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Our Family’s Roar & Explore Get Away in Columbus, Ohio (Part 1)

We recently made a trip to Columbus, Ohio for a family weekend get away! My husband is a teacher so if we are going to explore, most times it’s best for our family to do so in the summer. Having two little ones, it’s difficult to go far away, but we know that there are places close to home that are gems, too! Columbus, Ohio is definitely one of those places and it was a great place for our family get away because it’s such a family friendly place!
Experience Columbus

We found an amazing package for visiting Columbus, Ohio that was perfect for our long weekend. The Roar & Explore package includes the following: two nights in a Drury Inn & Suites Hotel, 4 Tickets to each of the following: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Zoombezi Bay Waterpark and Cosi! We were in for a weekend packed full of fun and what made this trip even better? A close friend who I’ve known since I was two years old and is pretty much a sister to me lives in that area. We invited her family along too so we could spend some time with them while we were there.

Since my mom also lives in Ohio, just over an hour north of Columbus we began our trip Thursday evening. We drove to my mom’s house so we could see her and let her visit the babies. We slept there and woke up Friday morning and we were off to the zoo in Columbus. We were questioning our plans, as it was supposed to be 98 degrees! We had planned this trip though and there was no turning back. I called our pediatrician just to be sure of what I could do to make sure baby Addy didn’t dehydrate since she’s only nursed at this point and to reassure myself that she would be ok in the heat. We got the green light from her and we were on our way to our Columbus get away!
Columbus Zoo

First stop: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! I love that both the zoo and aquarium are in one location and both are included in one admission price! The Columbus Zoo was voted the number one zoo by USA Travel Guide and we could quickly see why. This zoo is honestly one of the best I’ve been to, and oh yea, they have Jack Hanna! Although we didn’t see him, it was very cool seeing “his” zoo!

The zoo has many shops, rides and food stands that keep you entertained along with the excitement of seeing the animals. One of the things my husband commented about was the fact that the animals were actually OUT where we could see them. We had thought that since it was soooo hot the animals would be inside and not visible but we were wrong! That seems to be what happens at our local zoo so that’s what we were expecting. I am so glad we were wrong! The shops were great to visit and peruse as we took a few minutes to cool down! This was one of the cleanest zoos I’ve seen as well. It’s very well manicured and incredibly earth and family friendly. Let’s see some pictures of our incredible visit:

Columbus Zoo

 Daddy and the kids right outside of the excitement we were about to encounter!

Columbus Zoo Entrance

 Here we are just arriving at the zoo…we both loved this fountain so we both took a photo with the kids!

Columbus Zoo Animals

I won’t bombard you with a bunch of photos of the animals we saw because you’ll want to see them for yourself when you get there! These are just a few of  LA’s favorite animals. He was so excited to see the bear laying in the waterfall and the alligator laying in the water! Yes, he loves water!

Columbus Zoo water

They both loved staring into the aquariums! See their shadows on the glass on the right? Love it!

Boys in the Mist at the Zoo

We were so thankful for the “misters” that the zoo kindly turned on to help keep us cool on this incredibly hot day! I wish I had this on video because LA really had a ball with this water fun! “Again, again!!!”  …that was all he could say! Little did he know, we’d be in a ton more water the next day at Zoombezi Bay!

Holding Hands

We met up with our friends at the zoo. They have a little girl that is about a year and a half older than LA. They were adorable together and even wanted to hold hands from stroller to stroller! <3  Those plans we had for an arranged marriage may work out after all! LOL 😉

Family Earth Friendly Zoo

I mentioned this zoo is family AND earth friendly and these were two things that I really loved about it. Ok, I loved everything about it! 🙂 They had an infant nursing station (I’d like to see a few more, but I was so happy that they had this! There may be more, but we only saw this one.) They had recycle trash containers throughout the zoo and at the exit they even had a place to recycle your zoo map! I LOVE IT!!!!  Huge thumbs up to the Columbus Zoo for their efforts and accomplishments on being so family and earth friendly!

We left the zoo earlier than I had hoped, but the kids were exhausted, my husband was tired and yes, as much as I hate to admit it I was done too. We didn’t get to see everything I had hoped for but we did see sooo much and it gave us reason to return next summer! Our next stop? Checking into our hotel (home) for the weekend.

