Foster Care

17 Activities for Foster Families in Columbus

Discover 17 fun and enriching activities for foster families in Columbus, Ohio, this summer! Our guide covers food truck festivals, sports, & more.

For foster families in Columbus, Ohio, there’s all kinds of fun to be had throughout the summer!

There’s a little something for everyone, including parks, food truck festivals, music, and so much more. Children in care can choose from all sorts of memorable and enriching activities. 

If you’re looking to put together some ideas and events for the summer, our list can help. Here are 18 activities for foster families to enjoy in Columbus! 

1. John F. Wolfe Columbus Commons

John F. Wolfe Columbus Commons is a lively centerpiece in the heart of Columbus, where music, food, and community come alive. 

Throughout the summer, this six-acre wonderland becomes a hub of activity, hosting everything from joyous concerts to bustling food truck festivals and serene yoga sessions. Foster families can find the simple joy in free carousel rides or indulge in delicious treats from local favorites like Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. 

This vibrant park offers many different experiences that are sure to please the whole family!

2. Ohio State Fair

Step into tradition at the Ohio State Fair! This celebration combines Ohio’s rich agricultural legacy with modern entertainment and culinary delights. 

From thrilling rides and competitive livestock shows to concerts featuring up-and-coming artists, the fair offers a variety of exciting experiences that cater to all ages. 

For foster families, it’s an opportunity to create lasting memories while exploring the roots of Ohioan culture, crafts, and cuisine, making each visit a discovery of new sights, sounds, and tastes.

3. Jazz and Rib Fest

Set against the backdrop of Columbus's scenic riverfront, the Jazz and Rib Fest is perfect for food and music lovers alike.

This much-anticipated summer event blends the smooth sounds of live jazz with the smoky scent of barbecued ribs cooked by competitors from around the country. Foster families can enjoy a fun-filled weekend with soulful performances, culinary competitions, and riverside picnics. 

It’s an ideal outing for those who cherish music and enjoy the timeless tradition of a summer barbecue!

4. Picnic with the Pops

Ready for some amazing music? 

Imagine a summer evening under the stars at the Columbus Commons, serenaded by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra along with guest artists from diverse genres, adding a twist to classical tunes. 

Picnic with the Pops is an enchanting experience that invites families to spread their blankets, unpack their picnic baskets, and enjoy an orchestral performance in an open-air setting. 

Each concert is a celebration of the power of music to bring people together — foster families included!

5. Columbus Crew and Columbus Clippers Games

We can’t leave out local sports teams!

Celebrate the spirit of competition and camaraderie at Columbus Crew and Columbus Clippers games. 

Whether you're chanting in the stands of Field for the Crew or catching a fly ball at Huntington Park during a Clippers game, these events are perfect for families to bond over shared cheers and thrilling moments. 

The excitement of live sports is coupled with family-friendly promotions and activities, ensuring that every game is a memorable summer outing for foster families. 

6. Columbus Food Truck Festival

Bonding over delicious food is always a great experience for foster families, especially during the summertime.

The Columbus Food Truck Festival is a culinary adventure set in the open expanse of the Franklin County Fairgrounds. With a collection of the finest mobile eateries from across the region, the festival offers a taste of diverse cuisines, from gourmet sandwiches to exotic international dishes. 

Coupled with live music and craft vendors, this is a vibrant festival where foster families can explore new flavors and enjoy local artistry. 

7. Columbus Zoo and Zoombezi Bay

Animal lovers, we have something for you!

Dive into a world of adventure at the Columbus Zoo and Zoombezi Bay. From exotic animal encounters at one of the nation's top zoos to splashing around on the water rides and slides at Zoombezi Bay, these twin attractions offer a full day of fun and learning. 

Families can view animal habitats from around the globe, getting up close with species both familiar and rare, then switch gears to water-based excitement that keeps the adrenaline pumping and the summer heat at bay!

8. Kids Bowl Free

Ready to throw some strikes and spares this summer?

