Favorite Outdoor Playgrounds
Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date version of this list, go to columbusparent.com/playgrounds.
In this month's Go-To Guide, we present the outdoor playgrounds that local families deem some of the best in the area.
We have written about many of these destinations before inColumbus Parent, so for a clickable link to any of those articles, see below.And if you know of others you'd like to see added to our database, send your suggestions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alum Creek Park North(221 W. Main St., Westerville 43081; 614-901-6500; westerville.org) 12 acres. Amenities include a newly renovated playground, shelter house, playgrounds suitable for ages 2-5 and 6-12, a performance amphitheater, basketball and sand volleyball courts, and fishing. ADA-compliant bathrooms are open seasonally.
Delaware Lake Recreation Area(3920 U.S. Route 23 N., Delaware 43015; 740-363-4011; corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/projects.cfm?Id=H104580) The location next to Delaware Lake offers a spectacular view from atop its dam. Amenities include a large playground with equipment for three different age groups, ADA-compliant restrooms, two shelter houses with wheelchair-accessible tables, grills and power outlets, and sports courts.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2012/05/fun-playgrounds.html
Emerald Fields(4040 Wyandotte Woods Blvd., Dublin 43017; 614-410-4700; dublinohiousa.gov/parks) 34 acres. The park offers seasonal restrooms (open April-October), a universally accessible playground, a shelter house, canopies and ample parking. It has one of the first NEOS 360 play stations in the area.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 - at least 70 percent of equipment has to be accessible to kids using wheelchairs, braces and other support equipment. It also features an ADA-compliant shelter house and restrooms.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2011/04/04/fun-playground-patrol-liberty-park.html
Fancyburg Park(3375 Kioka Ave., Upper Arlington 43221; 614-583-5300; uaoh.net) 25 acres. Amenities include a playground, multiuse path, shuffleboard courts, sports fields, restrooms, a picnic area, shelter house and grills.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2011/06/27/fun-playground-patrol-fancyburg-park.html
Fryer Park(3899 Orders Road, Grove City 43123; 614-277-3000; parks.grovecityohio.gov) 110 acres. Highlights include the space-themed, ADA-compliant Discovery Frontier playground, Century Village historic area with renovated one-room schoolhouse and log cabin, sports fields, trails, fishing (catch and release only), a sledding hill and restrooms.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2012/07/fun-playgrounds.html
Goodale Park(120 W. Goodale St. [Short North], Columbus 43215; 614-645-3300; columbus.gov/goodalepark) 32 acres. This historic park just north of downtown Columbus features standard playgrounds, a gazebo, a pond with a famous elephants fountain, walking paths (dogs are welcome but must be under direct control) and two porta-potties. There is limited free parking in park's center, with metered parking on surrounding streets.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2014/05/playground-patrol-goodale-park.html
Hannah Park(6547 Clark State Road, Gahanna 43230; 614-342-4250; gahanna.gov) 35 acres. Amenities include a playground, heated restrooms, fishing (catch and release only), a covered shelter with fireplace and outdoor grill, sports fields and trails.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2011/04/29/fun-playground-patrol-hannah-park.html
Homestead Park(4675 Cosgray Road [Washington Township], Hilliard 43026; 614-652-3922; metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/homestead) 44 acres. Highlights include multiple playgrounds, a stocked pond, shelters with grills, a covered bridge, train station replica and caboose, sports fields and courts, trails, restrooms and an amphitheater.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2012/08/FUN-playgrounds3.html
Huber Village Park(362 Huber Village Blvd., Westerville 43081; 614-901-6500; westerville.org) 28 acres. The Planet Westerville playground with space for ages 2-5 and 6-12 is one of the original "destination" playgrounds in the area. There are ADA-compliant restrooms (open April-October) and a porta-potty.
Jeffrey Park(165 N. Parkview Ave., Bexley 43209; 614-559-4300; bexley.org) 34 acres. Amenities include a playground for ages 2-5, nature trails with a boardwalk along Alum Creek, sports fields, picnic areas with grills, a shelter house and restrooms (open April-October). The park also is home to theBexley Community Pool, the Bexley Historical Society and Jeffrey Mansion.No dogs allowed.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2012/10/FUN-playgrounds2.html
Millstone Creek Park(745 N. Spring Road, Westerville 43082; 614-901-6500; westerville.org) 15 acres. Highlights include an "Inclusive Boundless" playground, natural play area in a wetlands, a gazebo, boardwalk, sports fields, paths and ADA-compliant restrooms with changing stations.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2010/08/26/fun-playground-patrol-westerville.html
North Orange Park(7560 Gooding Blvd., Delaware 43015; 740-657-2630; orangetwp.org) The playground includes areas for ages 2-5 and 5-12; many features are ADA-compliant. Other amenities include an open-air shelter with fireplace, sports courts, trails, a fishing pond and a sledding hill. The North Orange Aquatic Center is here, and the Delaware County District Library's Orange branch is nearby.
Schiller Park(1069 Jaeger St. [German Village], Columbus 43206; 614-645-3300; columbus.gov/schillerpark) 24 acres. This historic park offers playgrounds, walking paths, a gazebo, a fishing pond, an outdoor stage, extensive gardens, sports fields and a tennis court.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2013/12/german-village.html
Thompson Park(4250 Woodbridge, Upper Arlington 43220; 614-583-5300; uaoh.net) Amenities include a playground, restrooms, paths, two shelter houses, grills, picnic areas, a sledding hill, fitness trail and sports fields.
Whetstone Park(3923 N. High St. [Clintonville], Columbus 43214; 614-645-3217; columbus.gov/whetstonepark) 136 acres. Amenities include a universally accessible playground, sports fields, gardens, a gazebo, picnic areas, a pond, shelter house and walking trail. The park is next to the Whetstone Community Center and the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Whetstone branch.
Within Whetstone Park is 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, the park includes herb and perennial gardens, an iron observation tower, fountain and shelter house. Open from dawn to dusk. Dogs are welcome but must be on leashes.http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2013/09/Best-of-Columbus-2013/low-cost/best-outdoor-playground.html
Wyman Woods(1450 Goodale Blvd. [Grandview Heights], Columbus 43212; 614-488-3111; grandviewheights.org) Amenities include a playground, a shelter house withkitchenette and accessible bathrooms, a multiuse field, paths and a sledding hill.