10 Central Ohio Metro Park Playgrounds

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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:

1. Scioto Grove Metro Park 

  • 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City, OH 43123

Scioto Grove Metro Park Playground Slide

Scioto Grove Metro Park Playground rope climbing

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.

Swingset at Scioto Grove Metro Park Playground

scioto grove metro park playground

2. Scioto Audubon Metro Park

  • 400 W. Whittier Street, Columbus, OH 43215

scioto audubon metro park playground

playground at scioto audubon metro park

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.

Play first and then plan to head up to the Nature Center where there is an outdoor sandbox, an indoor play area and aquatic animals to visit.

playground at scioto audubon metro park

rock climbing wall at scioto audubon metro park

3. Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

  • Cedar Ridge Area, 1775 Darby Creek Drive Galloway, OH 43119

playground at battelle darby creek metro park

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!

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Play area

battelle darby creek metro park playground

4. Rocky Fork Metro Park

  • 7180 E. Walnut Street, Westerville, OH 43081

rocky fork metro park playground

rocky fork metro park playground

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.

rocky fork metro park playground

rocky fork metro park playground and picnic area

5. Blendon Woods Metro Park

  • 4265 E. Dublin Granville Rd., Westerville, OH 43081

blendon woods metro park playground area

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.

blendon woods metro park play ground

6. Homestead Metro Park

  • Homestead Metro Park, 4675 Cosgray Road, Hilliard, OH

homestead metro park play ground

homestead metro park play ground area

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!

homestead metro park willard ohio playground area

homestead metro park playground train area

homestead metro park all abilities playground

7. Glacier Ridge Metro Park

  • 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!

glacier ridge metro park playground

glacier ridge metro park ninja warrior course

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!

glacier ridge metro park play structure

There is also a more “traditional” playground in the same general area as well as an obstacle course!

glacier ridge metro park playground

glacier ridge metro park playground

8. Walnut Woods Metro Park

  • 6723 Lithopolis Rd, Groveport, OH 43125

walnut woods metro park playground

I love the playground at Walnut Woods Metro Park for the natural feel it has. It’s a small playground, but it’s unique!

boys rope climbing at walnut woods metro park playground

Rope and rock climbing are available, swings and a merry go round! Restrooms are close by as well!

merry go round at walnut woods metro park playground

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! 

playground structure at Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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!

playground area at Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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).rope climbing structure at Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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!

Playground at Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Do you have a favorite Metro Park playground?

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Amazing Metro Park Playgrounds in Columbus and Franklin County

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Step Inside a Fairy Tale at Inniswood Metro Gardens in Westerville, Ohio

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Inniswood Metro Gardens in Westerville, Ohio is a must visit destination in Central Ohio with magical gardens, hiking trails, and some of the best scenery no matter what the season!

boardwalk in Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville Ohio

Inniswood Metro Gardens is one of the most unique parks in Columbus! It is just a gem. One of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, this park is free to visit year round and will surprise and delight you during all four seasons. We LOVE this park. There is so much to see and there is quite a bit of the park geared towards kids as well!

Statue in Inniswood Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio

One of the “stricter” Metro Parks, Inniswood Gardens does not allow biking or active sports. Pets are not allowed, nor is picnicking. Picnicking might be the most challenging of the garden etiquette for families to follow, (kids and their snacks, am I right?!) but for your convenience, there is a picnic area called “The Patio” near the parking lot.

treehouse and boardwalk trail inside Inniswood Metro Gardens

So this park is focused on seeing and hearing more than touching and doing but there truly is so much to see. The gardens have become one of my favorite places to visit in the fall ever since we tried out the Boardwalk Trail during an extra warm November a couple years back. But more about that in a few minutes . . .

What is Inniswood Metro Gardens?

flowers and gardens surrounding the main entrance of Inniswood Metro Gardens in Columbus, Ohio

As mentioned above, Inniswood Metro Gardens are part of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks and was donated to the parks by two sisters (Grace and Mary) in 1972. The Gardens and the Innis House once belonged to the sisters and they desired to allow the public to enjoy (and preserve) their 37-acre estate.

The area is now 123 acres with 10 Feature Gardens, 6 trails, educational programs, and a non-lending library.

Feature Gardens at Inniswood Metro Gardens

There are 10 Feature Gardens inside the park. Each of them is unique in its own way. Some of the feature gardens are smaller with just a path to walk through and some are larger with multiple areas to explore.

1. Circle Garden

two benches in the Circle Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens

The Circle Garden is the area you will encounter as soon as you walk through the main entrance of the park. Consisting of a circle made of bricks, benches and beautifully landscaped flower gardens.

2. Rose Garden

the Rose Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens, Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks

The Rose Garden is a popular spot for weddings and family and/or senior photos. However you should know that this area is not reservable. There is no fee to have a wedding here, but it is on a first-come, first-served basis and wedding parties are limited to 50 people. See more details about weddings here.

