A Day of Fun and Games at Polaris

August 24, 2021

Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by Destination Delaware. Photos and opinions are our own.

Even after two decades in Columbus, we still delight in new discoveries, so while we’re readily familiar with Polaris, Destination Delaware invited us for a day of fun all around the area, with stops at local eateries and great activities for the family. Follow along on our day!

Stop #1: Brunch at The Royce

First stop was The Royce, an upscale gastropub located directly east of the main Polaris Fashion Place building. Its front door faces a small courtyard, where they hosted heated igloos during the winter.

Somehow I didn’t realize this before we arrived, but The Royce serves brunch every day starting at 11 a.m. Need a Wednesday morning getaway? Or want to meet friends for brunch on a Friday? The Royce is the place to be!

The restaurant is lushly appointed, with a large curving bar, fireplace, a wall lined with leather couches and mirrors, and little two-tops scattered in cozy corners throughout.

The brunch menu mixes classics with creative interpretations. We started with their signature cornbread drop biscuits (served with honey butter and a zesty pepper jelly) and a terrific guajillo-glazed pork belly. Our entrees included red velvet pancakes, a Gulf shrimp BLT, eggs benedict with smoked ham, and huevos rancheros served in little tortilla cups. All fun, filling, and smartly plated.

Stop #2: Hitting the links at Top Golf

After brunch we made our first activity stop of the day: Top Golf! As regulars to the IKEA next door, we’ve been meaning to book a bay at Top Golf but just haven’t done it yet.

None of us are golfers (“Obviously, you’re not a golfer.”), but we still loved the experience. The setup and communication were easy to navigate, and we didn’t have to wait long for a bay. You can make reservations, or you can just walk up and take the first available. They take your contact info at the front desk, then will text you your bay number once it’s available. We only waited about 10 minutes. In the meantime, you can visit the bar, stroll the gift shop, or hang out and watch other golfers.

There’s a $5 one-time member fee for each person, but otherwise you simply pay for the bay by the hour. The pricing varies based on time of day and day of the week. During the day we visited, bays were $37/hour. They can accommodate up to six people, which is a pretty good deal. (And on Tuesdays, bays are half-priced!)

Top Golf is three stories. The bays are heated in the winter and cooled by fans in the summer. You can bring your own clubs or use the set provided. The computer terminal there lets you load your players, then you just take turns. Grab your club, wave it over the sensor, it dispenses a ball – then tee up and swing away!

For an added bit of fun, you can score points by landing the ball in one of the circular traps dotting the driving range. Amazingly, the computer tracks your ball and where it lands, so it tabulates points for you.

Top Golf is also a full-service restaurant and bar. A server comes around to check on you; you can order snacks and drinks (alcoholic and non). We even spied a group party with a full buffet.

We were having so much fun, the hour went by quickly. But this certainly won’t be our last visit to Top Golf.

Stop #3: Hyperbowling and rides at Star Lanes

Our second activity was a favorite of ours: Star Lanes!

If you don’t know Star Lanes, it’s a bowling alley, arcade, and restaurant/bar – great for an hour of fun or a big birthday party. They offer party packages that include bowling, games, rides, and food.

You rent the lanes by the hour, with up to five bowlers per lane, and have to rent shoes (~$4/person) for your time. The computer at each lane lets you name your players then play a variety of games, from a traditional 10 frames to themed games to hyperbowling, which is one of our favorites. Hyperbowling is bumper bowling where you aim for different lit sections of the bumpers to earn more points. It’s fun and an easy sell for kids.

Much like Top Golf, servers will come around at Star Lanes to take drink or food orders. Each lane includes a table, couches, and chairs for your group.

We didn’t hit up the arcade this time around, but the boys love the XD Dark Ride, a small 4D theatre with short, interactive movies. You get 3D classes, the seats bounce and move, and each rider has a laser tag gun to shoot monsters, robots, whatever bad guys show up in the movie you choose. It’s $7 a ride, or $10 for two.

Stop #4: Trampolines and arcade games at Airhouse Adventure Park

With rounds of golf and bowling under our belts, it was time for our third and final activity – and the most hands-on one – of the day: the Airhouse Adventure Park inside FieldhouseUSA.

Fieldhouse is a huge indoor sports complex – the former Sears space at Polaris Fashion Place. Now it includes volleyball and basketball courts, a cheer academy, and Airhouse.

Airhouse combines a trampoline park with ropes courses, climbing walls, and an arcade. Passes are $20 an hour or $30 for two hours (“soft passes” for kids under 48″ are $8/hour or $12/two hours); arcade games are separate.

We spent an hour there playing trampoline games, jousting, dodge ball, zip lines, plus skeeball and arcade games.

We loved especially the interactive trampoline games. Some are small basketball courts for two players, where you bounce and try to hit/block targets with dodge balls. A couple of the games include interactive screens that track your movement; you bounce and try to hit different virtual obstacles or balls.

Stop #5: Dinner and drinks at Kitchen Social

Tired out from our afternoon of activities, we headed over to Kitchen Social for dinner. Fortunately, we had a reservation – Friday night was hopping!

For all the good we’ve heard about Kitchen Social, this was our first visit there!

We were plenty hungry by the time we arrived, so we ordered drinks and apps right away. Kitchen Social features a creative but comfortable menu. It’s hard to pin down the exact focus, but it’s safe to say everyone will find something to like.

Apps range from confit chicken wings to eggplant meatballs to street corn nachos, while entrees cover pizzas, tacos, sandwiches, burgers, and features like crispy chicken, miso cod, teriyaki ribeye, Szechuan noodles.

We started with their cheddar + scallion biscuits (rightfully called a must-have), quac and queso, and whipped feta. The adults ordered a hazy IPA from Zaftig Brewing, a bourbon peach smash, and a rosé margarita. Great start all around.

Our entrees covered a good portion of the menu, although we leaned toward the traditional pub fare: a mushroom pizza, burger, crispy chicken sandwich, and fish and chips. All well executed and a delight to eat.

A hearty meal with good company was a perfect way to finish a fun day as a family. Thanks to Destination Delaware for hosting us around Polaris! We packed in plenty of fun that could have filled a whole weekend!

Quick look at our itinerary:

Need help exploring Delaware County yourself?

Disclaimer: this post and our visit was sponsored by Destination Delaware. Photos and opinions are our own.

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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