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11 Central Ohio Metro Park Playgrounds

We love exploring the playgrounds in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks System! Combining a nature experience, be it a hike or looking for creatures in the woods, with time on a playground makes a perfect outing for my kids!

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 11 Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks that have fun playgrounds for kids!

11 Playgrounds within the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks:

1. Scioto Grove Metro Park 

  • 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, OH 43123
Scioto Grove Metro Park Playground Slide
Scioto Grove Metro Park Playground rope climbing

Scioto Grove Metro Park is one of the newest Metro Parks 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.

Swingset at Scioto Grove Metro Park Playground
scioto grove metro park playground

2. Scioto Audubon Metro Park

  • 400 W. Whittier Street, Columbus, OH 43215
scioto audubon metro park playground
playground at scioto audubon metro park

The Scioto Audubon Metro Park 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.

playground at scioto audubon metro park
rock climbing wall at scioto audubon metro park

3. Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

  • 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 and was remodeled in 2022. Parking and restrooms are very close.

playground at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

This playground has two structures: one for over 5 and one for under. There are picnic tables and pavilions close by.

Playground for younger kids at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in Columbus, Ohio.

A little further down from these two play structures (but still in the Cedar Ridge area) is a third playground area, also remodeled in 2022!

new playground at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Battelle Darby Creek is the Metro 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 Metro Park

  • 7180 E. Walnut Street, Westerville, OH 43081
rocky fork metro park playground
rocky fork metro park playground

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.

rocky fork metro park playground
rocky fork metro park playground and picnic area

5. Blendon Woods Metro Park

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

Blendon Woods is another Metro Park with more than one playground area!

You can find this newly remodeled playground (June 2022) by entering at the main entrance, turning right at the Ranger station, passing the road to the Natural Play Area and passing the entrance to the Disc Golf Course. It will be just past the Disc Golf Course and the Ice Skating Pond on the west side of the park.

6. Homestead Metro Park

  • Homestead Metro Park, 4675 Cosgray Road, Hilliard, OH
homestead metro park play ground
homestead metro park play ground area

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 for toddlers here as well!

homestead metro park willard ohio playground area
homestead metro park playground train area
homestead metro park all abilities playground

7. Glacier Ridge Metro Park

  • 9801 Hyland-Croy Rd, Plain City, OH 43064

This new play structure at Glacier Ridge Metro Park was built in 2018 and is perfect for the wannabe Ninja Warrior! With a mini zip-line, climbing walls and a rope hammock, this playground is incredibly unique in the Central Ohio area!

glacier ridge metro park playground
glacier ridge metro park ninja warrior course

If you’re looking for a great Metro Park to explore, I found this one to be gorgeous! There is also a shelter with picnic tables and also information about the wildlife in the surrounding area. Also, don’t miss the watch tower where you can climb to the top to watch for birds and other creatures!

glacier ridge metro park play structure

There is also a more “traditional” playground in the same general area as well as an obstacle course!

glacier ridge metro park playground
glacier ridge metro park playground

8. Walnut Woods Metro Park

  • 6723 Lithopolis Rd, Groveport, OH 43125
walnut woods metro park playground

I love the playground at Walnut Woods Metro Park for the natural feel it has. It’s a small playground, but it’s unique!

boys rope climbing at walnut woods metro park playground

Rope and rock climbing are available, swings and a merry go round! Restrooms are close by as well!

merry go round at walnut woods metro park playground

9. Slate Run Metro Park

  • 1375 St. Rte. 674 North, Canal Winchester, OH 43110

A new playground was built in early 2019 at Buzzard’s Roost Picnic area in Slate Run Metro Park! Also within the park is the Slate Run Living Historical Farm which will take you back in time to the 1880’s! You can visit with the farmer and his wife, meet the animals in the barn!

But back to the playground! There is a fun netted structure, a tire swing, regular swings and more!

Nearby are lots of picnic tables inside and outside of a large pavilion. Public restrooms are right on site, too, so it makes a great place for a picnic and play time!

10. Prairie Oaks Metro Park

  • 3225 NE Plain City-Georgesville Rd, West Jefferson, OH 43162

I really like this playground at Prairie Oaks Metro Park! I think it’s a good combination of traditional play equipment and a natural play feel. We had visited the park several times without knowing it was here!

playground structure at Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

It’s great that the main play area has a shade cover! My sources tell me that is a new (and very welcome) addition to the playground!

playground area at Prairie Oaks Metro Park.
rope climbing structure at Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

To find this playground you will want to head to the Prairie View Picnic Area! This playground is NOT on the map (as of summer 2021).

There is a really nice picnic area and restroom in this area so it makes for a perfect spot for an outing with the kids! When you visit this park, make sure to also check out the Darby Bend Lakes area. It is one of my favorite areas in all of the Metro Parks! I’ve included a hike in the Darby Bend Lakes area in my post of kid-friendly trails in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks!

Playground at Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

11. Chestnut Ridge Metro Park

  • 8445 Winchester Rd NW, Carroll, OH 43112

I knew nearly nothing about Chestnut Ridge Metro Park when we visited for the first time so I was pleasantly surprised to find this playground when we arrived! I knew that I had to add it to my list!

This is not a “typical” playground! I love the wooden elements and the house-like structure that lends itself to imaginary play!

Do you have a favorite Metro Park playground?


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Amazing Metro Park Playgrounds in Columbus and Franklin County

Carol Ballog

Wednesday 7th of July 2021

These playgrounds look wonderful. One to add would be the natural play scape at the Children's Museum in Lancaster.

Julie Miller

Friday 16th of July 2021

Yes, that's a great one but it's not a Metro Park! :) I'm working on a list of Natural Play Areas and that one will be included!


Friday 30th of March 2018

We ❤ Columbus Metroparks' playgrounds!


Tuesday 12th of September 2017

Blendon woods has a brand new NATURAL PLAYGROUND and it is amazing. FYI.

Julie Miller

Wednesday 13th of September 2017

I have heard that, but we still haven't made it!! Thanks for commenting!


Tuesday 12th of September 2017

The only downside of Homestead is the way the topography is it's harder to keep track of your kids. I see a lot of parents there frantically trying to figure out where their kid has disappeared (in the tunnels usually!)

Julie Miller

Wednesday 13th of September 2017

That IS true. I've definitely experienced that!