19 family-favorite outdoor spots to explore

Spring has sprung, and as the weather gets warmer, kids will be clamoring to get outside.

Most parents already make good use of their local parks. But if you're in the mood to explore, Central Ohio has loads of facilities with great playgrounds in all areas of town.

We've compiled a roundup of some family-favorite outdoor playgrounds. Many of them have ADA-accessible features. All are in public parks, most of which are owned either by Metro Parks or local municipalities.

To suggest a destination we should consider adding to our list, send an email to contact@columbusparent.com.

We've included links to past write-ups on some of these destinations.

Alum Creek Park North

221 W. Main St., Westerville; 614-901-6500; parks.westerville.org

This 11.9-acre park along Alum Creek has a list of amenities that includes playgrounds suitable for ages 2-5 and 6-12 with a NEOS 360-brand accessible electronic play structure, a shelter house, performance amphitheater, basketball and sand volleyball courts, a leisure path and fishing. ADA-compliant bathrooms are open seasonally.

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

1775 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway; 614-370-6254; metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/battelle-darby-creek

Nature lovers will revel in this 7,000-plus-acre park along the Big and Little Darby creeks. A 9-acre natural play area near the Indian Ridge Picnic Area boasts a ravine and creek access, plus a nearby foot golf course. Head to the nature center for educational exhibits, including a tank full of turtles and fish native to the local waterways. It's also a great spot for watching the bison. There are several playgrounds, numerous trails, picnic areas, restrooms, fishing, hunting, ice skating and a sledding hill.

Delaware Lake Recreation Area

3920 U.S. Route 23 N., Delaware; 740-363-4011; lrh.usace.army.mil/missions/civil-works/recreation/ohio/delaware-lake

Enjoy the view from the top of the dam at Delaware Lake, maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Amenities include a large playground with equipment for three different age groups, fishing, trails, sports courts, two shelter houses with wheelchair-accessible tables, grills, power outlets and ADA-compliant restrooms. http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2012/05/fun-playgrounds.html

Emerald Fields

4040 Wyandotte Woods Blvd., Dublin; 614-410-4700; dublinohiousa.gov/parks

The 33.8-acre city park has a universally accessible playground with one of the area's first NEOS 360 play stations, sports fields, a shelter house, canopies, multiuse path, seasonal restrooms and ample parking.

http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2011/08/24/fun-playground-dublin.html

Every Kid's Playground at Liberty Park

2845 Home Road, Powell; 740-881-5432; libertytwp.org

This was the first universally accessible playground in Ohio. The designation means at least 70 percent of the equipment must be accessible to children using wheelchairs, braces and other support equipment. The playground also has an ADA-compliant shelter house and restrooms. The park itself features sports fields, a fishing pond, walking path and sledding hill.

http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2011/04/04/fun-playground-patrol-liberty-park.html

Fancyburg Park

3375 Kioka Ave., Upper Arlington; 614-583-5340; uaoh.net

Amenities at this 25-acre park include a playground, multiuse path, shuffleboard courts, numerous sports fields, picnic areas, shelter house, grills and restrooms.

http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2011/06/27/fun-playground-patrol-fancyburg-park.html

Fryer Park

3899 Orders Road, Grove City; 614-277-3050; grovecityohio.gov/parks-and-recreation

This 110-acre park boasts the space-themed, ADA-compliant Discovery Frontier playground, as well as the Century Village historic area with its renovated one-room schoolhouse, log cabin and barn. Other amenities include sports fields, trails, catch-and-release fishing at Rotary Lake, 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; 614-645-3300; columbus.gov/goodalepark

This historic 32.71-acre park just north of Downtown Columbus is the city's oldest. It features standard playgrounds, a gazebo, walking paths, sports courts, a sledding hill and portable toilets, all centered around a pond with a well-known fountain topped with elephants. Limited free parking is available in the park, 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; 614-342-4250; gahanna.gov/hannahpark

Amenities at this 34.5-acre park include a playground, catch-and-release fishing, sports courts and fields, trails, heated restrooms and a covered shelter with a fireplace and outdoor grill.

http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2011/04/29/fun-playground-patrol-hannah-park.html

Homestead Park

4675 Cosgray Road, Hilliard; 614-216-8859; metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/homestead

This 44-acre park, which has been part of the Metro Parks system since 2015, offers multiple playgrounds (one of which has an adaptive-use area), a stocked fishing pond, covered bridge, train station replica and caboose, sports courts and fields, trails, shelters with grills, an amphitheater, a 10-acre prairie garden and restrooms.

http://www.columbusparent.com/entertainment/20160916/homestead-park

Huber Village Park

362 Huber Village Blvd., Westerville; 614-901-6500; parks.westerville.org

The signature family feature of this 27.56-acre park is the Planet Westerville playground. With areas for ages 2-5 and 6-12, it is popular with residents and nonresidents alike. Amenities include sports fields, a leisure path, woodlands and wetlands, a shelter and ADA-compliant restrooms.

Jeffrey Park

165 N. Parkview Ave., Bexley; 614-559-4300; bexley.org/parks-facilities

This 34-acre park has a playground suitable for ages 2-5, nature trails with a boardwalk along Alum Creek, canoe and kayak access, sports fields, picnic areas with grills, shelter houses and restrooms (typically open April-October). The park also is home to the Bexley Community Pool, the Bexley Historical Society and Jeffrey Mansion. Dogs are not allowed in the park.

http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2012/10/fun-playgrounds2.html

Millstone Creek Park

745 N. Spring Road, Westerville; 614-901-6500; parks.westerville.org

Highlights of this 15.27-acre park include an “inclusive boundless” playground geared for ages 2-12, natural play area, wetlands, boardwalk, sports courts and fields, paths, gazebo 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; 740-657-2630; orangetwp.org

This Orange Township park has a playground with areas for ages 2-5 and 5-12; many features are ADA-compliant. Other park amenities include an open-air shelter with fireplace, sports courts and fields, trails, fishing ponds and a sledding hill. The park also houses the North Orange Aquatic Center.

Olentangy River Parklands

600 W. Wilson Bridge Road, Worthington; 614-436-2743; worthington.org

This city of Worthington owns this 100-acre park along the Olentangy River. It contains two playgrounds, Highgate and Whitney, as well as Winding Adventures Skate Park. Other amenities include a 2-mile multiuse trail, sports courts and fields, river access for canoes and kayaks, and a sledding hill.

Schiller Park

1069 Jaeger St. (German Village), Columbus; 614-645-3300; columbus.gov/schillerpark

The second-oldest park in Columbus occupies 23.5 acres in the heart of German Village. Amenities include a playground, walking trail, gardens, gazebo, fishing pond, sports fields, sledding hill and tennis court. An outdoor stage is home to the Shakespeare in the Park series by the Actors' Theatre of Columbus.

http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2013/12/german-village.html

Thompson Park

4250 Woodbridge Road, Upper Arlington; 614-583-5340; uaoh.net

Features at this 49-acre park include a playground, paths, fitness trail, sports courts and fields, sledding hill, two shelter houses, grills, picnic areas and restrooms.

Whetstone Park

3923 N. High St. (Clintonville), Columbus; 614-645-3217; columbus.gov/whetstonepark

The 136.3-acre park has amenities such as a universally accessible playground, sports courts and fields, a fishing pond, gardens, a gazebo, picnic areas, a shelter house and a walking trail. The park is next to the Whetstone Community Center and the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Whetstone Park is home to the 13-acre Columbus Park of Roses (3901 N. High St. [Clintonville], Columbus; 614-645-6640; parkofroses.org). In addition to more than 12,000 roses in 400-plus varieties, visitors can see herb and perennial gardens, an iron observation tower, fountain, shelter house and sledding hill. The park is open from dawn to dusk. Dogs must be on leashes.

http://www.columbusparent.com/content/stories/2013/09/best-of-columbus-2013/low-cost/best-outdoor-playground.html

Wyman Woods

1520 Goodale Blvd., Grandview Heights; 614-488-3111; grandviewheights.org

Amenities at this city of Grandview Heights park include a playground, multiuse field, paths, sledding hill and shelter house with kitchenette and accessible bathrooms.