It’s a good bet that the majority of Ohio and Michigan residents will be watching the Buckeyes-Wolverines contest at Ohio Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Fair enough – but what about the rest of us?
For those whose interests lie elsewhere — or who are just content to watch the highlights of the game later — there are plenty of things to do and places to go in central Ohio while the Buckeyes are out of school collide with the state to the north.
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Below is a selection of events and activities to keep you or your family busy on Saturday – and throughout Thanksgiving weekend.
Hiking is on the menu at Metro Parks after Turkey Day and all weekend long a three-mile hike at 9am at Scioto Grove Metro Park (Arrowhead Picnic Area, 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City). The ambitious can challenge themselves to a six-mile “Gobble Hobble” covering all trails at Blacklick Woods Metro Park (6975 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg) at 11 a.m., or a two-and-a-half mile off-trail canyon hike at 1 p.m :00 p.m. at Sharon Woods Metro Park (Apple Ridge Bulletin Board, 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville). Walks will continue on game day – Saturday – and range from an easy mile and a half family ‘Give Thanks for Wildlife’ walk. 10:00 a.m. at Blendon Woods Metro Park for a brisk two-mile “Turkey Trot”; 1:00 p.m. at Glacier Ridge Metro Park (9801 Hyland Croy Rd., Plain City) for a six-mile hike along the Greenway 10:00 a.m. at Three Creeks Metro Park (Confluence Park bulletin board, 3860 Bixby Rd., Groveport).
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The weekend ends with even more opportunities to get outside on Sunday. Look for turkeys roosting in the trees at Blendon Woods Metro Park Nature Center at 5:30pm, or take an off-trail hike to Eagle’s Nest at Three Creeks Metro Park 1:00pm in the Sharon at 2pm Woods Metro Parks or start the day with a 10,000-step hike at 1:00 PM at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park (Little Darby Picnic Area, 3711 Gardner Rd., Georgesville). All walks are free and none require pre-registration (metroparks.net).
Speaking of turkey, trash and trains
Thanksgiving is synonymous with turkeys, but you can spend your weekend in the company of creatures of a different kind: COSI’s latest exhibition, Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs, presents fossil footprints of the ancient flying reptiles. Lifelike models and interactive elements complement the exhibition. Weekend opening times are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 or $23 for seniors, $20 for ages 2 to 12, or free for ages 2 and under (cosi.org).
Those who’d rather dance to vintage pop than talk Michigan can find a seat at Skully’s Music-Diner, 1151 N. High St. Their “Ladies’ ’80s: Holiday Get-Together” will play ’70s music. 80’s, 90’s and now. Happy hour starts at 4pm on Saturday and dancing at 9pm. The club recommends that you bring your mom and maybe a side of turkey. No entry fee for those over 21 years old; Admission fee of $5 for 18-20 (facebook.com/skullysmusicdiner).
If you’re looking for a quiet afternoon or evening at home, pick up a few books from one of the Columbus Library’s many locations. At the main turnoff, 96 Grant Ave., take some time to watch the Huntington Holiday Train make its way through a snowy alpine landscape dotted with evergreen trees, houses, waterfalls, tunnels and a castle. Regular library opening hours. Parking is free for one hour (columbuslibrary.org).
Go where the wild things are
While your friends at home are fixated on the game, spend your day with art lovers: Exhibits at the Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St., include “Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak,” a thorough Overview of the artistry of the creator of classic children’s books Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. Weekend opening times are from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. General admission is $18 or $9 for seniors, students over 18 and those ages 4-17, free for children under 3, members and all on Sundays. The Sendak show requires special exhibition admission in addition to general admission: $10 for non-members or free for members (columbusmuseum.org).
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Birds don’t care about the Michigan game. If you share that attitude, get to know it a little better with a Beginner Bird Walk Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, 505 W. Whittier St. Check out the bird activity on the center’s grounds or in the surrounding Scioto Audubon Metro Park with the help of center staff and volunteers. Bring binoculars if you have them. Binoculars are also available for hire, with a driver’s license required to secure them. Admission is free, but advance booking is required and donations are always welcome (grange.audubon.org).
Shopping and bartering
Here’s the motivation to get off the couch and away from the big game: Help support small businesses — and walk away with some goodies to give away over the holidays — by taking advantage of Small Business Saturday, the annual event sponsored by American Express. To see which shops, restaurants and other establishments in the Columbus area will be participating this Saturday, visit americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small.
If you own a Ford or are just a Ford fan, check out the Ohio Ford Expo Fall Super Swap on Saturday from 9am to 4pm and Sunday from 9am to 2pm at the Ohio Expo Center , 717 E, don’t miss 17th Ave. New, used, aftermarket and collectible products, parts and more will be on sale at the largest event of its kind in the country. Admission is $10 or free for children 12 and under and those with special needs. Parking is $5 for each entry or $14 for a weekend parking pass (ohioexpocenter.com).
It’s holiday entertainment season
Those in search of twinkling Christmas lights need not miss two of Greater Columbus’ most well-known outdoor vacation experiences: Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 Powell Rd., Powell is Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m open 5pm to 9pm Sunday. Conservatory Aglow at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., will be on view this weekend from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (columbuszoo.org; fpconservatory.org).
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Whether or not you were immersed in the game on Saturday, turn your attention to other seasonal delights on Sunday when Christmas takes place at Pumpkin Show Park, 121 N. Court St., Circleville from 3-6 p.m. Visit Santa, watch live entertainment, take part in children’s activities and enjoy cocoa and cookies before joining Santa in the tree lights at 6pm. The event is followed by the annual Christmas parade, which begins at 6:30 p.m. perishable foods or toiletries in support of Pickaway County Community Cupboards (facebook.com/pickchamber).
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