After 10 years in the heart of downtown, kidscommons is throwing itself a larger-than-life birthday party, and all of Columbus is invited.

Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, the children’s museum will open its doors to residents who want to explore the interactive exhibits, eat a giant cake and play life-sized versions of popular board games.

And it is all free.

“It’s a neat opportunity to experience the museum,” said Ben Wagner, kidscommons executive director.

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Kidscommons moved to its current location on Washington Street on Oct. 1, 2005, and since then has welcomed more than 300,000 visitors and partnered with 22 community organizations for local programs.

To celebrate a decade of entertaining and educating children, the museum is offering free face painting, bubbles and giant games, including Jenga, chess, Hungry Hungry Hippos and Kerplunk.

After the Ethnic Expo parade downtown concludes, Wagner said, the streets surrounding kidscommons will be closed to traffic to allow visitors to play the giant games outside.

But no birthday party is complete without cake, which is why Wagner said he will offer a 6-foot-high, 10-foot-diameter cake decorated by local young artists. Work has been progressing on the 10-level cake, which will be completed in time for Saturday’s party, he said.

The rest of the museum will be open Saturday, too, including the renovated ExploraHouse with its infrared kitchen and the refurbished bathroom that houses the famous giant toilet.

Because a large crowd will already be downtown for Ethnic Expo, Wagner said residents of all ages will be able to come out to celebrate kidscommons’ birthday.

If you go

kidscommons Birthday Bash

  • When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: kidscommons, 309 Washington St., Columbus
  • What: Museum admission, giant games, face painting, birthday cake
  • Cost: Free
  • Information: Call 812-378-3046
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Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at or 812-379-5712.