Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Owen, an energetic four year old who LOVES the new “Dinosaur Island” exhibit at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium that just hatched this week. Owen loved the “Dinosaws” so much that his mom had to go through the exhibit twice in one day!


Owen with the T-Rex at Dinosaur Island

Q: Owen, what did you see today?

A: Dinosaws! Lots of them. Their wings went up and down and made noises. They had babies with eggs! The lady gave me pictures of all the dinosaws so I could see if they eat meat or leaves. The sand pit had cool, soft sand and bones in it, but i couldn’t take them home. The long dinosaw was eating a tree, then the man buckled my seat belt, but I told him I can do it. He didn’t want me to fall out of the boat. 

Q: What happened on the boat?

A: We saw even more dinosaws and they squirted me a little, but mostly got mommy wet. And do you know what?

Q: What?

A: I ate a big pretzel after!

Q: Did you do anything else after?

A: I climbed and slided then we saw penguins, elephants, lions, monkeys, pretty birds, a dark building…. then we went to see the dinosaws again!


Dinosaur Island

Owen’s mom had a lot of great tips for seeing this fantastic new exhibit. They toured it first thing in the morning and there was no line. Stroller parking was easy as there was an area by the ticket booth as well as an area close to the boat ride if your little ones prefer to ride as long as possible. The attendants at the ride were great in making sure all the kids were buckled in safely  and if you would enjoy staying a little dryer- sit on the right hand side. The dinosaurs were all throughout the ride on both sides and very easy to view. There was nothing scary for any age. 

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has many areas for picnicking- Owen and his mom found a shady spot by the Aquarium building. The Grange Insurance Stings, Wings N’ Playthings Park is very close to Dinosaur Island and a great place to rest while your kid enjoys the playground. 

When they returned mid-afternoon for round two of Dinosaur Island, there was about a ten minute wait for the ride itself, but you don’t notice the line because you were enjoying a shady walk beside the river with lots of dinosaurs at every turn. The waiting area by the boats also has a shaded cover and moves quickly. 

The “Zoo-it-All” wristbands are available at the front gate for $9.99 and include unlimited entry into Dinosaur Island, the Carousel, Bob Evans Express Train Ride and Jungle Jack’s Landing. They do not include entry to the zoo.

If you are planning a trip to the Zoo this summer, check out the Columbus Zoo/COSI Family Getaway Package  that includes discounted tickets to the Zoo, Zoombezi Bay and COSI!  

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!

Spring Daffodil small

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mezzo Italian Dublin: Special Brunch menu will be available from 11 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For more ideas, visit the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau website:

The school year is winding down, the trees are blooming and it looks like the warm temperatures are here to stay – finally! Enjoy the warm weather this spring or summer by booking a trip to Dublin through our Columbus Zoo/COSI Family Getaway Package.

Big Boa Falls at Zoombezi Bay Water Park

Big Boa Falls at Zoombezi Bay Water Park

The package is an affordable way for the whole family to discover the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (#1 Zoo in America, USA Travel Guide), COSI (#1 Science Center in the nation, Parents Magazine), Zoombezi Bay Water Park, the Ohio History Center, Columbus Clippers Baseball and more at discounted prices! Here’s how it works:

When you check in to one of our participating Dublin hotels, you can purchase discounted tickets (up to a 26% savings) to favorite area attractions like:

  • The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
  • Zoombezi Bay Water Park (opening 5/18)
  • COSI

When you check in, you will also receive a kid’s activity sheet with coupons to area attractions, restaurants and shops such as:

Columbus Clippers, Ohio History Center, The Candle Lab, Our CupCakery, Graeter’s, Sisters Sweet Shoppe, Sunny Street Café, The Dublin Village Tavern, Menchie’s and 1 Stop Bead Shop.

Finally, those participating in the package have the opportunity to win a 2014 Columbus Zoo Membership! All you have to do is turn in the form from the kids activity sheet and drop it in the designated box at the Dublin Visitor Information Center.

Sun, savings, science and more await you and your family in Dublin this spring and summer. Book your Columbus Zoo/COSI Family Getaway today!

Contact the Dublin CVB if you have any questions at 800-245-8387.

Post by Sam

In just over a week, Dublin will welcome another world-class sporting event! On Saturday, August 4, the United States Australian Football League’s 49th Parallel Cup will take place at Darree Fields Park (rain or shine). The Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau worked alongside the City of Dublin to secure the event. The organizations submitted a national bid to host the competition and beat out other cities such as Ft. Lauderdale.

