Author: Jess

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Who Do You Trust


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While on our trip to Maine we used almost all of our allotted data for the month using our GPS throughout the remote areas of Maine. Correction: half the time we were swearing at our phone for disconnecting our only sense of direction due to lack of service. 


I couldn’t tell you how many times we said ” I don’t know. Thats what the GPS says. Just go that way”. My first thought was The Office episode where Dwight and Michael follow their GPS so diligently that they find themselves completely submerged in a pond. My second thought was: if we trusted God as much as we trusted our GPS, we ( myself included) would probably all be in a much better state of mind. 


Quite honestly if my GPS told me to go north to get from Cincinnati to Kentucky I would probably assume theres some sort of uncanny detour and I would jump on 75 north, only to find myself completely lost.

Then, when something in my life strays from my 5 year plan I fall to pieces – cue my mom. My mom has always been my voice of reason. The one who reminds me that God might have other plans and that I should just trust. Her favorite analogy is that of God as a bus driver and I’m often reminded that I am a mere passenger — not the one behind the wheel.

So, I am just here to remind you ,AND myself, that GPS should truly stand for God Plans Surprises . Do you trust him as much as your navigation system?

 

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The World’s Cutest Boy…


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July 7, 2019

It was August 10th, 2011. My Mom’s birthday actually. I was sitting in my white Nissan Sentra in Kroger’s parking lot – looking over my list of “to buys” for my Mom’s birthday dinner – when I got a a text from a one Michael Davis. Thats when the hyperventilating started. How could I possibly worry about buying the makings of chicken and dumplings when the world’s cutest boy had just initiated a conversation with me.

Michael played football. I was a football trainer. I used to gush over him as he hopped out of the car in front of me. He was oblivious. Fortuitously, he was also the cousin to one of my dearest friends. Two months had passed and we were finally to October, the month of Homecoming. I felt like I had been holding my breath all month until he finally asked me to attend the dance with him after a night of bowling – little did I know I’d be having this feeling again a mere 8 years into the future.

Michael and I at Badin High School’s homecoming: October, 2011

The dance came and went – fortunately for me, I had no voice the night of our dance due to a rainy and squeal inducing football game the night prior. I say fortunately because in hindsight I doubt either of us, in our state of sheer nervousness, would have ever been able to utter a word. Then came November 12,2011. Max and Erma’s and a piece of pumpkin pie later and we were a couple. I graduated Stephen T. Badin Highschool in May of 2012. Michael graduated Badin in 2013. I went to Ohio State University – Michael went to Capital. Anniversaries were spent at Prima Vista, Summers were spent at The Incline Public House with a slice of meatball pizza in hand.

August 10th, 2011 seems like just yesterday but 2,920 days have gone by and if you ask me, an eight year wait is a small price to pay for an eternity with the worlds cutest boy.

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5 Ways to Avoid the Inevitable Quarter-life Crisis


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Like it or not we all have one, the inevitable post college, what am I doing with my life, downward spiral of a panic attack.  You make be reading this thinking, nope, never had one; and I’m here to say you’ve either not yet been through it, are currently going through it, or maybe your far beyond your mid twenties and what once sent you into a tizzy now seems so trivial its almost comical – and there we have it

1.First things first

Realize that what you’re going through right now will be one of life’s many hurtles. What pains you today will be a dull ache tomorrow. You’re lack of a 5 year plan will seem amusing when everything about your life falls into place in 6 months. Moral of the story: stop putting time constraints on things that aren’t time sensitive .Moral of the story: stop putting time constraints on things that aren’t time sensitive

Mathew 6: 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself each day has enough trouble of its own.

Fun fact. I plan to see all the National Parks and collect their patches.
My dad and me in Canyonlands.

2.Find a Hobby that is unique to YOU.

Find yourself with extra time now that you’re not worrying about where your life will be when you’re 30? Find a hobby that releases stress and is all your own. If I had a dollar for every time a worry entered my mind I would’ve been a billionaire before I even entered my twenties, and the worlds wealthiest woman by twenty-five.

Last year I had a lot of extra time on my hands. Even though I had a full-time job that I absolutely adored, I needed a new goal. I’ve always envied the fitness bloggers. So, I set the goal to complete a half marathon with my best friend and we completed it with a smile on our face and a huge feeling of accomplishment in our hearts but, Id be lying if I said it was anything but easy or relaxing to me.

