Should You Take Your Kid to Otherworld?

Joel Oliphint
A scene from Otherworld

You’ve likely never experienced anything like Otherworld, and neither has your kid. The new immersive art installation is a bit like the trippiest “Alice in Wonderland” scenes come to life, with fantastical plants and halls of mirrors and brightly colored objects everywhere you turn in the 32,000-square-foot space.

So is it kid-friendly? Yes. With a couple of caveats.

While not a haunted house, it’s apparent that some of the creative team behind Otherworld have a background in spooky attractions. I didn’t experience any jump scares, but the creep factor is pretty high in certain rooms, especially the sepia-toned funeral parlor full of clowns you wouldn’t invite to your kid’s next Sky Zone party (though I’d still recommend going in the room and opening the casket); the dark, basement toy workshop (though, again, I wouldn’t skip it; there’s an arcade game everyone should check out); and the room with a ceiling made of eyeballs. You probably know best whether those things would freak your kids out or pique their curiosity.

And while Otherworld encourages visitors to touch and poke and prod, it’s also not a place I’d recommend letting little ones run wild. I have visions of toddlers yanking on papier mache flowers and puking on fuzzy monsters. If I had to put a number on it, I’d guess that kids younger than 7 probably aren’t the ideal candidates for getting the most out of the Otherworld experience (admission is $18 for children ages 3-12, free for younger than 3; adults pay $22). Note that guests younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Overall, though, the magic of Otherworld outweighs the scary stuff. It’s the type of place that makes adults feel like kids, and having children alongside you gawking at the eye candy and squealing in wonder will likely only help to release your own inner child.

Read all about Otherworld (including the experiences of four staffers) in this Columbus Alive story

Joel Oliphint is a father of two and associate editor of Columbus Alive.

5819 Chantry Drive, Columbus

Cost: Tickets are $22 adults, $18 children ages 3-12, free for ages 2 and younger. Parking is free.

Hours: Days and times vary.