3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Emily Ferjencik

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Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus! Thanks to Emily for sharing 3 of her favorites with us this month!

1. Inniswood Metro Gardens

There is no better park to let your little one explore the outdoors than at Inniswood Metro Gardens in Westerville. Hard to find another place with paved trails, rocky paths, stepping stones, a water table for splashing, a tree house, a bouncy bridge, a “secret garden”, waterfalls, an herb garden, a large grassy area with a hill to roll down, and even an outdoor model train! It’s a hot spot with photographers (and mom photographers who want cute pictures of their little ones). With so many programs, concerts, events…Inniswood a must visit many times over.

2. Slate Run Farm

So this is just a little outside Columbus in Canal Winchester, but well worth the drive! It’s an interactive farm experience where you can help with household and farm chores (such as feeding the pigs and milking the cows). Even if you don’t go there for a special event the staff are always willing to tell you about life on the farm. Just a note: this isn’t really a stroller-friendly destination. When you’re done with the farm there are still trails to hike and a playground just a bit further into Slate Run park.

3. Alum Creek Park North

This playground is known to many locals as the “train park” because of the toddler friendly train to climb on. I love this playground because it is one of the few that offers shade! My kids love the large sandbox. Be sure to bring some shovels and buckets. Westerville has so many great playgrounds, but this one has a good mix of big kid and little kid activities.



I’m a pediatric speech language pathologist and a mother of two with a passion for play as the best way to get communication skills off to a great start! I teach play and language learning classes “Let’s Play” in Westerville and offer parent workshops “Sounds to Sentences” in various locations. Find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Lets-Play-the-speech-and-language-way-833895180065423/  For play ideas to encourage language skills at home go to www.letsplaythespeechandlanguageway.com


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9 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 9 Metro Parks that have fun playgrounds for kids!

9 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!

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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What Should We Do This Weekend? April 28-30, 2017

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1. Arbor Day Celebration at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Friday & Saturday, April 28 & 29, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 1777 E. Broad St. Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

This fun and educational event includes tree climbing for kids AND adults, a scavenger hunt, tree ring counting, and more opportunities to learn about trees and how important they are! While supplies last, those who attend will get a free tree sapling! There will be food trucks on site and a raffle for free tree work from Ahlum & Arbor. Kids can make Tree Cookie Necklaces on Saturday from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

2. Customer Appreciation Weekend at PizzaFire Dublin

When: Friday – Sunday, April 28-30, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM Friday – 9:00 PM Sunday
Location: Perimeter Loop Rd., Dublin, OH 43017
Phone: 614-698-0937

This weekend only all pizzas will be half price with unlimited toppings! (Dublin location only!) The proceeds from the weekend will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Club! There will be a Kids’ Pizza Contest on Saturday from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM and everyone wins something!

3. Fourth Friday in Uptown Westerville

When: Friday, April 28, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Uptown Westerville
Phone: 614-794-0401

Stroll Uptown Westerville as the shops stay open late! Enjoy live music, art, performing art, street vendors and family-friendly activities like bounce houses, a caricature artist, book characters and fire and rescue vehicles! Before hand (5:15 PM -5:45 PM) the Westerville Library will host “4th Friday Stories and Fun” which will feature a storytime!

4. Healthy Kids Day at your local YMCA

When: Saturday April 29, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: your local YMCA

This free event will include active play and educational activities with the goal of improving the health and well-being of families!  Click here to see the times and events specific to each YMCA location around Central Ohio!

5. Meet Z Yang at American Girl – Columbus

When: Saturday, April 29, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 4040 The Strand E, Columbus, OH 43219
Phone: 877-247-5223

Celebrate the debut of American Girl’s newest contemporary character, a filmmaker from Seattle! There will be a special give way and girls can make their own stop-motion film craft!

6. HOOT Family Film Series at the Gateway Film Center

When: Saturday, April 29, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 1550 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43201
Phone: 614-545-2255

This event takes place the last Saturday of each month and includes family friendly activities like games, stories, crafts and live music by the Shazzbots! The kid-friendly short films start at 11:00 AM. This month’s theme is Flowers! All movies are rated “G” and admission is free with a suggestion donation of a canned good for The Open Shelter!

7. Discover the Dinosaurs UNLEASHED at Ohio Expo Center

When: Saturday & Sunday, April 29 & 30, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Location: Cardinal Hall, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211

This walk-through exhibit offers the chance to be up close with a Stegosaurus, Velociraptor and T-Rex! Kids can dig for fossils, play and bounce and do crafts in the Kids Adventure Zone!

8. 31st Annual Duckling Day at Columbus Metropolitan Library – Whetstone Branch

When: Saturday April 29, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 3909 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214

Clintonville Rotary hosts the annual Duckling Day which includes a parade, live ducks, a puppet show and literacy activities with a ducky theme! You can pick up a duck costume packet at the library before the event or duck masks will be available the day of the program!

9. Week of the Young Child Family Day at COSI

When: Saturday, April 29, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 333 West Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-2674

COSI is celebrating early childhood with hands-on science activities and visits from community partners who are educating, protecting and nurturing young children! Free with admission or membership!

10. Blacklick Woods Outdoor Adventure

When: Saturday April 29, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 6975 East Livingston Ave, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Phone: 614-835-6073 or 614-300-7867

This special event is a collaboration between Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks & ECRN+ (YMCA of Central Ohio) with the goal of getting children and youth of all abilities outdoors to play games, see wildlife and have fun! There will be free tram rides, exploring the nature center, archery, crafts, lawn games, snacks and more! See the link for all the details and to register. The event is free.

11. Fit4Baby Open House at Babies “R” Us

When: Saturday, April 29, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 1400 Gemini Place Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43240

Fit4Baby is a new prenatal fitness class designed to strengthen your changing body during pregnancy! Visit the open house to meet instructors, learn about the program and see a short demo of what to expect during the classes.

12. MAKEbreak Slime Bar at Michaels Stores

When: Saturday, April 29, 2017
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: your local Michaels Store

Customize your own Slime creation at this free event! All supplies are included while they last!

13. Swim to End Cancer at Aqua Tots Swim School

When: Saturday, April 29, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Location: 4018 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065

Sign up for a 30 minute swimming lesson for your child and 100% of the proceeds will go to support Pelatonia riders! If you have more than one child, there is a code for a 15% discount for siblings! There will also be a raffle for gift baskets with items from Aqua-Tots, The Little Gym and more!

14. Reading Buddies featuring the 4-H PetPALs! at Columbus Metropolitan Library – Parsons Branch

When: Saturday April 29, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 1113 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43206
Phone: 614-645-2275

Kids age 5-11 can meet, greet and listen to a story with dogs trained by 4H PetPALS!

15. Children’s Garden Day: Strawberry Garden Party at Inniswood Gardens

When: Sunday April 30, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 940 S. Hempstead Rd., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111

At this free, family-friendly event you can learn how to grow and harvest strawberries! There will be crafts and ideas for using strawberries at home!

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ICYMI: Two More Fun Libraries for Columbus Kids

*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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