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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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12 Columbus Parks to Try This Summer

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These 12 Columbus Parks and Playgrounds will keep your kids from being bored this summer in Columbus!

1. Friendship Park, Gahanna

  • 150 Oklahoma Ave., Gahanna, OH 43230

This park has a play area for younger kids and older kids, and the Gahanna Story Trail, where a story is on display for reading as you follow a path through the woods. Restrooms are available on site.

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2. Carriage Place Park, Columbus

  • 4900 Sawmill Rd., Columbus, OH 43235

This park is part of the Carriage Place Community Recreation Center and has a play area for older kids and younger kids. There is also a path around the park for walking, jogging, etc. Restrooms are available inside the Rec Center.

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3. Fancyburg Park, Upper Arlington

  • 3375 Kioka Avenue, Upper Arlington, OH 43221

This park has play areas for all ages, including toddlers. There is a shelter house with restrooms close to the playground. This park is also shady, which is nice! This is the site of several festivals in Upper Arlington throughout the year!

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4. Planet Westerville Playground, Westerville

  • 362 Huber Village Blvd., Westerville, OH 43081

This playground is part of the larger Huber Village Park and has a lot of opportunity for climbing and sliding for all ages! This park is fenced in, which is really nice. There is a restroom nearby and a shelter with picnic tables.

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5. Whetstone Park, Clintonville

  • 3923 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214

The park pictured here is not the park next to the Westerville Community Recreation Center, though there is a playground there as well! This play area is further into the park, past the Park of Roses. There is a super high slide here for your daredevils and a metal fire engine for climbing on. There are port-a-potties near the park, but to get to an indoor restroom you’ll need to go back to the Rec Center or Library which is close by, but not within walking distance. There are picnic tables here and a pond nearby.

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6. Wyman Woods, Grandview Heights

  • 1016 Grandview Ave., Grandview Heights, OH 43212

This park just opened a few years ago and offers a lot of space for rock climbing! This park isn’t the best for toddlers (it’s recommended for ages 5-12), but there are some toddler swings and a small tunnel slide. Seasonal restrooms are available at the shelter house and there are sand volleyball courts on site. Several picnic tables are also available. Another bonus here: free Wifi!

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7. Scioto Audubon, Columbus

  • 400 W. Whittier St., Columbus, OH 43215

This playground is part of the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. There is a play area for older and younger kids and a mister for really hot days! There are several picnic tables with umbrellas overhead. The closest restrooms are at the nature center, which is a bit of a walk from the playground. There is a rock climbing wall and an obstacle course nearby, not to mention the gorgeous views of downtown from the park!

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8. Rocky Fork Metro Park, Westerville

  • 7180 Walnut St, Westerville, OH 43081

This metro park opened in 2015 and the playground here is simple, but unique. It’s mainly a slide and a wooden bridge, but it was fun for my kids to run around on. There is also a rope climbing area. If you visit this park, make sure to check out the large shelter area nearby where there are big wooden chairs for sitting and watching for wildlife! Restrooms are right by the playground. See 6 Metro Park Playgrounds6 Central Ohio Metro Park Playgrounds for more!

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9. Henceroth Park, Grove City

  • 2075 Mallow Lane, Grove City, OH 43123

This park is a great park for younger kids, though there is a play structure for older kids as well. There is a train, boat, and jeep for climbing and driving. There’s also a butterfly garden and a wooded path for walking. No restrooms on site. (Someone please visit this one just to make it worth all the times I had to stop auto correct from making this Henceforth Park!) 😉

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10. Wickliffe Playground (Castle Park), Upper Arlington

  • 2405 Wickliffe Rd, Upper Arlington, Ohio 43221

Here’s a unique park to check out this summer! This park is the playground for Wickliffe Progressive School and is only available during non-school hours. This park made up of a large, wooden structure also known as the Castle Park, and my kids love running around in here! There are also swings and, on the other side of the school, another play area set up like a little town. Restrooms are not available.

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11. Blendon Woods, Westerville

  • 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road Westerville, OH 43081

This playground at Blendon Woods Metro Park is on the west side of the park near the Natural Play Area. My kids loved the tunnels to climb through. While you’re at the park, be sure to check out the Nature Center, too! There are restrooms at several locations in the Metro Park. You can also read Exploring Blendon Woods Metro ParkExploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!

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12. Westgate Park, Columbus

  • 455 S. Westgate Ave. Columbus, OH 43204

This fun playground is part of the Westgate Community Recreation Center. There are two playgrounds here, a pond, two murals and a small shelter with picnic tables. Restrooms are available in the Rec Center.

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If that’s not enough for you, I’ve also got more parks listed in these posts: 6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers and Coffee + Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop. Happy park hopping! 🙂

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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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