The state capital of Ohio, Columbus is also the state's biggest city and one of the largest cities in the whole Midwest region. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, Columbus is a vibrant, lively place and has always been a popular tourist destination for a wide variety of reasons. Named after world-famous explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded back in 1812 and constructed at the confluence of two rivers: the Scioto and the Olentangy. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.



With an impressive skyline and many famous landmarks to see, the city is regarded as a must-visit Midwest location and has a lot of outdoor activities to offer. Most notably, kayaking is on the rise in Columbus as more people start to take an interest in ecotourism activities. Located far from the ocean and Great Lakes, many people are surprised to learn that Columbus is such an exciting kayaking location, but the city boasts two great rivers running right through its center, as well as nearby creeks and lakes for kayakers of all abilities and ages to enjoy. Things to Do in Columbus

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2.Best Kayaking Locations in Columbus, Ohio

Best Kayaking Locations in Columbus, Ohio
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There are multiple kayaking locations to be found both in central Columbus and around the surrounding area. Here are some of the top rated kayaking spots you can enjoy on your next outdoor Columbus adventure.

· Scioto River

The Scioto River runs right through the central and southern parts of the state of Ohio, passing through Columbus on the way. The river runs for over 230 miles in total, offering a lot of great kayaking and some very special views. The fun part about kayaking on the Scioto River in Columbus is that it runs right through some of the city's most popular districts, so you can take in views of the skyline and various monuments in a whole new way, and the flat waters are welcoming to inexperienced kayakers.

· Olentangy River

Shorter and narrower than the Scioto, the Olentangy runs for 97 miles and actually flows into the Scioto at Columbus. Just like the Scioto, it runs through much of Columbus, taking in various districts and landmarks like the Ohio Stadium, Kenny Park, Columbus Park of Roses, and more, offering a thoroughly unique way to visit the city.

· Big Darby Creek

Just a short drive outside of central Columbus sits Big Darby Creek. This is a real hotspot with kayakers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The creek is actually a tributary to the Scioto River and allows visitors to enjoy the greener side of Columbus, complete with a wide array of flora and fauna. This is actually the only spot in the world where the Scioto madtom fish can be found, as well as being home to many kinds of mussels and other marine life.

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3.Kayak Tours and Rentals in Columbus, Ohio

Kayak Tours and Rentals in Columbus, Ohio
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As the popularity of kayaking in Columbus, Ohio continues to surge, various kayaking rental and tour companies are springing up around the city to offer their services. Here are a few of Columbus’ top rated kayak companies for you to choose from on your next visit to the city.

1. Olentangy Paddle - (855 643-8611)

As the name suggests, this kayaking company focuses on the Olentangy River, but also offers kayaking trips on various other waterways around Columbus and Central Ohio in general, including the Scioto River, Big Walnut, and Alum Creek. Routes will vary over the course of the year depending on the river conditions and depth, but there’s always something fun to enjoy with this great Columbus kayaking company.

2. Paddle In The City - 650 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215

From May through to October, Paddle in the City kayaking events offer a great way for kayak enthusiasts of all kinds to come together in a great location and share their hobby and passion together. Weekly guided kayak tours and lessons are available, led by certified instructors every time. These kayaking lessons take place on the Scioto River, not far from its confluence with the Olentangy.

3. Trapper John's Canoe Livery - 7141 London Groveport Rd, Grove City, OH 43123 (614 877-4321)

One of the most popular livery locations in all of Ohio, Trapper John's offers kayak and canoe rentals for people of all ages and abilities, as well as offering a wide array of self-guided and fully guided tours of Big Darby Creek. The Sampler Trip is a great way to get started, running for 1-2 hours and featuring nothing but calm waters and gentle breezes.

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Best Kayaking in Columbus, Ohio

More Ideas: Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) in Columbus, is dedicated to providing access to art for both the local community and visitors from around the world through an excellent collection of art, and various exhibitions and events throughout the year. With a mission to “create great experiences with great art for everyone,” the CMA aims to be a community hub where ideas can be exchanged, and different voices heard and one that nurtures creativity and innovation.

The Columbus Museum of Art is home to a collection of art from around the world, including late 19th and early 20th-century American and modern European works of art, contemporary art, folk art, glass, and photography. Collections include works by renowned local artists such as Elijah Pierce, Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, and George Bellows, as well as acclaimed photographic collections by The Photo League.

The Museum hosts a variety of year-round art-related events such as festivals, independent art films, and educational programs for students and adults. The Columbus Museum of Art can also be hired for private functions and special celebrations along with specialized services such as catering and event management.

The Columbus Museum of Art doesn’t feature the regular stark white cubes of other contemporary galleries, and the walls are traditionally decorated with walls of various colors. Gallery walls are adorned with paintings hung in the old ‘salon’ style with walls covered in paintings rather than spaced apart in single rows.

