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