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 10 Metro Parks that have fun playgrounds for kids!
10 Playgrounds within the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks:
- 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, OH 43123
- Read more: 5 Super Fun Playgrounds in Grove City
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.
- Related: 6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Related: Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park!
6. Homestead Metro Park
- 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 for toddlers here as well!
- Related: Easterseals Recommended Accessible Parks, Playgrounds and Trails in Central Ohio and Surrounding Area
- 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!
Do you have a favorite Metro Park playground?
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