Then one day, on a casual stroll through Michael’s, my mom and I decided we would try our hands at watercolor painting…and LOVED IT.  I’ve also always admired anyone who could play piano, mainly my mom and grandpa (poppy).

So, I contacted some old friends, rented a few books from the library, and have been fumbling my way through YouTube tutorials ever since. Am a Picasso or Liberace? NO. But the beauty of it is there are no time constraints or hard and fast rules, and that’s what I needed most. The Jist: find a hobby that is right for you. And if you prefer running paint over running races, that’s fine too.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve that God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

3.Never loose sight of your goals but respect the bus driver.

I’ve always dreamed of being an Advanced Practice Nurse and last year I decided I would take the leap and apply to a program (insert everyone’s opinions – you’ll get a lot of them when you’re chasing your dreams). I worried about not getting in. I worried about working full time and going to school. Pretty much you name it, I worried about it.  But, my mom was always there with the gentle reminder to “stop trying to drive the bus”.  Reality check: God has made everything work out the way they were intended to in the past, why am I pushing my way to the drivers seat now?

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

4.Just ‘dance it out’

The strive to be a billionaire with a perfect body and a staffed mansion by age 26 is a lonely road. We all want a perfect life. A life free from heartache and setbacks but once we see that life’s little pitfalls build character, we also start to see who we want to be next to us through it all.  Life almost never goes directly as planed, but isn’t that the beauty of it? Just know who you want on the dance floor with you when you need to dance it out.

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good.

5.Enjoy the ride

When I was 16 I would’ve never believed you when you told me I made it through honors chemistry.  I would’ve never thought I’d still be dating the same sweet guy that I adored in high school seven years later. And I definitely would’ve never thought a night out for Emmy would’ve resulted in a happy marriage that gave me my two sweet nephews that are always pulling me away from my school assignments. But that’s what I get the biggest kick out of. Some day were going to look back and smile at that silly 20 something…thirty something…year old worrying about … whatever he or she was worrying about and be, in the words of poppy “ already grown up”.

Peter 1:6-7 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine.

Pictured: the best part of being an aunt…giving them sugar and then giving them back.
My Michael and Me just before my senior prom. May 2012
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Hamilton Stinks…In a Good Way


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“This May look weird” … was what I heard When I was unwrapping my Christmas gift from my best friend this year. I pulled an empty jar out of a brown paper bag that read “Petals and Wicks”. Reading the confused face she says “we’re making candles!”. Being a DIY enthusiast, this made me all sorts of giddy inside. Needless to say this Past Saturday was spent WELL at Petals and Wicks on Main Street in Hamilton Ohio.

The store front is nestled among other old but charming buildings in the heart of Hamilton and the interior is even more welcoming. Opening the door we were immediately greeted by one of the many wonderful smells and two cheery smiles, owner Mike Hoskins and his niece.

They walked us through the picking, pouring, and finishing steps with enthusiasm and good humor. The prices are well within reason, 17$ for a jar and candle making class…yes please!

The …settling? ( pardon my lack of candle creator lingo) Process after you pour the candle takes about 90 minutes — just enough time for us to pop into True West, for a coffee; Henry’s, for a coconut haystack; and Sarah’s House, to dream of one day having a house that is decorated half as cute as her store.

90 short minutes later we were on our way and I was sniffing my elderflower, olive blossom and, gardenia candle, hand crafted by yours truly.

Needless to say, Hamilton smells …SO good.

Thanks Petals and Wicks!

Blog

The Best Way to Start Your New Year


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Christmas is over. The wild ride that is December has finally come to a slow stop. Every season we do our best to think of what our loved ones want for Christmas, we try to set the table perfectly, cook the food to everyone’s liking, decorate to the nines but, it never fails that the smallest moments take my breath away and make me the most thankful for this season of giving. 

Every year I’m humbled at the amount of time and effort that everyone spent on their gifts to me or their excitement to see me. And every year I find myself wanting to give more and do more. I think that’s the greatest gift Christmas can give us- an eager and humble heart to start the new year with and to end the year with.  One of my favorite verses in the Bible states that “a cheerful heart makes good medicine medicine” so, have a cup of cheer and have a happy new year! 

