Conquering a Rainy Day in Columbus

CBUS Dads dad blogger Kevin Gerber's son at Lakeshore Learning at Polaris

In Columbus, rainy days are unfortunately not few and far between.  Couple rain with temperatures in the low 40s, and your options for keeping a toddler busy on a Saturday are limited.  It was one of those days a couple weekends ago and my son, Brady, and I hit the road for an afternoon out.

Our first stop:  Glow Putt Mini Golf

CBUS Dads dad blogger Kevin Gerber's son at Glow Putt Mini Golf in Gahanna
CBUS Dads dad blogger Kevin Gerber’s son at Glow Putt Mini Golf in Gahanna

A few months ago we discovered indoor putt putt at a small strip center off the main drag running through Gahanna.  I had driven by it prior to having a kid, but it wasn’t on the short list for date night options in my mid-20s. Now that I have a four-year-old that loves golf, swinging things and yelling, we had to check it out. Don’t be fooled by the exterior appearance of the building – this place is clean and well run. Each golfer gets to choose a glow-in-the-dark wristband and a rechargeable illuminating golf ball. 18 holes of neon lined greens under the black lights await for an experience that kids (and adults) of all ages will enjoy.

No putt putt course is complete without a zoo of animals throughout and a prize & free round for a hole-in-one on 18.  Brady aced 18 and went with the finger light for his prize. Solid choice, son.

The Next Stop:  Lakeshore Learning

CBUS Dads dad blogger Kevin Gerber's son at Lakeshore Learning at Polaris
CBUS Dads dad blogger Kevin Gerber’s son at Lakeshore Learning at Polaris

After we filled our bellies at Jason’s Deli (tip: eat-in and take advantage of the free ice cream), we headed east on Polaris Parkway to Lakeshore Learning.  I didn’t know much about the place, but I got an email about a Pete the Cat craft day. I learned that craft day for kids happens every Saturday at Lakeshore, and who doesn’t love Pete and his groovy buttons?  We stopped by on our way home and, what I thought would be a quick trip, ended up being an hour of art and exploration.

Brady opted for the Pete puppet and managed to assemble the entire thing on his own (sort of). The staff was great and well prepared for a crowd. I highly recommend craft day, even if you only have 20 minutes to burn.  

After Pete got his buttons and misshaped eyes, we explored for a bit among the different education based games and activities they had to try.  The kind folks at Lakeshore even had story-time for those interested. The day’s activities caught up with us and we opted out, but it’s nice to know it is another option.

By Kevin Gerber, Regular Contributor

Places We Love: The Draft Room

The Draft Room

I know this is a strange way to open up a post on a dad blog, but a few of my buddies have been preaching about a new bar in Westerville called The Draft Room. Hang with me here.

On Sunday, they hosted their second Family Funday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. I was sold after reading the description: Free crafts for kids of all ages from Arts in Uptown and beer specials for the “growns”. Oh, and this time there’s delicious brunch for all from Broke Johnny Food Truck…MMM. Beer, waffles and crafts. Whoa, what a Sunday.”

That hits about eight cords for me.

I had a chance to chat with the owners, a couple about my age with a toddler. They opened The Draft Room in September, because they wanted to open a bar that was welcoming to all beer enthusiasts.

Even more endearing, they wanted to open the kind of bar they’d like to hang out in. One they can come to with their entire family.

Mission accomplished.

The beer selection is incredible, and I certainly made a point to indulge in some delicious waffles, covered in syrup and strawberries, topped off with a chicken finger.

But the highlight for me, was the activities for the kids. What we anticipated would be a 45 minute pop in, ended up being 2+ hours.

Several tables were set up with a variety of quality crafts that my daughter was completely consumed with.

My son – still a little young for painting and paper mache – was able to stretch his legs and walk about the space. And the owners said they designed the interior so that it’s acceptable for such activity. When so many restaurants make it embarrassing or disruptive to walk around, this place actually embraces the busy body baby.

The two televisions above the bar showed Trolls and Moana, keeping both kids motionless for a short period of time.

What still seems like a hidden gem, the Family Funday was steady with families rolling in. After talking to the owners, this will be a monthly occurrence. As much as I want everyone to know about it, I hope it stays accessible, because this was an incredible event that my entire family enjoyed.

A quick scan of their events calendar will show tap takeovers and brewery release parties. But I’ve never seen a watering hole with programming that spans canvas painting and yoga too.

While The Draft Room doesn’t have a kitchen, they are partners with the other restaurants nearby. Patrons can order food from the neighbors, and they’ll deliver as customers sit and enjoy a frothy beverage and a board game.

The Draft Room embraces everything it means to be a community spot. They support the arts and local brewers. They aren’t pretentious or take themselves too seriously. And most importantly, everyone is welcome – including young families.

By Steven Michalovich, Contributor

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