Welcome to My World: Columbus, Ohio

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As a born and bred Buckeye from central Ohio, you need to know that I would only trust the "Welcome to my World" about Columbus from a trustworthy and reliable source. I love Columbus too much to give it anything but fantastic coverage, but since I am now a visitor and not a resident we had to find another expert. I'm happy to report that Ellen of That Chic Mom fits the bill - and more. Ellen is the mom of four young daughters who makes the most of life in Columbus. In addition to giving relatable fashion advice and outfit inspiration at That Chic Mom, Ellen recently launched a classy line of graphic tees called That Chic Mom Tees.

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Now, let's visit the Buckeye state!

The Shopping Mama: What is your favorite FREE thing to do with your kids in Columbus?

Ellen: We enjoy picnicking by the river. In Columbus we are lucky to have two rivers the Scioto River and the Olentangy River and both of them have numerous places to picnic. Columbus has always done a great job of having green space for everyone to enjoy along all the rivers and in recent years they even cleaned up downtown creating some beautiful new green spaces to enjoy by the water!

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TSM: Where is the best place to get hot chocolate?

Ellen: Here in Ohio you are much better off getting cold chocolate specifically one of the many delicious flavors from Jeni’s ice cream. Nationally known we are very proud of our own Jeni’s and the ice cream is unlike anything you will ever experience anywhere else. Also they have yogurt and sorbet so something for everyone!

TSM: It's true! Columbus is fanatical about ice cream. Where is the best place to eat with kids?

Ellen: Old Bag of Nails for us is a favorite place, kids eat free on Sundays and they often have magicians or balloon artists. We love that mom and dad can enjoy some delicious fish and chips and the kids can find all their favorite foods too. And did I mention the fish and chips are bottomless…

TSM: What is your favorite museum?

COSI. The Center of Science and Industry in downtown Columbus is fantastic. The museum boasts an amazing Kids Space for the little ones and all kinds of permanent as well as rotating exhibits for the older kids to enjoy. They also have a planetarium and a 3D Imax theater.

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TSM: What is your favorite kids store or toy store in Columbus?

Ellen: Sprout Soup is one of the only places in Columbus were you can find some of my favorite baby carriers and they offer appointments for you to come and try them out, it really is an amazing service.

TSM: Where is the best place to take pictures?

Ellen: Whetstone Park of Roses in Clintonville is the perfect outdoor venue for pictures, so many blooms in so many colors! They also have great trellises and benches as well as a fountain, all great free outdoor places for a photoshoot.

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TSM: What is your favorite street in Columbus and why?

Ellen: I love to drive Old 315 north of the highway in the fall when the leaves are all turned to bright red, orange and yellow. This hilly, windy 2 lane road still has all the old trees criss-crossing above you and has not been too overrun with new developments. Some of the old houses are original to the area and have such a beautiful timeless feel to them.

TSM: Tell us about one of your favorite go-to spots that you won't find in any tourist book.

Ellen: We love going to Highbanks Metro Park for family hikes. Highbanks is a 1,159-acre park along the Olentangy River with trails for hiking, biking and running plus they have numerous play grounds, nature preserves and programs for you to enjoy. The woods are just breathtaking and it is nearly impossible for the place to be crowded, we always have a wonderful time enjoying nature as a family at HighBanks Metro Park.

And, of course, I must mention our AMAZING zoo but the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is in every tourist book because it is nationally known!

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