Reynoldsburg may be a bedroom community of Columbus, but the town is anything but sleepy.
There’s plenty for families to do in the east side town that sprawls into Franklin, Fairfield and Licking counties. The city has parks to explore, tasty food to try and friendly people to meet, said Mary Hudson, executive director at the Reynoldsburg Community & Activities Bureau.
“We’re very family-friendly,” she said. “You see kids out all the time.”
Follow the trails through the wooded Pine Quarry Park to the meandering creek, where kids can look for minnows and crayfish or just cool off.
The park also boasts several geocaches — small hidden treasures that can be found using global positioning systems. (Visit geocaching.com for details about how to play the game.)
Blacklick Woods Metro Park also is located in Reynoldsburg. Families can easily spend an afternoon walking the trails and eating at one of the park’s scenic picnic areas. For winter fun, visit the sledding hill. Park rangers lead numerous family-oriented programs at the nature center throughout the year.
Another outdoor spot worth a visit is Huber Park, home of the Tomato Festival. The annual event celebrates the city as the birthplace of the commercial tomato. The celebration includes tomato-oriented displays, contests and concessions. This year’s festival is Aug. 17 and 18.
The park also holds other special events, including outdoor movies and the Reynoldsburg Farmer’s Market on Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Families also can find great programming at the library. The Reynoldsburg branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library system offers story times and a large play area with a puppet stage, comfy reading chairs and educational toys.
Bargain hunters and foodies will find plenty of temptations in and around Reynoldsburg. Parents can always find good deals at the Once Upon A Child and the JC’s 5 Star Outlet, formerly the J.C. Penney Outlet. The Main Street location of Once Upon A Child has plenty of quality second-hand clothing and toys.
The outlet is the place to stock up clothing and household basics. The store sells reasonably priced underwear, socks and t-shirts for children and normally has a good selection of maternity clothing. Shoppers typically can find good deals on bedding, small kitchen appliances and bath towels.
Up the street from the outlet is The Andersons, a great place to browse. The store carries everything from hip waders to fine wine. The produce department always puts out plenty of samples that kids love to gobble up.
The Hickory House also offers kids a chance to fill their bellies. The family-owned restaurant strives to offer affordable, healthy choices for families.
Vick’s Gourmet Pizza prides itself on homemade dough and its signature sauce.
For dessert, head to Sweet Designs Specialty Cakes where owner Tina Ebright creates edible works of art. After making cakes out of her home for years, Ebright opened the bakery earlier this year. Past creations have included cakes made to look like handbags, cartoon characters, baby beds and cars.
The Reynoldsburg resident chose to locate the business in the city because she likes its vibe.
“There’s a sense of community,” she said. “It’s evident by the number of people who have stopped in just to say they’re glad I’m here.
Photos by Tim Johnson