The Great Escape

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Ohio offers plenty of places to escape civilization-but you don't have to go too far (or wild) to enjoy the outdoors. Here are five ways to bask in that easy, breezy freedom that comes only in summer.


Grange Insurance Audubon Center

505 W. Whittier St., Brewery District

This beautiful conservation center showcases the natural world lying minutes south of Capitol Square. To explore its birds, plants and amphibians, head down for Audubon Afternoons, easy guided hikes that start at 1 p.m. every other Saturday and Sunday.


Franklin Park Conservatory

1777 E. Broad St., Near East Side

In the middle of the conservatory's new community-garden campus sits the gorgeous Live-Fire Cooking Theater, a wood-stoked grill where chefs prepare goodies grown nearby. Demonstrations and classes run throughout the summer and fall.


Pick-your-own farms

Various locations

Corn and soy dominate Central Ohio's sprawling fields, but a handful of farms specialize in plants you pick yourself. Berries, beans, apples, peppers, pumpkins and other crops sprout throughout the summer.


Actors' Theatre of Columbus

1069 Jaeger St., German Village |

Pack a picnic basket and watch the troupe light up Schiller Park. Free shows begin at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays-"A Midsummer Night's Dream" until July 31 and "Oedipus Rex" from Aug. 4 through Sept. 4.


Hoover Reservoir regattas

Sunbury and County Line roads, Westerville

Nothing beats a boat race beneath a clear blue sky. Head to a small shoreline green space across from Hoover Sailing Club, which hosts races on most Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings.