The Commons Playground Columbus IN
Adventures,  Indiana,  Indianapolis with Kids,  Midwest

A Day in Columbus…Indiana

After fighting off sickness from every direction, Guy and I decided we should treat ourselves to an adventure so we spent a day in Columbus with the kids. Columbus, Indiana ( not to be confused with Columbus, Ohio) is about an hour South of where we live, making it day trip certified. We packed in, three across in the backseat and set off a little later than we’d hoped, of course.

pizza at 450 North Brewing Columbus Indiana

450 North Brewing

I’m not sure the location of this brewery even falls within the official Columbus city limits but we hit it on our way down from Indy. It’s in the sticks poised between their sister winery, Simmons, and a sea of corn fields. Super casual vibe and kid friendly. I think they had a kid’s menu but we don’t usually go that route at a pizza place so I’m not sure we even looked at it.

450 North Brewing Pizza

We ordered:
Fried pickle chips, chips and salsa, and a Hawaiian Luau pizza. For drinks we got a sampler with the Legend Berry cider, the Blazing Pineapple Habanero cider, the Cali Dreaming West Coast Style IPA (we had too), and the Sapphire Sour IPA.

I couldn’t have the queso but the others finished it off without me just fine. Salsa didn’t suck which is saying a lot. We still haven’t really found a good Mexican place but that’s a story for a different day. Pickle chips weren’t soggy or greasy so that’s a win.

If you can’t get on board with pineapple on a pizza then the one we got isn’t for you. It’s a red sauce pie with ham, pineapple, pepperoni, bacon, red onions, andouille sausage, and cheese (on the half we had already eaten by the time I remembered to take a picture). We heard that the pizza can sometimes be under-cooked but we were pretty happy with the crispy crust. The sauce was really flavorful and I can’t have cheese right now since Hank is still nursing but I didn’t really miss it since the toppings had so much going on.

beer sampler 450 north brewing

Beer and cider choices was solid all around. By far the best craft anything we’ve had in the state. Both of us said we wished this has been out last stop so we could have grabbed some to take with us but we didn’t want it sitting in the hot car. We’ll be back with a growler and a cooler to keep things on ice while we explore. They also sell tall boys but the ones we really loved were sold out so we left empty handed.

The Commons Playground Columbus Indiana

The Commons

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the least bit concerned that Indy was going to get all the way up to the top of that thing and refuse to come down. Not get stuck… just hunker down and laugh as one of us (AKA me because Guy is 6’5 so he might legitimately get stuck) got close just to watch him scramble away. Spoiler alert: It did happen but we sent Harper to drag him down.

Minus the fear that we might not be able to peel either of the older two away from the top of the play structure, this place was amazing. They had a separate area for kids 2 and under so we let Hank crawl around. Indy tried it out but quickly made his way back to his sister on the more challenging half.

Beyond the playground, The Commons also houses a froyo place and a Subway and two other restaurants that looked less grab and go. We had already eaten so we didn’t do investigate further but did note how damn smart it is to have a playground with a healthy-ish, inexpensive lunch spot and a treat place inside of it. It’s a large space and even with kids flying down slides and jamming into the structure it never felt claustrophobic. Still, it was a sunny day, warm enough for short pants and short sleeves. On a snowy day without many alternatives you might find it beyond comfortable capacity. Also, it’s free.

Upland Pump House

The hour the kids spent zooming around the playground had them begging for a snack, our pizza and pickles from lunch just a faint caloric memory. The grownups just wanted an excuse to stop off at another local brewery we’d heard good things about, so we walked over to Upland.

Upland Brewing is one of Indiana’s most well-established breweries. With a twenty year legacy, it’s not surprising I can remember seeing their bottles at our San Diego neighborhood craft beer shop before we moved.

The Upland Pump House sits right at the edge of the Flatrock River in this 100 year old building and this Columbus brewery is Upland’s newest location. Sitting on the patio with a view of the river kept the littles entertained for a few minutes so we didn’t have to gulp down out beer. Not even going to lie. May or may not have told Indy we’d pay him a dollar to keep a keen eye out for gators, dolphins, and water snakes while we ate.

We ordered: The beer batter fries and chicharrones from the appetizer menus and Guy and I each had a beer. He got an IPA, the Coast Buster, and I got something fruity, the Sound Bite.

No surprises there. We both enjoyed our beers. Overall solid. Indy and Guy loved the chicharrones. Even though they were seasoned well and not at all greasy, Harper and I didn’t thrill at Guy’s choice. Fries were a table-wide hit and met with exactly zero complaints.

None of our kids jumped in the river and Hank even got his very first sunburn. Fail. Sorry, Hank. Guess it’s time to buy him his own Cubs hat to keep the summer sun off those big ole cheeks.

Mill Race Park

At about this point, my camera died. You’d think after almost 10 years of running a photography studio, I’d remember to pack an extra battery but apparently my business sensibilities don’t extend to my own personal family photos. Womp, womp. If I’m being honest, spring hadn’t quite hit this part of the state so the trees were still bare. In true Indy fashion he quickly found the perfect stick and spent the rest of the day almost poking out everyone’s eyeballs.

Since it was the off season, the park was under repair so the covered bridge was closed .And the bathrooms were locked which led to some side trail diaper changes. We took a walk along the river and stopped to throw in some rocks which is when Indy decided to run into the water fully clothed. Just a few steps but far enough for squeaky shoes and hand-holding for the rest of the afternoon.

Next Time

Since left late we cut out some planned activities so we weren’t rushing. Before we knew how our day would evolve, we also thought about these stops but decided to bank them for another trip.

Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor: I can’t eat ice cream right now and since it’s my favorite food I’m kind of happy we saved this one for our next trip so I can actually partake. It’s a legit, old timey ice cream shop has soda fountains, hand dipped ice cream, a restaurant, and a museum.

Kids Commons: Not to be confused with the free playground in The Commons, this small children’s museum is full of exhibits kids can touch. You won’t find any Ming era vases here but you will find a giant toilet bowl you can climb into.


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