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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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ICYMI: 5 on Friday: Unique Ice Cream Spots


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20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus

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20+ Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus, Ohio to help you and your kids avoid cabin fever!

I hate to say it, but those days are coming . . . you know what I’m talking about: cold . . . winter . . . snow. 🙁 Luckily for us, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to play in Columbus, Ohio, and when it comes to playing inside, there are a lot of FREE options! This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

If you need to pass a morning inside but you also need to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, keep this list handy! You may also want to check out The Complete List of Columbus Play Cafes  or 6 Free or Cheap Indoor Places for Kids to Run Wild in Columbus for more indoor ideas!

1. Blendon Woods Metro Park

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4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road Westerville, OH 43081, 614-895-6221

Hours:
April to September: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM
October to March: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tips: Inside the Nature Center there are puzzles, activities and books for kids. See more about what to do at the Nature Center in Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!

2. Westerville Community Center

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350 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43082, 614-901-6500

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 5:45 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tips: Westerville Community Center also offers indoor programing during the fall and winter months for young children. See more details here.

3. Grange Insurance Audubon Center

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505 W. Whittier St., Columbus OH 43215, 614-545-5475

Hours:
(These are Summer hours, check the website or call to double check!)
Closed Monday
Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Tips: The play area also includes a “cave” to play in and there are also weekly story times for the preschool age! See more to do at the Audubon Center in 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon. Also see: 2 MORE Great Metro Park Natures Centers for Columbus Kids!

4. Scoops and Chutes Playground at Graeter’s Ice Cream

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2555 Bethel Rd., Columbus, OH 43220, 614-442-7622

Hours:
(These hours may be seasonal, double check the website or call before visiting!)
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:30 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM

Tips: Socks are required to play inside and can be bought for $1 if you forget! I included this play area in one of my Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week!

Polaris Fashion Place:

1500 Polaris Parkway , Columbus, OH 43240, 614-846-1500

Hours:
Monday – Thursday 10:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

This mall is home to a few different options for indoor play:

5. Zoo Play Area

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Tips: Shoes must be removed to play. The area has recently been redone and only has one exit/entrance which is great for keeping an eye on wandering toddlers!

6. Food Court Play Area

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Tips: In the Food Court, there are several vehicles kids can play on or ride for $.75. The area is mostly fenced in and has a large seating area around it so you can eat or have a seat while the kids play.

7. Pottery Barn Kids

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Tips: PBK usually has toys out for play on both sides of the store (boys and girls) and my kids love them all! There is a story time on Tuesdays at 11:00 AM!

8. Battelle Darby Nature Center

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

Hours:
April to May: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
June to August: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
September to October: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
November to March: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Tips: The nature center has a living stream as well as a small kids’ area to play in.  There are preschool programs inside the center on Tuesdays! See 2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids.

9. Columbus Metropolitan Libraries

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Main Library: 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

Hours vary by library and can be found here.

Tips: So many of the branches of Columbus Metropolitan Library have great areas for indoor play! I shared my favorites here and here! Of course, many other area libraries have areas for play too! Check out the locations for Worthington, Westerville, Delaware County, Grove City, and Upper Arlington! You may also want to check out: 2 Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids and 2 MORE Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids!

10. Grandview Heights Public Library

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1685 W. 1st Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: I included Grandview’s library separately because they have a really good area for toddlers and preschoolers to play that includes a train table and Duplos! They also have a lot of story times! See the schedule here.

11. Whole Foods, Dublin

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3670 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., ColumbusOH 43235, 614-760-5556
Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Tips: The play area is close to the restrooms and surrounded by tables that are convenient for watching your kids play!

12. Whole Foods, Upper Arlington

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1555 W. Lane Ave., Upper Arlington, OH 43221

Hours:
Monday – Sunday: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Tips: This small play area is near the front and has books, play food, cars and more! Lots of seating nearby.

13. United Art and Education

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3622 Fishinger Blvd., Hilliard, OH 43026, 614-527-8508

Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: First of all, this is a GREAT store for fun and educational kid products! There is a little play area tucked into the front corner of the store with a surprising amount of things to do! Blocks, play groceries, magnets, Calico Critters, and more!

14. Barnes and Noble

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See the Columbus locations here!

Tips: Barnes and Noble is a hit for kids who love train tables and there are always lots of books to read! There are also story times on Saturdays!

15. The Naz Playplace

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4770 Hoover Rd, Grove City, OH 43123, 614-305-2034

Hours:
Sun: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PMam – 2pm
Monday – Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Tips: Shoes must be removed and socks worn for play. Socks can be purchased for $1. There is a story time with crafts on Tuesday mornings! You can also register online before your first visit to save time! Outside the play area there is a cafe where you can purchase food (coffee is only $1!) and lots of seating!

16. Central Park at Westerville Christian Church

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471 E. College Ave., Westerville, OH 43081, 614-891-6842

Hours:

Open Play Hours September 21, 2017 – May 2018:
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM – 11:25 AM
Saturdays 10:00 AM – 11:30AM

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play. There is also a rock climbing area here! The play area follows all Westerville City Schools closing and delays.

17. The Shops at Worthington Place

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7227 N. High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Tips: Shoes must be removed for play. If it’s warm enough, there is also an outdoor play area just outside the exit by the indoor play area!

18. The Mall at Tuttle Crossing

5043 Tuttle Crossing Blvd, Dublin, OH 43016, 614-717-9300

Hours:
Monday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Tips: This play area has a STEAM theme: Science, Technology, Arts and Music. Lots of hands-on, fine motor activity here! My kids particularly loved the Magna Tiles! (There is also an area with coin-operated vehicles in the food court area!)

19. Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art

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480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215, 614-221-6801

Hours:
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tips: This is a area for art and exploration on the bottom floor of the Art Museum. The Columbus Museum of Art (and this kids’ area) is free on Sundays only!

20. LEGO Store at Easton Town Center

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4004 Gramercy St., Columbus OH 43219, 614-342-2710

Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Tips: Most of the time there is a table set up for building with LEGOs and/or Duplos inside the store!

**I’ve updated this list to include more free play areas as we find them! Yay!

21. Coffee Connections of Hilliard

Hours:
Monday: 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Tuesday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Tips: Coffee Connections is a coffee shop in Hilliard with a community space and play area in the back building. The play area is fun for preschoolers and younger and is totally free! (Though, you should probably buy a cup of coffee. 😉 ) See more pictures here.

I hope this list gets you through the winter! I know we will be making use of many of these places as the weather gets cold and I get cabin fever! 🙂

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ICYMI: Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio


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