Frugal summer fun

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

No matter how much (or how little) time you have, you can find something going on that's sure to bring your family closer together. There is no shortage of fun in an Ohio summer!

If you have a few hours:

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Did you know the zoo offers year-round half-price admission promotions? On Tuesdays, seniors over age 60 receive half-price admission -- a perfect day to take the grandparents. On Wednesdays, Franklin County residents are admitted for half price. Valid ID must be presented at time of ticket purchase.

Jazz and Rib Fest

This highly anticipated summer tradition (admission is free!) runs July 23-25. Enjoy internationally known jazz music while rib connoisseurs gather to sample a wide variety of grilled goodness. Held in the Arena District and North Bank Park. For more information, log on to

Dublin Irish Festival

On August 6, 7 and 8, take part in the celebration of all things Irish. Enjoy the best of Irish music, food, spirits, art and culture. For more information visit Children 12 and younger are free. Ages 13-59: $10. Seniors: $7.

If you have a day:

Zoombezi Bay

Take a day and visit the water park next to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The park boasts water rides, slides, a wave pool and two lazy rivers along with a "dry" park, Jungle Jack's Landing. General admission: $29.99. Children 2-9: $24.99. Pick up discounted tickets at Kroger stores.

The Ohio State Fair

July 28-August 8. Enjoy a fun-filled day with big-name entertainment, antiques and historical exhibits, five stages of free acts, a trio of air-conditioned sit-down restaurants, and a midway with more than 70 rides - all part of this 150-year-old tradition. Kids younger than 5: free. Ages 5-12: $8. Ages 13-59: $10. Seniors: $8. For discounts and promotions, log on to


June 11-September 4. Witness the epic life story of the legendary Shawnee leader as he struggles to defend his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700s. The outdoor historical drama takes place on the stage of Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre in Chillicothe. Take a tour behind the scenes with cast members as your tour guides. Adults: $ 22.95. Children 6-10: $ 15.95. Not recommended for children age 6 and younger, due to some violent content and loud battle scenes. Reserve tickets online at

Olentangy Indian Caverns

Take a trip through the historic caverns in Delaware, Ohio, that re-create the thrilling days of lost Indian tribes and pioneer explorers.Five informational audio stations are in different areas of the caverns. Learn about how the caverns were formed and how they have been used for the past 200 years. Take guided tours or explore on your own. Children 6 years and younger are free with a paying adult. Children 7-16: $5. Ages 17 and older: $8.50. For more information visit

If you have a weekend:

Cedar Point Amusement Park and Resorts

Located in Sandusky, the amusement park sits on the sandy beaches of Lake Erie. It's a roller coaster-lovers heaven, but there are plenty more fun options for the entire family. People young and old will have fun at Soak City Water Park, Challenge Park, Planet Snoopy, rides, shows and more. Seniors age 62 and older get into Cedar Point for only $19.99 all season. Adult and child pricing varies. For more information visit

Kings Island

With more than 80 rides and attractions, Kings Island is one of the Midwest's largest amusement parks. Feel the rush and let out a shrieking scream on one of the 14 world-class roller coasters. Let kids experience a world of fun and adventure in the award-winning children's area, or cool off on a warm day in Kings Island's 15-acre waterpark (entry into waterpark is free with park admission). Ticket prices vary. Buy tickets online for less than the door price. For more information, go to

Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge is the official resort of Kings Island, located in Mason, Ohio. It's an all-suite property featuring a 79,000-square-foot indoor water park, full-service spa, restaurants, arcade and much more. All suites include water park passes. Visit and click PLAN for great values, or call (800) 913-WOLF.

Laurie Dixon is central Ohio's original BAGLady and Sunny 95's Savvy Shopper! Read her blog every day on Get savings tips on everything from food to fun. Learn to shop smart and save money!