginning to the end,” says Kelli Kinzig, senior project manager at COSI.

The exhibition focuses on bringing visitors into the stories of Titanic’s crew and passengers, from the construction of the ship and the excitement surrounding it all the way to its final moments in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. 

“There’s a lot of dramatic room re-creations, including the iconic grand staircase,” Kinzig notes.

Not only will the exhibition include re-creations of the luxurious rooms for first-class passengers but also those of third-class passengers that bring to light the disparities in the treatment of the different classes of people the ship carried. As with all exhibitions at COSI, this one has hands-on components for all ages, such as an iceberg that visitors can touch to feel how cold the water would have been the night the ship sank.

“Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” lives up to its name with over 200 artifacts from the shipwreck on display. Visitors can see a megaphone that may have been used to issue commands on the ship’s final night as well as a cut-glass light globe that would have illuminated passenger rooms and a telephone stand used for communication throughout the ship. Although this exhibition is curated by the same group that owns the permanent Titanic exhibitions in Las Vegas and Orlando, COSI’s version has artifacts from all classes of passengers that are not on display anywhere else. If a Titanic exhibition at COSI sounds familiar, it’s because the museum has hosted it twice before, in 2005 and 2010.

“It is being brought back by popular demand,” says Kinzig, who is part of the team that chooses and manages COSI’s traveling exhibitions. “It was very successful when we had it in the past, and people always ask for it to come back.”

While at COSI, don’t forget to check out the rest of the exhibits. “The Nature of Color,” a collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, opens April 13 and runs through Sept. 2. COSI’s planetarium and permanent exhibits are consistent favorites, and the center’s live science demonstrations are a must-see during your visit.

This year also marks COSI’s 60th anniversary, so keep an eye on the museum’s website for updates about special events and activities throughout 2024. “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” comes at an additional $10 charge to a general admission ticket for COSI members, and an additional $15 charge for nonmembers. Purchasing tickets online in advance is recommended as it will get you $5 off general admission. 333 W. Broad St., Columbus 43215, 614/228-2674,


Boy climbing playground equipment at Columbus & Franklin County Metro Park (photo by Leslie Dybiec)

Explore Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks

For a free, fun way to spend some time outside, the Columbus & Franklin County Metro Parks have activities and attractions at 20 different parks scattered throughout the region.

In the heart of downtown Columbus, check out Scioto Audubon Metro Park. This 100-acre park boasts a playground, sand volleyball courts and paved paths along the Scioto River. For teenagers and adults, the park’s obstacle course (complete with monkey bars, a log run and a cargo climb) is a great way to get moving after a sedentary winter. Visitors can also stop by the Grange Insurance Audubon Center for programs focused on birds and migration as well as information about the park, which the National Audubon Society has designated an Important Bird Area.

On the west side of the city, Quarry Trails offers paved paths ideal for strollers and bikes as well as a variety of short trails. Be sure to take the one that leads to the park’s 25-foot Millikin Falls. Other popular activities include a mountain-bike course and free kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard programs. For something more advanced, try tackling the urban via ferrata, a course that features rungs and cables and is the first of its kind in the nation.

Another highlight of the county’s Metro Parks family is the 44-acre Homestead in Hilliard.

“It’s what a lot of people might refer to as a pocket park,” says Jill Snyder, visitor engagement manager for Columbus & Franklin County Metro Parks.

Despite its relatively small size, Homestead contains plenty of memorable attractions. Take the kids to peek inside the blue train caboose or watch the fish in the lake before heading to one of two playgrounds. For more information about these and other Columbus & Franklin County Metro Parks, visit


Crowd watching a Columbus Clippers baseball game at Huntington Park (photo courtesy of Columbus Clippers)

Take in a Columbus Clippers Game

Cheer on the Columbus Clippers, the city’s Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians, at Huntington Park this season. Opening Day is April 2 against the Omaha Storm Chasers. The season also kicks off with the Tuesday home-game staple, Dime-A-Dog night, where you can feed the family for just 10 cents a hot dog. That’s just the start of the fun though.

“We have things going on all season long for families,” says Steve Kuilder, the team’s director of marketing and in-game entertainment. Sunday home games are Family Days, with an early 1:05 p.m. start time, special ticket promotions and a post-game fun run around the bases. Puppypalooza days also return this year, where fans can register to bring their dogs along and take a lap around the field together prior to the game.

For anyone worried about their kids’ ability to sit through the length of a baseball game, the ballpark offers inflatables and a splash pad (once the weather is warm enough) that provide places to play that can entertain even the most energetic kids. Little ones will also have fun searching the ballpark for the team’s mascots, Krash and LouSeal.

Frequent attendees can join the Clippers’ MVP Kids Club. In addition to discounted tickets, members get the opportunity to stand along the baselines during the national anthem at each Sunday home game. Kuilder recommends buying tickets online, but they can also be purchased over the phone or in-person at the Huntington Park box office. 330 Huntington Park Ln., Columbus 43215, 614/462-5250,


Butterfly during “Blooms & Butterflies” at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (photo courtesy of Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens)

Visit Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

A visit to Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is the perfect way to celebrate the coming of spring. Bring the whole family to explore the beautiful gardens and the main conservatory building.

Seventy-five of the conservatory’s 80 acres are accessible without admission, and the Children’s Garden — included with the purchase of a general admission ticket — is designed especially for little ones to explore.

Inside the conservatory, there are different biomes to walk through, from the desert to the rainforest. March 16 brings a new bonsai display that will remain on view throughout the summer and fall.

Spring also brings the conservatory’s annual “Blooms & Butterflies,” which runs from Feb. 24 to July 7 and is included with admission. Beloved across generations, 2024 marks the 30th year of the event in which visitors are invited to meander among up to 2,000 live butterflies in the Pacific Island Water Garden biome.

“A crowd favorite is the blue morpho,” says Bonnie DeRubertis, the conservatory’s associate director of exhibitions. “That one has these really vibrant, beautiful wings that are almost a cobalt blue color.” Most of the species in the exhibition are not native to the United States, so “Blooms and Butterflies” offers visitors the chance to see butterflies that they wouldn’t find in their backyard.

Children and adults alike will also enjoy learning about and seeing the lab where chrysalis hang until the new butterflies are ready to emerge, take flight and be released into the biome. 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus 43203, 614/715-8000,


Lit glass flowers at Chihuly Nights at Columbus’ Franklin Park Conservatory (all rights reserved, Chihuly Studio)
Save the Date
Check out these festivals, concerts and events happening throughout Columbus. 

Arnold Sports Festival
Feb 29–March 3
The Arnold Sports Festival returns to the Greater Columbus Convention Center and Ohio Expo Center. The festival, founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger, celebrates its 36th anniversary in 2024 with a diverse lineup of events such as strength and Olympic sports, seven IFBB Pro League contests and the Arnold Strongman Classic.

Chihuly Nights
March 9, April 6, May 4
Light up the evening at one of three Chihuly Nights scheduled this season at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This unique experience provides visitors with the chance to see illuminated installations of 18 works by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly set amongst the flora of the gardens.

Mamma Mia!
March 12–17
The touring production of “Mamma Mia!” takes the Ohio Theatre stage. The musical featuring the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA is set on the fictional Greek island of Kalokairi and follows the story of a daughter who is trying to find her real father before her wedding day — and without her mother’s suspicion.

Olivia Rodrigo
March 22
Grammy Award winner Olivia Rodrigo takes the stage at Nationwide Arena as part of her “Guts World Tour.” Expect Rodrigo to perform hits like “Good 4 U” and “Drivers License” from her four-time-platinum debut album, “Sour,” as well as “Vampire” from her 2023 release, “Guts.”

Fall Out Boy
March 29
Fall Out Boy brings its “So Much For (2our) Dust” tour to the Schottenstein Center. Special guests Jimmy Eat World, Hot Mulligan and Carr open the show before Fall Out Boy performs songs from the band’s eighth album, “So Much (For) Stardust,” and other fan favorites.

Bunny and egg characters at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Eggs, Paws and Claws (photo courtesy of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium)

Eggs, Paws and Claws
March 29-30
Hop into the season with Eggs, Paws and Claws at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The two-day event on Easter weekend features a chance to snap pictures with the Easter Bunny and Eggbert as well as participate in Egg-Splore-N-Find, an Easter egg hunt for the whole family.

Upper Deck Golf at The Shoe
April 19-21
Ohio State football fans have the opportunity to make a drive at The Horseshoe, taking their swing from the upper deck of the stadium toward greens on the field. While waiting for their tee time, golfers can visit the clubhouse to enjoy live music, golf challenges, food and drinks.

