We’ve been touring parks around Columbus for the last several summers, exploring all that our amazing city has to offer. From fitness trails and events, playgrounds, extreme adventure and awesome photography opportunities, the great outdoors in central Ohio never disappoints! We have two little ones (2.5 and 5.5 years old) so most of our posts include them, although you could easily entertain yourself without an entourage. 🙂
Check out some previous posts here…
This summer we discovered that the Columbus Metro Parks started a METRO PARKS PASSPORT PROGRAM. Visit the 19 metro parks using the passport as your guide to “Discover Your Nature” and you can earn a t-shirt and a swag bag, not to mention all the memories you’ll collect along the way. My five year old loves conquering the parks and finding the ranger to get his stamps – a real life scavenger hunt – so the prizes at the end will just be a bonus! We started at the park headquarters to pick up the passport, maps & even stickers for the littles.
Here are the parks we will cover in this post…
- Glacier Ridge Metro Park
- Homestead Metro Park & Heritage Trail
- Highbanks Metro Park
- Scioto Audubon Metro Park
- Sharon Woods Metro Park
- Prairie Oaks – Overview coming soon… hoping to make a stop here this week & we’ll update this post to include it with the “NorthWest” portion of Cbus parks!
We live in Dublin, so these were the ones that were closer to us on the Northwest-ish side of Cbus. We’ll conquer more this summer & fall, hopefully completing the passport before the weather gets too chilly! We’ve done a quick recap of each, visit the Columbus Metro Parks website for detailed information on all the parks, trails & more!
Glacier Ridge Metro Park
Good for: running, walking, biking, picnics, cross-country skiing, climbing, riding, disc golf
Overview: Glacier has two entrances with paved trails that connect the two parking areas. We’ve run many races here and frequent this park the most (its in our hometown!) They have recently added a really cool obstacle course to the north end, perfect for a family outing, a hardcore workout or hey, even date night! There is a playground at the north entrance, a wetlands observation deck at the south entrance and seasonal restrooms at both entrances.
Homestead Metro Park & Heritage Trail
Good for: running, walking, biking, picnics, fishing, photos, dog lovers
Overview: Homestead is one of my kid’s favorite parks, with two playgrounds, a large tractor (we actually call it “the tractor park”) and a bright blue caboose they can climb on. The photographer in you will love all the photo opportunities with a historic white Ohio barn, tractor, caboose, a covered bridge and open fields perfect at sunset. The park itself only has a 3/4 mile loop trail, but it is in the center of the 6 mile Heritage Trail which runners, walkers and bikers can easily connect to. If you’re trying to collect all three stamps for your passport or brought your furry friend, you’ll want to make a stop at the Heritage Trail & Dog Park about 3/4 miles away.
Highbanks Metro Park
Good for: running, walking, biking, hiking, picnics, cross-country skiing, sledding, fishing, canoeing
Overview: Highbanks is another park we frequent more often, partially due to its location (we live in Dublin and work in Lewis Center) and partially due to its challenging, yet beautiful terrain, perfect for trail runs or hikes. There are tons of trails including paved, natural, gravel and varying from easy to hilly & strenuous. The Nature Center is a great place to take a break from the heat & has a children’s learning/play area. The park has a playground as well as a natural play area and lots of areas for picnics & those mid-hike snack breaks!
Scioto Audubon Metro Park
Good for: running, walking, biking, picnics, fishing, climbing, photos, dog lovers
Overview: Scioto Audubon is for the adventurer with a nine station obstacle course and a 35 foot climbing wall! Bring your camera along and enjoy photo opps including a skyline of Columbus, several observation decks and open fields that are glowing at sunset. There is also a dog park for your four legged friends.
Sharon Woods Metro Park
Good for: running, walking, biking, hiking, picnics, cross-country skiing, sledding, fishing
Overview: This was actually our first park stop because we picked up our passport from the nearby park headquarters. We’ve come to Sharon Woods for a few playdates and runs, but this was our first time really exploring all that the park offers. There are multiple trails including paved, gravel and grass, several playground areas and multiple docks for the water & fish lovers. Several hills will give you a great trail run workout and/or a perfect spot for some winter sledding.
Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 as we continue the Columbus Metro Parks Passport Program! We are loving all the adventure… and memories!