The tournament will pit the United States National Team against the Canadian National Team. There will be four games total, including a Women’s B-side, Men’s development (for players under 25), and bouts between USA Freedom and Canadian Northern Lights and USA Revolution and Canadian Northwind. Games will begin at 10 a.m. and continue every two hours; the last is at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Food and beverages will be available, and spectators are advised to bring lawn chairs or blankets.

Also known as “footy” or “Aussie Rules”, Australian Football is related to early forms of Rugby and Gaelic football. It is a fast-paced, intense game that is completely unique in its rules and form. Below are a few of the basics:

  • The game is played on a cricket oval, so there are no standard dimensions.
  • 18 players make up a team. Three substitutes are allowed on the bench.
  • There are 5 general areas of play. They are referred to as “lines” and include: Full Forward, Half Forward, Centre Line, Half Back, and Full Back.
  • A game is divided into 4 quarters with each consisting of 20 minutes of playing time.
  • The ball advances down the field either by kicking or hand passing (using a fist to hit it).
  • The ball must be bounced or passed every 15 meters.
  • There are four posts that make up the goal – the goal posts (tall and central) and the behind posts (short and outter).
  • Six points is awarded if the ball passes through the two larger goals posts without being touched.
  • One point is awarded if the ball passes the behind goal posts.
  • The team scoring the most points wins!

Dublin will also host the 2013 National Championships.

For this and other event information, visit the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau website at

~ Post by Dawn

Assistance with this post provided by Doug Warmolts and Patty Peters of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s newest exhibit, Stingray Bay, opened to the public on Monday, June 18. Located in Jungle Jack’s Landing (near the front entrance and adjacent to Zoombezi Bay), Stingray Bay is an 18,000 gallon, shallow, saltwater touch pool within an open-air shelter that gives guests a hands-on experience with this aquatic animal. Zoo staff (or interpreters) are stationed around the exhibit to answer questions and share facts about the stingrays.

The exhibit is made up of a few dozen Cownose Rays and Southern Stingrays. Typically, these creatures are bottom feeders. They have molar-like teeth that are used to crush the shells of their prey (crustaceans, mollusks, and other invertebrates).  The rays are fed a variety of seafood several times a day, and guests can watch or participate in the feedings.

Though stingrays may have a less than stellar reputation, it is stressed that visitors should not be afraid of them. In all actuality, these animals are quite harmless and only use their barbs for defense purposes. However, the rays in the exhibit have also had their barbed tips removed to ensure safety.

Fun Facts:

  • Cownose rays get their name from their unique forehead, which is similar to a cow’s nose.
  • Cownose rays’ bodies are shaped like kites and look like they are flying through the water.
  • Southern stingrays are often found buried in the sand, with only their eyes and spiracles showing.
  • Southern stingrays not social, so they are often seen alone or in pairs.

Stingray Bay is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is a timed-ticket exhibit. There is a small charge to enter the exhibit (not included in regular Zoo admission rates*):  $2 for Columbus Zoo members and season pass-holders and $3 for non-members. Guests can also purchase 1 cup of food for the rays for $2.


*Coming to the Zoo this summer? Save up to 30% off gate admission rates with the Dublin CVB’s “Kids Eat Free Columbus Zoo/COSI Summer Getaway” package. Go HERE to learn more.

~ Post by Dawn


When I was telling friends about our family’s plans to visit the Wilds yesterday, most people I spoke with said, “I’ve always wanted to go there.” Please don’t delay this trip – Go!

We had the best family outing yesterday at The Wilds. We booked the “Wilds Animal Encounter” tour, which runs a little shorter because we had both grandparents and kids along. It was the perfect choice for our family. The Wilds also offers other tours that are longer — Open Air Safari — and closed vehicle tours — Safari Transport — to suit your family needs.

Coming from Dublin, it took us about one hour and fifteen minutes coming out Route 70. Our GPS led us a different way than the Wilds directions, so we tried both- they were about the same. There is a small detour in Zanesville but it was easily followed. Driving up to the Wilds we saw the beautiful Ohio countryside. We loved seeing the hills and farmland and it really made us feel like we were escaping the city for the day.

