Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park

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This summer I am on a quest to explore as many Metro Parks as we can. One crazy morning we did two! We started out at the playground at Rocky Fork and then headed to Blendon Woods. One thing about the Metro Parks here in Columbus is that they open up a totally different world. So many times we end up somewhere and find myself saying, “wow, I didn’t know this was here!” And even though you’re less than 20 miles from downtown Columbus, you can walk through the woods and all of a sudden stumble upon something that makes you feel like you’re somewhere far away. That’s how I felt at Blendon Woods!

We started out at the Nature Center . . .

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Right away, we headed straight for the back where there is a wildlife viewing room. Luckily for us, there was a wild turkey right outside the window and a squirrel doing acrobatics from the feeder! There are binoculars available for long distance viewing.

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There are a lot of mounted animals on display inside the center.

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There is a separate room where there were some activities for kids, nature books (for adults and children), more mounted animals and also live animals like fish, turtles and a snake!

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Here you could make crayon rubbings of different kinds of leaves. There were other nature activities for children and cards with animal paw prints on them to match up with the various mounted animals in the room.

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Probably the biggest hit with my kids were the “please touch” containers. Even in the Metro Parks, I’ve found the there can be a lot of “don’t touch” and “don’t walk here” situations, so the fact that my kids could freely explore interesting objects like feathers and antlers and turtle shells was a lot of fun for them!

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I pretty much had to tear them away from the “please touch” buckets and out the door, down the path toward the waterfowl refuge.

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When you get to the fork in the road, choose one of these paths . . . we ended up doing both!

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This is a must do! Here is a great example of walking down a wooded path, not knowing what to expect, and then all of a sudden being amazed at what you find. I guess I’m about to ruin that experience for you by showing you pictures 😉 but in case you’re like me and you get to this:

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. . . and you think maybe this is just some storage area or ranger station closed off to the general public, and are tempted to turn around, like I was, I’m telling you to keep going inside! And see this:

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Inside each of the two shelters, there are viewing windows, a telescope and some open-air slots for viewing wildlife and birds. It was peaceful and I could have stood there staring for quite some time. But my kids weren’t quite as patient.

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Maybe someone can tell me what kind of bird that is in the picture above? 🙂

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After we walked back down the path and to our car, we drove to one of the playgrounds. There are a couple of them and this one is on the west side by the Natural Play Area. My kids loved the wire tunnels to crawl through.

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Within walking distance of the playground is the Natural Play Area where kids can freely roam in the creek and woods, and be free to play. We didn’t make it there because this was our second Metro Park of the day, after all, and it was starting to rain. I took that as a sign that it was time to call it a day and head home for nap time!

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Blendon Woods Metro Park has a lot of free programs available to the community. Throughout the week there are preschool programs, yoga classes for adults and activities for grade schoolers. This weekend there is a treasure hunt in the Natural Play Area and a program about Monarchs. I have had varying experiences with the programs for kids at the Metro Parks, some are welcoming of younger siblings tagging along and others are not, so I would recommend giving them a call if you have any questions about attending.

Check out this map of all of the Metro Parks! I encourage you to take advantage of all our great Metro Park system has to offer!

Know Before You Go:

Blendon Woods Metro Park
Address: 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road Westerville, OH 43081
Hours: 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM, April through September, 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM, October through March
Phone: 614-620-1861
Nature Center Phone: 614-895-6221

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ICYMI: 12 Columbus Parks to Try This Summer


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What Should We Do This Weekend? May 27-29, 2016

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The temperatures are in the 80’s, some schools are out, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and Columbus events are in full-swing!  It’s the unofficial start of SUMMER! (Just for saying that, it will probably snow next week (thanks, Ohio!) but I’ll take my chances!)

First off, this weekend kicks off the summer season at Columbus Commons, a great, multi-purpose green space in the middle of downtown.  All summer there will be concerts, festivals and my first event on the list, Commons for Kids!

1. Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons

When: Friday, May 27, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

Free carousel rides, bouncy houses and open play are available every Friday, but each week has different special activities.  This week Lowe’s will be on hand to help your child plant a plant to take home and Mr. Puppet will give a performance!

2. Family Fun Day at Columbus Commons

When: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

Saturday at Columbus Commons you can join in lots of fun activities like face painting, inflatables, crafts, Lego play, maker space, photo booth and more!  Some (but not all) activities require a $5 wristband purchase. The event opens at a 3:00 PM for children with sensory sensitivities. There will be food trucks on location and visits from special characters!  Stick around for:

3. Free Movie Night at the Commons

When: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

The busy weekend at the Commons concludes with an outdoor showing of The Good Dinosaur, rated PG.

