25 Fun Outdoor Activities in Columbus for the Whole Family

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Explore Columbus with one of these fun outdoor activities guaranteed to provide your daily dose of Vitamin D!

We look forward to warmer weather when we can get outside and enjoy Central Ohio’s parks, playgrounds and other outdoor activities! This list of outdoor activities in Columbus includes the educational, the relaxing and even ideas for those who aren’t the “outdoorsy type”.

Some of our favorite places to explore are the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks and you’ll see a few of those parks included on this list. Check out the other links within this post for more kid-friendly ideas within the Metro Parks! We also love to explore playgrounds around town and while I haven’t included many on this list, you can get more ideas in: 12 Columbus Parks to Try This Summer.

Leveque Tower in Downtown Columbus, Ohio

25 Fun Things to do Outside in Columbus, Ohio:

1. Slate Run Living Historical Farm

  • 1375 OH-674, Canal Winchester, OH 43110
barn at Slate Run Farm, Slate Run Metro Park

Slate Run Farm

This Columbus and Franklin County Metro Park in Canal Winchester is home to a living farm where families can visit, ask questions and participate in chores on the farm! On Saturdays kids can feed the animals and participate in chores! Spend a beautiful day outdoors on the farm!

2. Inniswood Metro Gardens

  • 940 S Hempstead Rd, Westerville, OH 43081 
waterfall in Inniswood Metro Gardens

Inniswood Metro Gardens

Inniwsood Metro Gardens are one of the most beautiful outdoor displays of plants, trees and flowers your can find in the Columbus area! The trails are also beautiful to walk in all seasons! This park is in bloom in the spring and summer and the foliage is spectacular in the fall as well! 

Don’t miss the tree house with its suspension bridges and wooden walking paths! Kids love this area to play in in the park! (Please note, no food or drink is allowed inside the park but there are picnic tables just outside if you’ve brought a packed lunch!)

3. Ninja Course at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

  • 9801 Hyland-Croy Rd, Plain City, OH 43064
outdoor ninja climbing area at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

Glacier Ridge Metro Park

This fun outdoor activity in Glacier Ridge Metro Park is often called the Ninja Course by locals. It features ramps, ropes to climb and a small zip line. Lots of fun opportunities for climbing, swinging and jumping! This area is on the North side of the park.

On the South end of the park you can visit the Honda Wetland Education Area which features an outdoor viewing area and information about the wildlife in the park.

4. Children’s Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory

  • 1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43203
boy walking down steps in the outdoor Children's Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory

Scot’s Miracle Grow Foundation Children’s Garden

The Scots Miracle Grow Foundation Children’s Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory is an incredible place for kids to play outside! Access to the garden is available only through the Franklin Park Conservatory so you must pay admission or have a membership. However, Franklin County residents can visit for free on the first Sunday of each month!

With bridges, a human-sized birds nest, fairy gardens, musical instruments, water features and so much more, this is one of the coolest outdoor activities in Columbus!

5. Columbus Commons

  • 160 S High St, Columbus, OH 43215
Plants and flowers at Columbus Commons

Columbus Commons

Columbus Commons is the largest park in downtown Columbus. Throughout the spring, summer and fall the park is home to live concerts, outdoor exercise classes, a carousel, two food vendors, festivals and Commons for Kids in the summer! If you’re looking for a great outdoor green space downtown, this is it!

6. Hayden Falls Park

  • 4326 Hayden Run Rd., Dublin, OH 43017 
waterfall at Hayden Run Falls in Dublin, Ohio

Hayden Run Falls

One might not think of Columbus, Ohio as a place that has many (or any) water falls, which is what makes Haden Falls such a hidden gem! This park is definitely off the beaten path and involves a short hike down wooded steps and walk ways. Once you come upon the falls you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find!

7. Scioto Grove Metro Park 

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

Scioto Grove Metro Park

The climbing structure at Scioto Grove Metro Park is really unique – it’s made nearly entirely out of rope!  This outdoor play area is best for older kids who are confident in rope climbing!  This playground is in the Arrowhead Picnic Area. Parking and restrooms are close by.

