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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ICYMI: 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus

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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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ICYMI: 2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids


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What Should We Do This Weekend? January 6-8, 2017

Life is back to normal, so it seems! Back to work, back to school, snow in the forecast. We’re headed into the long stretch of winter that I tend to dread! Sigh. But hey, this week is also the last giveaway for a play pass to Recreations Outlet! Now there’s something fun to do inside on a cold day! You can enter by telling me 3 places you love to take your kids in Columbus! Click here to enter! Thank you to all those who have! I will be using those suggestions in future posts! 🙂 Have a happy weekend!

1. Grand Opening at Duck Donuts

When: Thursday – Sunday, January 5-8, 2017
Time: 6:00 AM Thursday – 9:00 PM Sunday
Location: 825 Polaris Parkway, Westerville, OH 43082
Phone: 614-896-6450

Duck Donuts at Polaris celebrates its grand opening this weekend with a coupon for a free donut for the first 100 customers on Thursday and Friday beginning at 6:00 AM and free coffee all weekend (through Sunday)! There will be activities for kids and giveaways all weekend!

2. Toddler/Preschool Enrichment at Studio J: Sing Paint Play

When: Friday, January 6, 2017
Time: 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
Location: 27 S. Liberty St., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-563-4807

This class is appropriate for ages 1-5 and will feature a story, fingerplay, songs, an art project and more!

3. Winter Sale and Gallery Hop in the Short North Arts District

When: Friday, January 6-29, 2017
Location: Various stores throughout the Short North

Many stores throughout the Short North are offering sale prices on their items! Combine this shopping opportunity with Gallery Hop on Saturday from 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM for extra fun!

4. Fitness Resolution Solution at Glenwood Recreation Center

When: Saturday, January 7, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 1888 Fairmont Ave., Columbus, OH 43223

The whole family is invited to learn about the ways Columbus Recreation and Parks can help them stay healthy this year! There will be activities and prizes! (Also, registration opened earlier this week for the next session at Columbus Rec and Parks, search for available classes here.)

5. Opening Day of Orchids at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Saturday, January 7, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

This weekend marks the opening of the Orchids exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory as well as the exhibition Nightime Tropicals. On Saturday, families are invited to make paper flower collages from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. This craft is free with membership or admission.

6. Story Time with Belle at Barnes and Noble Pickerington

When: Saturday, January 7, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: 1738 North Hill Rd., Pickerington, OH 43147
Phone: 614-751-0927

Come meet Princess Belle at this free event!

7. Indoor Binocular Hunt at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

When: Saturday, January 7, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: 1415 Darby Creek Dr., Galloway, OH 43119
Phone: 614-508-8111

Do an indoor hunt for animals inside the Nature Center! Free! All ages welcome!

8. Tinker Lab at Grove City Library

When: Saturday, January 7, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 3959 Broadway, Grove City, OH 43123
Phone: 614-875-6716

Kids in grades 4-7 are welcome to come to the library to create, use team work and learn about how things work!

9. Dream Catcher Class at Sew to Speak

When: Sunday, January 8, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 752 High St. Worthington, OH 43085
Phone: 614-547-7380

Kids 8 and up, accompanied by a parent are welcome to this beginner level class where they can learn to make a traditional dream catcher with a modern twist! Cost is $40.

10. Family Treasure Hunt at Blendon Woods Metro Park

When: Sunday, January 8, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Rd., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111

Meet at the Nature Center to take part in a treasure hunt!

11. January Family Paint Class at Art With Anna

When: Sunday, January 8, 2017
Time: 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Location: 420 N Cassady Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43209
Phone: 614-252-1881

Each member of your family can paint a small canvas that can be hung together to create a larger mural! This event is appropriate for ages 6 and up and costs $15 per artist!


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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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