The Go-To Guide: Outdoor Playgrounds
Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date version of this list, go to columbusparent.com/playgrounds.
Spring is here, and it's time to get back outside!
Playgrounds are fantastic places to let children of all ages run, climb, explore and be active. And here in Central Ohio, parents have an abundance of options.
We've compiled a roundup of some family-favorite outdoor playgrounds around the area. All are in public parks, most of which are owned either by Metro Parks or local municipalities.
To suggest a destination we should consider adding to our list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The online version of this story contains links to past write-ups on some of these destinations.
Alum Creek Park North
221 W. Main St., Westerville 43081; 614-901-6500; westerville.org
Amenities at this 12-acre park along Alum Creek include playgrounds suitable for ages 2-5 and 6-12, a shelter house, performance amphitheater, basketball and sand volleyball courts, a leisure path and fishing. ADA-compliant bathrooms are open seasonally.
Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park
1775 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway 43119; 614-370-6254; metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/battelle-darby-creek
This nature lover's paradise encompasses more than 7,000 acres along the Big and Little Darby creeks. A 9-acre natural play area near the Indian Ridge Picnic Area boasts a ravine and creek access, while the Nature Center has exhibits and a tank full of turtles and fish native to the local waterways. It's also a great spot for watching the bison. There are several playgrounds, numerous trails, picnic areas, restrooms, fishing, hunting, ice skating and a sledding hill.
Delaware Lake Recreation Area
3920 U.S. Route 23 N., Delaware 43015; 740-363-4011; lrh.usace.army.mil/missions/civil-works/recreation/ohio/delaware-lake
The whole family will enjoy the view from the top of the dam at Delaware Lake, maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Amenities include a large playground with equipment for three different age groups, ADA-compliant restrooms, two shelter houses with wheelchair-accessible tables, grills, power outlets, fishing, trails and sports courts.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2012/05/fun-playgrounds.html
4040 Wyandotte Woods Blvd., Dublin 43016; 614-410-4700; dublinohiousa.gov/parks
The 33.8-acre park offers seasonal restrooms, a universally accessible playground with one of the area's first NEOS 360 play stations, shelter house, canopies, multiuse path and ample parking.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2011/08/24/fun-playground-dublin.html
Every Kid's Playground at Liberty Park
2845 Home Road, Powell 43065; 740-881-5432; libertytwp.org
This is the first universally accessible playground in Ohio. To achieve this qualification, at least 70 percent of the equipment must be accessible to children using wheelchairs, braces and other support equipment. It also features an ADA-compliant shelter house and restrooms. The park itself features sports fields, a fishing pond, walking path and sledding hill.
3375 Kioka Ave., Upper Arlington 43221; 614-583-5300; uaoh.net
Amenities at this 25-acre park include a playground, multiuse path, shuffleboard courts, numerous sports fields, restrooms, a picnic area, shelter house and grills.
3899 Orders Road, Grove City 43123; 614-277-3000; parks.grovecityohio.gov
This 110-acre park boasts the space-themed, ADA-compliant Discovery Frontier playground; the Century Village historic area with renovated one-room schoolhouse, log cabin and barn; sports fields; trails; catch-and-release fishing at Rotary Lake; a sledding hill; and restrooms.
120 W. Goodale St. (Short North), Columbus 43215; 614-645-3300; columbus.gov/goodalepark
This historic 32.71-acre park just north of Downtown Columbus features standard playgrounds, a gazebo, a pond with a well-known fountain topped by elephants, walking paths (dogs are welcome but must be under direct control), a sledding hill and portable toilets. There is limited free parking in the park, with metered parking on surrounding streets.
6547 Clark State Road, Gahanna 43230; 614-342-4250; gahanna.gov
Amenities at this 34.5-acre park include a playground, heated restrooms, catch-and-release fishing, a covered shelter with fireplace and outdoor grill, tennis and basketball courts, sports fields and trails.
4675 Cosgray Road, Hilliard 43026; 614-216-8859; metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/homestead
Highlights of this 44-acre park, which has been part of the Metro Parks system since 2015, include multiple playgrounds (one of which has an adaptive-use area), a stocked fishing pond, covered bridge, train station replica and caboose, sports courts and fields, trails, shelters with grills, an amphitheater, restrooms and a new 10-acre prairie garden.
Huber Village Park
362 Huber Village Blvd., Westerville 43081; 614-901-6500; westerville.org
The signature family feature of this 27.56-acre park is Planet Westerville. With spaces for ages 2-5 and 6-12, it is popular with residents and people from surrounding cities. Amenities include sports fields, a leisure path, shelter and ADA-compliant restrooms.
165 N. Parkview Ave., Bexley 43209; 614-559-4300; bexley.org
This 34-acre park has a playground for ages 2-5, nature trails with a boardwalk along Alum Creek, sports fields, picnic areas with grills, shelter houses and restrooms (typically open April-October). The park also is home to theBexley Community Pool, the Bexley Historical Society and Jeffrey Mansion. Dogs are not allowed in the park.
Millstone Creek Park
745 N. Spring Road, Westerville 43082; 614-901-6500; westerville.org
Highlights of this 15.27-acre park include an “inclusive boundless” playground for ages 2-12, natural play area, wetlands, boardwalk, sports courts and fields, paths, gazebo and ADA-compliant restrooms with changing stations.
North Orange Park
7560 Gooding Blvd., Delaware 43015; 740-657-2630; orangetwp.org
This Orange Township playground has areas for ages 2-5 and 5-12; many features are ADA-compliant. Other park amenities include an open-air shelter with fireplace, sports courts and fields, trails, a fishing pond and a sledding hill. Visitors also will find the North Orange Aquatic Center here, and the Delaware County District Library's Orange branch nearby.
Olentangy River Parklands
600 W. Wilson Bridge Road, Worthington 43085; 614-436-3100; worthington.org
This 100-acre city of Worthington park along the Olentangy River contains two playgrounds, Highgate and Whitney, as well as Winding Adventures Skate Park. Other amenities include a multiuse 2-mile trail, sports courts and fields and a sledding hill.
1069 Jaeger St. (German Village), Columbus 43206; 614-645-3300; columbus.gov/schillerpark
This historic 24-acre park, the second-oldest in Columbus, has a playground, walking trail, gardens, gazebo, fishing pond, outdoor stage, sports fields, sledding hill and a tennis court.
4250 Woodbridge Road, Upper Arlington 43220; 614-583-5300; uaoh.net
Features at this 49-acre park include a playground, paths, sledding hill, fitness trail, sports courts and fields, two shelter houses, grills, picnic areas and restrooms.
3923 N. High St. (Clintonville), Columbus 43214; 614-645-3217; columbus.gov/whetstonepark
The 136-acre park has amenities such as a universally accessible playground, sports courts and fields, a fishing pond, gardens, a gazebo, picnic areas, shelter house and a walking trail. The park is next to the Whetstone Community Center and the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
Whetstone Park is home to the 13-acreColumbus Park of Roses (3901 N. High St. [Clintonville], Columbus 43214; 614-645-6640; parkofroses.org). In addition to more than 12,000 roses in 400-plus varieties, visitors can see herb and perennial gardens, an iron observation tower, fountain, sledding hill and shelter house. The park is open from dawn to dusk. Dogs are welcome but must be on leashes.
1520 Goodale Blvd. (Grandview Heights), Columbus 43212; 614-488-3111; grandviewheights.org
Amenities at this city of Grandview Heights park, which was renovated in 2014, include a playground, shelter house withkitchenette and accessible bathrooms, multiuse field,paths and a sledding hill.