The Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks offer kids (and adults alike) unique opportunities to get outdoors in Columbus and Central Ohio!
I will continue to repeat that our Metro Parks allow us so many cool opportunities to drive 30 minutes and find ourselves lost in nature. I hardly ever visit a Metro Park without saying “Wow, I did not know this was here!”.
We have some really great Nature Centers that are GREAT for kids and I’ve written about those on the blog:
- 2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids
- 2 MORE Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids
There are also a lot of really great programs including programming for preschoolers:
The Metro Parks also have some really amazing playgrounds:
And though, admittedly, one of those playgrounds makes this list, this list is about some of the other outdoor things kids can do within the Columbus Franklin County Metro Parks! These are some of the most unique and fun outdoor activities in Columbus and Central Ohio!
While there are so many other things to do while you are at each of these parks, you can pick one of these activities as your main event and then spend the rest of the time exploring what each park has to offer!
5 Cool Things for Kids to do Outside at the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks:
1. Rock Climbing at Scioto Audubon Metro Park
There are three climbing towers that are free to climb in the playground area of Scioto Audubon Metro Park. These reach a height of 35 feet. Climbers have to bring their own harnesses and must be 13 or older. There are a few 10-foot boulders that all kids can climb regardless of their age.
To access the rock climbing towers you can park at the playground area or walk down the path from the Nature Center! There is a great free, indoor play area inside the Nature Center, as well!
2. Bird Watching at Blendon Woods Metro Park
If you are visiting the Nature Center within Blendon Woods Metro Park, take the Lake Trail to the northeast to reach Thoreau Lake. This lake is in the middle of Walden Waterfowl Refuge and you can enter the shelter to watch for birds and other wildlife in and around the lake!
While you’re at Blendon Woods, check out the great Nature Center that has hands-on activities for kids plus windows for bird watching and the great Natural Play area with a good-sized zip line and opportunities for creeking!
- See more: Exploring Blendon Woods Metro Park
3. Ninja Course at Glacier Ridge Metro Park
This area is often called the Ninja Course by locals. It features ramps, ropes to climb and a small zipline. Lots of fun opportunities for climbing, swinging and jumping! Nearby is a more traditional playground as well. This play area is on the North side of the park and on the other (south) end of the park you can visit the Honda Wetland Education Area.
- Read more: 9 Central Ohio Metro Park Playgrounds
4. Bison Watching at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park
We love the Nature Center at Battelle Darby Metro Creek, but when you visit, don’t miss taking a walk to look for bison in the park! There are a couple of different pasture areas so you may want to ask at the Nature Center where the bison are currently hanging out. There is a bison observation area about a 1/2 mile walk from the Nature Center.
- Read about the Nature Center at Battelle Darby: 2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids
5. Exploring the Kid-Friendly Gardens at Inniswood Metro Gardens
Inniswood Metro Gardens is full of beautiful, carefully curated gardens! There are several themed gardens including the Sisters’ Garden, a frog pond and a brick labyrinth to name a few. There is a great tree house surrounded by wooden suspension bridges that kids love off the Sisters’ Garden Loop.
The park also includes a lot of other beautiful gardens to explore. Keep in mind no food or drink is allowed inside this park!
Read more: 3 of the Most Unique Parks in Columbus Ohio
If you’re looking for more outdoor fun check out: 25 Fun Outdoor Activities in Columbus for the Whole Family
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Need more ideas? Check out Over 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio
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