The Best Natural Play Areas For Kids In Columbus

Now that warmer weather has returned, everyone’s ready to get outside and have some fun.

That especially includes the kiddos. The last year has been incredibly hard for children and treating them to a fun afternoon exploring some beautiful parks is a great way to get out of the house and forget about stress for a while.

Several parks in central Ohio have whimsical, natural play areas for kids. Whether they’re building forts with sticks or splashing around in creek beds, your kids will have a great time and you’ll have a blast watching them embrace nature.

Shale Hollow Nature Preserve

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If it’s an especially hot day, a visit to Shale Hollow Nature Preserve will be perfect. Kids can enjoy the natural play area, splash around in crystal clear creek water, and test their bravery on a fun, wobbly bridge. You can read more about Shale Hollow Nature Preserve here.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory

The Children’s Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory has to be one of the best additions to kid-centric places in Columbus. Take your children to explore the 2-acre section of the park that includes a tree canopy, a splash area, fairy gardens, and so much more. You can read more about The Children’s Garden here.

Blendon Woods Metro Park


There is a 10-acre natural play area at Blendon Woods that features a wooded hillside and ravine where the kids can stretch their legs. Play structures in the area include a zipline, a teeter-totter, a basket swing, a cargo climbing net, a tether-ball, and more. To get to the play area, just turn right at the ranger station then take the second left to the parking lot. The entrance to the natural play area is at the far end of the lot.

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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The 9-acre natural play area at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park has boulders and fallen logs to climb on, as well as easy access to the creek where you can wade into the water. The kids can run along the footpaths and enjoy visitor-made forts. The natural play area is right off the last parking lot in the Indian Ridge Picnic Area.

Glacier Ridge Metro Park

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The natural play area at Glacier Ridge may not be the largest, but it’s full of so much fun. There are towers, ramps, ropes, ladders, and even a zipline! If the kids are interested in a challenge, there’s also a 4-acre obstacle course at the park.

Three Creeks Metro Parks

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A beautiful pine forest is the site of the natural play area at Three Creeks. The children can climb on trees, build forts with sticks and branches, or play hide and seek in the woods. The play area is 12 acres, so there’s plenty of space to spread out and enjoy some sunshine and good times.

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