8. Bison Watching at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

  • 1775 Darby Creek Dr, Galloway, OH 43119
bison in the field at Battelle Darby Metro Park

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Park at the Nature Center at Battelle Darby Metro Park and take a short walk to look for the bison that live in the park! There are a couple of different pasture areas so you may want to ask at the Nature Center where the bison are currently hanging out. There is a bison observation area about a 1/2 mile walk from the Nature Center.

9. Olentangy Indian Caverns

  • 1779 Home Rd, Delaware, OH 43015
kids going down steps at Olentangy Indian Caverns

Olentangy Indian Caverns

Take a day to tour underground caverns once used by the Wyandotte Indians. There are guided and self guided tours available. While you are at Olentangy Indian Caverns, other outdoor activities include visiting a petting zoo where you can feed and, of course, pet animals, completing an outdoor maze, gem mining, yard games and more! 

10. Park of Roses

  • 3901 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214 
Roses in the Park of Roses in Clintonville

Park of Roses

If you’re looking for a peaceful outdoor walk with beautiful scenery, make sure to check out the Park of Roses in the Clintonville neighborhood a short drive behind the Whetstone Recreation Center. There are several distinct rose gardens, plus additional gardens displaying perennials, trees and herbs. . The park is in peak bloom June through September and admission is free.

11. Ohio Wildlife Center

  • 6131 Cook Rd., Powell, Ohio 43065 
boy looking at a Wolf at an outdoor animal enclosure at Ohio Wildlife Center

Ohio Wildlife Center

Ohio Wildlife Center is home to animals who are being rehabilitated or not able to return to life in the wild. Plan this activity ahead of time because the Center is only open a few times a month. Make sure to check the website for dates. Story times are held as well as regular open houses and, during each event, guests can tour the outdoor grounds where the animals are housed.

12. Stratford Ecological Center

  • 3083 Liberty Rd, Delaware, OH 43015
boy walking down a gravel path at Stratford Ecological Center

Stratford Ecological Center

Stratford Ecological Center is in Delaware, Ohio, about an hour outside of downtown Columbus. This farm is home to animals, gardens, hiking trails, a pond and more! Workshops and classes are held on a regular basis as well as a story time for kids. Enjoy visiting the animals up close, digging up dirt in the gardens and lots of other outdoor activities at your leisure on the farm.

13. Ohio Village

  • 800 E 17th Ave, Columbus, OH 43211
base ball players at Ohio Village

Ohio Village Muffins Base Ball Team

Ohio Village is the outdoor portion of Ohio History Center. This area is open during the summer and features what every day life was like in the 1880’s! Special events are held here throughout the year such as Dickens of a Christmas and All Hallow’s Eve but during the summer months, you can visit Ohio Village any day of the week!

During the summer, the Ohio Village Muffins play 1880’s style Base Ball and you can watch the games for free with your admission or membership to Ohio History Connection!

14. Rock Climbing at Scioto Audubon Metro Park

  • 400 W Whittier St., Columbus, OH 43215
outdoor climbing wall at Scioto Audubon Metro Park in downtown Columbus

Scioto Audubon Metro Park

There are three outdoor climbing towers that are free to climb in the playground area of Scioto Audubon Metro Park in downtown Columbus. These reach a height of 35 feet. Climbers have to bring their own harnesses and must be 13 or older. There are a few 10-foot boulders that kids are able to climb regardless of their age.

To access the rock climbing towers you can park at the playground area or walk down the path from the Nature Center! There is a great free, indoor play area inside the Nature Center, as well!

15. Alum Creek State Park Beach

  • 3400 Lewis Center Rd, Lewis Center, OH 43035
Alum Creek State Park Beach

Alum Creek State Park Beach

If you’re wanting a beach vacation but don’t have the time or money, don’t overlook Alum Creek Beach for a  day at the beach! It might not be the ocean, but you might just be pleasantly surprised!

16. The Yard at Polaris Fashion Place 

  • 1500 Polaris Pkwy, Columbus, OH 43240
outdoor life-sized chess game at The Yard at Polaris Fashion Place

The Yard, Polaris Fashion Place

The Yard is an outdoor area at Polaris Fashion Place (near Cheesecake Factory) where there are larger than life sized games like chess, Connect Four, LEGO building blocks, ping pong and more! Nearby is also a fountain where kids can splash around on Summer days!

17. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

  • 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065
polar bear standing on a rock at the Columbus Zoo

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Walking the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to see all of the animals is a great outdoor activity (and great exercise!) for all ages! Highlights include The Heart of Africa, the Polar Frontier, and special seasonal events throughout the year like Wildlights and Boo at the Zoo! 

18. Topiary Park

  • 480 E Town St, Columbus, OH 43215
sculptures made of trees at Topiary Park in Columbus Ohio

Topiary Park

The highlight of this park, just outside of Columbus Metropolitan Library Main Library, is a plant-based recreation of Georges Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte. With larger than life size plant sculptures created from yew trees, it’s a sight to behold!

The garden consists of 54 people, boat sculptures and animal sculptures and you can walk the paths of the park enjoying the scenery and getting up close to the sculptures!

19. The Promenade on Scioto Mile

  • 233 S Civic Center Dr, Columbus, OH 43215
Promenade on the Scioto Mile

Scioto Mile

Take a walk outdoors on a beautiful stretch of the Scioto Mile with views of the Columbus skyline, swinging benches, bridges and more! Along the Scioto Mile are parks such as Bicentennial Park and Genoa Park where outdoor festivals and concerts are often held during the summer months.

20. Natural Play Area at Blendon Woods Metro Park

  • 4265 E. Dublin Granville Rd., Columbus, OH 43081 
Boys walking across a bridge at the Natural Play Area at Blendon Woods Metro Park

Blendon Woods Metro Park

Get up close with nature at the outdoor play area at Blendon Woods Metro Park. There is a wooden zip line, forts made of sticks, bridges and climbing areas, a tire swing and lots of area for creeking. (Bring a change of clothes if you know what’s good for you!) Blendon Woods also has a great Nature Center and birdwatching area.

21. Veteran’s Spray and Play (Dinosaur Park)

  • 1121 S Houk Rd, Delaware, OH 43015
dinosaur park with a dinosaur slide in Delaware Ohio

Veteran’s Spray and Play

What is affectionately known as the “Dinosaur Park” is the super fun Spray and Play at Veteran’s Park near the YMCA in Delaware, Ohio, about an hour outside of downtown Columbus. The splash pad and several play fixtures have a dinosaur theme. This is a really amazing playground and splash pad combo that’s worth the trip!

22. Canoeing and Kayaking at Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks

river at Scioto Grove Metro Park

Scioto Grove Metro Park

Canoeing and kayaking are available at 7 of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks! At last check those parks include: Battelle Darby Creek, Highbanks, Prairie Oaks, Scioto Audubon, Three Creeks, Scioto Grove and Walnut Woods.

23. Outdoor Shopping and More at Easton Town Center

  • 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, Ohio 43219 
fountain at Easton Town Center

Easton Town Center

Not the “outdoorsy type” but still want to be outside? Spend the day shopping, dining and playing at Easton Town Center. The mall features an outdoor format with several distinct shopping areas. Outdoor activities for kids include splashing in the fountains at Town Square and watching the nearby model train display!

Grab an ice cream cone from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and sit out on the patio area. There’s also bocce ball, outdoor concerts during the summer and at least two other fountains to visit.

24. Dorrian Green at COSI

  • 50 South Belle St, Columbus, OH 43215
Dorrian Green outside COSI

Dorrian Green

Dorrian Green is a downtown greenspace just outside of COSI that includes a playground, splash pad, picnic area, metal “porch swings,” lawn chairs and more! You can use the public parking area or find a nearby meter. If you’re looking to expand your outing, include this park in your visit to COSI!

25. OSU Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens

  • 152 Howlett Hall 2021, Fyffe Rd, Columbus, OH 43210

 

The Chadwick Arboretum on the campus of OSU just off of 315 is filled with Learning Gardens including a Bamboo Garden, Rose Garden, Wildflower Garden and more! The Arboretum North area has a lake, prairie plants and butterfly way station.

The gardens are open year round and are free to visit. Visit their website for a walking tour app and parking information!

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25 Fun Outdoor Activities in Columbus, Ohio

 


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Farmer’s Markets in Columbus and Central Ohio

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Looking for a Farmer’s Market in Columbus? These fresh markets are popping up everywhere in Central Ohio! Not only are they a great spot for picking up fresh produce, but they often also offer homemade treats, handmade goods, live entertainment and kids activities!

Strawberries at a farmers market in Columbus, Ohio

This post is continually being updated as things change for the 2020 season. Please make sure to check the link to each individual market for the most up to date info!

