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!
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!
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.
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?
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
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 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
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
The herb garden contains herbs of all kinds, common and uncommon and has some picturesque structures and benches.
5. Fern Garden
The Fern Garden features hardy ferns and is a test site for the Hardy Fern Foundation.
6. Woodland Rock Garden
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
The Conifer Garden features various evergreen and deciduous conifers.
8. Brookwood Trail Garden
The Brookwood Trail is a seasonal display with shade plantings.
9. Memorial Garden
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
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:
The Entry Garden features a statue of Grace and Mary Innis: The Sisters!
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!
The Story Maze features a Native American legend which you can read following the stones along the path.
The Sky Woman is the focal point of the Circle Maze!
Look for imprints of leaves and animals on the trail in the Trellis Cave built from Ohio limestone.
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!
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)
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.)
Sisters’ Garden Loop
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!
Other Things to See and Do at Inniswood Metro Gardens
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.
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!
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!
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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