Warm Runnings

From the February 2014 edition

Can’t afford airfare (or the vacation time) for a trip to the Caribbean to combat those winter blues? We couldn’t either, so we mapped out a warm-weather itinerary right here in Columbus.

Soak Up the Heat

Get a dose of humidity at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, where the Rainforest Biome houses papaya, mango and cacao trees (the green papayas bloom in February, says horticulturalist Dave Brigner), collections of orchids and ferns, blue and gold macaws—and even a few tree frogs that hitchhiked here via imported trees. Fort Rapids offers indoor waterpark day passes on weekends, and CoCo Key Water Resort day passes are available throughout the week—both maintain tropical water and air temps.

Get a Taste of the Islands

If it’s Tuesday, it’s Caribbean day at L’Appat Patisserie & Cafe, where you can get a taste of St. Martin with the Papaya Mango Fish, sample Jamaican cuisine with the Curry Chicken with cabbage and plantain or try the Beef Ragout with cinnamon pumpkin fritters for some Martinique fare. For authentic jerk chicken, head to Ena’s Caribbean Kitchen, Island Vibes Restaurant or food trucks Red Snapper and Dave’s Caribbean Food.

Catch a Reggae Show

Complete your staycation with Roots Records’ annual Bob Marley Birthday Celebration featuring Jamaican singers Anthony B and Jah Teff, Columbus reggae group The Ark Band and DJs Roots High Power Sound System and Doctah X on Feb. 1 at Alrosa Villa. If low-key music is more your style, The Ark Band’s Mark Hunter will perform an acoustic set at the Roots Records shop on Marley’s actual birthday, Feb. 6, and again Feb. 8. You can also catch local reggae band The Flex Crew every Sunday at Skully’s.