The Scioto Mile

Mommy Points: 2

Saturday we decided to stop down at the new The Scioto Mile park that opened. We were downtown to run a 5K race, and this new park in Downtown Columbus just opened up. So, we thought we’d check it out.  We were quite impressed!!

We stayed mainly at the Bicentennial Park end of the mile.  This location has a bunch of huge fountains for the kids to run in and get soaking wet.  You’ll want to bring towels, suits, and a change of clothes when you go.  I was fine letting my kids run freely, but it would be easy to lose site of little ones here.  I was able to find an on-street parking spot at a meter.  $1.60 got me just over 2 hours of parking, but we only stayed about 30 minutes.  The kids got worn out running in the fountains after running the race earlier in the day.  There are public restrooms near the fountains. We didn’t need to go in, but no one seemed to be complaining about the conditions when they walked out.

There is also a restaurant/bar at the park.  It is being touted as ‘family friendly’ but seemed a bit pricey from the menu i saw – more of a splurge meal than a regular stop.  Some friends that went down for dinner later in the evening said the food was “good… not great but pretty good”.

From Bicentennial Park, you can walk North for quite a ways (I assume it’s a mile 😉 ) along the promenade.  There are other fountains (just to look at), nicely planted planters, benches and some swinging benches along the way.   There are also a few spots to stop and look out at the river… granted, the Scioto River isn’t the nicest river in the world.  Keep in mind, as far North as you go, you have to come back to the car, so don’t get too far away when the kids start whining that they want to go home.

This is definitely on our “Go Back” list.  The next time, more prepared.  We are thinking of a Downtown Day on our next staycation week.  It would be easy to add in the Santa Maria, Cosi, The Columbus Commons,  or many of the other downtown attractions.

The Mile is a free attraction.  Parking downtown will vary depending on where you park.  The meter on the street seem pretty reasonable.  I lucked upon a spot, so didn’t look too hard for cheap parking. If you want to eat in the restaurant, it looks a bit pricey.  There is lots of green space to have a picnic.

Things to take:

  • Swim Suits, Towel, Change of Clothes if you’re going to let them in the fountains
  • Picnic lunch or money for the restaurant
  • A wagon or stroller if there is a chance they won’t walk back

 Kid Review:

This was a hit! They really liked running in the water for a little bit.  Neither kid (Age 6 & 9) was thrilled about the walk along the promenade, but they were worn out. They definitely want to go back.

Mommy Review:

I really enjoyed this new park.  It will be nicer when the construction on the Rich St bridge is finished.

The large center fountain
Kids playing in the spray

Evening at the beach….

Mommy Points: 3

Some nights, after a long day of work and day camp, none of us have the energy to even think about dinner, let alone make it.  Our summer time go-to is often a picnic at the beach...Alum Creek Beach.

OK…it’s not the Ocean or even a nice idyllic lake somewhere.  It’s Alum Creek.  It’s a central Ohio reservoir.  But it works.

If you have sandwich supplies (and the energy) pack a picnic dinner.  If not, a good option is the ready-made food section at the grocery store. Fried Chicken, a salad or two, some pre-cut fruit, and a package of cookies was less than $20 at  Kroger with some left overs (throw a cooler in the car before you go).  We packed our water bottles.  Or, be really lazy and go through the drive-thru.

Head to the beach area at Alum Creek, off of Lewis Center road.  There are plenty of picnic tables to be had, especially on a weeknight.  After eating, take a walk along the beach. Or, bring suits with you and go for a swim.  At the end of the beach nearest the entrance there is a small playground that is a little crappy, but works.

If you tire of the beach but the kids aren’t worn out, drive further down Lewis Center Road to the Below Dam Rec Area.  There aren’t a lot of benches around the playground, so you might actually have to play with the kids or at least stand around and watch them.  There are a couple of awesome playgrounds and climbing structures; two shelters with lots of picnic tables; and the STAIRS.  The stairs take you up to the top of the dam.  You can see the beach you were just at from the top. There is also a bit of a walking path along the top.  Be careful, on a windy day you will get blown around.

Beach is free, Pack a dinner to be cheap or buy something easy

Things to take:

  • Cooler if you have left overs after dinner
  • Swimming Gear if you are going to swim
  • If just walking, take a towel to dry off feet from the water
  • If you want to sit, a beach blanket will help (I keep a blanket in the car at all times, just in case)
  • Hand Sanitizer (there are restrooms at the beach, but they aren’t the nicest)

Kid Review:
One loved walking in the water, one didn’t like his feet getting ‘icky’ in the sand.  Overall both kids were really happy and had a great time.

Mommy Review:
Relaxing dinner with no cooking/clean-up; Fresh air and being active;  Close to home:  sold!  Worked out well for an evening get away.  I’m not sure I’d want to spend a full day here, but a few hours was great.

Walking in the water at the beach
Climbing at the Below Dam area