Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes taking young kids to the park can be a frightening experience. You look away for 5 seconds and all of a sudden your toddler is standing at the top of a climbing wall looking over a 10 foot drop off to the pavement below. I like to take my toddlers to parks where they can roam freely without a lot of worry that their lack of impulse control (or balance) is going to send us on a trip to the ER. But that’s just me. I suppose I should make a disclaimer that most (all?) of the younger kids’ areas in the parks I’ve been to have signs saying the equipment is designed for ages 2-5. I don’t know anyone who has waited until their kid was 2 to take them to a park, so that being said, I have chosen 6 parks with particularly toddler-friendly play areas:
1. Funk-ee-Town, Harrison Park, Harrison West
995 Harrison Park Pl., Columbus, OH 43201
No Restrooms Available
GREAT toddler area here! No crazy heights, the small slide is enclosed at the top, and lots of opportunities for imaginative play – on the ground! My kids love the snack shack and the house with the blue roof has drums and a xylophone to play on inside, as well as a steering wheel.
2. Jeffrey Mansion and Park, Bexley
165 N. Parkview Ave, Bexley, OH 43209
Seasonal Restrooms Available
The toddler area here is fenced in, making it a perfect little play area just for the younger crowd! There is tunnel to crawl through, a dinosaur slide and a play house. As a bonus, the grounds here are beautiful and if you follow the path into the woods behind the park, you will encounter a boardwalk along Alum Creek!
3. Schiller Park, German Village
1069 Jaeger St., Columbus, OH 43206
This side of the playground at Schiller park is very toddler friendly. Kids love these trains, and the play area behind it, seen in the picture, is specifically made for the toddler set. It’s completely closed in, there’s a ramp and the slides are so slow my 4 year old got stuck. 😉 There are several baby/toddler swings here as well.
4. Pingree Park, Worthington
374 Pingree Dr., Worthington, OH 43085
No Restrooms Available
My kids had a lot of fun at this park! There’s a toddler play set, infant/toddler swings and a small path around the park that does not cross a road or parking lot. There are a couple of picnic tables and benches here that are convenient for snacking or eating a packed lunch. Both of my kids, including my toddler, actually really had fun on the tunnel slide, though it specifically says for ages 5 and up. They specifically enjoyed yelling “Paw Patrol!” from the top and then pretending to slide down into their respective vehicles. So yes, I did basically yell out jobs for them for at least 20 minutes: “Marshall, I need you and your firetruck to go rescue a kitty from a tree . . .” and so on . . . It was fun. (Sarcasm font.)
5. Discovery Frontier, Fryer Park, Grove City
3899 Orders Rd., Grove City, OH 43123
This park is toddler friendly because it is more about space than height. And yes, I mean that literally and figuratively. This space-themed park has a lot of area to run, hills to climb and also sand to play in. My kids love running through the tunnel and up the hill that is the moon. There are several toddler-sized structures to play on. It’s hard to say exactly what space-themed things they are supposed to be, but none of them are very high off the ground, and that’s what matters. At this park, there is also a pond with a path to walk. There are several toddler swings here and they are under umbrella cover for shade – another bonus!
6. Alum Creek Park North, Westerville
221 W. Main St., Westerville, OH 43081
Two things in particular make this park toddler-friendly. One is the train, which is mainly ground level with a tunnel to crawl through, benches to sit on inside and a small slide. The second thing is the large sand pit. I said it was toddler friendly, I didn’t promise your kids would stay clean. 😉
I have personally tried all of these parks with a toddler and lived to see another day! I hope you and your little ones enjoy exploring a new park! If you’re planning to pick up coffee on the way to the park, I featured two of these parks in my post Coffee+Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop!
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