July 27, 2021

Columbus-based ideas for a Spring Break staycation

Capital University’s week-long spring break is a rarity among colleges this year.

In order to prevent student travel and keep campus cases of the coronavirus low, most Ohio universities opted to give students intermittent days off.

At Capital, however, administration felt that the full week reprieve from classes and assignments was a necessary mental-health break for students and faculty. From Feb. 27 to March 8, all Capital University students will have some much-deserved free time on their hands.

Of course, even though a downward trend in cases has been observed across the state, limiting travel and exposure is still a must in this pandemic-world. But even though this year’s spring break might look different, it can still be enjoyable.

Here are a few ideas for making the best of your pandemic spring break experience:

Day trips! It might be hard to believe, but Ohio offers quite a few unique destinations to explore.

If you’re a fan of winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding, Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield and Snow Trails in Mansfield are two popular resorts located about an hour away from Capital.

The extended weather forecast for the week of spring break predicts temperatures pushing 50°F, which is practically a heat wave after last month’s snowy weather. Take advantage of the first days of spring by exploring nature. The city of Columbus offers an expansive system of Metro Parks, or more advanced hiking trails are available at one of Ohio’s numerous state parks—Hocking Hills is a favorite an hour away from Capital.

The Ohio State Reformatory has reopened for self-guided tours in Mansfield, which is also just over an hour away from Columbus. Tour the infamous (and haunted?) prison and the set of the blockbuster film, Shawshank Redemption.

Also near Mansfield, is the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, a rehabilitation aviary for native birds. Just a $3 admission fee provides access to over two miles of trails, featuring live bird displays.

Even without leaving Columbus, there’s a lot of fun to have.

Just blocks away from Capital’s campus, the Franklin Park Conservatory offers extraordinary landscaping and luscious flowers, even when there’s snow on the ground. Visiting Franklin Park Conservatory requires a ticket reserved in advance.

The Columbus Museum of Art, which offers free admission on Sundays, is another nearby source of culture. Again, the Museum requires a ticket reserved in advance in order to maintain gallery capacity limits.

Spend the break completing stops on one of Columbus’s experience trails, available for both coffee and beer. No matter your choice of beverage, one of the unique establishments on the list might just be your new favorite (and many of the restaurants are open for carry-out purchases, too).Finally, Urban Adventure Quest’s walking scavenger hunt offers an exciting way to become acquainted with Columbus. Grab a group of friends to solve smartphone clues and learn history all at once!

  • Emily is a sophomore English literature major at Capital, and a reporter and distribution manager for the Chimes. When she's not carting papers around campus, Emily enjoys watching Jeopardy, bothering her cats, and eating mac and cheese. edietz@capital.edu.

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