Sincerely,
DorisJane 

Recipes

Healthy Holiday Habits: Fill Up and Feel the (Self) Love


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We’ve all experienced what Maggie Hauser, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Em’s college roomie at Xavier University calls “ the food guilt” train. You want a cookie, you eat said cookie, and then remember your fitness goals and wonder why you caved. Newsflash, one cookie is not going to ruin it all. The good news … you can have your cake and eat it too! Maggie’s here to tell you how to fill up and feel your best this holiday season!

  1. Eat a nutrient-dense breakfast.

Instead of starving yourself before a holiday party, focus on a solid breakfast 1-2 hours after you wake. If you go too long without eating, your blood sugar will drop and you’re much more likely to make poor food choices. We’ve all done the pantry raid. Protein, fiber, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates will control your cravings and keep you full.

Try this:

An egg scramble with veggies, avocado toast with an overeasy egg, a green protein smoothie, or steel cut oats with nuts and berries.

2. Choose fiber-rich foods.

Not just for breakfast, but as often as possible! Fiber is the part of a carbohydrate (in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains) that cannot be digested which means it has no calories. That’s right: high fiber foods fill you up without filling you…out. Fiber also slows digestion and helps stabilize your blood sugar to keep satisfied longer. The key is to choose the right kinds of carbs with high fiber content.

Try this:

Quinoa, oats, oranges, blueberries, beets, and sweet potatoes.

3. Bust out that pretty Christmas china you thought you’d never use…

The party buffet is where portion control goes to die. If you park yourself next to the cheese boards or cookie station, you’ll nibble and graze until you’re lookin’ like Mr. Claus himself.

Try this:

Make a well-balanced satisfying plate and then take a seat and socialize with your family (step away from the snack table!)

4. Control what you can control

Hosting at your place? You can still present traditional, crowd-pleasing holiday dishes with sneaky ingredient swaps. Insert Pinterest here. This is also a great opportunity to introduce a new healthy dish to everyone you love!

Try this:

Make a big, beautiful veggie, fruit, seed and nut board on the table. (like the one we found here) Not hosting? Offer to bring a dish so that you’ll have a fresh go-to to share.

5. Drink water. Morning, noon & night.

Pay attention to staying well-hydrated, especially when you know you’re going to eat rich foods and sip seasonal drinks. Your gut will appreciate it, your skin will likely be clearer, and you may be more likely to dodge whatever virus is being bred by your nephew’s uncovered coughs near the cookie plate.

Try this:

Challenge yourself to drink a full glass of water (or hot water with lemon …my personal favorite!) every morning when you wake up. Keep a water bottle or tumbler with you and refill it throughout the day

6. Keep moving

Yes, we all love the generous stretch of our favorite yoga pants, but you’ll feel a lot better if you don’t veg on the couch watching that third Lifetime movie. Daily movement helps with digestion and makes for better sleep at night – not to mention the extra calorie burn.

Try this:

Go for a quick walk after meals or walk an extra lap in the mall while shopping, just for the extra steps! Don’t do it for the scale but think of it as well-deserved “me time”

7. Speaking of movement… increase B Vitamin + Magnesium.

If you’re feeling a little too full and maybe haven’t been – ahem- regular as of late, make sure you’re getting enough B vitamins and magnesium in your diet. Magnesium regulates your stress hormone, aids in smoother digestion and sleep ( low stress, no cramping and a sound nights sleep? Count me in!)

Try this:

Give your overworked liver a boost by increasing your B vitamin intake ( chickpeas, bananas, shellfish, or grass-fed meat). Up your Magnesium with leafy greens, sunflower seeds, or even chocolate (Yep, you read that right) and an epsom salt bath!

8. Ask for help if you need it

The holidays can bring up a range of emotions for people: joy, sadness, excitement, and exhaustion are just a few of them. Our state of mind largely affects our relationship with food. Many people seek comfort in the pleasure of eating, even when they know it’s not going to make them feel better in the long run.

Try this:

Ask a friend to be your accountability “buddy” if you are afraid you’ll really get off track. If you’re interested in a more formal coaching relationship, I think I know a Health Coach… (psst, it’s me!)

And the biggest tip from Maggie? Remember the spirit of the holidays! We wanted to do a post like this not to food shame you, but to help take away the guess work if you, like us, are trying to keep yourself from completely derailing for three months. We’re big fans of moderation around here. Eat the cheesy potatoes BUT make sure the serving size doesn’t double the plate-space of those veggies! You control your attitude and actions, and they are contagious! If starting a healthy lifestyle is your 2019 goal, get started now!

