Spring Awakening: 25 things to do

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Grab reliable rain gear

During a few days in March, it looked like the sun never bothered to come up. Instead, we got to chill with rain and its douchebag cousin, hail. To fight back, grab a versatile shell from The North Face at Easton.

The outfitter has plenty of options in all price ranges, but you get exactly what you pay for with the Blue Ridge Paclite Jacket ($229). It's breathtakingly light, form-fitting and able to shed the elements like a bad habit. Preview color options at thenorthface.com.

Sample some gourmet ginger ale

Northstar made its name by following meals from plot to plate and rethinking everything from hamburgers to breakfast hash. Not even soda was safe!

Resident chefs at the Short North branch, 951 N. High St., bested your favorite corn-syrup concoction with their Fresh Ginger Ale - an elixir of soda water, fresh ginger, lime and mint. You'll never look at Vernors the same way. Check out the cafe's full menu at thenorthstarcafe.com

Take an afternoon stroll

When the Grange Insurance Audubon Center emerged in 2009 from a former brownfield on the Whittier Peninsula, its mission was to provide access to nature, educate the public about wildlife and protect important habitat minutes south of Downtown.

These goals collide on Audubon Afternoons, which start at 1 p.m. every other Saturday and Sunday. During one of these free guided tours, you'll spot migratory birds, learn green tips or identify native plants. The next events happen April 30 and May 1. For more info, visit grange.audubon.org.

Shoot the gap

The staff at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours upped the excitement last year with the creation of SuperZip - the longest, tallest and fastest ride in Rockbridge. After climbing a giant wooden tower, you strap in face-first and speed up to 50 mph through a tree-line gap over the winding Hocking River.

Single rides cost $30 apiece or $20 tacked onto a full zipline tour. Find out more at hockinghillscanopytours.com.

Turn a pot into a plot

Franklin Park Conservatory has a greenhouse big enough to grow palm trees, so the place isn't hurting in terms of tillable space. For those who are, the Near East Side conservation facility, 1777 E. Broad St., will offer tips during Container Vegetables, part of an ongoing series of gardening classes. The learning happens from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7, and costs $20 or $15 for conservatory members. To register, call 614-645-5923.