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7 Unique Adventures Hidden in Columbus Metro Parks

Columbus Metro Parks are renowned for their natural beauty and recreational opportunities. However, beyond the well-trodden paths and picnic areas lie hidden gems and unique activities that offer visitors a chance to experience Ohio’s great outdoors in new and exciting ways. From tree forts to bison sightings, here are some of the most unique attractions in Columbus Metro Parks.

Glacier Ridge Metro Park: A Forest of Forts and Flying Discs

glacier ridge recreation structure
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Nestled in Plain City, Glacier Ridge Metro Park owes its name to the glacial debris left behind thousands of years ago. Today, it offers a special forest retreat that captivates both children and adults. Hidden among the trees, visitors will find forts constructed from limbs and trunks, offering a secluded spot for reading or a playful hide-and-seek challenge. Just be mindful of the flying frisbees, as the park also hosts a challenging disc golf course that twists around the woodland.

More info: Glacier Ridge Metro Park

Inniswood Metro Gardens: A Whimsical Children’s Garden

inniswood metro gardens childrens garden
Photo by Chelsea Wiley

Thanks to the generosity of sisters Grace and Mary Innis, Westerville is home to Inniswood Metro Gardens, an outdoor sanctuary that features the enchanting Sisters’ Garden. Designed with children in mind, this nearly 3-acre area includes a splash-friendly water pump, a treehouse, and a suspension bridge that sparks the imagination. Trails and mazes add to the garden’s whimsy, inviting visitors to explore and perhaps even get delightfully lost.

More info: Inniswood Metro Garden

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park: Bison in the Prairie

bison at darby park
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At Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park in Galloway, visitors can expect the unexpected – a herd of bison roaming freely. This sight is a nod to the park’s recreation of the prairies along the Big and Little Darby Creeks, providing a perfect habitat for these majestic creatures. With over 7,000 acres of forest, prairie, and wetlands, the park offers a rare opportunity to see bison in a setting reminiscent of Ohio’s past.

More info: Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Scioto Audubon Metro Park: Climbing High in the Heart of Downtown

Rock wall at scioto audubon
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Scioto Audubon Metro Park, a green escape just south of downtown Columbus, is not only a haven for birds but also for climbing enthusiasts. The park features an impressive climbing wall with three towers and two arches, rising 35 feet and covering over 7,000 square feet. It’s an ideal spot for bouldering, top rope, and lead climbing, complete with auto belays for those bringing their own harnesses. Younger adventurers aren’t left out, thanks to the smaller boulders designed for children.

More info: Scioto Audubon Metro Park

Slate Run Metro Park: Living History on the Farm

Slate Run Historical Farm Metro Park
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Step back into the 1880s at Slate Run Metro Park’s Living Historical Farm in Canal Winchester. Visitors can immerse themselves in farm life from over a century ago, interacting with costumed staff and meeting farm animals. The historic farmhouse and barn offer a glimpse into the past, making history come alive.

More info: Slate Run Metro Park

Scioto Grove Metro Park: Views from the Fire Tower

observation fire tower scioto grove metro park
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The recently added fire tower at Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City offers breathtaking views from 100 feet up. Donated by resident Justin Taylor, the Keystone Fire Lookout allows visitors to safely climb and see the Columbus skyline and the park’s trails. It’s a unique vantage point that showcases the beauty of Grove City and beyond.

More info: Scioto Grove Metro Park

Clear Creek Metro Park: Creeking Adventure

clear creek metro park creek
Photo by Chelsea Wiley

At Clear Creek Metro Park, visitors are invited to engage with the natural world hands-on with self-guided creeking. Armed with a provided net, adventurers can explore the creek, identifying aquatic critters with the help of informative boards. It’s a fun, educational activity that connects people of all ages with the ecosystem.

More info: Clear Creek Metro Park

Each Columbus Metro Park holds its own unique charm and hidden treasures, waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re building forts among the trees, watching bison roam, scaling a climbing wall, stepping back in time, admiring the view from a fire tower, or exploring a creek, these parks offer unforgettable experiences that go beyond the ordinary.