fryer park, grove city

6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers

These 6 Columbus area parks are great for toddlers!

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

Harrison Park

Harrison Park

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. While you’re in the area, check out some of these kid-friendly options in the Short North!

2.  Jeffrey Mansion and Park, Bexley

165 N. Parkview Ave, Bexley, OH 43209
Seasonal Restrooms Available

Jeffrey Mansion Park, Bexley

Jefferey Mansion Park, Bexley, Ohio

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! If you’re in Bexley, add a stop at Kittie’s or Gramercy Books to complete the morning!

3.  Schiller Park, German Village

1069 Jaeger St., Columbus, OH 43206
Restrooms Available

Train at Schiller Park, German Village

Slide at Schiller Park, German Village

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. Nearby, check out Winans for great coffee and chocolate!

4. Pingree Park, Worthington

374 Pingree Dr., Worthington, OH 43085
No Restrooms Available

Pingree Park, Worthington, OH

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

Pingree Park, Worthington, Ohio

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
Restrooms Available

space themed park in Grove City, Ohio

Fryer Park, Grove City, Ohio

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. While you’re in Grove City, check out their awesome library!

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
Restrooms Available

Train Park, Westerville Ohio

Alum Creek Park North

Most of this park is geared toward older kids, but there are two things in particular make this park toddler-friendly and worth a visit.  One is the train, which is mainly at 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.  😉 This park was one stop during our Playdate in Uptown Westerville – make sure to read to find out where we got donuts before hand! 😉

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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6 Parks for Toddlers in Columbus, Ohio







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Columbus Ohio

What Should We Do This Weekend? March 3-5, 2017

1. Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Through Sunday, March 5, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Daily
Location: 1777 E. Broad St. Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

This is the last weekend for Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory! Thousands of orchids and tropical plants are on display with an Art Deco theme! On Saturday, you can see the Millennium Academy of Irish Dance perform traditional Irish Step Dancing!

2. Cowgirls Don’t Ride Zebras with CATCO is Kids

When: Friday – Sunday, March 3-5, 2017
Time: various times throughout the weekend
Location: Van Fleet Theatre, 549 Franklin Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

This is the world premiere of Cowgirls Don’t Ride Zebras, a story about an aspiring cowgirl who needs a horse! The show is 45 minutes long. See the link to purchase tickets!

3. Friday Fun at Northwest Library

When: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Location: 2280 Hard Rd., Columbus, OH 43235
Phone: 614-807-2626

This program is for children 5 and under and includes stories, songs and rhymes!

4. Kids Dream Family Film Series at Marcus Theatres

When: Friday – Sunday, March 3-5, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM each day
Location: Marcus Theatre Locations

This weekend kicks off the Kids Dream Family Film Series going on through April 9! This week’s film is Kung Fu Panda 3! Tickets are just $3/person and there are special prices on popcorn and fountain drinks! You can get 2 FREE passes to the show by clicking on the link for American Family Insurance on their website!

5. First Friday Film Series at Ohio History Center

When: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus OH, 43211
Phone: 800-686-6124

This family-oriented evening starts at 5:00 PM and museum admission is just $6 (5 and under are free)! There will be special activities and the movie The Princess Bride will be shown at 7:00 PM. Snacks will be available for purchase.

6. Maple Sugar Pancake Breakfast at Stratford Ecological Center

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 3083 Liberty Rd., Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-363-2548

Breakfast includes whole wheat pancakes, Stratford sausage and local maple syrup! Afterwards you can hike to the sugar shack to learn about the sugaring process! Advanced registration is required.

7. Pancake Breakfast at Charity Newsies

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 4300 Indianola Ave, Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: 614-263-4300

This pancake breakfast raises money for Charity Newsies, an organization that provides clothing for local school children! There will be pancakes with Chris Cakes, sausage, coffee and orange juice, as well as games and activities for kids!

8. Arnold SportsWorld Kids & Teens EXPO at Ohio Expo Center

When: Saturday & Sunday, March 4 & 5, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM Saturday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Sunday
Location: 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211

Lots of events, demonstrations and activities for kids and teens are going on at the Bricker Building at Ohio Expo Center at the same time as the Arnold Sports Festival this weekend! See all the details here.

9. Maple Syrup Festival at Camp Lazarus

When: Saturday March 4, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Rain or Shine
Location: 4422 Columbus Pike, Delaware, OH, 43015

This festival includes an all you can eat pancake breakfast or hot dog lunch! You can learn how maple syrup is made and participate in pioneer activities! Maple Syrup will also be available for purchase!

10. Makin’ Maple Syrup at Gallant Farm

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 2150 Buttermilk Hill Rd., Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-362-0274

Come see how sap is extracted from trees and boiled down into syrup! This program is free for all ages!

11. K.I.D. Social Justice Story Time with Showing Up for Racial Justice Upper Arlington

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Upper Arlington Public Library, 2800 Tremont Rd., Upper Arlington, OH 43221

This story time sponsored by Kindness in Demonstration and Showing Up for Racial Justice Upper Arlington (geared toward preschoolers and early elementary) will feature books on fairness, snacks and fun!

12. Playdate in the Park with the Powell Library and Powell Parks and Recreation

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Location: 460 South Liberty St., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-888-9160

This in-library playdate includes story time, a craft and other fun activities!

