Glacier Ridge Metro Park Offers Tons of Fun For Families

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Glacier Ridge Metro Park is one of the most unique of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks and offers lots of fun for kids and families!

Glacier Ridge Metro Parks in the Plain City/Dublin/Jerome area of Central Ohio and is named after the glaciers that shaped the park many years ago! The park is full of little gems that make it extra fun for kids! It’s truly one of my favorite of the Metro Parks to take my kids because there is enough to keep them active and entertained for a good portion of the day!

two boys hiking at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

There are two entrances to the park, the Main Entrance and the Honda Wetland Education Area Entrance. Both entrances are on Hyland-Croy Road. If you have the time, I definitely recommend checking out the activities at both.

If you bike, there is a trail between the two entrance areas. The Ironwood Trail is 2.8 miles long and connects to both ends of the park. Otherwise, driving is between the two is your best bet! There is ample parking at both entrances. See the park map.

Things to do at the Main Entrance of Glacier Ridge Metro Park:

The address of the Main Entrance at Glacier Ridge Metro Park is 9801 Hyland Croy Rd Plain City OH 43064. There are a couple of parking areas around a loop within this area of the park.

1. Ninja Course

ninja course natural play area at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

I don’t even think “ninja course” is the official name for this play area.  It’s considered one of Columbus and Franklin County Metro Park’s natural play areas but I and lots of other people I know call it the Ninja Course! Because here kids can pretend they are on their very own episode of American Ninja Warrior!

This natural play area was built in partnership with The Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture and is made up of three “Play Forms”: The Ramps, Towers and Platforms.

Natural Play Area Play Forms at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

This has to be one of the coolest things in all of the Metro Parks if you have kids! We happened to stumble upon this by complete accident the week that it opened a couple of years ago! It was a hit with the kids!

The Ninja Course has several climbing structures, a rope hammock, wall climbing, rope climbing, a small zip line and lots of opportunities to hide and seek!

boy on zip line at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

The Marsh Hawk Zip Line is probably the most popular feature of the park. It’s designed for kids ages 5 and up with a weight limit of 350 lbs. 

2. Challenge Course

 

boy on the challenge course at Glacier Ridge Metro park

The Challenge Course at Glacier Ridge Metro Park offers 13 obstacles like the Tire Run, Frog Jump, Tunnel Crawl and more. For the record, this course is designed for those who are age 12 and up. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and the obstacles are to be encountered at your own risk.

There, now that all of the disclaimers are out of the way, my kids (who were 6 and 9 at the time) really enjoyed trying out the obstacles. I was shocked to see my usually cautious 9 year old scale the Cargo Climb!

boy on the Cargo Climb at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

Of course serious athletes use the Challenge Course as a darn good workout, but some of the elements are fun and challenging exercises for kids and amateurs , too!

kids on the obstacle course at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

The Challenge Course is right across the path from the Natural Play Area/Ninja Course so there is plenty in this area to keep kids active and employing large muscle movement!

3. Natural Play Area

kids in the Natural Play Area at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

Just behind the wooden “play forms” that I am calling the Ninja Course is a Natural Play Area consisting of stick forts and tree trunks. Kids can be king (or queen) of their own wooden castle! I love the open ended imaginative play these Natural Play Areas inspire!

Glacier Ridge Metro Park Natural Play Area

If you’re looking for more ideas, Blendon Woods has a great Natural Play Area!

4. Hiking

Red Oak Trail at Glacier Ridge

The most hiking we have done in this area of the park is on the Red Oak Trail, a pretty trail through the Natural Play Area. It’s a great spot for a walk in the fall! There are lots of kid-friendly trails within the Metro Parks!

5. Playground

playground at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

After listing all of the really unique areas for kids to play, an actual playground seems a little bit anticlimactic, but there is one and it’s right there by the Natural Play Area, Ninja Course and Challenge Course, so if your kids have any energy left (somehow they always do) send them over to the playground!

Things to do at The Honda Wetland Education Area Entrance of Glacier Ridge Metro Park:

The address of the Honda Wetland Education Area Entrance is 7825 Hyland Croy Rd., 43064. There is one main parking area here by the Education Center.

