4 Nature-Themed Story Times Around Columbus

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These four nature-themed story times around Columbus combine stories with great educational, hands on experiences!

I’ve mentioned probably more than a few times that my kids are really into bugs right now. So, when I saw that Ohio Wildlife Center had a story time about insects, we were there! It prompted the idea to put together a list of story times with a nature theme.

The bonus is that these story times also come with so much more than just a story! Maybe there’s a craft, animals to meet or a woods to explore – whatever the case may be, these story times make a for a great way learn AND have an up-close, hands-on experience with nature!

1. Ohio Wildlife Center

Times: Second Wednesday of the month
Location: 6131 Cook Rd. Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-734-9453
Cost: $5 for anyone over 5, including adults.

Ohio Wildlife Center hosts a Wild Story Time on the first Wednesday of each month. Check the calendar here. We went in July and the theme was Insects. As I said, my boys are REALLY into bugs right now so they were completely enthralled! There were a couple of stories with an insect theme and then a visit from a resident opossum!

After the story time, we all got to take a tour of the grounds, check out the animals that live there, and then do an insect-themed craft!

When the program part was over, we were allowed to explore the grounds on our own so we borrowed some binoculars and went on a hike through the woods and looped back around to visit the animals again! Ohio Wildlife Center cares for wild animals that have been hurt or abandoned and then releases them as they are able. Some of the animals housed on the grounds included raccoons, coyotes, owls, turkeys and more.

The Ohio Wildlife Center is not open to the public on a daily basis so in order to visit, you need to attend a story time or one of their “Open to the Public” events which takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

2. Grange Insurance Audubon Center

Times: Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:00 AM
Location: 505 W. Whittier St. Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-545-5475
Cost: Free

Twice a week the Pre-K Storytime is held at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center in partnership with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. See the calendar of events here (search for Scioto Audubon program). The story time takes place in the beautiful library at the Audubon Center with a stunning view of downtown Columbus.

Afterwards you can visit the aquatic animals and play in the indoor play area. Outside the Audubon Center is a sandbox, playground and rock climbing wall. See 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon.

3. Franklin Park Conservatory

Times: Thursdays at 10:30 AM
Location: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000
Cost: Included with admission or membership

Franklin Park Conservatory is currently hosting a Nature Storytime on Mondays and Thursdays at 10:30 AM in the Scotts Miracle Grow Foundation Children’s Garden. This is appropriate for kids ages 3-8 and features stories that celebrate gardens, plants and nature. Of course afterwards you can enjoy the amazing Children’s Garden which is full of hands on activities!

Franklin Park Conservatory hosts several new events and programs in the garden. See the upcoming schedule of events here.

We attended the Little Adventurers Program last summer, which took place indoors. The book was The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle and the craft was making a firefly with a glittery (“glowing”) body. Ok, let’s be honest, due to a rain storm and circumstances beyond my control, we were about 10 minutes late and missed the story, but you get the point! 😉 The boys had just spent the previous weekend catching fireflies at their grandparents’ house so this craft was extra appealing to them! The Little Adventurers program is free with admission or membership!

 

Afterwards, check out the Enchanted Forest, a children’s play area on the lower level and take a walk through Blooms and Butterflies (open March – September) to see butterflies up close and personal. Newly emerged butterflies are released every day at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

4. Stratford Ecological Center

Times: Second Tuesday of the month from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: 3083 Liberty Rd., Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-363-2548
Cost: $5 per family

Stratford Ecological Center hosts Story Time on the Farm on the second Tuesday of each month at 10:00 AM starting in March and running through November. See the Calendar of Events. We haven’t actually been to the story time here yet, but we have been to the farm and I have heard that the story time is very popular! The story time lasts an hour and is based on what is going on at the farm during the current season! After the story time, you can explore the farm, dig in the dirt and visit the animals! See A Day on the Farm: 5 Things to do at Stratford Ecological Center.

 

Where is your favorite local story time?

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2 MORE Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids

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Here are two more Metro Park Nature Centers that offer a great space for kids! (If you missed it, I shared the first two here!) Both of these centers have a huge focus on bird watching, so Spring will be a great time to visit these locations!

Blacklick Woods Metro Park

6975 E Livingston Ave, Reynoldsburg OH 43068
Nature Center: 614-861-8759

A reader tipped me off to the Nature Center at Blacklick Woods Metro Park in Reynoldsburg! We had a fun morning there a few weeks ago!

Of course, my kids headed straight for the tee pee upon entering!

Interesting things to touch!

There’s a “tree house,” an area for puppet shows, a kid microscope for viewing insects up close, puzzles, coloring and more!

My kids LOVED the kid-friendly binoculars and spent a lot of time watching birds and squirrels at feeders just outside these large windows! Mayson was obsessed with the “carnivals” (cardinals) and Jaden loved the blue jays (because blue is his favorite color)!

There is an occasional story time at the center, check the upcoming program list here.


Grange Insurance Audubon CenterScioto Audubon Metro Park,

505 W Whittier St. Columbus OH 43215, 614-545-5475

The Grange Insurance Audubon Center within Scioto Audubon Metro Park is an amazing place for kids!

There is a library area where they have story time and this tee pee!

And the views of Columbus are stunning!

 

Lots of opportunities for touching here, too!

There is a kid’s play area with a “cave” of sorts, puppets and a climbing gym!

Inside the cave:

The climbing gym:

Dress up:

There is a preschool story time on Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:00 AM in the library! Now that the weather is getting warmer, make sure to check out 9 Things to Do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon for things to do inside AND out!

These are two great Nature Centers for kids to explore! What are your favorite?

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