A float down Big Darby Creek is the perfect pick-me-up

If you’d like a beautiful, tranquil, challenging canoe or kayak float without leaving Franklin County then Big Darby Creek is for you. This dedicated National Scenic River is not only a biological gem it’s also an opportunity for a day of visual candy. Nature at its best is revealed as you float down the creek, making twisting turns and bouncing through riffled waters. Then …Read More

Five Trees to visit this Arbor Day Weekend (or any other time too)

It’s Arbor Day in Ohio, Friday April 28, 2017. Why not get out and celebrate this Arbor Day weekend by exploring your Metro Parks for some giants—giant trees, that is. The following are just a very few of the awesome trees you could visit. Follow the links for park directions and trail maps. Perhaps taking in the majesty of these behemoths will inspire you …Read More

Vernal Pools 2: What a change a month can bring

Last month when we visited the vernal pool (see Blog post), spring was just starting to break free from the icy grip of winter, although this winter wasn’t so icy…! The salamanders and wood frogs had just awakened from their winter torpor, the fairy shrimp cruised silently under the water’s surface, and the resident birds were cautiously announcing the longer days with song. But …Read More

See a bounty of nature’s riches at Blacklick Woods Metro Park

Spring is a special time in any temperate deciduous forest. The woods wake up after sleeping all winter, and a variety of life “springs” forth. In the swamp forest at Blacklick Woods, the vernal pools come alive. These temporary wetlands fill with water from snowmelt and spring rains, and despite having been dry since the previous summer, suddenly teem with life. Amphibians are the …Read More

Protect our Parks!

Students in Upper Arlington Spanish IV Honors classes just implemented a very creative and impactful service learning project aimed at making healthy and clean choices toward our environment. Students collaborated with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks to develop a series of informational videos designed to encourage English & Spanish speaking park visitors help protect their parks. This project was designed as an initiative …Read More

Friends of Metro Parks award “Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants” to six parks

Friends of Metro Parks will again award grants to parks from the Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants Fund. Last year, five were awarded inaugural Tad Jeffrey Memorial Grants to complete unique and diverse projects to enrich the park experience for visitors. The projects included an insect hotel, a roving nature station, and even a tandem bike to use on the Greenway Trails. These grants were …Read More

Metro Parks provide ideal places to start a walking or running routine

On a slightly brisk, yet sunny March day, a group of women keen to start a walking or running routine met at Blacklick Woods’ Beech Maple Lodge for a Metro Five-0: Walk and Run 101 program. They were greeted by Metro Parks Outreach Naturalist Karen Ricker and Columbus Running Company’s Outreach Coordinator Lisa Dillahunt. The program, for people age 50 and older, was designed …Read More

The eagles star in their ongoing show at Highbanks

In late 2009, a bald eagle pair started investigating an abandoned raptor nest within Highbanks Metro Park, along the Olentangy River. They were young birds, by eagle standards, probably about four years old, and this was their first nesting attempt. Though the nest was hard to see, a few dedicated volunteers spent many hours from March to May 2010 monitoring the eagles. They used …Read More

New life is here now, but the Farm’s heritage breeds cement a bridge to the past

Spring is the beginning of the new farming year, when the gardens and fields are being planted. It is also the time when we have the most animal births, specifically our sheep, cattle and hogs. As Slate Run is a Living Historical Farm, we do things the 1880s way. It means that our animals are heritage breeds, which can be loosely defined as breeds …Read More


Metro Parks educators are always trying to find new ways to engage our park visitors to utilize nature. Several years ago, a few naturalists read an article in the National Association for Interpretation magazine about fairy house programs and events. This seemed like an interesting way to get new visitors to the parks, but some of us wondered whether it would work, whether it might not …Read More

A Metro Parks Success Story in Community Policing

In 2016, Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks was one of the first agencies in the state to have been certified in meeting Ohio’s standards to improve community and police relations. So far, 506 of the state’s 877 law enforcement agencies have adopted or are working toward adopting statewide standards for use of force, use of deadly force and the recruitment and hiring of …Read More

