Grange Insurance Audubon Center

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is a prime winter roosting spot for bird watchers and wannabes, big and small. Parents can watch wildlife from the building's floor-to-ceiling windows while their kids romp and play indoors.

The center, which is free to the public, is located just south of Downtown and offers a stunning view of the city skyline. The building's play area is worth squawking about, too. It features a two-level, enclosed climbing structure where little ones can get a winter workout.

Tucked into a cozy room with windows that overlook the center's scenic property along the Scioto River, the tree-themed play set offers a safe, fun opportunity for indoor play. Kids will especially love dressing up in the bird costumes the center provides.

Slipping on a pair of wings and a pointy beak adds a bit of whimsy to the experience. The room is big enough for kids to jump and run around a bit.

The playroom also has a puppet theater designed to look like an underground burrow. The animal puppets are sure to spur would-be entertainers to put together an impromptu show.

Parents should be prepared to sit on the floor as the room does not always have chairs.

After playtime, take time to explore the rest of the center, an awesome structure reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright but constructed with modern green building practices.

The center features lots of stations where kids can learn about wildlife and the environment. Children should keep an eye out for live animals. The center has aquariums for fish, turtles and snakes.

The bird observation room is another great spot in the facility. The room, which doubles as a library, features numerous windows for bird watching.

Sound equipment in the room allows visitors to listen to the birds as well as watch them.

Grange Insurance Audubon Center

505 W. Whittier St., Downtown


Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday