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 Columbus Metro Parks have playgrounds and some of them have more than one! Here are 13 Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks that have fun playgrounds for kids!
13 Playgrounds within the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks:
1. Scioto Grove Metro Park
- 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, OH 43123
- Read more: 5 Super Fun Playgrounds in Grove City
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.
- Related: 6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers
2. Scioto Audubon Metro Park
- 400 W. Whittier Street, Columbus, OH 43215
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.
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.
This playground has two structures: one for over 5 and one for under. There are picnic tables and pavilions close by.
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!
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 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 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 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 new accessible playground remodeled in 2022.
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!
- Related: Easterseals Recommended Accessible Parks, Playgrounds and Trails in Central Ohio and Surrounding Area
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!
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!
There is also a more “traditional” playground in the same general area as well as an obstacle course!
- Related: 12 Columbus Parks to Try This Summer
8. Walnut Woods Metro Park
- 6723 Lithopolis Rd, Groveport, OH 43125
I love the playground at Walnut Woods Metro Park for the natural feel it has. It’s a small playground, but it’s unique!
Rope and rock climbing are available, swings and a merry go round! Restrooms are close by as well!
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!
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!
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!
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!
12. Blacklick Woods Metro Park
- 6975 E Livingston Ave, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
There are a couple of playgrounds at Blacklick Woods Metro Park, but the one pictured here was completed in 2023 and is probably the best playground in the park! You can find this playground in the Meadows Picnic Area of the park
The main play structure has monkey bars, lots of climbing elements and multiple slides.
This playground has a play structure for toddlers and one for older kids. There are also swings and a type of zip line. There are also a couple stand alone climbing structures for younger kids and the frog is a fun element on the toddler play structure!
When you’re at Blacklick Woods Metro Park, make sure to check out the Nature Center! It’s a fun one!
13. Highbanks Metro Park
- 9466 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center, OH 43035
This is another Metro Park playground that was updated in 2023! This fun playground can be found at the Big Meadows Picnic Area of Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis Center! In the area are restrooms and picnic shelters.
The new Columbus Metro Park playgrounds seem to feature unique climbing elements for kids with ropes, bridges and other structures. Kids will definitely get to use their gross motor skills at this playground!
Besides the main play structures, there are some stand alone elements like spinning seats, monkey bars, teeter totters and swings.
There is also a new structure that is geared towards younger kids (pictured below). This one has a smaller slide and cute interactive features.
Highbanks Metro Park also has a great Nature Center! Though you will need to drive to a different area of the park to visit, it’s definitely worth it!
These fun playgrounds for kids in Central Ohio are situated inside the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Park System! If you’re looking to combine an up close experience with nature and a fun play time for kids, this list of Central Ohio Metro Park Playgrounds will help you meet that goal!
Do you have a favorite Metro Park playground?
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