Five steps to an edible landscape

Growing our own food doesn’t have to change our residential landscape into a row-covered produce farm. The food that we grow can also be quite pleasing to the eye and there are some simple ways to add them to your garden. Here are five ways to incorporate edibles into an existing landscape. Look down First, remember to look down. Many types of thyme grow …Read More

Pokémon Inspirations

The mobile game Pokémon Go made a big impact on us at Highbanks last year. We had approximately 400,000 additional visitors to the park compared to 2015, and a big part of that increase was people coming to Highbanks in order to play the game. Visitors arrived at Highbanks from all over Ohio, and some even made trips from Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois so …Read More

Kids learn about golf and learn life skills at The First Tee of Central Ohio programs

Registration is under way for the spring sessions of The First Tee of Central Ohio programs for kids age 5 to 17, hosted by Blacklick Woods Golf Courses. There is a lot of fun and a lot of golf, but the programs are also designed to build character and develop leadership skills. More than a thousand kids participated in the program last year, led …Read More

The Best Part About Metro Parks’ Summer Camps—EVERYTHING!

UPDATE FOR 2018:  Details of Metro Parks Summer Camps for 2018  Here at Metro Parks, we’re gearing up for summer and you know what that means—SUMMER CAMP! Trails are cleared, hot dogs are roasted, archery bows are strung, kayaks are docked on the bank, fishing line and friendship bracelet thread is untangled, and all of the wonders of your Metro Parks are waiting for you …Read More

Stink bugs and lady beetles

Be warned! If you see a stink bug in your house, don’t smash it, or you’ll immediately get to know how stink bugs got their name. Look up “P.U.” in the dictionary. Your kids might see a beautiful looking bug and be captivated by its brilliant, shiny orange-red color. But watch out that this orange ladybug doesn’t bite them. Stink bugs and ladybugs spend …Read More

Let There Be Soup

Winter hikers at Blendon Woods have been relishing and praising the park’s chicken noodle soup for years, and many have asked, or even pleaded, for the recipe. That, I’m afraid, remains a closely guarded secret. For 12 years now, the soup has been made by the same pair of dedicated soupers, Blendon Woods Assistant Park Manager Brett Berisford, and his fellow souper Kurt Fortman. …Read More

The Gleason Family Adventure

UPDATE: June 2017 The Gleasons have changed their schedule and will now head to the Rocky Mountains National Park as the first leg of their trip. SEE VIDEO OF THE GLEASON FAMILY WITH 10TV’s JEFF HOGAN The Gleasons of Central Ohio have made a family commitment to take a series of adventures this year—but how to get fit for it? Well, the Metro Parks …Read More

Extreme weather affects Christmas Bird Counts

Audubon’s Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) has been noting and recording our feathered friends for the last 117 years and is the oldest running Citizen Science Project in America. In a typical year, data is collected by tens of thousands of volunteers across the Americas to help assess the health of bird populations and guide conservation action. Last year, at least in Central Ohio, …Read More

Volunteers recognized for their invaluable contributions to Metro Parks

Metro Parks visitors take delight in many things they can see in the parks, whether that be a beautiful sunset or sunrise, a chance sighting of a deer or a coyote in a woodland clearing, the wonderful spread of wildflowers in a spring forest—but many visitors take even more delight in seeing the easily-recognizable shirt of a Metro Parks volunteer. Volunteers can be seen …Read More

Snow Story 1: Animals and Snow

Have you ever wondered what animals do when it snows? For many species, food sources and water are buried under snow and ice. But to other animals, snow is a protective layer providing warmth and cover from predators. One way animals deal with snow is to sleep. Well, not sleep exactly! Many animals undergo a type of torpidity, or change in their body’s metabolism. …Read More