When you enter the Wilds property, you park in a lower parking lot. From there, a shuttle takes you up to the Visitor Center where you can purchase your tours, or just go ahead and board your tour if you reserved your tickets online. There are concessions and restrooms available here, and throughout the tour with regularity.

The open-air safari vehicle reminded me of the one at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – but with way more legroom and better seats. There is an area in the rear for wheelchairs and we were free to move around the vehicle once it came to a stop when we were viewing animals. Be prepared as the guide shared that they have two seasons – dusty and muddy! Also be sure to bring your binoculars and camera. The kids loved being able to take their own pictures when the animals were close to the vehicle.

Animals? Yep. We saw so many I can’t remember all the names. Entering the solar powered gates to different enclosures kind-of felt like Jurassic Park but without the fear that a Dino might be closer than he appears!

Bison were roaming a range – and the Wilds has close to 10,000 acres to range – so we had to look carefully to see them through the pastures. Some animals are so close they are next to the vehicle, and some are grazing in the distance. I loved seeing the animals in their natural behaviors – and seeing more than one species in an enclosure. Each enclosure had a natural water source, shelter and grazing areas.

We saw Bison, Giraffes, Rhinos, Camels, Zebras, Oryx, Osprey and the list goes on and on. On the longer tours, you will see even more animals! Our guide was great at giving facts about the different species and explaining their conservation efforts. Questions were encouraged and it was great to witness this experience with our kids!

When our safari tour was finished, we stopped at the Administration building where we were treated to some close-up animal encounters. A lot of these animals are the same “ambassador” animals the Columbus Zoo uses – but some were different. Touching the animals and lots of questions were encouraged and I think the kids really learned a lot about some unusual species.

We exited the vehicle at the Overlook building – which is aptly named. What a view! We wished we could stay overnight – and just might next time at one of the Yurts you can rent (Adults only though!). The zipline tours looked like fun and the horseback rider waved his hat at us as he went by. There is a café at the Overlook building as well as a Gift shop.

Catch a frequent shuttle back down to your car and you are on your way with a lot of great family memories – and kids sleeping all the way home!

~ Post by Katie

Can’t get enough Irish Attitude? If you wish the Dublin Irish Festival (August 5, 6 & 7) lasted all year long, take the opportunity to enhance your experience with the Irish Academy. In its 8th year, the Academy will play host to a wide variety of classes that highlight Irish music and culture. A brief description of the classes can be found below, with more details on the website.

  •  Beginning Bodhran: Learn this classical Irish instrument from a true Irishman and internationally known instrument maker. Bodhrans will be provided or available for purchase. Instructor: Michael Vignoles. Cost: $50.
  • Tin Whistle (Beginner Level): Who better to take lessons from than a multi-winner of the Irish Music Competitions in the United States? Instructor: Brian McCoy. Cost: $50.
  • Storytelling: Help preserve an old tradition from someone who experienced the seanachie (Storyteller) tradition firsthand when he lived with his grandfather in the Hills of County Kerry (Ireland). Instructor: Batt Burns. Cost: $50.
  • Bodhran, The Melody and Us (Intermediate/Advanced Level): Learn the master exponent of a subtle and sympathetic emphasis to bodhrán accompaniment from an original member of Téada. Instructor: Tristan Rosenstock. Cost: $60.
  • Flute (Intermediate/ Advanced Level): This founding member of the band Dervish and Irish music maven from a very young age is sure to teach all you need to know about one of the cores of Irish music. Instructor: Liam Kelly. Cost: $60.
  • Singing Workshop in English and Gaelic: A class with one of the most popular Irish traditional musicians and son of one of the most musically acclaimed Irish families is sure to be a surprising treat! Instructor: Séamus Begley. Cost: $60.
  •  Stylistic Features of Irish Fiddling (Intermediate/Advanced Level): An exploration of some of the techniques and traits associated with Irish fiddling, demonstrated with the aid of archival recordings taught by founder of noted group Téada. Instructor: Oisín Mac Diarmada. Cost: $60.
  • Fiddle (Intermediate/Advanced Level): A fantastic class from an Irish-American and National Heritage Fellowship Award-winning fiddler is sure to make you want to dance! Instructor: Liz Carroll. Cost: $60.

Classes will be held on Friday, August 5 from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., with a one hour break for lunch, in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin. Classes range from $50-$60 per person and all students must be 12 years or older to participate.

To register for classes, you will need to print off the registration form and mail it in with a check or your credit card information.


~ Post by Lexi