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9 Things to Do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon

The Scioto Audubon Metro Park in downtown Columbus offers a lot of fun for kids! There’s rock climbing, a playground, bird watching, story times and much, much more!

The Scioto Audubon is a really awesome Metro Park as far as kids are concerned – you should definitely take your kids there! I had been there a few times for work events in my past life, but exploring with kids opens up a whole new level of things to do there!

boy in front of the Nature Center

Here are 9 things you can do there with your kids! (I don’t necessarily recommend doing them all in one day, we did a lot of them in one visit and were pretty worn out!) We’ve since been back a few times just to play and have a much more relaxed morning, and that’s just as great, too!

9 Things for Kids to do at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park:

1. Attend a Story Time

library area Scioto Audubon
The Library Inside the Nature Center
boys in a tee pee at the Nature Center
boy reading a book in the Nature Center

Storytime is now PreK Nature Adventures (as of 2024) and it takes place on Thursdays at 10:15 AM. You must preregister for this event!

We’ve attended story times in the past and they have always been really tailored to the preK age group and lots of fun! You can also stop into the library when it’s not story time and browse their extensive collection of birding books!

2. Visit with Live Animals

After a story time, a volunteer took us down the hall to visit with frogs, turtles and other water creatures. I wouldn’t have known about this room if it wasn’t for our friendly story time leader!

animals in the Nature Center
Animals on Display Inside the Nature Center
frog inside the Nature Center at Scioto Audubon

3. Check Out the Play Room

For a couple of years, I had no idea that there was a play area inside the Center. I would have been coming here during the winter, that’s for sure! There is a cave-like play area and a climbing structure!

A play area for kids at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center.

There were also really cute animal costumes for dressing up, a pretend camp fire, a little “greenhouse” and a tent the last time we visited!

The indoor play area at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center.

4. Check out the River Overlook

boys looking at the scioto river
River Viewing Area
The Scioto River

boys walking up the steps to the Nature Center

The park has a river overlook, out over the Scioto River. There are binoculars available for long distance viewing!

5. Walk the Boardwalk

view of downtown Columbus from the Scioto Audubon Metro Park

boy on the boardwalk at scioto audubon
Boardwalk from the Nature Center to the Playground and Rock Climbing Area
boy on the boardwalk looking into the water

We took a walk out the back of the Audubon Center, down the path that leads to the rock climbing wall and playground. It’s a good hike, but still doable with small children. We didn’t actually see any animals, but we heard frogs croaking!

This spot was a little scary for me with an almost 2 year old peering over the boardwalk. If you can trust your kids not to dive in, it’s worth doing! I wished I could enjoy it a little more but I was trying not to have a heart attack every time they walked close to the edge. 😉

6. Play on the Playground

two boys on the playground at Scioto Audubon Metro Park
Playground Area

You can walk down the boardwalk to the playground, or park in the parking lot right next to it. We walked down after already having a full morning playing, so the walk back up was a bit tiring. I might recommend driving down so you can leave from the park.

kids on the Scioto Audubon Metro Park playground
playground and picnic area within the park
Playground and Picnic Area

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. For older kids, there is a rock climbing wall and an obstacle course nearby. I love the gorgeous views of downtown from the park!

7. Go Rock Climbing

There are three climbing towers that are free to climb at Scioto Audubon Metro Park. These reach a height of 35 feet. Climbers must bring their own harnesses and must be 13 or older. There are a few 10-foot boulders that all kids can climb regardless of their age.

rock climbing wall at Scioto Audubon Park
Rock Climbing Wall

To access the rock climbing area you can park at the playground or walk down the path from the Nature Center!

A boy on the rock climbing wall at Scioto Audubon Metro Park.

8. Go Bird Watching

bird feeders in the park

Well, this should be obvious at an audubon center, I guess, but there are a lot of bird watching opportunities. 😉 If you can get your kids to stay still enough (definitely a challenge for me!) the birds will congregate at the feeders around the building.

chairs along the deck of the Nature Center

We saw quite a few from the windows in the library, and we were able to walk by the feeders on the outside decks (which are also on my list of places to come WITHOUT kids)! There are lots of opportunities to learn about birds inside the center, too!

9. Climb the Water Tower

water tower at Scioto Audubon Park
Scioto Audubon Metro Park Water Tower
stairs to the water tower observation deck

Or more accurately, climb two stories of the water tower! 😉 Climb to the top to see great views of Columbus and of the Audubon Center! It’s a fun activity for all ages.

Two boys overlooking the park from the water tower at Scioto Audubon Metro Park.

Know Before You Go:

  • Address: 400 W. Whittier St., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Website
  • The Grange Insurance Audubon Center has separate hours from the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Check the website for the current hours before visiting if you plan to visit the center!

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9 Things to do with Kids at Scioto Audubon Metro Park

ICYMI: Over 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio

100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio (2024)

Friday 15th of March 2024

[…] Scioto Audubon Metro Park is currently the only Metro Park within downtown Columbus. The Grange Insurance Audubon Center within the park is home to events, an indoor play area and library, bird watching opportunities and more! There is a playground, climbing walls, an outdoor sandbox and much more! […]

What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, Ohio, January 19-21, 2024

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

[…] any trail at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park and enjoy refreshments between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM on Saturday. Get your Winter Hike card stamped […]

What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, Ohio, December 8-10, 2023

Thursday 7th of December 2023

[…] crafts, activities, a raffle, presents and professional photos! The event takes place at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Proceeds from this event will go to the Ronald McDonald House of Central […]

What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, Ohio, September 15-17, 2023

Wednesday 13th of September 2023

[…] Fest takes place at Scioto Audubon Metro Park beginning on Friday at 5:00 PM and continues through Saturday. There will be food trucks, a Yappy […]

Sarah Campbell

Friday 9th of April 2021

There are also free guided bird watching walks every Saturday morning!! You have to register but I've very much enjoyed it and they provide binoculars if you don't have them!

Julie Miller

Monday 12th of April 2021

Ooh good to know! Thank you! :)