Winter means fun at Metro Parks

Winter is a great time to come out and play in your Metro Parks. Don’t get stuck inside wondering what to do when the snow flies. Get the family together to ride down one of our sledding hills (Battelle Darby Creek, Blendon Woods and Walnut Woods kiddie hills, Blacklick Woods Golf Course, Highbanks, Sharon Woods, Scioto Audubon and Scioto Grove. For a more aerobic …Read More

Special programming for special kids

It’s widely accepted that outdoor play and exploration is essential to the healthy physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of all children. But children with special needs often face barriers to accessing and connecting with the outdoors. This is a challenge that Metro Parks and the YMCA Early Childhood Resource Network+ have taken on, to ensure that families with special needs children have access …Read More

Tally our feathered friends at the Audubon Christmas Bird Counts

From December 14 through January 5 each year tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC), the longest-running citizen science wildlife census in the world. We invite you to join staff and volunteers at Blendon Woods (Dec 18, 8 am), Glacier Ridge (Dec 31, 8:30am), Highbanks (Dec 17, 9am), Inniswood (Dec 17, 8am) and Sharon …Read More

Look out for Woody Woodpecker and friends this winter

Watch out for—or should that be listen out for—woodpeckers at the parks this winter. Their spectacular coloring delights the eye, while their persistent hammering on trees can be a real assault on the ears, at least until you adjust to it. When they hammer away at the tree with their hefty bills, they’re either hunting for food, building a nest, or even communicating with …Read More

What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In this famous line from Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2), William Shakespeare’s tale of the “star-cross’d” lovers, Juliet is telling Romeo that his last name isn’t important, and that she didn’t care that their families were feuding, as a name is a man-made and meaningless …Read More

Thanksgiving on the Farm

The idea of Thanksgiving in America often conjures up images of Native Americans and early settlers around tables laden with food. George Washington was the first president to declare a national day of thanksgiving and prayer, for Nov 26, 1789. Other presidents set aside national days of thanksgiving after that, but President Abraham Lincoln finally declared it a federal holiday in 1863. (In 1941, …Read More

Help us improve the Greenway Trails

PLEASE NOTE: THIS SURVEY IS NOW CLOSED (Feb 28, 2018) The Central Ohio Greenway Trails are an extensive series of multipurpose trails connecting communities, neighborhoods, downtown Columbus and other destination points. Metro Parks manages and maintains more than 50 miles of these trails, which are used for fitness, recreational and transportation needs and add to the quality of life for the people of Central …Read More

Will You Go Out With Us?

  You may remember when REI did something different on Black Friday last year—they closed the co-op’s doors and invited the nation to opt outside with them. And more than a million people did just that. It really caught the attention of our community. To learn more about the plans for this year, visit REIOptOutside. Black Friday #OptOutside Social Media Contest: This year on Black Friday we’re …Read More

What Metro Parks mean to me

More than 8-million visitors come to the 19 Metro Parks every year, and every one of you has a story to tell and reasons aplenty for being there. We chatted with one frequent park visitor recently who is very into fitness and likes to do something active every day. Dianne Clay is a retired school teacher, in her early sixties, and says it’s far …Read More

Unbe-leaf-able Science

Fall is here and the leaves are changing colors right before our eyes. In just a few more weeks, the leaves will have fallen from the trees and winter will be right around the corner. But before that happens, let’s learn what’s going on inside of the trees… and you can even try an experiment at home to see the science behind the leaves …Read More

The Haunted Forest Effect

The work of busy beech blight aphids While hiking along the many trails of our Metro Parks a mysterious substance can be discovered this time of year. As this mysterious black growth unveils itself, it appears to be oozing off the limbs of beech trees. It is in such forests, with these beautiful beech trees, that an observant eye may witness nature’s Halloween decor draped …Read More