4. Story Trail Opening Day at Friendship Park

When: Friday, May 27, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 138 Oklahoma Ave., Gahanna, OH 43230

Celebrate the opening of the new Story Trail at Friendship Park, a collaboration between Gahanna Parks & Recreation, Columbus Metropolitan Library and Art Garden Studios. Attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, enjoy a live music performance by Casey Redmond and participate in games and other fun activities!

5. Utica Sertoma Ice Cream Festival

When: Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 28-30, 2016
Time: Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Monday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 11339 Mt Vernon Rd., Utica, OH 43080

If you’re up for a short road trip this weekend, the Utica Ice Cream Festival offers tons of fun for kids (not to mention ice cream)! Kid friendly events include arts and crafts, magic shows, kiddie tractor pull, visits from the Columbus Zoo, water balloon toss and a whole lot more! Admission is $5 per car.

6. Asian Festival at Franklin Park

When: Saturday & Sunday, May 28 & 29, 2016
Time: Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 1755 E Broad St, Columbus OH

This celebration of Asian culture includes performances, food, a marketplace, and more. Specifically for kids, there will be a children’s area with games, crafts, dress up and the opportunity to learn calligraphy and make a handprint dragon!

7. Opening Day at Ohio Village

When: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Ohio History Center, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus Ohio, 43211
Phone: 614-297-2300 or 800-686-6124

Ohio Village opens for the season and steps into the 1890s!  Opening day offers a look at the changes the village has undergone and a chance to meet new residents of the village, try croquet, make ice cream, listen to live music and more! Check the link for the schedule of activities.

8. For Kids – Wildlife at Homestead Park

When: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: The Barn, 4675 Cosgray Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026
Phone: 614-971-5211

Homestead Metro Park offers kids ages 3-10 the opportunity to meet live animals and learn more about Ohio’s wildlife!

9. Bob Evans Family Days at the Columbus Clippers

When: Sunday, May 29, 2016
Time: 1:05 PM
Location: Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 462-5250
Ticket Line: (614) 462-2757

Family Day Admission is $15 for two adults and up to four youth ages 18 and under! Admission includes access to left-field bleachers, lawn seating and standing room only. After the game, kids can run the bases in the Commit to be Fit Fun Run!

10. Farmer’s Markets

Check out this link from Columbus Moms Blog where every Farmer’s Market in the Columbus area is listed by day!  Many take place on the weekend and would make for a fun outing this weekend as the season gets underway!

11. Memorial Day Parades and Other Events

Here is a link to Memorial Day events in the Columbus area, most happening on Monday, as we remember those we’ve lost in active military service.

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ICYMI: Playdate in Uptown Westerville

*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*


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What Should We Do This Weekend? April 29 – May 1, 2016

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I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the weekend!  Here are 7 things you can do with your kids!  Enjoy!

1. Healthy Kids Day at the YMCA of Central Ohio

When: Saturday, April 30, 2016
Time: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Times vary by location)
Location: Your Local YMCA

Healthy Kids Day is celebrated at 11 local branches of the YMCA! The goal of this day of activity is to improve the health and well-being of families! Activities vary by location, so check the link for the schedules at each individual YMCA. Examples of featured activities include family zumba, Touch a Truck, rock climbing, swim evaluations, free bike helmets, lego table, obstacle course, bounce houses and much more! And it’s FREE!

2. Powell Street Market in Downtown Powell

When: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Downtown Powell, OH

This downtown market only happens 3 times a year and features a wide selection of vendors selling hand-made treasures, food, jewelry and more! Food trucks will be on site and there will be pony rides for the kids! Admission and parking is free!

3. Hoot Family Film Series at Gateway Film Center

When: Saturday, April 30. 2016
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201
Phone: 614-247-4433

Music, crafts, dancing and a live performance by the Shazzbots accompany child-friendly short films! This month’s theme is wind!

4. Dive Under the Sea with ProMusica at Columbus Metropolitan Library, Karl Road Branch

When: Saturday April 30, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:55 AM
Location: 5590 Karl Road, Columbus, OH 43229
Phone: 614-645-2275

All ages are welcome to explore music inspired by the ocean! This concert by ProMuscia is free and family-friendly!

5. Free Crafts for Kids at Lakeshore Learning Store

When: Saturday, April 30, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 2148 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240
Phone: 614-846-1710

Make a free “Thanks-A-Bunch Bouquet” of flowers at the Polaris store!

6. Free Admission at Columbus Museum of Art

When: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 480 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-221-6801

Just in case you don’t know, every Sunday is free at Columbus Museum of Art!

7. Family Days at Pizzuti Collection

When: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 632 N Park St, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-280-4004

Free admission to the Pizzuti Collection will be offered on the first Sunday of each month through December! These special days include guided children’s tours at 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM and a scavenger hunt. Each child will also be given their own sketchbook!

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ICYMI: Saturday Morning in the Short North


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