Nativity Scene at State Auto Insurance Building

One of my favorite childhood memories was my dad taking us downtown to see the Nativity scene in front of the State Auto Insurance building on Broad Street. We’d go at night when it was lit up to see the life-sized figurines of Mary, Joseph, and if dad parked the car in the right place, the baby Jesus. It was generally too cold for all of us to hop out of the car, but dad would drive us around a couple of times so we could take it all in. As a child, it was magical and I remember being thinking maybe on one of our visits they’d come to life.

That was many years ago, and now the display has moved around the corner of the building to Pein Park and the display can be seen on foot. Hubby and I recently took the kids, and it was really cool to see those figurines up close and personal. Shepherds, the Three Wise Men coming in on camels to see the baby, the Nativity, the manger with no baby Jesus (he makes his appearance Christmas Eve). There was a small amphitheater set up with choral risers and they have choirs that sing a various times during December. I think that is so cool, and all free! I noticed a hot chocolate tent around the corner from the display to warm patrons up as they wander through the shepherds fields and follow the Wise Men to welcome the baby (hot cocoa is probably not free).

There was sign on Broad Street that directed cars to Nativity parking on N. 11th St. We hopped out of our car and walked right up to the display. The kids liked looking at the figurines, but they were more interested in playing on the choral risers dancing and singing. They also wanted to touch all goats and sheep, which is prohibited. We had to cut our visit short because the kids couldn’t stay off the grass – I couldn’t blame them, though, they wanted to see if the people and animals were real. Visiting the Nativity Scene will become one of our holiday traditions, even if it is a quick visit during my children’s younger years.

If you get a chance, check it out. Perhaps go when there is a live choir performance!

Nativity Scene at State Auto
518 E. Broad Street (in Pein Park adjacent to the building)
Columbus, OH 43215




About cBus Mom

cBus Mom offers suggestions and reviews of kid-friendly activities in Central Ohio. I am a Columbus, Ohio mom and I like to get out and explore with my kids.

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8 Responses to Nativity Scene at State Auto Insurance Building

  1. Kenneth Thomos December 16, 2010 at 6:42 AM #

    Very nice article

  2. Paul Giorgi December 18, 2010 at 9:58 AM #

    Thanks for the article. We’re going to try and make it tonight and check it out.

  3. Don Browne December 23, 2010 at 7:35 PM #

    Nice to see someone write about the display. I haven’t seen it for over 50 years, after having moved to Florida. I was surprised that I could not find any video of the Nativity scene at State Farm at all, surprising for the many years it’s been there. My father used to deliver mail on Broad Street and would take the family there each Christmas to see it.

  4. cBus Mom December 24, 2010 at 8:05 AM #

    Don – it is a good memory, isn’t it? I was surprised when I saw you could actually get out and walk around. Before kids, I only went as a kid and now it is fun to take MY kids. :)

  5. Chuck Lee December 26, 2010 at 11:10 AM #

    I took my kids up to see the display this past Thursday night and it is so much better at night. I also remember my dad taking us up to see the display over 40 years ago, which at that time was in front of the building. It threw me off some at first not seeing the display out front and then I saw it was around on the side of the building. I hope they never stop putting the display out, with all of the commercialization of Christmas it is nice to see such an excellent display depicting the true meaning of the holiday season. I just wish more people could see it and experience the feeling.

  6. Columbus Guy December 26, 2010 at 6:27 PM #

    You can still enjoy a part of the State Auto Nativity Scene even if you are not anywhere near Columbus. Just call the Cell Phone tour: 614-675-5575. Works from any phone – from anywhere. Enjoy.

  7. Jenny Thomas December 30, 2010 at 1:09 PM #

    State Auto Insurance,

    I have always wanted to write to you a heartfelt and sincere thank you for your many decades of service to the Columbus community in displaying the Nativity. You have been so faithful – setting it up year-after-year on your property, scheduling choirs to sing, improving the display with text, increasing the number of figurines, providing lighting for late-night viewers, etc… And all the while, other companies and our own national, state and city government have removed any reference to the historical birth of Jesus Christ.

    Thank you for providing years of happy memories with my parents and four siblings that date back to the 1950′s. Thank you for continuing to provide these same memories for my own family since the 1980′s. I look forward to bringing foreign college students to view your display tonight.

    Please be encouraged to carry on this tradition into the future even though you may not receive much verbal support. I am certain there are countless people who have loved this tradition and have wanted to communicate their thanks to you but have failed to do so.


    Jenny Thomas
    Columbus Resident since 1955


    Thank you so much for this article – I remember going every year since the late 50′s. It is the best thing in Columbus at Christmas time.

    I also loved going to see the window at Lazarus – walking up the ramp to view the trains and the automated figurines – really miss that.

    I haven’t made it yet to State Auto this year and I still want to take a car-full of Chinese students from OSU to see it. I am hoping we have until New Year’s Day to see it.

  8. cBus Mom December 30, 2010 at 3:42 PM #

    Jenny – I would love nothing more than to take my kids to Santaland at the old Lazarus and the Talking Tree. I have great memories from those visits!

    Chuck – it looks great, doesn’t it?

    Columbus Guy – thanks for the information! That is great!