fall activities in columbus ohio

5 Fantastic Fall Activities for Families in Central Ohio

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Fall is just the best, isn’t it? It’s the perfect season for getting out and exploring Central Ohio! These fall activities are perfect for those crisp fall days that require a hoodie and your favorite coffee mug.

changing leaves in the fall along a sidewalk in Columbus, Ohio

Fall in Columbus, Ohio

This season offers some of our most favorite things to do around Columbus and Central Ohio! I look forward to fall: crisp mornings, changing leaves, sweatshirts, and a reprieve from the dog days of summer. It’s also time for some of those quintessential fall activities like pumpkin picking, apple picking, corn mazes, farmers markets and hiking!

5 Fantastic Fall Activities in Central Ohio

Take a look through this list of fun fall activities for Central Ohio families and pick today's adventure:

The glorious season of Autumn goes so fast! We are always trying to squeeze in just one more fall festival or one more farm market! I hope you take time to enjoy some of these activities that only come around once a year!

Boys looking at the pumpkins at Groovy Plants Ranch

^ Checking out the pumpkins at Groovy Plants Ranch! ^

Need more ideas? Check out Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus Ohio!

Fall Activities Near Columbus, Ohio

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All of the best fall activities in columbus and central Ohio



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Groovy Plants Ranch is A Plant Lover’s Heaven!

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Groovy Plants Ranch in Marengo, Ohio is a plant lovers dream come true! Greenhouses filled with cacti, house plants and succulents and rows of annuals and perennials are a delight!

Like many of you, during 2020 I became more interested in gardening, flowers and houseplants! I had been following Groovy Plants Ranch on Instagram and seen friends post about their visits for a couple of months when we finally seized a free afternoon and drove out to Marengo, Ohio to see this magical place for ourselves!

Groovy Plants Ranch entrance sign

Groovy Plants opened in 2016 in Morrow County, Ohio after owners, Jared and Liz Hughes had years of success selling succulents at farmers markets and online! What started with succulents has now become a two acre property filled with greenhouses, annuals and perennials, cacti, bulbs, container gardens and so much more!

inside the houseplant greenhouse at Groovy Plants Ranch

The trip to this greenhouse heaven is around 30 minutes from downtown Columbus. “The Ranch” bills themselves as offering “Unique and Unusual Plants” and here’s just a taste of what you will find when you visit:

Annuals and Perennials at Groovy Plants Ranch

fall flowers and plants for sale at Groovy Plants Ranch in Marengo Ohio

All kinds of annual and perennial plants are for sale at The Ranch! Of course what you find will vary depending on the season, but I was obsessed with the colorful mums and other fall plants for sale at our September visit!


two boys looking at the pumpkins for sale at Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch had a surprising number of pumpkins and gourds available! I wasn’t even expecting pumpkins when we planned our visit! I had been telling my kids I wasn’t going to buy pumpkins until October but now you can guess what was the first thing we picked out!

The Schoolhouse at Groovy Plants Ranch

Cacti Greenhouse

inside the Cactus Nursery at Groovy Plants Ranch

My kids were equal parts scared and fascinated by the catcti. Scared enough to keep their hands off but fascinated enough to want to take a second trip through!

House Plants

two boys inside the house plant greenhouse at Groovy Plants Ranch

The selection of house plants at Groovy Plants Ranch is inspiring and addicting! Houseplants have not been something I have ventured into personally, but I bought one here that promises, on its card, to be “easy”. We shall see.

boy carrying a pumpkin inside the greenhouse

Page Town Schoolhouse

Inside the Page Town School at Groovy Plants Ranch in Marengo, Ohio

At the front of the property you will notice the Page Town School which was built in 1869. The building now houses bulbs, Groovy Plants Ranch gear and clothing and is a spot for classes and special events!

bulbs for sale

Atmosphere of Fun at Groovy Plants Ranch!

Yes, Groovy Plants Ranch has its practical purposes. Buying plants for your home, indoors or outdoors, is the number one reason for visiting! The number two reason is just how cool the place is! (Or should I say “groovy”?) It’s just so fun! Visiting is like entering a fantasy world or being a fairy in a fairy garden! Here are some of the fun aspects you won’t want to miss!

Two boys holding pumpkins in front of the VW Bus at Groovy Plants Ranch

Plants and flowers at the Groovy Plants Ranch

Mercantile Market covered in Spanish moss.\ rusted tractor covered in flowers at Groovy Plants Ranch

VW Bus and other plants at Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants ranch is open year round selling vegetables and flowers in the spring and summer and pumpkins, mums and other fall plants in the fall. They remain open in the winter with reduced hours, continuing to sell house plants, succulents and more!

AND if you can’t visit in person, you can shop their online store and have the plants delivered to your house!

Know Before You Go:

Groovy Plants Ranch
Address: 4140 Co Rd 15, Marengo OH 43334
Phone: 740-675-2681 
Visit their website
Hours: Open 7 days a week, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (double check for seasonal hours during the winter!)

Exploring Columbus with Your Kids

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*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*

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Groovy Plants Ranch


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Kid-Friendly Trails at Columbus Metro Parks

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Choose one of these short trails that will be easy for kids to walk or hike for your next outing in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks!

Getting outside has been the name of the game this summer and we are enjoying making trips to many of the local Metro Parks! We have discovered so many new areas! It really takes an astute studying of the park maps to figure out where to go and what to do! 

I’ve said it before, we have a habit of always parking at the same entrance in most of the parks, therefore we do and see the same things over and over again! Some of the parks are HUGE and we have been missing out on a lot!

kids walking across a rope bridge in a grove city metro park

Rope Bridge at Scioto Grove Metro Park

This summer I am making an effort to explore new parts of the parks! For instance we discovered where to go creeking at Battelle Darby Metro Park and we finally found the Rope Bridge at Scioto Grove! 

I’m taking some of the guesswork out of map reading for all of you and providing this list of trails that are easy for kids to do! These trails are, generally speaking, less than 1 mile and most of them go in a loop. A bonus is the great scenery along the way!

6 Easy Trails for Kids in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks:

1. Turtle Pond Trail

kid looking out over Darby Bend Lake

Park: Three Creeks Metro Park
Distance: .4 miles
Terrain: Gravel
Where to Park: Confluence Trails Area, 3860 Bixby Rd., Groveport, OH 43125

Take a walk around Turtle Pond! The great thing about this trail is that it goes completely around the pond so you always have a great view of the water. This trail is less than a half a mile! It’s also within walking distance of a playground which is always a bonus!

2. River Rock Trail

Trail at Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Park: Prairie Oaks Metro Park
Distance: .7 miles
Terrain: Gravel
Where to Park: Darby Bend Lakes Entrance, 2755 Amity Rd., Hilliard, OH 43026

This is a trail that has a good amount of shady areas and takes a loop around one of the Darby Bend Lakes. I think it’s beautiful here and it’s one of my favorite Metro Park areas!

3. Boardwalk Trail

kid walking a trail at Inniswood Metro Park in Columbus

Park: Inniswood Metro Gardens
Distance: .5 miles
Terrain: Gravel and Boardwalk
Where to Park: Main Entrance, 940 S. Hempstead Rd., Westerville, OH 43081

This path is so beautiful! With so many things to do and see at Inniswood Metro Gardens, I think it can be easy to overlook this trail! I love this trail in the fall because of the changing leaves! I mean just look at this picture! I remember it like it was yesterday!

See more about Inniswood Metro Park in: 3 of the Most Unique Parks in Columbus Ohio

4. Lake Trail

two boys holding hands on a trail in Blendon Woods Metro Park

Park: Blendon Woods Metro Park
Distance: .3 miles (one way)
Terrain: Paved
Where to Park: Nature Center, Enter at Main Entrance: 4265 E Dublin Granville Rd., Columbus, OH 43081

Take this trail behind the Nature Center to the Thoreau Lake and Walden Waterfowl Refuge. This one doesn’t go in a loop, but it’s an easy there and back for .6 miles. Plus when you get to the lake, there are observation blinds (with binoculars) for watching birds. When we took this trail for the first time it was such a fun surprise! (P.S. that picture above is so old, but it is one of my favorites!)

Read about all there is to do at Blendon Woods here: Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park

5. REI River Trail

boy walking on a trail at Scioto Grove Metro Park

Park: Scioto Grove Metro Park
Distance: less than .5 miles (one way)
Terrain: Dirt
Where to Park: Grove Lodge, Use Main Entrance: 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City OH 43123 

The entire REI River Trail is 1.8 miles, but for kids, I am only recommending the portion of the trail that goes from Grove Lodge to the Rope Bridge. The REI River Trail ends at the Rope Bridge (it becomes the Mingo Trail). We simply cross the bridge and then turn around and go back over it and walk back to Grove Lodge!

6. Edward S Thomas Trail

kids at the wildlife observation deck at Sharon Woods Metro Park, Columbus

Park: Sharon Woods Metro Park
Distance: 1.1 miles
Terrain: Gravel
Where to Park: Schrock Lake Picnic Area, Use Main Entrance: 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081

This is a nice, shady trail through the Edward S Thomas Nature Preserve. The cool part about the trail is the Wildlife Observation Deck which is just about at the halfway point of the trail. If you want to keep your hike to a mile, you could turn around at this point and head back to the parking area, but going all the way around the loop is just about the same distance.

On our hike we saw 3 wild turkeys, 2 deer and a chipmunk, which made the trail pretty memorable in my kids’ minds! 

Exploring Columbus with Your Kids

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kid friendly trails at columbus and franklin county metro parks

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