You Can Eat That: Black Walnut

Launching into wild edible plants may seem complicated, but with a little knowledge and an adventurous mindset, you could be foraging for your own food in no time. Before you get started, enter with a mindset of SAFETY FIRST! Certain plants can have either acute or underlying toxins and some may even have both. The first thing to do is to learn to identify plants. …Read More

Spiders: The not so spooky Halloween symbol

Ask any kindergartener and they will tell you that spiders have eight legs, eight eyes (most do) and two body parts…and they are way cool. Most adults would not agree with the latter part and may shudder and use words like “heebie-jeebies.” Spiders have intrigued humans since ancient times, and were seen as mystical because of their ability to weave intricate webs. Much like …Read More

Fall hiking in the parks #3 – October 14, 2016

HOMESTEAD METRO PARK This spring, staff at Homestead started the conversion of mowed lawn into habitat by seeding native tallgrass prairie. It will take three to five years for the prairie to become established. Since the planted area is highly visible, staff incorporated annuals into the seed mix to produce a display of beautiful flowers early in the process. This summer there have been bursts of white, …Read More

Fall hiking in the parks #2 – October 7, 2016

SHARON WOODS If you are looking for a leisurely walk that’s chocked-full of fall colors, the fields at Sharon Woods are at their fall-color peak with blooming Goldenrod and New England Aster. Start your walk on our Edward Thomas Trail. This trail passes through our 319-acre Edward Thomas State Nature Preserve known for its mature oak trees. From there, take the connector to hop …Read More

Myth busting the hickory tussock moth caterpillar

You may have seen this post somewhere on social media: “POISONOUS CATERPILLAR FOUND IN OHIO— It may look like a woolly worm..but it’s not. This is a venomous caterpillar from Canada known as the White Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar and it’s been spotted in northeast Ohio. It can be either white or brightly colored. More importantly, it has hairs with barbs that can stick …Read More

Columbus City Schools Intern Initiative

If you visited a Metro Park this summer, you may have seen a group of high school students staining a deck or trimming alongside a trail. These students were part of a Metro Parks program called the Columbus City Schools Intern Initiative (CSI). Metro Parks hires Columbus City School high school students to work on maintenance crews that travel to different parks over the course …Read More

Pondering Pawpaws

Look for the dark maroon flowers of the pawpaw tree in early spring and dare to take a whiff. It smells like rotting meat. But believe it or not, by September, these foul-smelling flowers will have developed into a delicious, nutritious edible fruit. Dig a little deeper into the history of the pawpaw and you’ll discover even more surprises. Some have called pawpaw (Asimina …Read More

Rock On at the Community Rock Climbing Festival

Scioto Audubon Metro Park’s climbing wall opened in 2009 and has been a resounding success with visitors, and especially with the climbing community. Our Community Rock Climbing Festival on Saturday September 10, 2016, is a celebration of that success and we invite all people to join us for a fun day of activities and adventure, with a Hollywood blockbuster movie to end the day. EVEREST …Read More

Bumble Bustle at Inniswood

Bees can be a polarizing topic for many. I meet visitors all the time that have an aversion to them. People may have had a traumatic experience with a bee, maybe they aren’t fans of that buzzing noise they make, or maybe they just don’t like bugs. Either way, there is no denying that without our bees there would be fewer beautiful flowers and even less tasty …Read More

Annual Nature Print Contest

Metro Parks, in cooperation with the Lens & Leaves Camera Club, has run an annual nature print contest for more than 25 years. Terrific photographs are entered every year and all of the entries are displayed over four autumn weekends. This year, the exhibits will be held at the following locations and dates: There are usually around 200 entries in the display. Visitors to …Read More

Caution, turtle crossing

Why did the turtle cross the road?  To get to the other side, actually! We saw this gorgeous woodland box turtle crossing the Beech Woodland Trail at Rocky Fork Metro Park during a tram program. Luckily we were able to stop the tram in time to rescue the turtle. Of course, seeing the turtle brought up plenty of questions and conversation about what to do when …Read More