The Columbus Museum of Art is home to a collection of art from around the world, including late 19th and early 20th-century American and modern European works of art, contemporary art, folk art, glass, and photography. Highlights of the Museum’s permanent collection works by renowned artists such as Matisse, Cézanne, Ingres, Boucher, Monet, Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell, and early Cubist paintings by Juan Gris and Picasso. Columbus native, George Bellows also features in the Museum with a substantial collection of paintings, as well as an extensive photography collection with works by Eugène Atget and Bernice Abbott.

The Museum also features a range of temporary and traveling exhibitions and shows, such as ‘Renoir's Women,' an exhibit showcasing more than 30 works by the Impressionist master, and a display of glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly. An outdoor sculpture gallery features a variety of large sculptures and artworks, including a reclining figure by Henry Moore at the entrance to the Museum.

The Columbus Museum of Art offers a range of educational programs for adults, teens, and families, as well as hosts functions and events throughout the year. Families can explore the interactive and experimental gallery of the Wonder Room, take in the great works of art and enjoy a variety of hands-on activities in the Big Idea Gallery, embark on a scavenger hunt, or take part in Family Adventure Tours. Family-friendly programs include Open Studio, Young Child Studios, Summer Art Workshops, Home School Workshops, and Museum on the Move!

Programs include an interactive exhibit tailored towards educating children called ‘Eye Spy: Adventures in Art,’ ‘Wednesdays @ 2 Behind-the-Scenes’ Talks, PNC Free Sundays, Art Escapes, Art Book Club, and Decorator’s Show House.

The Columbus Museum of Art is located at 480 East Broad Street in Columbus and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Museum is home to on outdoor gallery, an interactive exhibit tailored towards educating children called ‘Eye Spy: Adventures in Art,’ the Schokko Art Café, a museum store.

The Schokko Art Café is vibrant, contemporary café located on the main floor of the Museum and boasts lovely views of the sculpture garden. The restaurant serves a creative menu of signature dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, vegetarian offerings, and other healthy plates, which can be enjoyed in the café, out on the sunny terrace, or in the museum garden areas.

The Museum Store offers a unique shopping experience that reflects the essence of creativity and design found in the Museum. The store features a broad range of locally handmade and inspiring global objects from jewelry and personal accessories, fun and functional gifts, imaginative toys, and a diverse mix of books on art and design.

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480 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215, Phone: 614-221-6801

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More Ideas: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Spanning 88 acres near downtown Columbus, Ohio, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a horticultural paradise in the city. The attraction provides its visitors not only lush gardens, incredible vegetation and interesting plant varietals, but also features sculpture, classes, events and special exhibitions. With a mission to connect the community through educational, cultural and social experiences, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens seeks to elevate the quality of life for all who venture through its gates.

The origins of the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens date back more than a century and a half, when the land was purchased by the Franklin County Agricultural Society for the site of the area’s county fair. A few decades later, the land also became host to the Ohio State Fair. The site was named Franklin Park in 1884, becoming public lands at that time. Shortly thereafter, the Victorian style conservatory glass house was built, in the style made popular by the Chicago World’s fair a few years earlier. The park became a center for the community, a popular place for weddings, events and community gatherings. This continued throughout the early and mid-twentieth century.

By the late 1980s the park increased its horticultural standing and reputation, becoming home to AmeriFlora’92, a six-month international exhibition for horticulture. This led to a multi-million-dollar expansion of the facilities, including acquisition of surrounding acreage. The early nineties saw another first for the Conservatory, becoming the first in the country to showcase a seasonal butterfly exhibition. This blossomed into other annual and rotating exhibits, particularly art exhibitions that bring together the artistry of nature with that of the artist. The continuing popularity of the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens led to further expansions. In 2011, the Master Plan concluded its first phase of development, including an additional greenhouse spanning more than 9,000 square feet, the establishment of the Community Garden Campus, and a new permanent art installation by James Turrell. Today the park is now primarily composed of four parts: the Conservatory, the Palm House, the Botanical Garden and the Garden Campus.

With over 400 species of plants on display, the Conservatory is a veritable living museum for visitors to explore. The park is split in to four rooms; the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse showcases some of the Conservatory’s finest specimens. A main attraction since 1895, the Conservatory houses floral displays with magnificent colors from glorious orchids to vibrant bromeliads, with seasonal presentations and more. The Pacific Island Water Garden, also part of the Conservatory, features an ecosystem only found on islands formed through volcanic activity.

