November 2010

Does your holiday gift giving routine look like this: (1) Plan ahead (2) Come up with a per-person budget (3) Make a list (4) ResearchColumbus Zoo Wildlights the best deals (5) Brave the traffic & crowds (6) Wrap each and every little thing (7) Wait for Christmas morning (8) Watch the kids rip everything open an average of 2.5 minutes (9) Wait an hour and find them sitting in front of the television (again)?!  Sound familiar? Ever wonder if there isn’t a better way?  Well, yes, actually there is.

Give them an experience. Forget the hours invested in finding the perfect plastic thing that is going to bring them to tears of gratitude. (Sorry to break it to you, but that’s not going to happen.)  Instead, take them away and engage them … body, mind and soul in an activity that is fun for everyone.  And, yes, it just so happens that we have something in mind. 

We know money is tight and that everyone is looking for a great value. (We also know how hard it is to please a kid.) So, the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau has created a “Kids Go Free Columbus Zoo Wildlights” getaway package that offers a VERY affordable family fun escape filled with all the magic of the season.

The all-inclusive package (which starts around $100) offers free kids admission to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (voted the #1 Zoo in the nation), discounted overnight accommodations at a choice of seven Dublin hotels and free kids meals at 10 Dublin-area restaurants. (Participating restaurants include the Dublin Village Tavern, Digger & Finch, Boston Market, Mary Kelley’s, Graeters Ice Cream, J. Liu, Sunny Street Cafe, Max & Erma’s, Hoggy’s and Menchie’s.) 

Want more? Many of the hotels offer extras like free breakfast for your clan, complimentary shuttle to the Zoo (saving you the $5 parking fee) and/or a welcome gift for the kids.  Not bad, huh?  You build your own package online (, customizing it to your preferences. Want an indoor pool? Check. Looking for a spa or workout facility? Check. Seeking an evening manager’s reception? Check.

That’s right. You get all that AND the main attraction … Wildlights!  The 22nd year of Wildlights includes Santa’s Reindeer Corral, a Christmas Light Show, photos with Santa and the Magical Timbernacle Forest Chorus in a Very Beary Royal Holiday. The chorus includes 29 melodious animatronic arbors in the Battelle Ice Bear Outpost.  This year the chorus will be playing tribute to the Disney Princesses.

Now, admit it.  You feel better just THINKING about this gift-giving option (versus the other temporary plastic purgatory). Give them the gift of your time this holiday season. We guarantee those memories will last much longer than the plastic stuff.  The “Kids Go Free — Columbus Zoo Wildlights Getaway” package is available through January 1 and can be booked at  Questions? 800/245-8387.

-Post by Mary

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare.  They are consumed in twelve minutes.  Half-times take twelve minutes.  This is not coincidence.”  ~Erma Bombeck

Looking for a way OUT of cooking this Thanksgiving? We can help. Whatever your reason (your kitchen is too small, you have no time to shop, your kids have the flu, your favorite football team is playing), you still want a traditional Thanksgiving dinner–right? Or not. There are many restaurants in Dublin and Columbus offering options ranging from a full Thanksgiving buffet with all the trimmings to limited menus of signature favorites. So, the only thing you’ll need to make with this list is a reservation.  Below is a list of local eateries that are ready and willing to do all the cooking for you this Thursday.  Call ahead for reservations, hours and pricing.  (Note: All phone numbers are area code 614.) Bon appetit!

  • Salvi’s Italian Bistro ( 5000 Upper Metro Place) 874-0466 Dublin’s newest eatery is open and featuring all the traditional Thanksgiving fare plus Salvi’s signature dish: Pasta Salvi. Open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Adults $23.95; Children $11.95 ; Under 4 – free
  • Kilpatrick’s Restaurant/Embassy Suites Dublin (5100 Upper Metro Pl)  Casual Thanksgiving Day Buffet Dinner – served from 5-8pm. Adults/$16.95 and Children/$8.95. In the evening, made-to-order pizzas from 5-10:30 p.m., $9-$13. 790-9000
  • Marriott Columbus Northwest ( 5605 Blazer Pkwy.) 791-1000 This hotel restaurant is famous (locally) for its outstanding Thanksgiving brunch buffet. Reservations required (and they go quickly)!
  • Hoggy’s Dublin (7509 Sawmill Rd.) 791.8661  While not open ON Thanksgiving Day, Hoggy’s offers some early pick-up deals including a 12-14 lb. smoked turkey (that feeds up to eight) for $35; or the Thanksgiving package ($100)  that includes the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, whipped sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and a homemade pumpkin log for dessert.
  • J Liu Restaurant (6880 North High St.) The Worthington location of this locally owned restaurant will offer traditional buffet items along with some favorite house Asian dishes. 888-1818

Other Columbus area options:

  • Ruth’s Cris Steak House (7550 High Cross Blvd.) Full menu plus traditional Thanksgiving meal.
  • J. Gilbert’s (One E. Campus View Blvd.) 840-9090  11 a.m.-7 p.m. 
  •  Buca di Beppo (60 East Wilson Bridge Rd.) 848-8466 Featuring family style Thanksgiving dinner plus regular menu.
  • Ted’s Montana Grill (6195 Sawmill Rd.) 760-7753

For more information about Dublin, Ohio area restaurants, visit

-Post by Andrea