Checking Out Dublin

Fun with a Family Getaway Package

If my parents had asked me, I’d have asked to stay home and hang out with my friends.

But we were heading to Columbus, the state capital, for a family trip. By the way, my name is Kaylee. I’m 12, and I live in the eastern part of Ohio with my mom and dad and 9-year-old brother, Brayden. For us, road trips are a family tradition.

In this case we were heading to fun Irish-themed Dublin, just outside of Columbus. My dad, who’s really into golf, wanted to watch the tournament they have there every June—The Memorial Tournament. My mom wanted to make sure that Brayden and I had plenty to do while Dad was at the tournament, so they talked about it before we left.

“There’s a lot to do there,” my dad said. “I think we’re all going to love it.”

A couple of hours later, we arrived in Dublin. Our adventure was in full swing.

We pulled into the hotel, our home for two nights. My dad reserved a two-bedroom suite to make the trip extra-special, which was pretty cool because we had plenty of space. The suite was like a condo with a living room, kitchen and bathroom. Dad had booked our hotel as part of the Dublin Family Getaway package to get discounts for the places we were going, and we bought the attractions tickets right there in the hotel.

After we checked out the room, Mom went back to the lobby sitting in front of a burning fireplace as she finalized our weekend plans. I sat down near her, just enjoying the experience of being in Dublin.

We’d head to the science museum in Columbus on Friday, because dad’s a total science nut. On Saturday we’d go zip lining. Brayden is super scared of heights, but I think he’s actually going to love it. Sunday we’d check out the Zoombezi Bay waterpark and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, right next to each other near Dublin.

“I hope this will be fun,” Brayden said.

I did, too. But I already had a good feeling about our trip.

Starting at the Center of Science and Industry

COSI's Planetarium

On Friday we had breakfast in the lobby then headed to COSI, the Center of Science and Industry. As we walked in we saw a big pendulum swinging back and forth and knocking over pegs, while rotating in a big circle. It was called a Foucault pendulum and was meant to simulate the earth spinning. That was really cool to see.

We checked out lots of exhibits, including Life, which simulated our bodies from before birth to after death. Brayden really liked climbing into a yellow submarine in the Ocean exhibit, and Dad seemed fascinated by the Planetarium, where we watch a cool movie that featured a sky filled with stars, planets and constellations. It was awesome!

The biggest surprise, though, was watching Mom. She climbed on a unicycle high over the lobby and rode it back and forth along a wire! Someone asked her to pat her head and rub her belly.

“She looks like a fun mom,” someone said. Yep. She is.


On Saturday morning, Dad left pretty early to go to the golf tournament at what he called “Jack’s Place.” That was for Jack Nicklaus, who built Muirfield Village Golf Club. Dad was psyched, and I was happy he was that pumped up.

“Don’t get into any trouble,” he said to me as he was leaving.

“OK. You know we’re going zip-lining, right?”

Later, we pulled into the driveway of ZipZone Canopy Tours in Columbus.

“This is Camp Mary Orton. I went to 4H camp here when I was a teen-ager,” Mom said.

Brayden was nervous, but he eventually got up enough nerve to join us when he saw how much fun everyone else was having.

Our two friendly guides fitted us with a body harness, trolley system and lanyards with safety clips. They taught us the way the course ran, and before you knew it we were on a platform 50 feet in the air.

I inhaled and jumped. It was incredible gliding through the treetops. I felt the wind on my face, and it was so cool to get a bird’s-eye view. When Brayden took his turn, he screamed, then he laughed. He really had fun.

“You’re really brave, dude,” the instructor said, as Brayden lightly touched down on his first zip of many in our 2-hour adventure. Brayden grinned.

Fun at Zoombezi Bay

On Sunday, we all headed to Zoombezi Bay, a water park that’s part of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. This place was fun for all of us. 

Zoombezi Bay Wave Pool

Together, Brayden and I tackled a wave pool, Wild Tides. The biggest wave was 4 feet high, so we got knocked over by that one. We shared a 2-person Sea Snakes raft slide that started from a 51-foot tower. The whole ride was great, but our favorite part was the bowl-shaped slide section, where we slid around the side of a bowl. So fun! But the craziest thing was seeing Dad let a 1,000-gallon bucket of water spill on his head at the Baboon Lagoon—I never thought I’d see that!

By 2 p.m. we were at the zoo. It has 9,000 animals, so we didn’t have time to visit each of them, but we saw quite a few. My favorite was a grizzly bear in the North America section of the zoo. It was absolutely huge, and I couldn’t believe how much fur they have, and how long their front claws are! Brayden liked watching polar bears dive for treats at Polar Frontier, and I was surprised at how graceful they are, swimming underwater. Mom loved the new Heart of Africa exhibit, where we heard rhythmic African drumming as we entered the plaza, and then got to feed lettuce to the giraffes. Watching their tongues reaching for the lettuce was really cool!

Giraffe feeding at the Columbus Zoo

Just before we left for home, we stopped at Asia Quest to see elephants and rhinos, learning about how they are threatened with extinction.

Our final stop was the Pheasant Aviary, where we watched pheasants running across the paths, and parakeets flying between trees. It was the perfect way to wind down our day.

“So what do you think, sweetheart?” asked Dad. “Are you having fun?”

“Yeah, this has actually been really cool.” I said.

Dad sure knows how to plan a trip that makes us happy.

Learn more about Dublin’s Summer Family Getaway Package!