This area is also home to the annual Blooms and Butterflies exhibition. The Desert Biome and Rainforest Biome, also housed in the Conservatory, showcase two striking and strikingly different habitats. Cacti and succulents reside in the desert environment, whereas lush tropical plants, as well as two Macaws take residence in the Rainforest Biome. The final area to explore in the Conservatory takes guests to one of the most remote environments of the world, the Himalayas. The Himalayan Mountain Biome highlights the flora of this faraway habitat. This room is particularly inviting during fall, when the deciduous trees of the exhibit turn brilliantly bright colors, summoning the change of the season.

Accessible through the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse of the Conservatory, the Palm House is one of the oldest structure in the park. Still home to some of the original trees planted in 1895, this exhibition is a must see. The striking architecture provides a beautiful setting to browse through the palm trees collected from around the world, with more than forty to be seen.

The outdoor collections the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are expansive, change with the seasons, and provide an immersive experience for visitors. First arrival at the Entry Plaza, which often is decorated to reflect the current holiday or time of year, provides a welcoming entrance into the gardens. From there, guests can meander through the Crane Conifer and Ornamental Grass Collection, or peruse the more formal gardens of the Grand Mallway.

This garden includes beds of perennials and one of the signature sculptures of the park, the NavStar by Stephen Canneto. The Trial Gardens provides a glimpse into the science of horticulture. Here the Center’s staff test the performance of a new plant each year, including vegetables, annuals or perennials, seeing which ones thrive in the garden’s climate. The Bride’s garden highlights not only horticulture, but architecture, as well, providing a beautiful space for ceremonies, or a quiet moment by the fountain. Finally, the Daylily Garden showcases 850 daylily varieties; this garden blooms from late spring through to summer and provides a dazzling array of color.

Garden Campus

Covering four acres of land, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Community Garden Campus is a center for the cultivation of horticultural ideas and inspiration. This living outdoor classroom provides opportunities for learning, from exploring edible landscapes, to cooking demonstrations. Other features include berry and rose gardens, as well as unique and interesting landscape layouts.

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is home to more than just plants. This living museum also showcases permanent art collections which harmoniously blend and compliment the horticultural collections. These include the Chihuly Collection, featuring the work of glass artist Dale Chihuly, whose vibrant pieces blurr the line between the natural and the fantastic. Also on display at the Conservatory is the work of James Turrell, internationally renowned for his approach to light. Known as Light Raiment II, 2008 it is installed in the building itself. This innovative work illuminates the glass conservatory in a beautiful changing light display made possible by 7,000 hidden LED lights.

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In addition to the permanent gardens and collections on display, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens also hosts a variety of rotating exhibits throughout the year. Some favorites return each year, including Blooms & Butterflies, Orchids, and the seasonal favorite, Merry & Bright. Other one time exhibits include such special features as Origami in the Garden, Bonsai Display, and many more. As these exhibits change throughout the year, visitors are advised to check the Garden’s website prior to visiting to see what’s on.

Events and Classes

As if the abundance of indoor and outdoor, horticultural and artistic collections weren’t enough to entertain, the Franklin park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens also provides an abundance of classes and events for the community. Such events for adults include plant sales, concerts, botanical dinners and more. Family events include craft workshops, animal presentations, and story nights, just to name a few. Classes vary widely and feature topics and curricula also targeted at both children and adults. From art, food and gardening, to health and wellness classes such as yoga and Tai Chi, there is a class for almost every interest at the Gardens. In addition, the Hot Shop, inspired by the work of the glass art found throughout the Center, features daily glassblowing demonstrations and workshops for those interested in getting touch with their inner glass artiste.

Outreach Programs

Working to spread an awareness of and love for horticulture, the Garden’s outreach programs work to inspire individuals in the community. For example, the Growing Green Corps teaches skills to youths interested in working in sustainable and green endeavors. The Fairchild Challenge is a multidisciplinary program for middle and high school students which combines core studies with environmental issues and challenges them to begin to work to solve them. The Growing to Green outreach program is yet another way the Garden gets involved, providing free resources to community gardeners and those looking to beautify their neighborhood. These outreach efforts and community involvement are highlighted annually at the Garden’s annual Growing to Green Awards, recognizing achievement and dedication of those in central Ohio communities.

Located just two miles from downtown Columbus, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is easily accessible from freeways and bus routes. As a visit to the center can last throughout the day, visitors will want to visit the garden café for a bite. Botanica, the Center’s gift shop and greenhouse, enables guests to take home a bit of the beautiful experience in the form of a souvenir, work of art or work of nature.

The Conservatory is open year-round, however, spring bulb displays and autumn leaf displays can be particularly dramatic. Holiday light decorations and festivities, however, make the Park appealing even during cold winter months. Classes, events and exhibitions change regularly, so to make the most of a visit, guests are advised to check the website and events calendars prior to arrival. With such an abundance of things to do and beauty to experience, however, any time is a lovely time to visit the Frank Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

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1777 E Broad St Columbus, OH 43203, Phone: 614-715-8000

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