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6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers

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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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What Should We Do This Weekend? Sept 30-Oct 2, 2016

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If last weekend was the weekend of the fall festival, then this weekend officially begins pumpkin season! I got so excited just typing up this list! I love these fall activities and wish we could visit every pumpkin farm! So many hay rides, so little time! 😉 Happy Weekend!

1. Westgate Farmer’s Market

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: West Gate Masonic Lodge, 2925 West Broad Street, Columbus OH 43024

This Saturday’s market will feature one-day-only, fun flavors from Impossible Jams and Alice’s Aebelskabel’s and Pitabilities are the food trucks that will be featured! Also, Scott Brooks and his Trio of One will provide live music!

2. Ghost Story Writing Workshop at Whetstone Library

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 3909 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: 614-645-2275

This event is specifically for kids in grades 4-6! The Thurber House will be hosting this writing workshop encouraging young writers to write spooky tales! They will also be telling the Thurber ghost story and helping young writers hone their craft! You must register by THURSDAY (9/29/16)!

3. Archaeology Day at Ohio History Center

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus OH 43211
Phone: 800-686-6124

This day is host to several educational sessions and events about archaeology, history, and art as well as hands on activities like creating a mural, making replicas of American Indian pottery, hands-on archaeology Fascination Stations, spear throwing demonstrations and more! See what else there is to do at the Ohio History Center here!

4. Hands on Heritage at Rocky River Nature Center

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 24000 Valley Pkwy., North Olmsted, OH 44070
Phone: 440-734-6660

If you’re looking for a road trip this weekend, the Cleveland Metroparks is hosting this free festival celebrating traditional handicrafts! Free activities include rug braiding, butter churning, cider pressing, pioneer toys, candle making and more! There will be a live folk music performance and other activities are scheduled throughout the day, see the website for more details!

5. Haunted Greenhouse Maze at deMonye’s Greenhouse, Inc.

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: Saturday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 2500 Airport Dr., Columbus, OH 43219
Phone: 614-252-6046

This is a kid-friendly haunted maze recommended for ages 3-14 and is actually open the whole month of October! Kids get to pick a pumpkin, plant a pansy and make a witch’s hand with popcorn! Cost is $8 per child. See more details here or click on the link under the event on this page to see pictures of what to expect!

6. Fall Festival at Freeman’s Farm

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 6142 Lewis Center Rd., Galena, OH 43021
Phone: 740-548-7866

This weekend, and all the weekends in October, there will be hayrides, kettle corn, campfire foods, scarecrow making, a petting zoo and apple butter making! Admission is free, but there is a charge for some activities.

7. Fall Festival at Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 7:30 PM
Location: 2920 St. Rt. 203, Radnor, Ohio 43066
Phone: 740-595.3207

There is a really long list of activities going on throughout all of the weekends in October at this pumpkin farm in Delaware County! There will also be food, free hayrides from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM and pumpkin picking! Admission is free but some activities have a cost. An all day activity band is $9.

8. Fall Festival at Young’s Jersey Dairy

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd., Yellow Springs, OH 45387
Phone: 937-325-0629

This year is the 40th Annual Fall Festival! Enjoy activities like making pumpkin holes and caramel apples, cow milking demonstrations, Cowvin’s Corny Maze and more!

9. Pumpkin Festival at the MAiZE at Little Darby Creek

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 2016
Time: Saturday: 12:00 PM – Movie begins at 8:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 8657 Axehandle Rd., Milford Center, OH 43045

Besides the corn maze, this weekend there will be pony rides, balloon sculptures, face painting and the movie It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown will be shown on Saturday night!

10. Giant Pumpkin Carving at Leeds Farm

When: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 8738 Marysville Rd., Ostrander, OH 43061
Phone: 740-666-2020

Leeds Farm offers fall fun every weekend throughout October, but this Sunday only there is a giant pumpkin carving! Visit the farm all weekend to see animals, pick pumpkins, zip line, take a hayride, go down mountain slides, ride pedal tractors and so much more!

11. Canta Brasil at the Harrison West Jazz Stage

When: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Location: 575 W 1st Ave, Columbus, OH 43201

This is the final jazz concert of the season featuring a Brazilian jazz band! The Aromaku food truck will be onsite as well as J-Pops popsicles! This concert takes place in Harrison West Park where the playground is great for toddlers!

12. Old Time Harvest Day at Century Village

When: Sunday, October 2, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: Fryer Park, 4185 Orders Rd., Grove City, OH 43123
Phone: 614-277-3050

Take part in mid-19th-century traditions like churning butter, leather tooling, rope weaving and blacksmithing! Visit the one-room schoolhouse, log cabin, general store and more on the property! There will also be actors in costume, demonstrating traditional music and cooking! This is a free event (also at another great park for toddlers)!

*Looking for more fall fun? You may want to check out these posts from Columbus Moms Blog: Family-Friendly Fall Festivals in Columbus, Columbus U-Pick Apple Orchards and Central Ohio Pumpkin Patches!

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ICYMI: Scenes from the New Albany Classic

*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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Coffee + Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop

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Spring is in the air and park season is upon us.  All of us parents, weary from passing endless hours indoors, break out of our shells, stretch and yawn, opening our eyes to the bright sunshine.  It’s time to head outside.  And I know what you need:  coffee.  If I had a nickel for every parent I see at the park holding a cup of coffee, I would at least be drinking a Venti right now.

What am I giving you in this post?  Three coffee/park combinations.  And my promise to you is that these will be easy to do.  I have chosen three places where you can, with the least amount of effort, pick up your coffee and head to the park.  Sure, you could go through the drive through . . . but I’m all about making this an “outing” that’s fun for the child AND the parent.  Stop by the coffee shop and then head to the park . . . that’s what spring’s all about, isn’t it?

1. Luck Bros’ Coffee House + Pierce Field

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You can literally see the coffee shop from the park. Easy Peasy.

You can literally see the coffee shop from the park. Easy Peasy.

It doesn’t get much easier than this when it comes to coffee and park proximity!  I stopped in for coffee and got tempted by the yummy chocolate chip cookies.  We stayed here to share a cookie and then headed across the street to the park.  Pierce Field has two play areas, one for older kids and one for younger.  There is also a smaller slide and a lady bug to ride on for the toddler set.  The park is fenced in and restrooms are available.  This park also has free wi-fi!

Coffee:  Luck Bros’ Coffee House, 1101 W 1st Ave, Grandview Heights, OH, 43212

Park:  Pierce Field, 1st Ave, between Oxley and Northwest Blvd, Grandview Heights, OH, 43212

Where to Park: I recommend parking on 1st Ave, which separates the park from the coffee shop.  You can park in the parking lot in front of the shops or on the road along the park.

2. Caffe Apropos + Harrison Park

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Coffee to park is a mere 4 block walk in this case.  Caffe Apropos serves a large selection of coffee drinks and features a hopping happy hour if you’re arriving after nap time!  My favorites here are the Italian sodas, lattes and cookies from Pattycake Bakery.  Harrison Park (which is a different park from Harrison West Park if you happen to be Googling) is a newer park with a great play area for toddlers (and one for older kids, too!).  The park is along the Olentangy River and the bike path.  There’s a lot of green space here for running around, too.  There are no restrooms available (so you might want to limit your caffeine intake! 😉 ).

Coffee:  Caffe Apropos, 443 W. 3rd Ave., Columbus OH, 43201 (on the corner of 3rd Ave. and Michigan Ave.)

Park:  Harrison Park, on Harrison Park Place between W. 1st and W. 2nd avenues.

Where to Park:  There is only street parking available here but it is free and without a time limit.  I recommend parking on Harrison Park Place, right along the park and then walking to the coffee shop.  If parking is unavailable there, one of the parallel streets will work just fine – Michigan tends to be busy so try Perry, or Oregon between 1st Avenue and 3rd Avenue.

3. Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees + Schiller Park

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Be forewarned that your kids will want chocolate when you get to Winans to order your coffee.  Who wouldn’t?!  The coffee is good and perusing the beautifully made chocolates is worth the stop on its own!  When we visited, the friendly staff gave my kids a free treat – which was awesome!  The walk to the playground will set you back about a half a mile through the park, but walking through the park is, well, a walk in the park.  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!  You could add in a detour around the pond to feed the ducks or through Huntington Garden, around the Statue of Schiller, which is beautiful in the springtime!  The playground area is great for all ages.  My kids have loved playing on the train.  The playground is pretty well fenced in and shady!  Restrooms are available.

Coffee: Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees, 897 S. 3rd St., Columbus, OH 43206,  Hours: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Park:  Schiller Park, 1069 Jaeger St., Columbus, OH 43206

Where to Park:  My first suggestion would be to park on Reinhard, along the park.  Winans is about 2 blocks from the park entrance on Reinhard.  The playground is on the other side of the park, and there is also a parking lot inside the park, closer to the playground area, if you want to start there.  (Enter at the corner of Jaeger and Deshler).

I hope you have as much fun trying out these combinations as we did!

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ICYMI: 5 Go-To Places to Take Your Kids in Columbus


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