Let’s start the holiday season happy and healthy, together. Who’s with us?!

Maggie Hauser is a current student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). As a health coach, she has guided several accountability groups and is beginning to work with individuals to achieve their health goals. Interested in obtaining more resources, working with Maggie, or finding out more about IIN? Contact her at maggiephauser@gmail.com and @maggie_p_h on Instagram. 

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Hurry Up and Slow Down


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Does anyone else feel like the remainder of the year is pushed on you – hurrying you through the last few months of the year in a frenzy of pumpkins, turkey, and lights.

     Ads for Halloween seem to start before the leaves have even changed color, quickly followed, or sometimes preceded by commercials for Black Friday and Christmas catalogs. But why are we in such a hurry to get to January? Do we love the holidays so much that we want to get to the next one? Is it a haunting memory from a previous year that you long to forget? Or is it that we’re so stressed about getting just the right gifts that by the time we stop to take a look around the Christmas tree is at the curb.

     This year we’d like to challenge you to hurry up and slow down. Throughout the holiday season we’re going to post something that encourages you to see the little blessings in everyday
life, especially around the holidays. I’m a big fan of living in the present but I am an even bigger fan of video recordings. No, not a boomerang but an actual video. Yes, I’m that person with the video camera at the parties. For me, memories are the best thing you can give me.

There is no gift on Earth that could replace the happiness that everyday moments caught on tape give me. My grandpa rocking in his chair on his 90 th birthday, grandma singing along to her favorite song, my mom and sister laughing in the snow trying to take a picture. Its funny how sometimes it seems more difficult to find great joy in the little blessings than it is to brush off the smallest of shortcomings.

So, this holiday season take it easy. Tape the little moments you’ll want to last forever. Don’t stress over the perfect gift or the perfect dinner just “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger” – James 1:19

Oh, and if you were planning on getting me a Christmas gift…smile for the camera.

Local Travel

National Parks Itinerary


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I’ve always been what some may call, a girly tomboy. Oxymoron you say? I know. But when you find a better way to describe a gal who loves spending a day in the mall ALMOST as much as a day in the mountains, you let me know.

I’m notorious for elaborate dreams (most of which I try to bring to fruition but, ya win some ya lose some – see our last post where I confessed my paleontologist dreams.) The my most recent glimmer in my eye is America’s National Parks – and I’m determined to explore them all. I’ve tackled a few, but recently I checked off a couple more!

We’re big itinerary people, especially our mom who devised a VERY detailed itinerary –sorry, but there will be no rest for the weary for those who wish to replicate this trip!

Day 1: Downtown Moab and “glamping” at Under Canvas Moab 

** if anything is synonymous to a “girly tomboy” it may be glamorous camping.

Day 2: Canyonlands National Park and a drive to Old Town Albuquerque

Canyonlands, National Park, number one, was on our drive out of Moab and is not one that should be skipped! The sites are breathtaking and there’s plenty of short hikes for those just passing through (like us!) .

Where we stayed: A couple hours drive through the barren desert later and we arrived at the Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The hotel was once a hospital…making my old soul / nurse heart sing!

TIP: This hotel is about 20 minutes from where you can catch a shuttle for the balloon fiesta but, if you plan to stay there for the event, you have to book about one year in advance.

Day 3: The International Balloon Fiesta 

**fun fact about me, I have a strange obsession with hot air balloons and this event was a balloon lovers’ DREAM.

TIP: get to the park and rides no later than 4:30 AM and bring a HEAVY coat!

Day 4: The Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is about a 1 hour, easy drive from New Mexico.

Our main reason for visiting Santa Fe was to see The Loretto Chapel. If you haven’t heard of the mysteries that lie around there spiral staircase take a moment to do a little reading. It may boost your faith in the process!

Day 5: Petrified Forest National Park and Drive to Sedona, AZ

Next up, another drive by park viewing! On our way to Sedona, we were able to hit a little bit of route 66 and drive through Petrified Forest National park!

Where we stayedJunipine Resort

Where we ate: Oak Creek Brewery

Day  6: Sedona

Up at the crack of dawn to catch our Pink Jeep Tour of the Sedona red rocks. Highly highly recommended!

