Our Favorite Outdoor Playgrounds
Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date version of this list, go to columbusparent.com/playgrounds.
Enjoy a sneak peek at our new annual Go-To Guide, which debuts this July. This handy, tote-able guide to family fun will feature all the info you need to find places to go and things to do in central Ohio (as well as in a few daytrip-worthy destinations)!
Here we present the outdoor playgrounds that we and local families deem some of the best. And if you know of others you'd like to see added to our database, please send your suggestions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alum Creek Park North (221 W. Main St., Westerville 43081; 614-901-6500; A late May dedication is scheduled for their newly renovated playground. Shelter house, playgrounds suitable for 2-5 and 6-12 year olds. 12 acres. Performance amphitheater. Basketball and sand volleyball courts. Fishing. ADA-compliant bathrooms open seasonally.
Delaware Lake Recreation Area (3920 U.S. Route 23 North, Delaware 43015; 740-363-4011) Large playground with equipment for three different age groups; ADA-compliant restrooms; two shelter houses with wheelchair-accessible tables; grills and power outlets; sports courts; next to Delaware Lake and the spectacular view from atop its dam.
Every Kid's Playground at Liberty Park (2845 Home Road, Powell 43065; 740-881-5432) The first "universally accessible" playground in Ohio - at least 70 percent of equipment has to be accessible to kids using wheelchairs, braces and other support equipment; also features an ADA-compliant shelter house and restrooms.
Fancyburg Park (3375 Kioka Ave., Upper Arlington 43221; 614-583-5300) 25 acres; located off Kioka Avenue between Swansea and Wickliffe roads; playground; shuffleboard courts and sports fields; restrooms; picnic area and grills.
Fryer Park (3899 Orders Road, Grove City 43123; 614-277-3000) 110 acres; includes the space-themed, ADA-compliant "Discovery Frontier" playground; "Century Village" historic area with renovated schoolhouse and log cabin; sports fields and trails; fishing (catch and release only); sledding hill; restrooms.
Goodale Park (120 W. Goodale St. (Short North), Columbus 43215; 614-645-3300) Historic, 32-acre park just north of downtown Columbus features standard playgrounds, gazebo, pond with the famous elephants fountain, walking paths; dogs welcome but must be under direct control; two porta-potties; limited free parking in park's center, metered parking on surrounding streets.
Hannah Park (6547 Clark State Road, Gahanna 43230; 614-342-4250) 35 acres; playground; heated restrooms; fishing (catch and release only); covered shelter with fireplace and outdoor grill; sports fields and trails
Homestead Park (4675 Cosgray Road (Washington Township), Hilliard 43026; 614-652-3922) 44 acres; playground; stocked pond; shelters with grills, covered bridge, train station replica and caboose; sports fields, courts and trails; restrooms; outdoor-season amphitheater.
Huber Village Park (362 Huber Village Blvd., Westerville 43081; 614-901-6500) 28 acres; ADA-compliant bathrooms open from mid-April until late October, otherwise a porta-potty is available; the "Planet Westerville" playground with space for 2-5 and 6-12 year olds is one of the original "destination" playgrounds in the area.
Jeffrey Park (165 N. Parkview Ave., Bexley 43209; 614-559-4300; ) 34 acres; playground for 2-5 year olds; nature trails with a boardwalk along Alum Creek; no dogs allowed; sports fields; shelter house; restrooms open from April-October.
Millstone Creek Park (745 N. Spring Road, Westerville 43082; 614-901-6500; ) 15 acres; "Inclusive Boundless" playground; natural play area in a wetlands; gazebo and boardwalk; ADA-compliant bathrooms with changing stations.
North Orange Park (7560 Gooding Blvd., Delaware 43015; 740-657-2630; ) Playgrounds includes areas for ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12, many features are ADA-compliant; adjacent open-air shelter with a fireplace; sports courts and walking trails; Delaware County District Library's Orange branch is nearby.
Schiller Park (1069 Jaeger St. (German Village), Columbus 43206; 614-645-3300) Historic, 24-acre park in German Village; standard playgrounds, walking paths, gazebo, fishing pond, outdoor stage, extensive gardens, sledding hill, sports fields and tennis court.
Thompson Park (4250 Woodbridge, Upper Arlington 43220; 614-583-5300) Located on Mountview Road between McCoy and Lane roads; playground; restrooms; two shelter houses, grills, picnic areas; sledding hill; fitness trail and sports fields.
Whetstone Community Center (3923 N. High St. (Clintonville), Columbus 43214; 614-645-3217) Universally accessible playground located next to the Whetstone Community Center and the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Whetstone branch. This complex sits on the eastern edge of the Whetstone Park of Roses, closest to North High Street.
Whetstone Park of Roses (3901 N. High St. (Clintonville), Columbus 43214; 614-645-6640) Thirteen-acre park includes a variety of rose, herb and perennial gardens, an iron observation tower and gazebo, fountain, standard playground, fishing pond, sledding hill, public restrooms open weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; dogs welcome but must be on leashes
Wyman Woods (1450 Goodale Blvd. (Grandview Heights), Columbus 43212; 614-488-3111) Recently completed renovation expanded playground and improved shelter house, playing fields and sledding hill.