Mother’s Day is quickly approaching – Sunday, May 12th this year. Have you planned to make Mom’s day extra special this year? Here are some great tips for local brunch ideas and great specials for Mom. Please call ahead for reservations as locations sell out quickly!

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Columbus Marriott Northwest: Elegant Mother’s Day Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Assorted Salads, Shrimp Cocktail, Crab Claws, Poached Salmon, Quiche, Omelets and Waffles made to order, Carving station, Assorted Pastries and Chocolates. 5605 Blazer Parkway. 614/791-1000. www.ColumbusMarriottNorthwest.com

Crowne Plaza Hotel: Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with Omelet and Crepe station, Carving station, Wide array of Breakfast and Dinner Entrees, Fresh Salads and Baked Goods, Special Kids Buffet, Scrumptious Dessert Bar.$28.95 Adults, $14.95 children 6-13. 600 Metro Place North. 614/760-7939 www.Crowneplaza.com/dublinoh

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: Free admission for Mom on Mother’s Day with a paid admission for their child or grandchild. 9990 Riverside Drive.614/ 645-3400. www.columbuszoo.org

Golf Club of Dublin: Elegant Brunch served at two seatings: 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.  Enjoy Prime Rib, Shrimp Cocktail, Grilled Salmon, Duck Tenderloin, Fresh fruit, Belgian Waffles, French toast, delicious desserts and more. 5 years and under are free, $9.95 for ages 6-12, $21.95 for 13 and older. 5805 Eiterman Road. 614/792-3825. www.golfclubofdublin.com

Ha penny Bridge Imports: In honor of their 30th anniversary, spend $30 for Mom and receive a free gift! 75 South High Street. 614/889-9615. www.hapennybridgeimports.com

La Scala Italian Bistro: Mother’s Day Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., regular menu will be available all day. Enjoy assorted garden salads, breakfast favorites, homemade sausage and peppers, homemade ravioli, chicken Milanese, Penne pasta ala Vodka, assorted sides and desserts. Adults $22.95, Children under 10 $13.95. 4199 West Dublin-Granville Road. 614/889-9431. www.LaScalaItalianBistro.com

Matt the Miller’s Tavern: Special Mother’s Day Brunch menu from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., regular menu service in the evening. $24.95 Adults. 6725 Avery-Muirfield Drive. 614/799-9100. www.mtmtavern.com

Mezzo Italian Dublin: Special Brunch menu will be available from 11 a.m.to 2 p.m. Exclusively created for Mother’s Day, Mezzo will feature a selection of breakfast fare, salads and Italian entrees including items such as ricotta pancake cannolis, fried green tomato eggs benedict, and eggplant “aubergine”. 12 West Bridge Street. 614/889-6100. www.mezzoitalian.com

Tehku Tea: Irish Mother’s Day Brunch and Afternoon Tea. Seatings are available at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. 55 South High Street. 614/761-3808. www.tehku.com

The Venue at Corazon: Family Brunch Buffet with a Complimentary Flower for Mom from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $24.95 Adults, $9.95 children ages 3-11. 7155 Corazon Drive. 614/504-5240. www.theVenueatCorazon.com

Whole Foods: Special Mother’s Day Brunch available from 10 a.m.-2p.m. $25 Adults, $12 Children. 3670 West Dublin-Granville Road. 614/760-5556. www.wholefoodsmarket.com

Woodhouse Spa: Treat your Mom to an escape – right in Historic Dublin. Special Mother’s Day Spa packages are available. 19 North High Street. 614/790-8822. www.woodhousecolumbus.com

For more ideas, visit the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau website: www.IrishisanAttitude.com

New Year’s Eve is a time to say goodbye to the past and hello to a new start.  So, what better way to ring in 2013 than with a celebration? Two local hotels have unique NYE packages – whether you want to celebrate with the whole family or just a special someone.

It is often difficult to find a New Year’s Eve festivity that is kid-friendly, but Embassy Suites Columbus-Dublin (5100 Upper Metro Place) has the answer. Their New Year’s Eve Family Package features a variety of activities (complete with a little Irish attitude!) that will appeal to all ages. Some of the evening’s highlights include:

Dublin OH Irish Pub

The Brazenhead Irish Pub

  • Manager’s Cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres and Irish entertainment
  • An Irish-themed craft
  • Movies for children and teens
  • An Irish storyteller
  • Made-to-order pizza, wings (by the dozen), and soft drinks available at Phillipo’s Pizza Shop
  • Family DJ room with games and music
  • MIDNIGHT Countdown in the atrium with dry snacks and champagne toast

Rates are just $159, and additional nights can be added for $89 / night.

For more information and reservations, visit the Embassy Suites Columbus-Dublin website or call (614) 790-9000.

Prefer a more intimate evening? Book the New Year’s Eve package at Chase Suite (4130 Tuller Road). You’ll enjoy a large suite (full living room, kitchen and separate bedroom and bathroom), hot breakfast, indoor hot tub, DVD library access, and more, all for $89 + tax. Fireplace suites and / or Irish Romance gift baskets (filled with cookies, chocolates, two small bottles of Bailey’s Irish cream, a candle and more) are also available. To make a reservation, visit the Chase Suite website or call (614) 766-7762.

Looking for more family friendly activities to do on New Year’s Day? Visit the attractions section of the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website: www.IrishisanAttitude.com

Happy New Year!

~ Post by Dawn

When we were kids (WAY back in the day), summer meant packing everyone up in a hot station wagon and making the long trek south to a crowded beach—where we would all get sunburned and cranky, do cartwheels on the beach and eat too many deep fried clams.  Ah, good times.

A lot has changed since then. Nobody drives station wagons anymore (thank goodness), we’ve cut back on our deep fried clam intake (again, thank goodness), we use sunscreen AND we don’t have to spend  two days in the car to have some summer family fun that includes sun, pool time and a great hotel stay. (Although some of us might still be able to pull off a cartwheel, if pressed.)

One thing that hasn’t changed? We still want our summer vacations!

According to a recent study conducted by Orbitz, most of us taking summer vacations in 2012 will be spending more than last year and likely will be traveling by car. Not so surprisingly, most of us will be weighing the increasing price of gas when making our decisions on which destination to visit. The BEST piece of advice found in the article? “Book a package deal.”  Amen.

Whether you are traveling across the country or just taking a “staycation”— here is the #1 GOLDEN TIP from your friends who work in tourism:  find the package deals.

Convention and Visitors Bureaus are DESTINATION MARKETING ORGANIZATIONS. That means that year-round, we are showcasing the best of our destinations to lure you to visit us. We track where people are going, when they are visiting, what their travel preferences are and how they are spending their travel dollars. So, we can tell you where to go and where to save. For example, every summer—we watch our Kids Eat FREE Columbus Zoo/COSI Getaway package numbers increase exponentially.  Why? Because visitors (a) want to visit the #1 Zoo and #1 Science Center in the nation, (b) they like discounted attraction tickets and free kids meals (c) they don’t want to spend 2-4 days of their vacation driving in the car with the kids and (d) they want a great experience.

So, look before you book. Start with your targeted destination’s convention and visitors bureau.  CVBs KNOW their areas. Really well.  Visit their web site. Call them for insider tips, ticket deals, hotel specials. Yes—you can do your own research—but why wouldn’t you talk with a local first? They’ll tell you their favorite restaurants, who has a half-price admission on Wednesday, and where the free factory tours and best splash pads are located.  Then pack the car (and your sunscreen), unplug and GO HAVE FUN!  And, if you happen to end up in Dublin, Ohio — be sure to stop by the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau and say ‘hi!’

~Post by Mary

This guest post was written by Jaclyn Reynolds, Public Relations and Social Media Manager at COSI Columbus. COSI (the Center of Science and Industry) is located just 15 minutes south of Dublin Ohio — and was recently named to Forbes list of the nation’s Top 12 Best Children’s Museums.

COSI Columbus recently announced its exhibit lineup for the next year.  We hardly ever do that but we had such a great lineup of exhibits that seemed to tie in to each other, we decided to give it a shot.  We named it the Brain Trip — a really fun name (and self-explanatory).  However, the other night at dinner with friends, I was explaining why I had been so busy lately.  I was talking animatedly about the Brain Trip when one of them interrupted me and said, “um, Jaclyn?  What exactly is a Brain Trip?”

Good question!  Helping you keep your brain sharp is definitely something we do at COSI every day.  From live shows to hands-on interactive science experiments, COSI is definitely a place to exercise your brain.  So with four exhibits headed our way this upcoming year, giving it a catchy name just seemed to be a “no-brainer.” (Haha!)

First up, we’ll use those critical thinking skills to build masterpieces with LEGO® Castle Adventure (September 29, 2012 to January 6, 2013).  Then we’ll do a literal study of the brain with Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds & The Brain (October 17, 2012 – January 6, 2013).  Then it’s time to boost your brain power solving brainteasers and interactive challenges with MindBender Mansion (January 26 to April 28, 2013).  And finally, we’ll wrap it up with sharpening those problem-solving skills with Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition (June 8 – September 13, 2013).

So back to the question of a Brain Trip: we think this is a great year to take a trip to COSI, maximize that brain power, learn more about what’s going on in your mind and have a really great time along the way!

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Note: Take advantage of discounted tickets to COSI Columbus through the Dublin Ohio Convention & Visitors Bureau’sKids Eat FREE Columbus Zoo/COSI Summer Getaway.” Go HERE for more information or call 800/245-8387.  

This insider Guest Post comes to us from Katie Ronske, Communications Assistant at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Since Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was named one of the American Bus Association’s Top 100 Events in North America, we knew we had to go bigger and brighter than ever before … and that’s exactly what we did!

 This year, we’re spreading Wildlights cheer to the whole world, literally! In addition to millions of LED lights decking the halls, trees and bushes, guests will find a 24-foot in diameter, 8,200 lb. globe in the center of Conservation Lake that serves as the centerpiece for Global Celebrations, a brand new animated music and light show. The 8-minute light extravaganza features new songs and new designs and runs every thirty minutes from 5:45 p.m. to close.

In addition to Global Celebrations, Polar Pete’s Holiday Wishes Tree will help light up the chilly winter nights this year. This 28-foot-tall artificial sequoia tree shines bright with 15,500 LED lights. Here, guests can stop and say “happy holidays” to Rodney Reindeer and Wally Walrus before having their photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Of course, we had to stay true to Wildlights tradition. Guests can still see Santa in his holiday home at the Battelle Ice Bear Outpost, visit his reindeer at Polar Frontier, take a ride on the Polar Bear Express or the Mini Kiddie Sleigh Ride, hear sounds of the season at the Animals on Safari stage and more.

Celebrate the season at Wildlights now thru January 1, 2012. Festivities take place from 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information please visit www.columbuszoo.org
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Give your family the gift of fun! Treat them to a Columbus Zoo Wildlights Getaway package–featuring an overnight stay at a choice of 6 Dublin hotels, plus complimentary kids tickets to Wildlights and free Kids Meal coupons. Packages start at just $99 and are available through 12.31.11. Visit www.IrishisanAttitude.com or call the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau 800/245-8387 to learn more.

*Wildlights is efficiently powered by gridSMART from AEP Ohio.

Sigh. The busy summer travel season has come to a close again. Wait. Let me say that again … the busy summer travel season has come to a close again. Back in the day, that meant you had to wait another year until vacation rolled around again. But it’s a brand new day! Take it from a die-hard traveler, there couldn’t be a better time to take a getawaythan Fall. Why, you ask?Dublin Ohio Fall Getaways

1)      We’ve got your color. Ohio is showcasing its auburn leaves, orange pumpkins, golden sunsets and amber waves of grain (or corn or soybeans). There are hayrides, apple picking, pumpkin patches and ghost tours awaiting. The temperatures are cooler, the bonfires are warmer. Now is the time to stop and catch your breath.   Hint: DiscoverOhio.com (the website for the Ohio Division of Tourism) offers a Fall Color Report, an Autumn Adventures section and a myriad of fun events happening all over the Buckeye State.   

2)      Great rates. With the kids back in school and folks back to their fall routine, there are plenty of great hotel rates and packages to be found, making it possible for you to visit the same places you were considering a month ago … at a fraction of the price! Competition is fierce for your travel dollar at this time of year.   Hint:  Search online for great deals. Don’t forget to visit the Convention & Visitors Bureau websites of your destination—where you’re likely to find great, exclusive deals like the Dublin CVB’s Fall Getaway Package (which offers discounted passes to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and COSI Columbus).

3)      No Crowds.  Call me crazy, but I love to explore a Zoo, museum, shopping mall and other attractions when I don’t have to wait in long lines, get bumped by people around me or herded in mass crowds like sheep.  You, too? Then Fall could be your magic travel season, as well.  Hint: Mondays are usually one of the “lightest traffic days” at attractions, museums, etc. If you are going on the weekend, start early and arrive when the gates open to get a jump on the crowds. Check attraction calendars for special events.

4)      FOOTBALL!  At risk of contradicting what I just said about crowds, I have to admit that there are those rare occasions where you WANT to be part of a large crowd … like a college Football Game!  There’s something about being packed into a stadium like sardines, all dressed in your team colors and screaming GO BUCKS! (Or whatever your lesser team of choice might be : – )  Hint:  Check for online packages that cater to fans. For example, our OSU Football Getaway offers a choice of discounted hotels and team related goodies. (Tickets not included.)

For other autumn Ohio Travel ideas, visit www.IrishisanAttitude.com or www.DiscoverOhio.com.  

~Post by Mary

This week we’re pleased to feature a guest post by Jaclyn Reynolds, Public Relations and Social Media Manager at COSI Columbus.

School may be out for the summer but there is still plenty to learn at COSI!  Here at COSI, Q and A is in our DNA so we’ve compiledCOSI Getaway Package plenty of things for you to do this summer!  We’ve got so much for you to do; chances are you won’t realize you were learning until you head back to school!  Here are five things you may not know about COSI:

1.  Movies are always better in 3D!  Check out a dinosaur roaring right in your face or a giant wave that looks like it’s about to come crashing down on you in our new digital giant screen theater.  See Waking the T.Rex: The Story of SUE in heart-pounding 3D or  wonder why you aren’t soaked after seeing The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti in 3D. 

2.  Next time you see fireworks, you’ll have a whole new outlook when you find out the “Science of Fireworks.”  Find out how fireworks blow up, how they launch into the air and how they get their pretty colors.  And with a grand finale of colorful explosions, you’re sure to have a great time!  Runs daily this summer at COSI.

3.  Sometimes science gets messy and who wants to clean that up?  We do!  Check out Messy Science Day on July 4.  It’s all things squishy, squirty and downright gooey!  Learn all about our favorite messy science experiments and demonstrations.  

4.  Who else parks giant farm equipment out on the riverfront so you can learn all about the science behind them?  COSI of course!  Come see big farm equipment August 17 – 21, 2011. 

5.   Dinosaurs!  All summer long you can see our colossal creatures “come to life” through animatronics, find your inner paleontologist with our 3,000 square foot maze testing your knowledge of the prehistoric and “be the dinosaur” in one of our exclusive interactive simulator pods!

And don’t forget to take advantage of the awesome Kids Eat FREE Summer Getaway Package that the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau has going on this summer!  Not only do you get discounted passes to the #1 Science Center in the country and the Columbus Zoo, but kids eat free AND you get to hang out in one of central Ohio’s real gems – Dublin! 

Visit cosi.org or call 614.228.COSI for more information.

~Jaclyn Reynolds, Public Relations and Social Media Manager COSI.