Where we hiked: Devil’s Bridge : listed as moderate ( and if you’re from Ohio, its extreme. Scrambles galore!)

Where we ate: The Cowboy Club

Day 7: A drive to the Grand Canyon for Mule Riding

If theres one way to see the Canyon, it by mule back. While we didn’t go into the Canyon… stay tuned for day 8.

Where we stayed: El Tovar

Where we ate: El Tovar conveniently has a nice restaurant located in the hotel, reservations are strongly recommended.

Day 8: Plane over the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Rafting on the Colorado River. 

Now, if theres ANOTHER WAY to see the canyon, its by plane and raft. This is an experience with a view that I will never forget. The day was packed full of activities and was included in an all day tour.

TIP: Bring water proof gear and warm clothes if going in the fall months!

Day 9: Monument Valley

If you’re a western fan or grew up loving John Wayne movies like I did, Monument Valley is a must see! I couldn’t tell you how many times I said the scenery looked “like a back drop”. We arrived around 2 pm, and were able to hike a few hours before checking in to our sunset horseback riding tour! The view from Monument Valley at Sunset was like nothing I have ever seen before. It was almost like stepping back in time.

Where we stayed:The View

  • The naming of this hotel could not be more accurate. We stayed in the cabins due to the raving reviews they received and I have never been more willing to wake up at 5 am than I was the next morning because … THE VIEW.

Where we hiked: Wild Cat Trail

Where we ate: The View Hotel ( the closest restaurant on the reservation)

Tips: If you’re going on the sunset horseback tour-bring a warm coat! I went from tank top to down vest in about one hour!

Day 10: Back to Salt lake to catch our plane back to Cincinnati

The most bitter sweet ride ever. Ten days of constant movement, I will admit, was exhausting but, it was completely worth it and was spent with two of my most favorite people.

Im now even more in love with the National Parks Service than I was before! So I leave you with a question, where to next?!

Local Travel

Young at Heart in Columbus, OH: Day 2


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Like we said yesterday, viewing a city, especially your favorite city, is so refreshing and fun to see through the eyes of a child. And thats exactly how I felt on Saturday morning. Why? Well, first of all, it was a game day (once again…go bucks.) Second, we were taking my nephew to Jurassic Quest –  America’s largest and most realistic dinosaur event featuring more than 100 dinosaurs!

Let me pause here to say that I always wanted to be Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park when I was growing up–my childhood passion for paleontology wasn’t one that would exactly soar in Hamilton, Ohio so, here I am. Jessica, Pediatric Nurse on the weekdays; Aunt B, Dinosaur enthusiast, on the weekends.

Our first stop was, once again, coffee and breakfast. The Homewood Suits Columbus / OSU on Lane Avenue serves a great continental breakfast … helloooo hand made waffles!

We then made our way to Jurassic Quest at the Columbus convention center.

Walking up to the door, my buddy was super excited to see the “Long necks, T-Rex, and ….horses.” While things fell short on the equestrian front, kids can saddle up and ride dinosaurs at Jurassic Quest!

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“Buddy” right before he rode a “seratritops”

We then made our way to the bounce houses. If you’re anything like us, you’ll forget your socks even when you said one million and a half times, “let’s not forget socks for the bounce house.” Don’t fret, complimentary socks were provided and he was off and bouncing before we knew it.

You’re probably wondering, ok so where are these massive dinosaurs? We had to warm up to those because they were SO realistic. I myself wasn’t so sure I wanted to turn my back on the life size, roaring T-Rex.

We took a lap around the dinosaurs, stopped to get one painted on our face (of course) and ended at the dino shop were we proceeded to spend lots of dollas on dinos #worthit. A little about the face painting station … Jurassic Quest has this amaaaazing set up where you buy your face painting ticket and reserve a spot in line via text message! No waiting in a long line with an impatient little one. We were up against a rapidly approaching nap time so we didn’t get to explore every inch of the exhibit, but there’s truly something for every kid at Jurassic Quest. From walking dinosaur rides, craft stations, science stations and green screen photography, you could easily spend an entire day there.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Get to Jurassic Quest early, like doors open early- it tends to get more crowded in the afternoon.
  2. If your budget allows, splurge for the VIP upgrade so you can enjoy everything Jurassic Quest has to offer.
  3. Kids under 2 years old are free!
  4. Bring socks for your little dino lover so he/she can play on the bounce houses.
  5. Bring your energy. If your little guy or gal loves dinos as much as ours, you’ll be doing lots of chasing.
  6. Bring your camera – there are lots of photo opportunities you won’t want to miss!
  7. Act like a kid again. Embrace your inner Ellie Sattler and have the time of your life!

