In case you hadn't heard, Columbus is celebrating its bicentennial in 2012. To wish Columbus a happy birthday, Parent has drummed up 200 reasons why this fair city is a great place to raise a family.
Continuing our countdown: 61. Scioto Mile: This redeveloped downtown park along the Scioto River quickly became part of Columbus life when it opened last year. Things can only get busier and better this year! 62. Rainbows: We have some pretty spectacular ones around here, wouldn't you agree? 63. Museum Gift Shops: Probably the coolest places to find really unusual birthday presents (we're addicted to the shops at COSI, Columbus Museum of Art, Franklin Park Conservatory and the Wexner Center) 64. The Columbus Clippers and Huntington Park: One of the most beautiful ballparks in the country for one of the most successful teams only one stop away from The Show. 65. The Columbus Crew and Crew Stadium: The first soccer-only stadium in the country and home to some of the most dedicated fans in the soccer world. 66. Early-credit programs at area universities and colleges: Taking the bite out of future tuition bills is easy around here with so many quality schools to work with. 67. The Wexner Center for the Arts: The cool quotient at the Wex is off the charts from visual arts to performing arts, and now they're expanding their community-education efforts, including a teen learning lab. 68. Concretions: Who doesn't find these millennia-in-the-making geological formations fascinating? 69. Wendy's: Dave Thomas put this town on the fast-food map back in the day and those yummy burgers and Frostys keep us there. 70. The ecumenical spirit: In a month when major religions are celebrating different holy days, we deserve to give ourselves a pat on the back for how well we all play (and worship) together here. 71. The cost of living here: On the U.S. overall cost-of-living index, Columbus scores 89. The U.S. average is 100. Chicago scores 116, New York City 159 and San Francisco 185. Not bad, eh? 72. Community Supported Agriculture: CSAs are like the produce aisle, only better. 73. Living history communities at Slate Run and Ohio Village 74. And speaking of living history, our close proximity to Amish country sure beats reading about this fascinating culture in books. 75. And speaking of living geography, Columbus is home to a large number of top "first ancestries" in the country, meaning people who identify most with a country of ancestor origin like Somalia, Morocco, Ghana, Turkey, Ethiopia, Liberia and Zimbabwe. 76. The Honda Teen Defensive Driving Program at the Mid-Ohio School in Lexington: Calming the frazzled nerves of parents when they want their kids to really learn how to handle black ice 77. Redbud trees: or Cersis Canadensis as they say in the horticology biz. These trees with the purple-pink flowers are one of the prettiest signs of spring around here. 78. Geocaching: It's hot, it's happening and it's one of the most ingenious ways to get a kid out from behind the Gameboy (just give 'em a GPS unit instead if their thumbs get lonely). 79. The CAPA Broadway Series: [insert cliché here about who needs to hop a plane to NYC] 80. Once Upon a Child: The idea for this industry-changing kids-clothing resale shop was hatched here in Columbus in 1985 by Lynn and Dennis Blum. Family clothing budgets have been breathing a sigh of relief ever since.