My favorite place: Stunning downtown views at Scioto Audubon’s bocce ball courts

CHRISTOPHER DELGROSSO
Assistant Manager, Scioto Audubon

Visitors enjoy a game of bocce ball on the courts at Scioto Audubon. (Daniel White)

As summer bows its head and awaits the arrival of fall there is a magical transformation that takes place at Scioto Audubon Metro Park. What was once a sea of green hues will soon be upstaged by a mosaic of color. Like an abstract painting, our trails will come to life with color from around 400 deciduous trees, many planted over the past few years.

Many of the connector trail sections are lined with a specific tree variety (see park map). For example, on the section from the park office (first parking lot on the right after you cross the bridge to enter the park) northwest to the bocce ball courts, you will see swamp white oaks. Turn right on this trail at the osprey nest and you will see red maples along the way to the obstacle course. Pin oaks are planted through the water tower parking lot. Beautiful ginko trees lead the way to the adjacent volleyball courts.

These trees provide shade, create a sense of place and define a foreground for a magnificent background everywhere you look. But one place in particular holds a special place in my heart, the center court of the bocce ball courts. It is here where the inspirational color and sunlight’s mystical illuminating effect truly capture my imagination.

It may seem odd that I would have an emotional connection to this spot, however, for me it makes perfect sense. This location has a golf course view of the downtown skyline and architecture that changes constantly with the sun’s angle in the sky. When a cool Canadian high-pressure system finds its way to Central Ohio the sky becomes crystal clear blue and reveals its million dollar view of downtown.

If you are playing the sport of bocce, throwing the ball from south to north, the skyline is a reminder of human domination over nature. The views in every other direction are a harmonious balance of man and nature. An osprey nest filled with new life, a rock wall filled with youthful adventure seekers, and ecosystems filled with abundant vibrant wildlife. Throw a bocce ball from north to south and witness in the distant background an interactive butterfly garden.

It is here at the bocce ball courts in Scioto Audubon Metro Park where people coexist joyously with nature and improve the quality of their lives through simultaneous exercise. This is my little Heaven on Earth and I invite you to come play a round and take it all in. I’ll be here waiting with a bocce ball in hand.

And if I’m not here, but you’d like to play this wonderful game, ask a ranger about using one of our bocce ball sets, or ask at the park office.

The middle one of the three bocce ball courts has an ADA accessible pavement around it. All three yield dramatic views of the Columbus skyline. (Chris Delgrosso)

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