Otherworld

Last summer, Cincinnati Art Museum’s Burning Man exhibit was a major hit, and perhaps the most unexpectedly kid-friendly event of 2019. My four kids loved Burning Man, and were very sad to see this exhibit come to a close.

If you’re longing for the artistic, immersive, creative explosion that was Burning Man, then you must visit Otherworld.

Otherworld is an interactive art installation built by more than 40 artists. Located in Columbus, Otherworld is a 32,000-square-foot space with large-scale works, secret passages and postmodern playgrounds that are reminiscent of laser tag or being inside a virtual reality (welcome to the matrix).

Otherworld was recently named one of TIME for Kids World’s Coolest Places — and it truly is. Each of Otherworld’s 47 (!) rooms is completely unique. There are endless spaces to explore, and like any art exhibition, the experience is personal and dynamic. It’s a completely immersive art experience that’s completely unlike anything else in the world.

Welcome to the matrix.

And, most importantly, Otherworld is incredibly accessible for kids; a one-of-a-kind, out-of-this-world experience that is absolutely worth the drive.

Don’t be intimidated by Otherworld. When you enter, it’s a little dark, which made me worry if the whole experience would be too much for my kids, who range in age from 22 months to almost 9.

It wasn’t.

Otherworld is a place for everyone to let their imaginations run wild and free. There is so much for kids to see and do. Everything is interactive. Everything. Kids can “paint” bedroom walls and climb into a giant bed. Kids can bounce inside a giant mouth, wander through enchanted forests and ogle themselves in rooms with endless mirrors. Every room is different and blurs the boundaries between modern art and play. (Shouldn’t art be fun? Interactive? Tactile? At Otherworld, it is.)

There are so many lights in Otherworld. You’ll feel like you’re inside a video game. The lights were my favorite element of Otherworld; they take the whole experience to the next level. Light tunnels, lights on large play structures, lights changing colors and lights inviting you to play games. My toddler was enchanted and intrigued and dazzled by all the lights.

Otherworld is room after room of multi-sensory modern art installations, mixed with the topsy-turvy world of Alice in Wonderland, with a dash of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds thrown in for good measure. For kids, Otherworld is basically a fantasy come to life, in a playful and accessible way. Otherworld is wild and wonderful and something everyone needs to experience — and it’s right here, in Ohio.

For more information on Otherworld, visit otherworldohio.com.

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