The hummingbird’s tongue and other wonders

My barely-a-toddler granddaughter is fascinated by everything. To her, dirt has wonderful textures and indeed may be edible. Touching soft leaves or prickly conifer needles brings a smile to her face. The birds that hang out in neighborhood gardens are endlessly entertaining. Chain link fences are like mountains that must be climbed because they can be climbed. Yet there are many other wonders of this …Read More

Bobwhite quail return to Central Ohio

You may have heard about our successful reintroduction of northern bobwhite quail at Slate Run Metro Park. Bobwhite quail is a native species that has been struggling in the state due to harsh winters and habitat loss. Metro Parks’ staff began planning a project in 2012 at Slate Run to begin altering the park’s grasslands and forest edges to meet the habitat requirements of quail, with the goal …Read More

Driving me batty!

I remember when I was child my aunt and uncle had so many bats on their farm that my cousins were afraid to play outside in the evening. I loved to go out and watch them hunt around the security light. They have always fascinated me. Now it is much less common to see a bat flying around. When I do see one, I …Read More

You Can Eat That: Wild Ginger

Launching into wild edible plants may seem complicated, but with a little knowledge and an adventurous mindset, you could be foraging for your own food in no time. Before you get started, enter with a mindset of SAFETY FIRST! Certain plants can have either acute or underlying toxins and some may even have both. Exercising a little caution and trying new plants in moderation can …Read More

Pokémon invade Metro Parks

Your Metro Parks have always been a great place to see birds, deer and other wildlife as you walk and explore the trails. For the past week, staff at several Metro Parks reported a new influx of creatures wandering the trails, hopping around the picnic tables and fluttering around the feeders at the nature center. Staff also noticed that hundreds of new visitors to …Read More

More horse-power at Slate Run Farm

Threshing is one of the highlights of the summer for staff and visitors to Slate Run Living Historical Farm, and you can see how it was done, 1880s style, at programs this Saturday and Sunday (16-17 July). Threshing is the final step of harvesting wheat, and separates the grain from the stalks and seed covering. As we have around eight wagons of grain to …Read More

Dig In with Inniswood Junior Garden Volunteers

Inniswood Metro Gardens is the only botanical garden in your Metro Parks, with 10 feature gardens to explore along with natural areas in the 123-acre site. Part of what keeps Inniswood looking great is the continued involvement of nearly 300 volunteers. During the growing season, Inniswood invites younger volunteers to dig in along with us. Children age 11-17 can be registered to join our …Read More

Entertainment for the entire family at Homestead

There’s lots of fun to be had at Homestead Metro Park this summer, including a series of special events to please parkgoers of all ages. Grab your snacks, blankets and chairs and head to the Summer Entertainment Series, sponsored by Giant Eagle. Mark your calendar for these upcoming, exciting performances: Comedy Juggler – Matt Jergens Thursday July 7 @7pm Join us to witness an international gold medalist juggler …Read More

To manage, or not to manage? That is the question…

Metro Parks manages many areas to control succession of plants.  If managed in a “hands-off” manner, all of the park areas would progress through several phases of plant growth beginning with grass and wildflower fields, to brush and briars, to young trees and then, in 75-100 years, begin its final stage as a mature forest.  Within each habitat phase, one may find a group …Read More

If You Build It, They Will Come

Hundreds of butterflies will be making their way to Scioto Audubon Metro Park in the near future thanks to the efforts of the German Village Garten Club and staff at Metro Parks. A quarter-acre area in the park at the northwest corner of Whittier Street and Maier Place has been transformed into the perfect habitat for these colorful winged insects. The idea for a butterfly garden came from …Read More

MusicBASH will have you in the mood for music at Slate Run this summer

Slate Run Metro Park has a ton of things going for it, but something new this summer will have you tapping your feet and dancing in the park. MusicBASH begins on Friday June 24 with the Slate Ridge Bluegrass Band. The five-player band performs traditional bluegrass and early country style music on acoustic instruments, including guitar, bass, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. On Friday July 15, …Read More