3. Cutting Garden

sign and flowers in The Cutting Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens

Don’t be fooled by the name. “Cutting” does not mean you. 😉 This area has annual and perennial flowers that would look great in a vase!

4. Herb Garden

gazebo and flowers in The Herb Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville Ohio

The herb garden contains herbs of all kinds, common and uncommon and has some picturesque structures and benches.

boys walking through multiple arches in the Herb Garden at Inniswood Metro Park

5. Fern Garden

The Fern Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens, Columbus, Ohio

The Fern Garden features hardy ferns and is a test site for the Hardy Fern Foundation.

6. Woodland Rock Garden

waterfall in the Woodland Rock Garden area at Inniswood Metro Park

This is one of my favorite areas in the park. The Woodland Rock Garden consists of layers of rock with waterfalls, plants and just beautiful landscaping.

7. Conifer Garden 

arches in the Conifer Garden at Inniswood

The Conifer Garden features various evergreen and deciduous conifers.

8. Brookwood Trail Garden

The path on the Brookwood Trail

The Brookwood Trail is a seasonal display with shade plantings.

9. Memorial Garden

sign, benches and blue trellises in The Memorial Garden area

The Memorial Garden has various garden beds and is home to the Inniswood Gate. This is a great area for sitting and reading (you know, if you visit without kids).

10. Sisters’ Garden

plant covered arches in The Sisters Garden at Inniswood

I’ve saved the biggest area for last. The Sisters’ Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens is made up of so many exquisite gardens and fun areas for kids. If you just look at the main map of the park, you will not know what you are missing!

Check out this map for all the details in the Sisters’ Garden. Wind your way through the 2.8 acre area that is bordered by the Sisters Garden Loop and discover so many hidden gems! The Sisters’ Garden is made up of these 9 areas:

Entry Garden

The Entry Garden features a statue of Grace and Mary Innis: The Sisters!

Statue of The Sisters in Inniswood Metro Gardens

Country Garden

two boys playing in the Water Mill in the Sisters Garden at Inniswood Metro Park

The Country Garden is home to Granny’s House and Bessie’s Barn. There is also a windmill pump which kids love to splash in!

Granny's House in The Sisters' Garden at Inniswood Metro Park

by inside Granny's House looking at brightly painted walls

Wetland Garden

The Wetland Garden inside the Sisters' Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens

Woodland Garden

The Woodland Garden area

Turtle Mound

Turtle Mound at Inniswood Metro Garden

Story Maze

Earth on Turtle's Back a Native American Story at Inniswood Metro Garden

The Story Maze features a Native American legend which you can read following the stones along the path.

The Story Maze at Inniswood Metro Gardens

Circle Maze

The Sky Woman is the focal point of the Circle Maze!

The Sky Woman at Inniswood Metro Gardens in Westerville, Ohio

Trellis Cave

Look for imprints of leaves and animals on the trail in the Trellis Cave built from Ohio limestone. 

The Trellis Cave at Inniswood Metro Gardens

Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is one of my favorite areas of the park featuring inspiring quotes, hidden treasures in the walls and a sense that you are alone in your own story book fairy tale!

The Secret Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens

Hiking Trails Within Inniswood Metro Gardens

There are 6 short trails within the Inniswood Metro Gardens, ranging from .1 miles (Frog Talk Walk) to the longest at .6 miles (Chipmunk Chatter Trail). I have mentioned that pets are not allowed in the garden, however there is one exception and that’s the Chipmunk Chatter Trail. This trail is technically on the outside of the garden and pets are allowed on this one!

These are two of my favorite trails within the park:

Boardwalk Trail (Preserve Trail)

a boy on the Boardwalk Trail in Inniswood Metro Park

I first happened upon this trail during an unseasonably warm November and I was stopped in my tracks. (See photo above.) It was slightly foggy and the trees were in full color. It was just magical. I felt like I was in a fairy tale. I made a point to go back in the fall of 2020 and I was not disappointed! (See photo below.)

Two boys on the Boardwalk Trail

Sisters’ Garden Loop

wooden treehouse within The Sisters' Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens

For those of us with kids, the Sisters’ Garden Loop is a must. Not only does it surround the most kid-friendly area of the park, but hidden along the path is a wooden bridge and tree house that you just might miss if you don’t know to look for it!

boy in the wooden treehouse at Inniswood

the swinging bridge near the treehouse at Inniswood

Other Things to See and Do at Inniswood Metro Gardens

Innis House

The Innis House front view

The Innis House is home to offices, educational programs and a non-lending horticulture and natural history library. You can also visit the Main Room to see local artwork. 

Behind The Innis House there is a scenic overlook and a wooden train track which is fun for kids to see.

The Innis House backyard view with train track at Inniswood Metro Gardens

Education Pavilion

people in the Education Pavilion at Inniswood Metro Gardens

Outdoor classes and activities for all ages are held throughout the year at the Education Pavilion. We attended a class for preschoolers there a couple of years ago and the kids got to make musical instruments and do other crafts and activities!