Take advantage of the season to strike down some pins at local bowling alleys that participate in the Kids Bowl Free program. This initiative allows children to play two free games each day, making it an affordable way to stay active and engaged throughout the summer. 

It’s a perfect set-up for friendly competition or just a fun-filled family afternoon.

9. Olentangy Indian Caverns

Summer is the perfect time for foster families to go exploring.

Step beneath the surface to explore the natural beauty and mystery of the Olentangy Indian Caverns! This subterranean wonder features guided tours that reveal ancient formations and tales of historical significance. 

Above ground, the fun continues with a petting zoo, mini-golf, and gem mining, offering a full day of exploration and adventure for foster families looking to combine education with outdoor activity.

11. Arts Festival

Immerse yourselves in the creative vibrancy of Columbus at the annual Arts Festival!

Held from June 7th to June 9th, this event transforms the downtown riverfront into a bustling marketplace of art, music, and culture. Wander among hundreds of booths featuring artists from across the nation and showcasing everything from photography to sculpture. 

The festival also includes live performances, interactive art activities, and local food vendors, making it a dynamic celebration of creativity that inspires a deeper connection with the arts for visitors of all ages.

12. Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art is not just a destination — it's an experience that invites families to engage with art in meaningful ways. 

In addition to exhibitions ranging from classical to contemporary, the museum also offers interactive zones like the Wonder Room, where children can create their own art. 

Free admission on Sundays and family-friendly programs ensure that art is accessible to everyone, sparking creativity and conversation among all who visit.

13. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

It’s hard to beat an opportunity to explore nature during the warmer months.

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens offers lush gardens, seasonal exhibitions, and glasshouse environments that feature exotic plant collections from around the world. 

You’ll also find family-oriented workshops and celebrations that engage the senses, such as the popular Butterfly Release, making it a place where nature's beauty is always in bloom.

14. Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival

Soar to new heights at the Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival, a spectacle of color and excitement. 

Witness dozens of balloons take flight in a breathtaking display, and enjoy night glows where balloons light up the evening sky. The festival also includes live entertainment, fair food, and craft vendors, making it a magical experience for families looking to create unforgettable summer memories.

15. Scioto Mile Fountain

Looking for more ways to beat the summer heat?

Cool off on hot summer days at the Scioto Mile Fountain, one of the largest interactive fountains in the Midwest! Children can play in the cascading waters and jet streams while parents relax by the riverfront, enjoying the scenic views of downtown Columbus. 

It's a perfect spot for picnics, strolls, and spontaneous play, bringing a refreshing splash to the urban landscape.

16. Easton Town Center

Easton Town Center offers more than just shopping. This area is a vibrant community hub with outdoor movies and concerts available throughout the summer. 

The open-air venue combines retail, dining, and entertainment in a beautifully landscaped environment, where every corner offers something new to explore. From enjoying a family movie under the stars to dancing to live music on a warm evening, Easton makes every visit a special occasion.

17. Wendy's Flagship Restaurant Tour in Dublin

Take a bite of fast food history at the Wendy’s Flagship Restaurant in Dublin! 

This unique location offers a museum-like experience where you can see iconic memorabilia, including the original Wendy’s uniform and the 1996 Olympic torch. It’s a fascinating journey through the legacy of one of America’s beloved fast-food chains, making it a fun and educational outing for the whole family.

18. Topiary Park 

Topiary Park is a living landscape where art and horticulture meet to recreate Georges Seurat's famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." 

Wander through this sculptural garden to see topiary figures of people, boats, and animals, all crafted from shrubbery. It’s a place of whimsy and imagination, where art comes to life in greenery, offering a tranquil retreat from the city hustle.

Ready to Learn More about Ohio Foster Care?

Looking for more information about becoming a foster parent in Ohio? 

By attending a Foster Parent Information Session Webinar and learning more about the fostering process, you can take the first step toward becoming a foster parent and providing a safe, loving, and supportive home for a child in need. 

Mentor Foster Care has offices all over Ohio, including:

Sign up for the webinar today, or call one of our local offices to get started!

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