Drury Inn Columbus Convention Center

Photo courtesy of Drury Inn & Suites

Next stop was our home for the weekend at the Drury Inn & Suites Convention Center, downtown Columbus. It is connected to the convention center for any events being held there. In fact, there was a Tastefully Simple convention going on and our hotel was full of women! 🙂 Poor hubs! LOL

We were thrilled with the two-room suite we stayed in. It included a bathroom, a “living” area with pull out double bed, kitchen area with microwave, fridge and sink, and a separate bedroom with king sized bed. Oh, and hubs also loved the two flat screen TVs, one in each room! We arrived in time to enjoy the complimentary hot food and cold beverages around dinner time! Hubs was super excited to see they were offering nachos, one of his favorite foods! They also have hot dogs, baked potatoes, garden salad and fresh carrots and celery available nightly! At check in hubs and I both received a card good for three drinks each evening: wine, beer or mixed drinks. Although we did not use ours, I thought this was a great way for people to relax and a very kind offering. Hubs was also rather thrilled with not only the free breakfast, but the nightly food as it saved us money (which he loves!). The hotel also offers free WiFi, 60 minutes of free long distance, a 24 hour fitness center, an indoor/outdoor pool & whirlpool and many, many more features!

Drury Inn Hotel view

This was the view from our hotel room. I tried to take a photo to capture the night lights of the city and it turned out looking like day time. You get the point though – love the city view that we had and LA LOVED looking out this window!

Oh, and one more thing the hotel offered? FREE popcorn and soda from 3pm-10pm daily! Between the snacks, breakfasts and “dinners” we were able to save a great deal of money! I was thrilled with all that they offered and didn’t consider “extra”. We’ll definitely be fans of Drury Inns and visiting them on our future travels.

Be sure to come back tomorrow to get all of the details regarding day two and possibly three of our Roar & Explore trip to Columbus, Ohio!! Day two was all about water at Zoombezi Bay water park!!! 

You can plan your wonderful Columbus, Ohio get away too and “Roar & Explore” with this fabulous package! Visit their website for all of the details you’ll need to plan your fun! Can’t go this year? No worries, it will be available next year, too! 🙂

This was a three day trip that our family recently took. You can read all about day two and day three of our trip to see what great things Columbus has to offer young families!

FTC Disclosure: We were provided with the Roar & Explore package for an honest review of Columbus,

FTC Disclosure: We were provided with the Roar & Explore package for an honest review of Columbus, Ohio and the events included in the package. All opinions are 100% my own and are not influenced in any way.
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  1. Wow! This looks like it was a great trip for you! I have wanted to go to this zoo for ever! I am a BIG zoo buff, but it seems a little crazy (to most people – like my husband- however not to me) to take an expensive long vacation just to visit a zoo – which it would be for us. One day though, after the kids are grown and gone!

  2. Sabrina R says:

    WOW! Looks like a super fun adventure you guys had! I love the hands holding across the strollers! Great pictures of the view and the aquarium as well as the fun misters, makes me want to go right now!

  3. Vacation packages sound like the perfect fit for families. side note: I love your double stroller!

  4. Brittney Minor says:

    It looks like you all had a great time! I love the picture of the kids holding hands in the strollers! Looking forward to reading about the rest of your vacation!

  5. Danielle H says:

    My girls love the zoo and the Columbus zoo looks awesome….. it’s been quite some time since I have been there and would love to make a weekend of it. I’m thinking we will definitely have to make a trip.

  6. Fantastic review! We are heading to Columbus at Thanksgiving time and will be referring to your review before we make our plans! Thanks.

  7. I like the name Roar and Explore and then they gave you places to go that fit into that !

  8. Pamela Halligan says:

    I would absolutely love to visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. I enjoy taking my niece and nephew to various zoos and aquariums along the east coast. Columbus, Ohio is likely to be our next trip. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    I’ve never been to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium but I would LOVE to take my kids there. We don’t live terribly far from there so we could def. manage a weekend trip. They would have a blast!

  10. Adorable picture with the kids holding hands! your son always looks like he has a blast

  11. Looks like your family had a great time! I went to Columbus, OH once for the Quarter Horse Congress, I had a great time although I didn’t get to visit many of the attractions there, maybe next time!

  12. Melinda Dartmann says:

    I lived in Michigan for awhile and took the trip to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Boy that was fun with 4 kids and a hot day! We had alot of fun and did alot of things and ate way to much, but in the end it was worth it! I really do love family trips!

  13. What a wonderful time you had! I’ll bet the kids slept really well at night! So much excitemen.

  14. Maria Iemma says:

    I’ve heard that the zoo is a great place to visit. I have a good friend in Ohio and next time we are going to take all our kids.

  15. sally guenterberg says:

    always looking for hotel reviews. we always stay somewhere that got good review. glad to hear you had a good experience

  16. Your vacation trips in Ohio sound really nice, my hubby and need a vacation. All’s we do is work and pay bills.

  17. I was just in Columbus for a conference. I was hoping to make it to the zoo, but didn’t quite get there. I did make it to a fun market with excellent icrecream though. So that was cool.


  1. […] so I have a new toy! If you missed day one of our Road & Explore get away please check it out here. Let’s continue on and see what happened the rest of our amazing […]

  2. […] was a three day trip that our family recently took. You can read all about day one and day two of our trip to see what great things Columbus has to offer young […]

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