FREE Indoor Play in NW Columbus and Beyond

By Robbi S. & Heather S. Publisher, NW Columbus Macaroni Kid February 16, 2024

We will all be looking for ways to get out of the house this winter in Columbus Ohio! So Macaroni KID NW Columbus has put together a list to help you find fun things to do this winter with your family in Columbus during the winter months. On cold, snowy, or mostly rainy days here, it's nice to have some FREE options for Indoor Play around the Columbus Ohio Area! 

The Grange Insurance Audubon Center offers free admission to all with lots of ways to engage daily. They have a great indoor play area. Come have an adventure and engage in imaginative play in the Grange Insurance Audubon Center Forest Room Playroom and Climbing Area! Reserve your play time in the Grange Insurance Audubon Center! Families and playgroups welcome! No food or drink in the playroom - please eat or drink in open uncarpeted areas of the center - these areas may have other visitors. You can reserve the area for a fee if you wish, but it is open and free. 

Center for Creativity at Columbus Museum of Art (Free on Sundays)- The Center for Creativity allows for hands-on imaginative and creative play. 

Graeter's on Bethel Rd. has a free play area inside, although it's hard to get out of there without buying ice cream! But why wouldn't you anyway - I mean it's Graeter's! They also serve coffee which is nice if you are going on the early side.

Coffee Connections Hilliard has an annex where your kids can play for free in their miniature town (in the loft area) or with other fun creative toys, you'll want to make sure to stop in the coffee shop for a great cup of joe or a homemade treat! 

The Nature Center at Highbanks Metro Park has remodeled a couple of years ago, although the entire center is interesting there is a children's area with a puppet stage, reading library and tree you can go inside. We also love the nature center at Battelle Darby Creek, see information about all of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks HERE

Old North Arcade during Family Friendly Hours (until 8pm) they feature old school arcade games, skee ball, air hockey and more. It's free to play with the purchase of a drink. Limit 3 children per adult.

16-Bit Bar and Arcade (Dublin Location) this location offers KIDS BOWL FREE on Sundays. Please keep in mind that this is a bar, there are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase. 

Barnes and Noble has a play area with a train table, picnic table, and stage area for the kids. This is at the 1739 Olentangy River Road location. They also have a weekly story time. (please note the Dublin location does not have this). 

Polaris Fashion Place The zoo-themed Play Area is located on the lower level near Saks Fifth Avenue and FieldhouseUSA. The play area is open to children 48: and under daily from 11am - 7pm.

Chick-fil-A play areas. Sawmill, Hilliard, Polaris, and Easton. When you've got little ones make it easy and grab food and let the kids play.

Central Park Playland at Westerville Christian Church has Open Play. Mondays 1p-2:30p & Tuesdays 10am - 11:30am. Open Play does not require registration, but caps the number of kids in Central Park at 30. Check here or our social media pages for updates on all closure info before you visit.

The Naz Commons includes The Naz Cafe, and The Naz Playplace. The Naz Playplace is a free indoor play place for kids. Hours: Monday-Friday: 10AM-2PM | Wednesday: Additional Hours 5PM-7PM | Saturday: 10AM-4PM | Sunday: 12PM-1PM 

We are very fortunate to have wonderful libraries in our area, our favorite is the Northwest Library, it has a puppet stage and a special story garden where you and the littles can snuggle for some story reading.

McDonalds (7190 Sawmill Rd) I have found their indoor play area to be clean and if you go at non-mealtimes it's usually not too crowded. I generally buy a coffee while I watch the kiddos play.

Whole Foods Dublin no longer has the play area. They do have a pinball machine for kids though.

Am I missing any spots? Email to get your spot included! A huge thank you to former publisher Robbie S. for originally putting this list together. 

NW Columbus Macaroni Kid is a free weekly newsletter and website focused on fun family events and information in Columbus, Oh. We gather together all kinds of local family events and activities each week and add useful information about classes, family-focused businesses, book and product reviews, recipes, crafts, giveaways and more. We proudly serve families in Columbus, Dublin, Hilliard, Powell, West Clintonville, West Worthington, Grandview, Upper Arlington and Plain City! NW Columbus Macaroni Kid is full of useful local information like this PLUS tons of kid-friendly events on our event calendar. Have an event you'd like submitted to our calendar for consideration? Submit an event here. Like what you see here and want to get all the fun delivered to your inbox weekly? Subscribe to our FREE weekly e-newsletter for the 411 on local family fun! #CbusMacKid