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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Two Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids

Around this time last year, I shared some of our favorite libraries for reading AND playing (here and here). Since then, we’ve got quite a few more library visits under our belt and I wanted to share them with you (two this week and two more in a few weeks)! If you’re looking to shake up the routine a little bit, branch out and try one of these fun libraries! (No pun intended! 😉 )

1. Bexley Public Library

2411 E. Main Street, Bexley, Ohio 43209, 614-231-2793

The Bexley Library is amazing for kids! I can’t believe I’d missed out on it for so long! There is a play area for kids that is huge! My kids could have stayed here ALL day!

Seriously, we need this play rug!

There’s a castle play house, a theater for puppet shows, a table for drawing, magna tiles, letters, dinosaurs, and the list goes on!


The library offers story times followed by play times in the play area for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. They also have a pajama story time on Wednesday nights and an Imagination Station on Friday afternoons. See the full calendar of events here. Plus Kitties is DIRECTLY across the street with my favorite chocolate chip cookie ever!

2. Grove City Library

3959 Broadway, Grove City, OH 43123, 614-875-6716

The Grove City Library opened up in the fall of 2016 and we visited around the holidays. Another GREAT kids’ area here!

The space is large and open with lots of natural light!

The children’s area is called Harper’s Grove, named after Laura Harper, the president emeritus of the Friends of Southwest Public Libraries Board of Trustees. Her donation to the library was in honor of her husband and his aunt, Irene Harper who was the first librarian of Southwest Public Libraries!

Harper’s Grove includes, reading areas, a puppet theater, an interactive learning wall, light table, duplos, and baskets full of educational toys in the Play Corner!

The library offers several story times throughout the week, programs for teens and activities on Saturdays, too! See the entire event calendar here.

If you’re looking to shake up your library routine, these two libraries would make for a GREAT morning out with the kids! And don’t forget to check out Two MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids!


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5 on Friday: Kid-Friendly Coffee Shops

As a freelance and contract worker, my husband spends most of his days in some kind of coffee shop setting. When I told him I was putting together a list of kid-friendly coffee shops, he said, “There is such a thing?” The fact that my own husband said such a thing is proof enough this post is needed. 😉 Coffee is a big part of my life, so the kids are gonna have to come along. Here are 5 best-bets for the times when you need to bring the kids:

1. Coffee Connections of Hilliard, Hilliard

This spot has to win the most kid-friendly coffee shop, hands down! Coffee Connections of Hilliard has two buildings. In the front (on Main St.) there is a full-sized coffee shop with two floors of seating areas and in a separate building in the back there is a community room with a play area just for kids upstairs! My kids were so entertained here recently that my husband and I had a nearly uninterrupted coffee date with friends! There is a changing table and even an area for babies to play!

4004 Main St., Hilliard, OH 43026

2, Grandview Grind, Grandview Heights

Grandview Grind has a large seating area and, in the back, there is a couch with a book shelf full of books, games and crayons! I was there recently with my two year old and he even found an Elmo book! There is a large drink menu and treats for sale as well.

1423 A Grandview Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

3. Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op, Franklinton

Bottoms Up is a new coffee shop/co-working space in Franklinton. I have been known to stop by this coffee shop with two kids when we’re on our way to somewhere else just to get the Canary Island (an espresso drink made with condensed milk!). You don’t just “stop by” coffee shops with kids, getting them in and out of car seats just for fun, unless the reward is worth it! Also, they have a cute little table where kids can color and great food options!

1069 W.Broad St., Columbus, OH 43222

4. The Bexley Coffee Shop, Bexley

Bexley Coffee Shop is another safe bet for taking the kids! The coffee shop is a pretty good size and there are yummy treats like the chocolate chip coffee cake (pictured above). My 2 year old said, “this is the best chocolate chip cake in the whole galaxy!” so that must be saying something! I like their fun selection of local handmade items and during the summer they have a story time for kids hosted by Bexley Public Library!

492 N. Cassady Ave., Columbus, OH 43209

5. Espresso 22, Powell

If you’re wandering around downtown Powell and you need a pick-me-up, stop in at Espresso 22! They serve One Line Coffee and every day they have a fresh selection of Der Dutchman donuts!  There is a good amount of seating here and it’s very open. These are two things I associate with being kid-friendly! Last time I was there they had a Nutella Latte on the menu. Just sayin’

22 Liberty St., Powell, OH 43065

What coffee shops have you braved with the kids in tow?


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