Farmer’s Markets in Columbus and Central Ohio by Day of the Week:

SATURDAY:

Grove City Farmer’s Market – In 2020, the Grove City Farmers Market will open with online ordering and drive through pick up! 

Canal Winchester – the Canal Winchester Farmer’s Market takes place on Saturdays in downtown Canal Winchester from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM from May 30th through September 26th. (Closed 8/1/20). The 2020 Market will take place at the Canal Winchester Historical Complex.

Westerville – the Saturday Farmers Market takes place on Saturday mornings from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM May 23rd – October 10th and features local farmers and vendors. The location is on Grove St. on the Otterbein campus.

boys at a farmers market in columbus ohio

Dublin – Saturdays from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM beginning June 20, 2020 through September 26, 2020. The Market will meet at a new location this year at Banker Drive & Longshore Loop. Check the link for updates to the 2020 season.

Clintonville – In 2020, Clintonville has begun offering a walk up Market from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Ohio History Connection. You can still preorder your purchase for convenience and safety. All purchases can be made through an online marketplace and picked up without leaving your vehicle.

large handheld bell at the westgate farmers market in columbus ohio

Westgate – The Westgate Farmers Market takes place on the first and third Saturdays of each month, June through October from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. The market is held on the front lawn of the West Gate Masonic Lodge.

Circleville – Closed for 2020.

Worthington – a Walk-In Market begins on Saturday, June 13 at the new, temporary location for 2020: 450/500 W. Wilson Bridge Road in Worthington. The Market will be held every Saturday morning from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM. 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM is reserved for customers in high-risk populations (senior citizens and immune compromised). 

Powell – The Powell Farmer’s Market takes place on Saturdays beginning May 23 through September 26, 2020 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM will be exclusively for senior citizens and high risk individuals.

farmers market at the North Market in Columbus, Ohio

North Market – the Farmers Market at the North Market in Columbus takes place in the outside stalls from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Saturdays. In addition to produce and food there is also hand made items, fine arts and jewelry.

German Village – The Saint Mary Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM on the front lawn of St. Mary School in German Village. The 2020 Market will include social distancing, masks and no samples.

Granville – The Granville Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays from 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM from May 2 – October 31, 2020. In 2020, the Granville Farmers Market will take place in the Granville High School parking lot. There are special hours for vulnerable populations (8:30 AM – 9:30 AM). 

Logan County – Logan County is offering an online Farmers Market this year. Ordering takes place Sunday through Wednesday and pick up will take place at the Logan County Fairgrounds on Saturdays from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

SUNDAY:

Gahanna – the Make Gahanna Yours Farmers Market takes place on Sundays June through September from 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM at Veteran’s Memorial Park. A Winter Market takes place inside Shepherd Church of the Nazarene on Sundays in January, March and April.

MONDAY:

Prairie Township – this Farmers Market takes place Monday afternoons from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM and includes a food truck. The market runs June through Labor Day Weekend at the Prairie Township Community Center. First market of 2020 begins June 29, 2020.

radishes and onions at a farmers market in columbus ohio

TUESDAY:

Newark – Canal Market District is a twice-weekly farmers market from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Tuesday dates are June through September and Friday dates are May through October. Once a month in the same space there is an Art & Craft Market. Read their updated policy for 2020.

Pearl Alley – The Pearl Market takes place beginning the end of May through Mid October on Gay St. and Pearl Alley in downtown Columbus on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM. 2020 dates are Friday, May 22 – Friday, October 16. Online ordering and pick up is available as well as shopping in person.

WEDNESDAY: 

Franklin Park Conservatory – the Conservatory’s Farmer’s Market takes place in the main Conservatory parking lot on E. Broad St. on Wednesdays from 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM, June through the first week of September and features a weekly kids craft. Market begins Wednesday, June 17, 2020 through September 2, 2020. 

Westerville – On Hiatus for 2020.

Upper Arlington – the Farmers Market in Upper Arlington takes place every Wednesday from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM and will run May 20 – September 30, 2020. Click the link for Market Rules for this year’s market.

THURSDAY:

herbs for sale at a farmers market in columbus ohio

Reynoldsburg – the Reynoldsburg Farmers Market takes place on Thursdays from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM in Huber Park. The market runs June through the beginning of September.

New Albany – the New Albany Farmer’s Market takes place from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM in Market Square. This Farmer’s Market  begins  June 25th  and runs through September 10, 2020. Check the link for updates on the 2020 season.

FRIDAY:

Newark – Canal Market District is a twice-weekly farmers market from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Tuesday dates are June through September and Friday dates are May through October. Once a month in the same space there is an Art & Craft Market.

Pearl Alley – The Pearl Market takes place beginning the end of May through Mid October on Gay St. and Pearl Alley in downtown Columbus on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM. 2020 dates are Friday, May 22 – Friday, October 16. Online ordering and pick up is available as well as shopping in person.


Did we miss any? Add a local Farmers Market in the comments and I’ll add it to this post!

Need more ideas? Try 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio

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farmers markets in columbus ohio

 


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10 Things to do at Home This Weekend Vol. 4

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Try out one of these Columbus and Ohiobased activities with your kids at home this weekend!

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure

This is our fourth week of at-home activities! In a way, I can’t believe it has been so long already! I have found that having some sort of flexible routine has made our weekdays more doable, but the weekends end up moving kind of slowly due to the lack of routine.

I have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. One of them is required to do school work and the other isn’t. I’ve been trying out one of these ideas to start out our “school” time in the morning. They are usually both relatively entertained and afterwards I give them each something age appropriate to do. Then my 8 year old does his online work and I let my 5 year old play with some educational apps on my phone. This is what’s working for us!

I plan to keep giving you these ideas every week for as long as we need to stay home! And each week’s list is really applicable at all times, so make sure you check back through the older lists for ideas!

10 Things to do at Home with the Kids this Weekend:

1. Download the  ‘Sit. Stay. Color!’ Activity Book from Value City Furniture

Value City Furniture has launched a coloring and activity book featuring the company’s official mascot and resident heart-stealer, Ernie the Bernedoodle, who is on the hunt to find the perfect new sofa. Download the coloring book at ValueCityFurniture.com/Color-Ernie, and don’t forget to share your kids’ Ernie masterpieces by tagging @ValueCityFurniture and using #MyVCF. 

2. Take Virtual Lessons and Make Crafts from BalletMet.

BalletMet is posting fun content from its teachers to their YouTube channel as a playlist. Content ranges from dance moves to crafts and ballet history lessons!

3. Watch a Virtual Magic Show from Magic Nate

Click this link to watch a magic show on Facebook Live from Magic Nate! The show lasts about 22 minutes.

 

4. Check Out the Online Animal Guide from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

This is awesome for any of your animal lovers out there and could easily be adapted into some kind of school report or project! 

5. Color a Free Printable from Natterdoodle.

Natterdoodle is offering 3 free spring and Easter themed coloring pages to download! If you are familiar with her work you will already know that they are super fun! Since they are Easter-themed, I’m not sure how long they will be free. But her other coloring pages are usually $3.99/sheet. You can see more here.

6. Learn Spanish with Spanish for Niños.

 

Whether you’re already a Spanish speaker or you and the kids would like some exposure to the Spanish language, enjoy a story time and Spanish lesson on FB live from Spanish for Niños! Enjoy the story Hormigas En Mis Pantalones / Ants in My Pants!

7. Complete LEGO Challenges and Other Online Activities from LEGOLAND.

Try out online Lego Building Challenges, weekly coloring pages, maze challenges, silly stories, word searches, trivia challenges and more! (If your kids love LEGO, they may also enjoy one of these LEGO sticker books!)

8. Watch a Snake Eat a Mouse at Battelle Darby Metro Park.

 

This might not be for the faint of heart, but if your kids are into this kind of thing, let them watch this video filmed at the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Nature Center!

9. Watch a Family-Friendly Virtual Concert from ProMusica Chamber Orchestra

 

ProMusica is offering a Virtual Family Concert!  All three segments can be found on this blog post on their website: https://promusicacolumbus.org/blog/virtual-family-concert/ 

10. Pick a Virtual Activity from the Children’s Museum of Cleveland

The Children’s Museum of Cleveland has online story times and programs including STEM activities, music activities, art projects, recipes, gross and fine motor skills activities and much more! Lots of great ideas here!

In case you missed it, click the picture below for more online activities!

online activities for kids when school is closed

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