The Patio

Across the parking lot, directly opposite of the main entrance to Inniswood Metro Gardens is a picnic area called The Patio. If you need a place to sit and/or have a picnic, this is it!

metal sunflowers at the entrance to The Sisters' Garden at Inniswood Metro Park

Tips for Visiting Inniswood Metro Gardens

1. Remember that food is not allowed in the Gardens so plan your visit in between meal times or have a snack in the car on the way to the park. If you pack a lunch, plan to eat it at one of the picnic tables surrounding the parking lot.

2. There is only one vehicle entrance to Inniswood and parking is abundant and adjacent to the entrance.

3. There is a lot to see in the park, but if you are visiting with kids you may want to focus on the the Sisters’ Garden and Sisters’ Garden Loop for the most kid-friendly attractions.

4. With the exception of the Chipmunk Chatter Trail outside the park, pets are not allowed at Inniswood Metro Gardens.

Know Before You Go:

Address: 940 S. Hempstead Rd., Westerville, OH 43081

Hours: Open Daily from 7:00 AM – dark

Metro Parks Info Line: 614-508-8000

Innis House Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM; Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Closed Mondays and Holidays

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Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks: Inniswood Metro Gardens


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5 Super Fun Playgrounds in Westerville

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These parks and playgrounds in Westerville, Ohio are super fun for Central Ohio kids! 

Westerville has some of the best parks, if you ask me! It’s kind of a hike for us, but one day we ended up visiting 3 of them in one morning because they are so close to each other! These five parks all have some really unique features that make them extra fun and special!

If you’re looking to make an outing out of your visit to Westerville, make sure to check out Uptown Westerville where you can find the cutest toy store: Naturally Curious Kids, some classic donut choices at Schneider’s Bakery or get your coffee fix at Java Central. You can read about Naturally Curious Kids in my list of Over 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus and the restaurants in Playdate in Uptown Westerville.

5 Super Fun Playgrounds for Kids in Westerville, Ohio: 

1. Hoover Reservoir Park

  • 7701 Sunbury Rd, Westerville, OH 43081

playground at Hoover Reservoir

dock at Hoover Reservoir

This is a small playground in comparison to the others, but I’ve included it because it’s right by the water and in my book, anytime you can do anything near water when you’re in Central Ohio, it’s a bonus! After playing, we enjoyed walking to the dock to see the boats and ducks and throw rocks into the water. 

playground at Hoover Reservoir, Westerville Ohio

The playground was a lot of fun for my 5 year old who enjoyed climbing and the tall slide!

2.. Spring Grove North

  • 1201 E. County Line Rd., Westerville, OH 43081

Playground at Spring Grove North Park, Westerville, Ohio

What makes this playground so cool is that one of the play structures is shaped like a ship! With two tall masts, a telescope and other ship-like features, kids can use their imagination to play sailors or pirates! There is also a smaller sized structure for toddlers and swings available! 

playground at Spring Grove Park North, Westerville

There is also the constant buzzing noise overhead from the electric wires, so be forewarned! Restrooms are available in the adjacent picnic pavilion.

ship playground at Spring Grove Park, Westerville Ohio

3. Alum Creek North Park

  • 221 W Main St, Westerville, OH 43081

train at Alum Creek North Park, Westerville, Ohio

This park has a lot to offer, especially if you have kids of varying ages! Besides the usual play equipment, there’s a sand pit, a large rope climbing structure and a train that’s perfect for toddlers! A lot of free concerts happen here at the amphitheater throughout the summer, and if you’re up for the trek uphill, it’s within walking distance of Uptown.

boys in sandbox at Alum Creek Park North, Westerville, Ohio

boy on train at playground at Alum Creek North Park, Westerville, Ohio

4. Millstone Creek Park

  • 745 N Spring Rd, Westerville, OH 43082

playground at Millstone Creek Park, Westerville

This park is super cool because it’s an accessible park, meaning it offers play areas for kids of all abilities. The play structure is huge, but there is also an area with a small house and items for toddlers. There are rocks to climb on and the option of playing in the creek area or on one of the basketball courts.

park in Westerville Ohio

creek at Millstone Creek Park, Westerville, Ohio

5. Towers Park

  • 657 County Line Rd; Westerville, Ohio 43081

playground at Towers Park, Westerville, Ohio

Towers Park has an adorable playground area for toddlers! The play houses are so cute and really fun! They have a lot of little details to keep kids entertained! Older kids will enjoy the ropes/climbing course. It’s a great obstacle course for preschoolers and younger elementary kids.

playground area at Towers Park, Westerville, Ohio

While you’re there, you can’t miss the amazing stained glass pavilion, but also take note of the smaller details on the pavilion like a butterfly and grasshopper! If you use the address listed for the park, it will take you to the baseball fields. To find the playground, turn on N. Spring Rd.. There is a parking lot for the playground area on N. Spring.

climbing area at Towers Park, Westerville Ohio

playground at Towers Park, Westerville, Ohio near Columbus

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5 Super Fun Parks and Playgrounds in Westerville, Ohio


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