What a lot of people don't realize about Columbus, Ohio is that it's an LGBTQ mecca of the Midwest. The city is located within a short drive of other major cities, which makes it the perfect location for a weekend getaway. I've been to Columbus many times and I always rave about the people, food and LGBTQ nightlife. Here are a few things you can do outdoors during your stay.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
As seen on National Geographic’s “Secrets of the Zoo,” the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 9,000 animals representing 650 species from around the globe. Watch a polar bear swim above your head, hand-feed a giraffe, say "G-Day" to the koalas, ponder the giant pachyderms and be amazed by the manatees. Adventure Cove, the Zoo’s newest exhibit opening in 2020, is home to California sea lions and harbor seals and features an amphitheater for 300 with 10 shows a day. Guests can go on an underwater experience through a 60-ft long tunnel and 360-degree marine mammal viewing. Home zoo of Jungle Jack Hanna, the Zoo provides more than $1 million annually to support over 70 conservation projects worldwide.
You can also swim and play at the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park on site, or extend your trip and visit sister location, The Wilds. Located about an hour away, The Wilds is one of the largest and most innovative wildlife conservation centers in the world, with rare and endangered species from around the world living in a natural, open-range habitat that visitors can explore through Open Air Safaris or ziplines in the sky.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens offers plenty of space to continue social distancing on its 90 acres of stunning greenspace. Get zen in the Bonsai exhibit, on display until November, and consider a visit for Harvest Blooms in the Fall. Franklin Park Conservatory also houses the world’s largest collection of Chihuly glass in a botanical garden, which was completely reimagined in 2019, so there’s never been a better time to visit. For the little ones, the two-acre Scott’s Miracle-Gro Children’s Garden features 16 different interactive experiences celebrating the Ohio landscape and focuses on introducing and connecting children to the natural world.
Columbus Metro Parks
Though a booming metropolis, outdoor adventure can still be found in and around Ohio’s capital city. With 20+ Metro Parks throughout the city, downtown boasts miles of multi-use trails along the Scioto Mile and the country’s largest free outdoor climbing wall at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Take in free concerts on summer weekends at Bicentennial Park or the Columbus Commons. Rent a CoGo Bikeshare from any station throughout the downtown area and explore a series of interconnected greenspaces.
Click HERE to view LGBTQ Travel Directory
Photos Courtesy of Experience Columbus