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6 Central Ohio Metro Park Playgrounds

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All of these playgrounds are part of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks System! I have a personal goal of visiting all of the Metro Parks. We’re not there yet, but we’ll get there! You can visit this list of all the parks to see all of the details of what each park has to offer, what hours they are open and more. This link is one I check often to see what programs are coming up for kids – there are so many!

The Metro Parks offer so many free opportunities to learn about and explore nature even though we live in an urban area. I am constantly surprised every time I visit one of our Metro Parks. I always seem to say, “I can’t believe this is here!” You hike down a path and come into some kind of clearing or lake that just takes you by surprise and there is no sign of the city to be seen!

Despite all those opportunities to get up close with nature, sometimes it also just helps to have a playground as part of the experience! 🙂 Not all of the Metro Parks have playgrounds and some of them have more than one! Here are 6 Metro Parks that have playgrounds. Put these on your playground bucket list! (You have one of those right? or is that just me? 😉 )

1. Scioto Grove

5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, OH 43123

Scioto Grove is the newest Metro Park in our area. This playground is really unique – it’s made nearly entirely out of rope!  This is NOT a toddler friendly playground, though, so use caution! This playground is in the Arrowhead Picnic Area. Parking and restrooms are close by.

2. Scioto Audubon

400 W. Whittier Street, Columbus, OH 43215

The Scioto Audubon playground is in the Central Activities Area near the rock climbing wall and a water tower where you can climb to two observation decks. There are three play structures here and a shaded picnic area. Bathrooms are quite a distance away, in the Nature Center. Play first and then plan to head up to the Nature Center where there is an outdoor sandbox, an indoor play area and aquatic animals to visit. See 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon!

3. Battelle Darby Creek

Cedar Ridge Area, 1775 Darby Creek Drive Galloway, OH 43119

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park has a couple of playground areas. This particular playground is in the Cedar Ridge Picnic Area. Parking and restrooms are very close. This playground has two structures: one for over 5 and one for under. There are picnic tables and pavilions close by. Battelle Darby is the park with the bison! It is possible to walk from the playground to see the bison, but it is probably around a half a mile, give or take. Definitely check out the Nature Center to see the living stream exhibit!

4. Rocky Fork

7180 E. Walnut Street, Westerville, OH 43081

Rocky Fork has another unique play area. It is a mostly wooden structure with steps, a bridge and slide. There is also a balance beam and some climbing opportunities! Nearby is a wildlife viewing area and picnic pavilion. Restrooms are close by as well.

5. Blendon Woods

4265 E. Dublin Granville Rd., Westerville, OH 43081

Blendon Woods is another Metro Park with more than one play area. This particular play ground is in the Cherry Ridge Area near the Natural Play Area. My kids loved crawling through the wire tunnels here. Blendon Woods Nature Center has a great bird-viewing area and some hands on activities. See Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!

6. Homestead

Homestead Metro Park, 4675 Cosgray Road, Hilliard, OH

When it comes to playgrounds, I think Homestead wins the prize, hands down! It has a huge playground area! Not only is there a large play area, there is a train to climb onto, a train station replica called Bradley Station and a separate accessible playground with a train theme called Web Junktion. Train lovers rejoice! There is a Nature Center at Homestead but the hours it is open vary based on ranger availability. Inside the Nature Center there are box turtles to visit! They do occasionally offer programs there, so check the link for upcoming programs!

Do you have a favorite Metro Park playground?

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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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2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids

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The Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks is one of our greatest assets here in Central Ohio! The warm days of exploring the parks and all they have to offer are on their way, but don’t let colder weather keep you away! Many of the Metro Parks have Nature Centers that are lots of fun (and educational) for kids! Today I’m sharing 2 great Metro Park Nature Centers that will keep your kids entertained until it’s warm enough to splash in the creeks and spy on the bison!

1. Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

1775 Darby Creek Dr Galloway, OH 43119
Nature Center: 614-878-7106

The Living Stream is one of the highlights of the Nature Center at Battelle Darby! Kids can view live fish and turtles right at eye level. They can even crawl “underneath” the stream to see from the inside! You’re even allowed to touch!

There are mounted animals for viewing and pelts for touching!

The park offers programs for preschoolers on most Tuesdays! During the summer we attended a program about Seeds and the kids got to plant their own seed to bring home and watch grow! They were thrilled when it actually sprouted!

2. Highbanks Metro Park

9466 Columbus Pike (US Rt 23 N), Lewis Center, OH 43035
Nature Center: 614-846-9962

There’s a lot for kids to do at Highbanks Metro Park Nature Center! There are a lot of opportunities for hands-on learning and educational play! There are books, puzzles, coloring, matching games, puppets, a “tree” to climb in, a hut for pretending in and a glass covered stream for exploring!

Lots of educational fun behind these doors!

Live animals are on display and you can walk over the indoor stream to see what you can find!   

Lots of puppet fun!

Build your own log cabin!

Highbanks has programs for preschoolers, story times and birding activities for kids!

If you’re looking for some new ideas for indoor fun, give one of these options a try! I recommend calling ahead to double check for seasonal hours!

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