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 . . .
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.
There are a lot of mounted animals on display inside the center.
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!
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.
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!
I pretty much had to tear them away from the “please touch” buckets and out the door, down the path toward the waterfowl refuge.
When you get to the fork in the road, choose one of these paths . . . we ended up doing both!
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:
. . . 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:
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.
Maybe someone can tell me what kind of bird that is in the picture above? 🙂
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.
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!
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
Nature Center Phone: 614-895-6221