An introduction to Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks

Your 20 Metro Parks provide endless opportunities for you to connect with nature and have fun in the outdoors. With more than 28,000 acres of land and water to explore and 230 miles of trails to traverse, there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the wonder and majesty of nature in Metro Parks. We’re free and only open every day for your enjoyment.

The mission of Metro Parks is to conserve open spaces, while providing places and opportunities that encourage people to discover and experience nature.

Our History

Created on August 14, 1945, Metro Parks is an independent political subdivision of the state of Ohio organized under Ohio Revised Code Section 1545 to conserve natural resources and provide natural area parks for people to enjoy. Metro Parks is a separate subdivision of the state of Ohio and is not under the administration of any other governmental unit.

The tremendous growth and enduring popularity of Metro Parks is due to the strong support of the community – as voters, as volunteers and as visitors. Metro Parks’ primary funding source is the 10-year, 0.95 mill levy approved by Franklin County voters in November 2018. The levy provides a sound financial base for operating and improving existing parks as well as acquiring additional land for future preservation.

Metro Parks has three designated categories of revenue: public sources (taxes, local government funds and government grants), operational fees (earned income) and other revenue (donations, interest income, etc).

Girl on climbing wall at Scioto Audubon
Photo: Larry Hamill

Our Future

We continually work to responsibly manage our resources, while enhancing visitor experiences. We are dedicated to meeting taxpayer expectations while fulfilling our mission’s mandate.

Photo: Dave Jolley

News & Upcoming Events

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20 IN 22: The Darby Creeks and the Darby Plains

VIRGINIA GORDON Communication Coordinator At a little more than 7,000 acres in area, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is by far the largest of the parks in the Columbus and …Read More

Discover more as a Metro Parks Explorer

It’s easy to become a Metro Parks Explorer and show your love for the parks. Hundreds of our program participants become explorers every year. All of our explorers receive a …Read More

School’s Out: It’s Critter Time!

JILL SNYDER Visitor Engagement Manager As the school year comes to a close, it doesn’t mean the learning needs to stop! Why not visit one of our Nature Centers to …Read More

Drying Day for a Highbanks Eagle

Eagles nest at Highbanks, Pickerington Ponds and Three Creeks metro parks, and they are also frequently seen flying at Scioto Audubon, Scioto Grove and Walnut Woods metro parks. Nothing beats ...Read More

Get Outside, It’s Your Nature!