Exploring Grove City is best done by foot, bicycle or boat.

Exploring Grove City is best done by foot, bicycle or boat.

The southwest suburb has plenty to offer families with a sense of adventure, said Andy Furr, executive director of Grove City Town Center, Inc.

"If you're bored in Grove City, it's your own fault," he said. "We have so much going on - especially if you've got kids."

The city offers many family-friendly events, added Kim Conrad, parks and recreation director.

"Our events are planned around a family-type atmosphere," she said. "We recognize it can be very expensive to take a family out, so we try to make things very low cost or free."

One of the city's major events, Balloons & Tunes, takes place this month. The hot-air balloon festival is set for Aug. 23 and 24. Another kid-friendly event is the Arts in the Alley art show slated for Sept. 21 and 22.

Furr recommends bringing bikes to town and parking at one of the city parks. Grove City has a well-organized network of bike trails that connect neighborhoods and parks with the Town Center, the city's name for its downtown business district.

While visiting Town Center, families will find lots of places to play and eat. And the murals throughout the area can teach you about some Grove City history. The Grove City Library, which will break ground on a new building next year, has a great line-up of children's activities.

Families also can lace up a pair of roller skates at Skate America or slip into bowling shoes at Grove City Lanes.

A few blocks away from Town Center, youngsters can paint pottery at Coffee Break Pottery or swing putters at Putt-N-Play Family Fun Center.

The town also has plenty of eateries to tempt families. Hot dog lovers will not want to miss Cronies Coney Cafe, where you can sample one of their many Coney creations or invent one of your own. The Garden Cafe on Broadway has a nice selection of soups, sandwiches and salads. They also make great smoothies.

For breakfast, check out Lilly's Kitchen which serves everything from biscuits and gravy to vegetarian omelets. At lunchtime, be sure to order the homemade chips.

One of Town Center's oldest restaurants, Planks on Broadway, is a fun place for pizza and wings.

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Capital City Cakes & Sweet Treats. Kids will enjoy the cupcakes and the sundae bar where they can pick their own toppings.

After exploring Town Center, head to Trapper John's Canoe Livery to enjoy the area's greener side. From a canoe or kayak, families will see a variety of animals along the Big Darby Creek, said Jason Kaufman, owner of Trapper John's.

"The wildlife is very diverse," he said. "There's lot of turtles to see, maybe some snakes. You'll see waterfowl."

He recommends canoeing for children ages 6 and older and kayaking for those who are at least 12 years old.

Families also can explore nature in one of the city's many parks. Fryer Park has a nature area for bird watching and a pond for fishing. It's also home to Discovery Frontier, the city's "signature playground," Conrad said. The space-themed playground encourages active play and learning, she said. Kids can make music in the sound garden, climb horizontal and vertical climbing walls and learn facts about the planets.

Children and parents will enjoy the sights and smells of Gantz Park, which features an educational herb garden, Conrad said. Signs in the park tell how to grow herbs and how to use them.

Finally, Grove City Skate Park is an 11,000-square-foot skating park with challenges suitable for beginner to expert skateboarders and inline skaters.