1. Honda Wetland Education Center

Honda Wetland's Education Area

While I wouldn’t call this a full on Nature Center, the Honda Wetland Education Center is a barn-like structure that offers information about the inhabitants of wetland areas. There is posted information about birds, ducks, insects and other plants and animals that can be found in the area including a list of 68 plants and animals that can be found in the wetlands.

Honda Wetland Education Center at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

I’ve visited this area when it was wet and when it was dry, in the summer and in the fall. It’s definitely more striking when wet, but it’s interesting to see how it can change based on how much precipitation we have had and what season it is when you visit. I’ve included some pictures for comparison in the next few sections!

boy at the Honda Wetland Education Center at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

2. Observation Tower

25 foot observation deck at Glacier Ridge

This 25-foot observation tower has binoculars and is fun to climb. It’s great to view the park from the top! It’s also a great place for kids to play pirates and soldiers! 😉

This picture in June 2018:

boy looking through the binoculars at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

This one in November 2020:

boy looking through binoculars at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

6. Hiking

bare tree at the end of a boardwalk at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

The Boardwalk Trail is a short walk (.2 miles one way) from the Honda Wetland Education Center. The last time we were there it was pretty dry, but in theory, the boardwalk is through the wetland area.

I always think there’s something extra special about walking on a boardwalk trail and this is an easy and picturesque trail to do with kids. I love the tall trees here. They are always so striking.

This first picture was taken in June of 2018:

boardwalk trail at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

And this one in November 2020:

two boys on the boardwalk trail at Glacier Ridge Metro Park

As you can see, Glacier Ridge Metro Park offers tons of fun for families! I hope you can plan a trip to visit this unique Columbus and Franklin County Metro Park!

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Exploring Glacier Ridge Metro Park


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Plain City Apple Picking Adventures

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We had beautiful weather for apple picking with friends at The Orchard and Company: blue skies, sunshine, fluffy white clouds and 70-some degrees! Now I’m officially in the mood for fall, looking up recipes for apple crisp and making note of all the fall festivals going on around town!

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The grounds of the orchard are beautiful and the apple picking was close to the parking lot and the whole process was very easy!

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The Orchard and Company has fall festival weekends on Saturdays and Sundays, September 10 – October 30, 2016. They happened to be open for Gala picking on a Friday – the first Friday of September, so we jumped on it since Gala apples are a household favorite! However, that did mean missing out on the festival fun – but our kids didn’t know any different and they still had a blast!

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One of the activities available at the orchard is fishing! You can also feed the fish from the dock!

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If you make this a yearly tradition, make sure to get your pictures at this cute sign!

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To enjoy the festival weekends, you must purchase a Farm Yard Pass to enjoy the extra activities. The pass is $10 for adults and children over 2. This pass is good for activities like the animal barn, pedal cart track, zip line, a corn box and more! Fishing is $2 extra and Gem Mining is $5. You do not need to buy a Farm Yard Pass to pick apples.

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September U-Pick dates are estimated as follows (check the website for updates and pricing!):

Golden Supreme: September 10th & 11th 11 AM- 5 PM

Honeycrisp: September 10th & 11th 11 AM- 5 PM

Jonamac: September 10th & 11th 11 AM – 5 PM

Macoun: September 17th & 18th

Jonagold: September 24th & 25th

After picking our apples, we weren’t ready to end our fall fun! My friend Jaclyn had spied a sign for a Yutzy’s Farm Market on the way to the orchard, so we decided to check it out! It ended up being the perfect place to sit down and eat our packed lunches, let the kids play and then lure them off the playground equipment for an amish-made snack!

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Yutzy’s sells all kinds of fresh produce, local meats, bulk food items and has a really popular deli. I say popular because there was always a line (and I know this because we had to excuse ourselves through it a few times to take the kids to the restrooms!)

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They also sell homemade baked goods, pumpkins and other fall squash!

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Out in the yard, there is a play area with several picnic tables!

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Besides this unique playground equipment, there were also llamas and ponies! My youngest is somehow really into horses, so he LOVED this!

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I was feeling extra generous with the sugar because it was Friday and beautiful outside and these cupcakes were only $1.50, but this is how that ended up:

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The funny part was, he looked at me and whined, “It’s on my arm!” and held his arm out for me to wipe. (Never mind that hair/eye incident!) The clerk at the counter must have had some foresight (or parenting experience) because she had insisted on giving me paper towels when I asked her for a few plastic forks to eat the cupcakes with!

We headed home in time for a late nap, but if you want to make a full day of it, try stopping at The Cheese House just around the corner, or attending the Shekinah Festival on Saturday (9/10)!

Know Before You Go:

The Orchard and Company, 7255 US Hwy 42 N., Plain City, OH 43064, 614-873-0510

2016 Fall Festival
Saturdays & Sundays, September 10th – October 30th
11:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Hours of operation are weather permitting.)
Phone: 614-873-0510

Yutzy’s Farm Market

6010 Converse Huff Road, Plain City, Ohio 43064
Phone: 614-873-3815
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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What Should We Do This Weekend? April 15-17, 2016

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It looks like a beautiful weekend ahead!  I hope everyone can get outside and enjoy it! Here are 7 things to do with your kids this weekend:

1. Snoopy!!! at Columbus Children’s Theatre

When: Thursday, April 14 and Friday, April 15, 2016 at 7:30 PM, Friday, April 15, 2016 at 10:00 AM, Saturday, April 16 at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM
Location: Park Street Theatre, 512 Park Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-224-6672 (Call for Tickets)

This musical (recommended for ages 5 and up) is based on the comic strip “PEANUTS” by Charles M. Schulz.  Canine Companions will be in attendance for the April 16th performances with a pre-show demonstration featuring their puppies-in-training!  At the writing of this post, the Sunday show is sold out and the 3:00 PM Saturday show has limited seats available.  Call for more info and tickets.

2. Hike it Baby at Sharon Woods Metro Park

When: Friday, April 15, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: 6911 Cleveland Ave, Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-746-5000

Meet other moms and their toddlers/preschoolers for a kid-paced hike on the Edward S. Thomas (orange) trail!  Meet at the last parking area near Schock Lake and pack a lunch if you’d like to picnic at the playground after the hike!

3. Week of the Young Child Family Day at COSI

When: Saturday, April 16, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00PM
Location: 333 West Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-COSI

COSI will offer special activities celebrating young children and early education! Free with COSI admission/membership.

4. Buckeye Model Train and Railroad Show at Ohio Expo Center

When: Saturday, April 16, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Lausche Building, 717 East 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43211

Older kids and model train enthusiasts may enjoy Ohio’s largest combination model train and railroad memorabilia show!

5. Fractured Fairytales at Columbus Metropolitan Library, Shepard Branch

When: Saturday, April 16, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: 790 N. Nelson Road, Columbus, Ohio, 43219
Phone: 614-645-2275

Geared for ages 6-11, this story time features stories and activities involving fairytales with a twist!

6. Spring Warehouse Sale at Junior Library Guild

When: Friday and Saturday, April 15 & 16, 2016
Time: Friday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 7858 Industrial Pkwy, Plain City OH 43064

Hundreds of titles available for $5/book!  Pictures books are available and kids are welcome at the sale!  Younger children can spin the prize wheel for prizes and teens will enjoy ALA Youth Media Award Winners!  More information including a warehouse map is also available here.

 7. Spring Opening of the Orange Johnson House: Life at the Farm with the Worthington Historical Society

When: Sunday, April 17, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 956 High Street, Worthington, OH 43085
Phone: 614-885-1247

Visit the Orange Johnson property to celebrate the season opening!  Admission includes face painting, a child-friendly tour of the Orange Johnson House, visual exhibits, and visiting with live animals such as goats, chickens and rabbits.  Kids can build their own log houses with Lincoln Logs, make quilt patterns, try on pioneer outfits and participate in other hands-on activities to learn about life on the Johnson farm!

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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 to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*


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