13. Signs of Spring Hike at Sharon Woods Metro Park

When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111

All ages are welcome to take this one mile hunt in search of early signs of spring!

14. Ohio’s 214th Birthday Party at Ohio Statehouse

When: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location:  1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-752-9777

Celebrate Ohio’s 214th birthday with art projects, a tour of the Statehouse, a scavenger hunt, birthday treats and a special birthday surprise!

15. Let’s Go to Outer Space with Columbus Symphony

When: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 55 E. State St., Columbus, OH 43215

This performance is a musical storytelling with a space theme geared toward young children! There will be pre-concert activities beginning at 2:00 PM, crafts, instruments to hold and to play and more! Children are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite space hero! See the link for tickets!

16. Decorate Diaper Donation Boxes for No Child Wet Behind with Columbus Kids Do Good

When: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: Art With Anna, 420 N. Cassady Ave., Columbus, OH 43209

In support of the No Child Wet Behind Diaper Drive and Family Fun 5K Race & 1 Mile Walk/Run, you can bring the whole family to help decorate diaper donation boxes that will be dropped off to donation locations around Columbus! There are 40 boxes to be decorated! This is also an opportunity to bring a pack of diapers to donate! If Sunday night doesn’t work, a similar event is happening on Monday night!



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ICYMI: Countdown to Spring: 20 Days to Celebrate in Columbus

*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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Indoor Programs for Toddlers and Preschoolers in Columbus: Winter 2017

If you’re trying to survive winter with a toddler or preschooler, I’m with you! I’ve already started looking forward to summer, which is a dangerous thing to start doing at the beginning of January. But never fear, Columbus has so many indoor options for keeping toddlers busy! Here’s what’s going on this winter:

Little Adventurers at Franklin Park Conservatory – Thursdays at 10:30 AM – this is program for ages 3-5 with nature-themed stories and activities.

Pre School and Parent/Child Classes at Columbus Recreation and Parks – Registration for Winter Session opened January 3rd.  There are pages and pages of classes available for your young children and many of them are free or at an extremely low cost!

Pre School Open Gym at Dublin Rec Center – Mondays and Fridays from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM  for ages 6 months to 6 years. Check the link for several other toddler programs at the Dublin Rec Center!

Toddler Theater

Toddler Theater at Abbey Theater of Dublin – select Wednesdays from 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM – recommended for ages 2-5, this is an interactive performance by Marlene Hartzler. Kids are encouraged to join her on stage to sing and dance! Often there is a special costumed visitor who joins in the fun!

Toddler Story Time at Columbus Metropolitan Library, Main Library – Tuesdays from 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM – There are so many toddler and pre-K story times going on in the CML system. Make sure to check the link to search for your closest branch or explore a new one!


Grandview Library

Tales for Toddlers at Grandview Library – Tuesdays from 10:15 AM – 10:45 AM – story time for ages 18-36 mos. Check the link for all the other story times for young children going on this winter!

Toddler Time at Westerville Rec Center – Fridays from 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM – this is a drop in program for ages Kindergarten and under and their caregivers. The time includes play and crafts!

Pee Wee Play Gym at Westerville Rec Center – Mondays from 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM – this play time is a drop in program for ages 3 and under accompanied by an adult!

Little Explorers Base Camp at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – this is a free, drop in program where preschoolers and toddlers can learn and explore!

Curious Kids at The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology – drop in preschool program on Tuesdays from 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM – free with admission or membership! See the link for the weekly schedule and themes!

Winter Classes at piccadilly – classes are available for babies through preschoolers in things like Messy Art, Storybook Art, Squats and Tots and more! Drop in or sign up for a series!

Toddler Thursdays at Magic Mountain – from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM kids can have unlimited KidsGym for just $2.50!

Scioto Audubon

Pre-K Storytime at Scioto Audubon – Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:00 AM – this time features nature stories for ages 3-5. Check the link for many other ongoing toddler and preschool programs at Columbus Metro Parks.

Mr. Eric’s Music at Firefly Cafe – 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 10:30 AM – a fun singing time with Mr. Eric is included with admission to the play cafe!

My Very First Art Class! Toddler Art at Zen Kidz Play Cafe – Thursdays – several classes are available throughout the morning for parents and children together!

Toddler Time at Get Air – this special toddler jump time is available on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM!

Toddler Time special with Get Air and Tree of Life Play Cafe – on Wednesdays and Thursdays, these neighboring businesses offer a special price to play at both locations!

Babytime and Tales for Twos and Threes at Worthington Libraries – lots of story times available for toddlers almost every day of the week!

Drop-in Preschool Storytime at Westerville Library – Monday and Thursday mornings from 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM – singing, books, instruments and more for ages 3-6!

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Metro Parks Preschool Programs – at least seven of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks have regular preschool programs that are free to attend! Most are for ages 3-5. Click the link to see the upcoming schedule at any given time and drop in!

Pre-K Classes at The Little Gym of Polaris – Gymnastics, sports and music and movement classes are available to engage the little ones and keep them moving!

Toddler/Preschool Enrichment classes at Studio J: Sing Paint Play – these classes are for kids age 1-5 and include stories, songs, instruments, art projects and more!

Did I miss anything? Leave a comment with more ideas and info if you have it! 🙂

Hang in there . . . spring is coming!


Make sure to follow What Should We Do Today? on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram and never miss a post!

ICYMI: 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Columbus Parents

*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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