The Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks offer Central Ohio residents amazing opportunities to get outside, get in touch with nature and escape city life. We live in the city of Columbus and it always amazes me that we can go from urban life to the middle of a forest in under 30 minutes!
For the past several years, the Columbus Metro Parks have given my family (and countless others) not just the opportunity to get out in nature, but also story times, amazing playgrounds, educational programs and special events. We’ve walked through holiday light displays, built forts in the trees, made rain shakers, played in a treehouse, swung from zip lines, waded in creeks and watched bison roam.
All this to say, we are so lucky to have access to the free activities, programs, sights and sounds of our Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks!
Personally we have visited most of the Columbus Metro Parks, with just one or two left to explore. But writing a guide to each park definitely requires more than just one visit! Some of the larger parks we have visited again and again to explore different areas each time! As we continue to explore and re-explore, I will be adding parks to this guide.
Before we get to each individual park, let’s explore what makes the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks so great as a whole!
Metro Park Nature Centers
Many of the Columbus area Metro Parks have really great Nature Centers! These centers have indoor play areas, special programing, educational displays, and more! Some highlights include the living stream at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, the indoor play area at Scioto Grove Metro Park and the stream built into the floor at Highbanks Metro Park!
These Nature Centers offer great opportunities to learn more about plants, wildlife and our interdependence with the natural world. They are free to visit and make the perfect outing for families!
Outdoor Adventures at the Metro Parks
The Columbus Metro Parks offer some pretty incredible activities for kids! Rock climbing, natural play areas, a ninja course and bison viewing are just some of the unique outdoor activities within our local Metro Parks!
Playgrounds at the Metro Parks
Speaking of kids, there are some pretty great playgrounds within the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks! If you have really young kids, they might not be as interested in hiking or rock climbing, but they will love some of these fun playground areas within the metro parks!
Playgrounds are a great way to get kids interested in going to the metro parks! If I can promise my kids there will be a playground involved, they will be more likely to agree to a mile long hike or an educational visit to the Nature Center!
Some of our favorite playgrounds are at Walnut Woods, Glacier Ridge and Scioto Grove Metro Parks!
Metro Park Hiking Trails
Now that the kids have been promised a playground, plan it in conjunction with one of these kid friendly hikes within the Columbus Metro Parks! My kids have grown to enjoy a walk in the woods all thanks to the easier trails within the parks that we have done over the past couple of years.
Also, you never know what you are going to find when you go for a hike in one of the metro parks! Herons, egrets, eagles, wild turkeys and much more can be found! Being surrounded by nature without a tall building in sight can be very therapeutic!
You won’t regret exploring each of the Columbus area Metro Parks! There is something unique about each one of them! Visiting these parks is an amazing and convenient way to connect with nature just outside of the city of Columbus! Check out this map of the Metro Parks to find the one nearest to you!
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