Ohioana Book Festival 
April 20 
Spend a day among fellow book lovers and discover the next great book for your reading list during this annual event at the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s main branch. Visit with your favorite Ohio authors during this free festival that features over 100 writers from across the state.

Earth Day Columbus
April 27
Celebrate and give back during this celebration at Genoa Park in downtown Columbus. The event tops off a week of service such as tree planting, beautification, cleanups and more done by community volunteers. Help commemorate the week of hard work at this gathering that includes vendor booths and food trucks.

Child playing at COSI Science Festival in Columbus (photo by Alli Mullkin for Robb McCormick Photography)

COSI Science Festival 
May 1-4
Bring the kids to explore the COSI Science Festival. This four-day, fun-forward learning event features community STEAM programs all across central Ohio that culminate in the Big Science Celebration on May 4 that hosts more than 100 exhibitor stations focused on hands-on science experiences for kids.

Sonic Temple 
May 16-19
This loud and larger-than-life festival makes its return to Historic Crew Stadium this spring, with 2024 passes and camping accommodations now available. The four-day outdoor art and music festival has four separate stages featuring a heavy-hitting lineup of performers that includes Disturbed, Slipknot, Machine Head and more.

Columbus Asian Festival 
May 25-26
Founded in 1995, the Columbus Asian Festival promotes diversity and inclusivity during a two-day celebration of culture at Franklin Park. Attracting more than 100,000 visitors each year, the festival includes events such as a dragon boat race and ping-pong tournament as well as live performances.

Chicken & Beer Festival
June 1
The combination of chicken and beer just screams summer, and Dodge Park will be serving up both all day long during this favorite annual festival that features food vendors, breweries, merchants and artists. A portion of proceeds benefit Use Your Ears, a local nonprofit that provides music resources to youth in Columbus.

Guy Fieri's Flavortown Fest
June 1-2
Bring your appetite to The Lawn at CAS for Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Fest, a two-day mix of food, music and fun. The flavorful experience includes live music from Greta Van Fleet, Bret Michaels and Kane Brown as well as classic carnival rides and stacked plates of food.

Taco at Columbus Taco Week (photo courtesy of Columbus Taco Week)

Columbus Taco Week
June 3-8
Every day is Taco Tuesday during Columbus Taco Week. What started as an effort to support local businesses in 2020 has become a weeklong, fiesta-forward event that invites locals to enjoy $2 tacos in support of Feed the Kids Columbus. A full list of participating restaurants can be found online.

The Memorial Tournament
June 3-9
See some of the PGA’s biggest names during The Memorial Tournament at Columbus native Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin. The tournament raises money for charities in Ohio and beyond, and members of the community can purchase tickets to watch the action on one of the state’s best courses.

Columbus Arts Festival
June 7-9
The Columbus Arts Festival returns to the downtown riverfront for its 62nd year. This visual and performing arts festival draws more than 500,000 people annually to browse works by a diverse lineup of over 225 artists. The event also includes food and drink, live music, dance, theater and more.

Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival
June 14-15
Columbus is a welcoming, LGBTQ-friendly city, a fact exemplified in this annual march and festival presented by Stonewall Columbus that is one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest. This two-day event at Goodale Park celebrates inclusivity and identity with food, performances, community resources and more.

Columbus Air Show
June 14-16
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds make their return to our capital city for yet another exhilarating appearance. This three-day event held at Rickenbacker International Airport also includes appearances by historic aircraft, such as the B-25 Mitchell Bomber Rosie’s Reply and the B-17 Flying Fortress Yankee Lady, as well as a variety of aerobatic performers. 

Juneteenth Ohio Festival 
June 15-16
Celebrate the commemoration of the end of slavery following the Civil War during this festival that returns to Genoa Park for its 27th year. The annual event features food, music and more, while promoting ethnic diversity with an emphasis on cultural unity. Proceeds from the event benefit factual-literacy initiatives.

Buckeye Country Superfest 
June 22-23
Grab your cowboy hats and head for The Shoe as a showcase of country music acts returns to Columbus for the seventh summer. Zach Bryan headlines both nights with other acts on the bill during the two-day event including Billy Strings, Turnpike Troubadours, Charley Crockett, Levi Turner and 49 Winchester.