The Fam Five: Summer Arts & Entertainment Recommendations

Catch the return of Storybook Village, see E.T. back on the screen, watch outdoor theater in German Village, pop by an outdoor concert by the New Albany Symphony, and drive through two dinosaur shows.

Jim Fischer
“E.T. the Extra Terrestrial”

Live, in-person arts and entertainment events are beginning to dot the calendar again, a sign of good things to come.

Many organizations still are deciding which family-favorite summertime concerts and festivals will return, so stay tuned to columbusparent.com for the latest updates—and pick up a copy of our Summer issue, which features lots more seasonal fun, the latest news on Ohio attractions, a guide to splash pads and spraygrounds, and lots more.

Here are our top picks for family-friendly arts and entertainment options this summer.

Actors’ Theatre of Columbus will stage four productions in Schiller Park.

THEATER IN THE PARK

If your children are ready for a more advanced arts experience, Actors’ Theatre of Columbus has scheduled a welcome return of its summer series in Schiller Park at the heart of German Village. Patrons can take a picnic or purchase food from a neighborhood eatery, and if the kids get antsy, there’s plenty of green space and a playground.

But we suspect that won’t be necessary, as Actors’ Theatre does a first-rate job and this season’s slate, while challenging, is varied in style and tone. It’s a great introduction to live theater. The cost is “pay what you will.”

Schiller Park, 1069 Jaeger St. (German Village), Columbus; theactorstheatre.org

STORYBOOK BEGINNING

Ohio Village, a walk-through look at the state’s past, is returning this summer and so is its beloved Storybook Village experience, scheduled Aug. 14-15. The event features favorite characters from children’s literature (such as Rapunzel, Pete the Cat, Elephant and Piggie) alongside the venue’s historical actors/interpreters. Event admission, sold on a timed-entrance basis, is $15 for adults, $9 for ages 7-12, free for children 6 and younger, and $13 for ages 60 and older.

Ohio Village was set to reopen to the public July 7. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

Ohio Village, 800 E. 17th Ave. (North Side), Columbus; ohiohistory.org

Jurassic Quest is coming to the Ohio Expo Center in June.

DINO DRIVE-THRU

As much as you might wish, this is not a new themed restaurant. But it is a novel look at dinosaurs, coming June 4-13 to the Ohio Expo Center. Jurassic Quest Drive Thru is an interactive experience, featuring more than 70 life-like, animatronic dinosaurs, meet and greets with “baby dinosaurs” and trainers, a choose-your-own-audio-adventure tour and more. Tickets are $49 per vehicle (up to eight people), with add-ons available.

Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th Ave. (North Side), Columbus; jurassicquest.com

Another dinosaur experience, Dino Safari, is happening now through May 31. The drive-thru experience features more than 40 animatronic dinosaurs. Visitors get a free survival pack that includes a scavenger hunt, coloring and more. Tickets are $49.95 to $59.95 per vehicle. (We have included it here, though it takes place too late for our Summer issue.)

Ohio History Connection, 800 E. 17th Ave. (North Side), Columbus; dinosafari.com

NATURE CONCERTS

The New Albany Symphony Orchestra is bringing the orchestra experience outdoors with 12 events at Rose Run Park. NASO plans three distinct listening experiences: Library Garden concerts (8 p.m. June 13, July 11, Aug. 8) will feature chamber music performed concert-style under the stars on Sunday evenings. Tickets are $15. Scenic Overlook Concerts on third Thursdays (6:30 p.m. June 17, July 15, Aug. 19) are free performances. Nature Trail Concerts feature music to accompany morning playtime at the Nature Trail Play Area, free on select Fridays (10 a.m. June 4 and 25, July 2 and 23, Aug. 6 and 27).

Rose Run Park, 200 Market St., New Albany; newalbanysymphony.com

PHONE HOME

Before it was a video-calling platform, Zoom was the moniker for a Wexner Center for the Arts’ film festival. The Wex is bringing the Zoom: Family Film Festival back with a screening of the classic “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” at 8 p.m. June 6 at the South Drive-In Theatre. The movie starts at sundown, but there will be an activity sheet to keep kids busy before the movie starts, plus other fun stuff. Admission is free.

South Drive-In Theatre, 3050 S. High St. (South Side), Columbus; wexarts.org