As expected, the state of Ohio changed their minds and decided that they needed the help from us again. So over the past 3 weeks others in my department have been flying down and this week it is my turn. I flew into Columbus yesterday and am leaving on Friday. Because of the holiday weekend, this gave me the opportunity to check out the city of Columbus with the extra time.
Not only did it give me time to explore Columbus, it also gave me time with my brother. My brother lives in Toledo which is about 2 and a half hours away. So with us being so much closer than usual, he drove his family down and spent the night last night here in town.
My first day, I flew in and was in my hotel and resting by 3pm local time. It was a pretty eventless trip and I was perfectly happy with it. I got together with my brother in short time and we headed over to a local ice cream chain named Graeter’s. The one we went to, my brother had previously gone to and had an tour of the place because they actually manufactured the ice cream there and gave out tours. Now however, they did not and it was just any other ice cream shop so it was a little bit of a let down. On top of this, we obviously ate ice cream and so were no longer hungry for dinner. We went back to their hotel and hung out for a little while but then headed back out and tried another local chain called Skyline. This is essentially a chili dog place which was good but not necessarily great for my stomach considering I hadn’t eaten all day.
Today, on the second day, we got up early and went to the Columbus Zoo. My brother and I had been there before but it was more than a decade ago and we didn’t really remember why or when we went and thought it would be a nice family place to go. I do think that the Columbus Zoo is among the nation’s best. Of particular note was the Kangaroo walkabout which lets you go in with the kangaroos as they hop in and out of the path. Their coral reef aquarium was also top notch. There were a few other things that we missed. This year’s big addition to the zoo was apparently the new polar bear exhibit which was way overcrowded and it seemed like it was badly planned as it put all the people in a very narrow area to view both the polar bears and the grizzly bears. But it may have been bad luck.
After the zoo, I went grocery shopping to get myself some basic foods so that I could eat in a pinch and save some money on drinks and breakfast. After an hour or two of rest in the afternoon, I went out again alone this time into Columbus. This time I went geocaching and I decided to turn my attention to Columbus’ Metro Parks. I heard about these parks yesterday from brother who raved about them and thought it was worth looking at and getting a geocache to boot. And they were quite impressive. The one I went to was essentially a huge chunk of forest with a bunch of paths running through it. The best I can compare it to was the forest section of the Arboretum in Madison except it seemed that the forest was more dense, more mature and likely bigger than Madison’s, and I’ve always marveled by the size of The Arboretum so that is saying a lot. There are about 5 or 6 other similar parks in the city of Columbus though I likely won’t go see the others.
This evening, I also went out to Donatos which is a local pizza chain. They specialize in thin crust pizza that uses Provolone cheese instead of Mozzarella. I think this is an interesting idea and I thought the pizza was pretty good, but not great. I think you really could do provolone on a pizza though, I just think a better company needs to do it. It was worth doing as it provided me with a lunch and a half for the rest of the week.
Needless to say, I am actually falling in love with Columbus. It is a beautiful city with awesome parks and a bunch of stuff to do. There are big trees and chunks of forests everywhere, not just the metro parks. And the whole city is very clean. I really see Columbus as a city very similar to Madison, just on a bigger scale and I like that. I am halfway considering just moving down here if I could. Another plus to Columbus is that it wouldn’t have quite as harsh of winters, and honestly I’m sick of Wisconsin winters…