Lunch near Columbus Convention Center:

  1. North Market: similar to Findlay Market if you’re a Cincinnatian, but a unique place to stop and one of my favorites in Columbus! This place BUZZES on Saturdays so proceed with caution.
  2. Native Cold Pressed: for the smoothie and juice lovers
  3. Forno Pizza: for the fancier folks – their Hawaiian pizza is my all time favorite!
  4. Pies and Pints
  5. If you want to see campus, there are PLENTY of restaurants going north on High street!

 

Local Travel

Young at Heart in Columbus, OH: Day 1


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Sometimes the best way to experience a city, no matter how familiar you are with the area, is to be lead by the hand of a child. Specifically your doesn’t-slow-down-for-anything nephew. I spent 4 years exploring Columbus while attending The Ohio State University (ahem……go bucks.), attending concerts, trying new restaurants and touring the city with my roommates. Since graduation, I’ve tried to visit as often as I can and rarely do I turn down the opportunity to spend time in my favorite city. So when Em had this grand plan to pack up her two year old son and head up to Columbus for a weekend full of toddler inspired fun, my bags were practically already packed.

Both family and budget friendly Columbus OH is a great place for a little getaway, no matter your age. We had such a great time as guests of the Columbus Zoo and Jurassic Quest, we thought we’d share our faves from our little weekend trip with all of you.

Where we started: 

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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First on our list was the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Okay okay …. first on our list was actually coffee and donuts. Anyway, moving on …  We are frequent visitors (and members) of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. It is one of our favorite attractions in the Cincinnati area and has such a wonderful reputation … so why visit the Columbus Zoo? Because, not all zoo’s are alike, especially the Columbus Zoo! New animals, exhibits, rides and attractions make every zoo a completely different experience. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the home of Jack Hanna, and the new NatGeo WILD show, Secrets of the Zoo and is known for its manatee rehabilitation and gorilla surrogacy programs.

What we loved most:

  • Stroller/wheelchair accessibility – The Zoo is nearly completely flat (a welcome difference if you’re used to schlepping a wagon or stroller through the hills at the Cincinnati Zoo) Automatic doors were also everywhere. Being 8.5 months pregnant, Em decided to rent a motorized scooter so she would be able to keep up with us and found all the automatic doors to be incredibly convenient.
  • Dinosaur Island – If there’s one thing my nephew loves more than a trip to the Zoo, it’s dinosaurs. He’s obsessed. So naturally we couldn’t pass up Dinosaur Island exhibit and boat ride

  • Heart of Africa – Seeing zebra, giraffe, antelope and other African animals all playing and grazing together was unlike any other Africa exhibit we’d ever seen. A definite must see! Also, I highly suggest embracing your inner child and jump in line to ride a camel – because I sure did.

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Upcoming Events at The Columbus Zoo: 

  • Colo’s Classic car show (October 7th)
  • Boo at the Zoo (Last 2 weekends in October) – pumpkin-palooza carved pumpkin display, pumpkin smashes for animals and treat stations for the little ones!
  • Wildlights (November 15 – January 6) The Columbus Zoo is lit up with more than 3 million lights and several animated light shows.

Suggestions and Tips: 

  • After purchasing tickets for a few of the rides, we came to the realization it would have been more cost effective to purchase a wristband than to buy individual tickets for the attractions.
  • For our next visit we will likely bring some healthy snacks along. (Check the cooler/bag policy before packing!) We had a hard time finding healthy options for lunch, but on a 90 degree day we opted for a double scoop ice cream cone from the little ice cream shop just inside the gates.

Where we Stayed: 
Homewood Suites Columbus/OSU

This was the perfect place for us to stay after a long day at the zoo. Huge rooms and a full kitchen were perfect for a take out dinner from Hudson 29 next door (because an un-napped two year old in a restaurant may as well be a time bomb.)

A clean, well kept pool provided a relaxing after dinner activity and I took advantage of the spacious fitness center … while pregnant Emily took advantage of having a whole bed to herself and total control of the thermostat.