Some of central Ohio's public institutions are promising a full slate of activities for local spring-breakers who are opting for a staycation this year.

Some students in grades K-12 are returning to class while others are throwing off their backpacks, looking for fun and adventure.

The 51,000 students in the Columbus City Schools district begin their spring break Friday, March 30, and are scheduled to return to class April 9.

Scott Varner, spokesman for CCS, said the district is partnering with Columbus Recreation and Parks to promote the "school's out" website -- columbus.gov/schoolsout -- which will have a list of free activities and discounted-admission opportunities for students and their families.

From April 3-6 at the Woodward Park Recreation Center, 5147 Karl Road, there will be a full slate of activities, including an open gymnasium, arts and crafts, group games and street hockey.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 W. Powell Road, is offering special savings on admission during spring break. All guests will receive $5 off general admission.

On March 30 and 31, the zoo is celebrating the season with Eggs, Paws and Claws, which is free with zoo admission and will be packed with kid-friendly entertainment, including Bunny Bonanza featuring famous rabbits such as Bugs Bunny and Miffy.

There's plenty to explore at COSI, 333 W. Broad St.

Jaclyn Reynolds, spokeswoman for the facility, said there is fun for people of all ages.

Among the attractions is the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery, which features full-size casts of Tyrannosaurus rex and Stegosaurus, an 8-foot cast of a titanosaur femur (the full-size animal is 122 feet long) and a climbable, full-scale model of an oviraptor nest discovered in China, with 20 eggs.

"Spring break is a fantastic time to keep the science learning going strong while having fun," Reynolds said.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library system will have a number of storytimes and other events at each of its 23 branches.

Readers can visit the library system's events page at columbuslibrary.org to see what's going on at the library location nearest them, said Gregg Dodd, spokesman for the library system.

Representatives at the various locations are ready to assist visitors with an enjoyable spring break read, Dodd said. And, as always, customers can check out books and eBooks, as well as CDs, DVDs and audiobooks, he said.

The Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St., has several featured exhibits that will run beyond spring break.

For example, William L. Hawkins: An Imaginative Geography will display multiple pieces of the artist's work, from wild animals to iconic Columbus landmarks.

Hands-on activities are encouraged at the Wonder Room, an experimental, one-of-a-kind gallery in the JPMorgan Chase Center for Creativity.

Works of art are displayed in unexpected ways, and custom, hands-on activities are featured prominently near works of art to inspire creativity in this family-friendly space.

At artist Susie Underwood's web party, visitors can make their own bugs.

"The Columbus Museum of Art has many exhibitions, interactive activities and ways for people to connect with their creativity to inspire wonder every day of the week," said Melissa Ferguson, the museum's director of marketing and communications.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary