Originally posted: Dec. 17, 2020
Last updated: Jan. 30, 2021
Columbus’ top attractions are making regular evaluations regarding the safety of their patrons and staff amidst the COVID-19 virus that could lead to temporary closures. This post will be regularly updated with the latest information as to what attractions are open, and how to support/interact with those attractions that may be closed to the public for a short time.
When visiting any open attraction, you can feel confident knowing they put your health and safety first as signatories of the Live Forward Pledge. In addition to masking up and maintaining social distance, we recommend following these guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Buy your tickets online to reduce contact with employees (many places currently require timed tickets for entry)
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently
- Stay home if you or members of your household are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- Have patience as wait times may be longer due to limited capacities
There’s still plenty of fun to be had at the zoo throughout the winter months as the North America region truly comes to life. Get up close and personal with the animals that call our back yard home, including nose-to-nose interactions with polar bears in the underwater viewing tunnel or seeing the grand bald eagle spread its wings to take flight. Through Feb. 28, the zoo's operating hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is half-price with no reservations required for entry.
The extensive gardens and art collection continue to pulse with life all year long, with the annual orchid exhibition now open through March 7, 2021, featuring thousands of vibrant orchids on display in the historic John F. Wolfe Palm House. Accompanying Orchids are two other visually stunning shows: a paper art exhibition by Lea Gray, Bringing Reverence to Nature: An Exploration of Botanicals in Paper, open daily through May 31 and the return of Chihuly Nights on select evenings January through October.
Columbus' ultimate indoor LEGO playground is open daily, with 12+ attractions for an epic day. This two-story LEGO experience is a one-of-a-kind opportunity in Columbus and a great addition to any day at Easton. On Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays through February, LEGOLAND will stay open until 7 p.m., leaving plenty of time for after school fun. These special Play + Party nights will feature dance parties with appearances by LEGO characters at 2 and 5 p.m., as well as the opportunity for kids to compete in a "20 Brick Challenge" (attempt to make a structure out of 20 bricks) to be on display at the facility.
November, at CCAD's Beeler Gallery, is an immersive lens-based, sound-heavy exhibition curated by CCAD alum Heather Taylor. The exhibition, on view by appointment through March 6, 2021, features 12 emerging Columbus-based, national and international artists. For the exhibition, which was initially scheduled for November 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19, Taylor asked each artist to respond to the ominous tone of 2020 and the uncertainty of the near future, compounded by the U.S. General Election. The show retains the title November as a reminder of the month’s menacing hypothesis, its prophetic realization, and the suspended gratification that we are still navigating. November is a collaboration with the Cincinnati-based nonprofit arts organization FotoFocus and is free and open to the public. Learn about the artists and reserve a time to visit here.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) is once again welcoming guests, with weekend-only hours in February before expanding daily operations to Wednesday - Sunday in March. Don’t miss We The People: Portraits of Veterans in America, available through March 21, 2021. An exhibit seven years in the making, NVMM is the first stop for Cleveland watercolor artist Mary White’s extraordinary painting series of military Veterans – one from each state – reintegrating into society and the workforce after military service. The facility also continues to share the stories of our country’s veterans through virtual events and exhibits.
The new exhibition at Wexner Center through the Arts - Climate Changing: On Artists, Institutions, and the Social Environment - explores how contemporary artists engage with social issues and shape institutions. Both indoor and outdoor components will be part of this exhibit, and the facility now offers free admission on Sundays. Programming also continues online with a variety of offerings highlighting the center’s exhibitions, film/video, performing arts and activities. Keep up-to-date on the latest in contemporary art, from the Columbus region and abroad, here.
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, which houses the world's largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics, has reopened to the public with an all new and timely exhibition - "Into the Swamp: The Social and Political Satire of Walt Kelly's Pogo." Virtual programming, including guided tours and artist talks, will continue to be offered in the forseable future. Make your reservation to visit in person here.
The Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) is welcoming visitors in a reduced capacity, with updated safety measures in place, and Schokko Cafe is open for carryout during museum hours, but closed to indoor dining. Celebrate the life of local artist Aminah Robsinson with Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals, on display through Oct. 3, 2021. Private, curator guide tours are avialable as well. Find more information about visiting during COVID-19 here.
For those not ready to get out yet, CMA is still offering its Studio in a Box, featuring an assortment of online and at-home experiences to keep creative minds engaged and imagining. Check out Aminah’s Studio in a Box to help tell your story through the her creative lens and artistry, or order a three-month subscription and get a box with a new creative element shipped directly to your home each month! Learn more here.
Temporarily Closed to the Public
There are currently no set reopening dates for the following attractions, but we'll continue to update as we learn more.
COSI believes that science is everywhere, whether in their building or your own home, so they’ve created COSI Connect Kits to keep kids engaged through this temporary closure. These themed kits offer a week’s worth of STEM activities delivered right to your front door and come with every item and ingredient needed. Themes include water, nature, space, dinosaurs and the human body. Order here.
Ohio History Connection has ample events to keep you engaged while their sites are closed. A few exciting upcoming events include insights on the national impact of deaf Ohioans, a look at Ohio’s First Ladies and monthly discussions called "After Uncle Tom's Cabin: Black Voices for Justice." Find all events and register here.
While their facility remains closed, King Arts Complex is continuing to engage central Ohio virtually through performing, cultural and educational programs of high artistic merit that increase and disseminate knowledge regarding the vast and significant contributions of African-Americans to the culture and history of America and the world. Find upcoming events here.