Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park

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Blendon Woods Metro Park in Westerville, Ohio has a fun Nature Center, trails for hiking, a Natural Play Area and great birdwatching opportunities!

This summer I am on a quest to explore as many Metro Parks as we can. One crazy morning we did two! We started out at the playground at Rocky Fork and then headed to Blendon Woods.

One thing about the Metro Parks here in Columbus is that they open up a totally different world. So many times we end up somewhere and find myself saying, “wow, I didn’t know this was here!” And even though you’re less than 20 miles from downtown Columbus, you can walk through the woods and all of a sudden stumble upon something that makes you feel like you’re somewhere far away. That’s how I felt at Blendon Woods!

Here are some of the fun things to explore at Blendon Woods:

1. The Nature Center

Nature Center at Blendon Woods Metro Park
Nature Center

We started this visit out at the Nature Center! Right away, we headed straight for the back where there is a wildlife viewing room. Luckily for us, there was a wild turkey right outside the window and a squirrel doing acrobatics from the feeder! There are binoculars available for long distance viewing.

turkey in the woods outside the Nature Center

two boys birdwatching at the Nature Center
Birdwatching at the Nature Center

There are a lot of mounted animals on display inside the center.

mounted animals inside the Nature Center
Mounted Animals Inside the Nature Center

books and mounted birds inside the Nature Center

inside the Nature at Blendon Woods

There is a separate room where there were some activities for kids, nature books (for adults and children), more mounted animals and also live animals like fish, turtles and a snake!

fish inside a fish tank

mounted fox and other animals
Inside the Nature Center

More mounted animals inside the Nature Center

a bowl of crayons for kids to color

boy making leaf prints
Activities Inside the Nature Center

Here you could make crayon rubbings of different kinds of leaves. There were other nature activities for children and cards with animal paw prints on them to match up with the various mounted animals in the room.

crafts for kids inside the Nature Center
Puzzles and Crafts Inside the Nature Center

Probably the biggest hit with my kids were the “please touch” containers. Even in the Metro Parks, I’ve found the there can be a lot of “don’t touch” and “don’t walk here” situations, so the fact that my kids could freely explore interesting objects like feathers and antlers and turtle shells was a lot of fun for them!

boy playing with items found in Nature
The Please Touch Boxes

boy playing with items found in Nature

I pretty much had to tear them away from the “please touch” buckets and out the door, down the path toward the waterfowl refuge.

2. The Walden Waterfowl Refuge

sign to the Walden Waterfowl Refuge

Read More: 5 Cool Outdoor Activities for Kids in the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks

two boys walking down a path at Blendon Woods Metro Park

When you get to the fork in the road, choose one of these paths . . . we ended up doing both!

sign with directions within the park

This is a must do! Here is a great example of walking down a wooded path, not knowing what to expect, and then all of a sudden being amazed at what you find. I guess I’m about to ruin that experience for you by showing you pictures 😉 but in case you’re like me and you get to this:

boy on the path to the bird watching area

. . . and you think maybe this is just some storage area or ranger station closed off to the general public, and are tempted to turn around, like I was, I’m telling you to keep going inside! And see this:

waterfowl area for birdwatching

Inside each of the two shelters, there are viewing windows, a telescope and some open-air slots for viewing wildlife and birds. It was peaceful and I could have stood there staring for quite some time. But my kids weren’t quite as patient.

viewing area with binoculars inside the birdwatching area

heron sitting on a bird feeder

Maybe someone can tell me what kind of bird that is in the picture above? 🙂

birds and squirrels feeding at bird feeder

After we walked back down the path and to our car, we drove to one of the playgrounds. There are a couple of them and this one is on the west side by the Natural Play Area. My kids loved the wire tunnels to crawl through.

3. Playground

playground area at Blendon Woods

boys inside playground equipment

Within walking distance of the playground is the Natural Play Area where kids can freely roam in the creek and woods, and be free to play. 

4. Natural Play Area

The Natural Play Area at Blendon Woods is one of the more “developed” Natural Play areas in all of the Metro Parks. There are lots of things for kids to do including rope climbing, a swing, and more!

Lots of kids playing in the Natural Play Area at Blendon Woods

As you follow the path, you will come across lots of natural elements where kids can get creative. 

boy playing in a stick fort at the Natural Play Area
Natural Play Area

boy on a wooden bridge

two boys on a wooden bridge across the creek

The Zip Line is one of the most popular elements! My kids aren’t quite brave enough for this ride yet but they’re getting there! Kids must be 5 years old to ride.

Zugaro Zip Line at Blendon Woods Natural Play Area
Zip Line within the Natural Play Area

Another popular element within the Natural Play Area is the creek! Bring your own buckets and shovels (and an extra change of clothes!) for scooping and exploring!

boy playing in the creek at Blendon Woods
Creeking!

Blendon Woods Metro Park has a lot of free programs available to the community. Throughout the week there are preschool programs, yoga classes for adults and activities for grade schoolers. I have had varying experiences with the programs for kids at the Metro Parks, some are welcoming of younger siblings tagging along and others are not, so I would recommend giving them a call if you have any questions about attending.

Check out this map of all of the Metro Parks! I encourage you to take advantage of all our great Metro Park system has to offer!

Know Before You Go:

Blendon Woods Metro Park
Address: 4265 E. Dublin-Granville Road Westerville, OH 43081
Hours: 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM, April through September, 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM, October through March
Phone: 614-620-1861
Nature Center Phone: 614-895-6221

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ICYMI: 12 Columbus Parks to Try This Summer

Need even more ideas: Over 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio

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Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park with Kids


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