Becoming a Metro Parks “Friend”

Hi, I’m Hannah. I grew up in Columbus and spent many a weeknight going on woods walks with the family after dinner. Back then, my tweenage angst had me huffy and unathletically attempting to avoid the long-legged creepy crawlies that dared to cross my path. That angst slowly turned to appreciation as my parents patiently kept us coming back to the Metro Parks. This …Read More

Peek under a pond

Nearly everyone’s been to a pond before. Maybe you’ve gone fishing, watched ducks, enjoyed a picnic nearby, or watched a scenic sunset from a dock or bench near the water’s edge. But have you thought much about what you might find UNDER the water? Our naturalists at Blendon Woods did some pond studies recently to see what they could find. We used small aquarium …Read More

Land Use: Past, Present and Future

Introducing a new teacher workshop, Land Use: Past, Present and Future! Registration deadline is June 10th (see details below). Did you know that Metro Parks provides workshops for teachers with content, visuals, examples and fun activities that correlate to the History, Geography, Economic, and/or Government social studies strands and/or the Life and/or the Earth and Space science strands? Join us for a virtual tour of the new Land …Read More

What’s Your Park?

Metro Parks naturalists often get to know the regular park visitors, and are fortunate to hear about some of their adventures!  Meet Kathy and Sara, who recently explained to Scott Felker, naturalist at Three Creeks, why they love their Metro Parks… We have enjoyed numerous hikes and adventures through the years at the Metro Parks. Our first hike was Birding and Breakfast at Chestnut Ridge in …Read More

Moving Day!

After more than 30 years, the time had come to pack up and move a honey bee colony from Walnut Woods Metro Park to Battelle Darby Creek. The eviction notice came when park manager, Mindi McConnell determined that the structure they were living in was scheduled to be demolished. The bees had professional help with their move. Naturalists Debbie Ruppersburg and Kaylin Callander from Battelle Darby Creek, along with …Read More

Wild Parents Know Best!

It was a gorgeous spring day; one of those rare times when our central Ohio sky was clear blue, the sun was shining, and it was just warm enough to go without a coat. Everyone was at the park that day, joggers, hikers, pet owners, picnickers, and some simply seeking fresh air. The nature center was busy too, and people arrived with interesting questions …Read More


It’s loud. To some creatures it is a feast. It might be called Swarmegeddon. It is the emergence of Brood V of the 17-year periodical cicadas. Sometime in May, when the temperature eight inches below the soil surface reached 64 degrees Fahrenheit for four straight days, the cicadas crawled out, climbed trees and shrubs and began trying to find a mate. An acre of mature forest might have …Read More

Gardening for Hummingbirds

There’s nothing quite as exciting as catching a glimpse of the tiny, iridescent, Ruby-throated Hummingbird in your garden.  These extremely migratory birds are not only beautiful to watch, but also play an important role in our ecosystem. In the spring in central Ohio, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds make their way back to our gardens and backyards to mate, build nests and raise young.  They can travel …Read More

Metro Parks dedicates off-trail reserve in honor of Tad Jeffrey

Family and friends of Robert “Tad” Jeffrey met at Three Creeks Park last week to celebrate Tad’s life and his dedication to Metro Parks. The occasion marked the opening of a beautifully constructed scenic overlook deck, with views of a 90-acre area dedicated as the Robert “Tad” Jeffrey Off-Trail Reserve. The Reserve includes the confluence of Big Walnut, Alum and Blacklick Creeks, for which …Read More

Scioto Grove Metro Park Opens

The weather stayed fair and a crowd of more than 1,500 eager park lovers were on hand to mark the opening of the 19th Metro Park last Friday, May 6, 2016. Scioto Grove Metro Park joined the official canon of parks as 12 kids from the Richard Avenue Elementary School cut the ceremonial ribbon, with help from Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage. In …Read More