METRO PARKS PROGRAMS FAQs

Metro Parks hosts a wide variety of programs, activities and experiences throughout the park district and in our Nature Centers. Programs are free and many are open with no advanced registration required.

All Metro Parks programs can be viewed online through our website here.

Visit the website regularly for the most up-to-date list of programs and offerings, and you may search by park, date of availability, type of activity or topic, such as “birds” or “Outdoor Adventure.”

If next to a program it states “show up” in a red box, there is no registration required.

You can also view the Metro Parks monthly event calendar here.

All registrations for Metro Parks programs can be made online through our website here.

Registration for programs ensures a guaranteed spot to participate, but walk-up guests can be accommodated when possible. (i.e. River float programs have a capacity limit due to the number of boats, but standby guests may participate if there are no-shows). To register for a program, please create an account log in.

If next to a program it states “show up” in a red box, there is no registration required.

Questions? Contact us at reservations@metroparks.net.

Waitlists for programs requiring advanced registration will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Registration for programs ensures a guaranteed spot to participate, but walk-up guests can be accommodated when possible. (i.e. River float programs have a capacity limit due to the number of boats, but standby guests may participate if there are no-shows). For all questions regarding programs, email reservations@metroparks.net.

Metro Parks is currently not offering specific programming for scout troops, schools and homeschool groups. However, Metro Parks host a wide variety of programs, activities and experiences throughout the park district and in our Nature Centers. All reservations for Metro Parks programs can be made online through our website here.

You are more than welcome to call on our park Naturalists at the following Metro Parks to schedule an in-person field trip, or for specific resources:

For more information on Slate Run Living Historical Farm tours and visits, click here for registrations.

METRO PARKS RESERVATIONS FAQs

You can view our list of venues and shelters, amenities and pricing on our website here.

We do not offer waitlists for our reservable venues and shelters. Our will be automatically updated as available on our online reservation calendar if a cancellation is made. For all questions regarding reservations, please email reservations@metroparks.net.

All reservations can be made as early as one year, 365 days, in advance beginning at 8AM on that day. For example, you can make a reservation for October 30, 2027 starting at 8AM EST on October 30, 2026.

The only exception to our 365 day policy are Wedding Packages, which cannot be booked online and must first be submitted to reservations@metroparks.net. Wedding packages are only available at The Grove at Scioto Grove Metro Park, and at Eagleview and The Banquet Room at Blacklick Woods Golf Course.

Our premier venues (Eagleview and The Banquet Room at Blacklick Woods Golf Course and The Grove Lodge at Scioto Grove Lodge) require a 30 day advance notice for reservations. Any reservations for these venues more than 30 days in advance will be permitted to be booked online. Any reservations less than 30 days will be required to email reservations@metroparks.net for availability and requires the approval of the Park Manager.

For all other reservable venues and shelters, reservations within 14 days of the date of interest must be first submitted to reservations@metroparks.net for availability, and requires the approval of the Park
Manager.

We have a variety of venues, shelters and lodges with a wide range of amenities and associated prices. These can be viewed on our website here. For all reservation fees, click here.

Reservations for all Metro Parks venues require full payment at the time the reservation is made. We accept all credit cards online and over the phone. Cash and check are accepted but must be delivered to our reservations team prior to the reservations being made. For all reservation fees, click here.

Only Franklin County residents receive a reduced rate for all of our reservations. Outside of the discounted resident rate, we do not offer any additional discounts, including to state or government agencies or school groups. For all reservation fees, click here.

Absolutely! To schedule an in-person appointment to view a reservable venue, please call in advance the on-duty Park Ranger cell phone for the specific park where the venue is located.

*Please note, appointments cannot be scheduled or permitted on days a venue is reserved by another group, and our Park Rangers and Blacklick Woods Golf Course team do not take payments, finalize or change reservations.*

All of our indoor reservable venues and lodges have a virtual walkthrough on our website here.

For your convenience, below is a list of each on-duty Metro Park Park Ranger cell phone number, and the number to the Metro Parks Dispatcher.

The names with a * next to the name indicates a Metro Park that currently offers reservable venues and shelters.

Cancellations:

  • 30 days of reservation = 90% refunded
  • 29-14 days of reservation = 25% refunded
  • 13 days or less of reservation = 0% refunded

*Please note: Refunds are not issued for inclement weather.

Changes:

  • If reservation change is 30 days or less of the original reservation date, Metro Parks will charge an extra 20% on top base rate of reservation. Security deposits will remain the same amount for applicable venues that require it. Changes are dependent on availability of venues and Metro Parks operations.

You may cancel your reservation online at any time through our reservation website here. Simply sign in, go to your ‘my account’ tab and click on ‘cancellations.’

To change your reservation you can go to your ‘my account’ tab and click on ‘changes.’ You can also email reservations@metroparks.net and we can change or cancel your reservation upon request. Please note, cancellation and change fees do apply.

When you make a reservation, you will be asked to put in your estimated time of arrival. This will help ensure our Metro Parks Rangers know when to unlock the venue for your reservation and meet you for any additional day-of questions. Early and late venue access will not be provided for setup or cleanup and must be complete within the time period you have reserved.

  • Most Metro Parks in the park district have non-reservable, first-come, first-serve shelters. For more information, click here.
  • A first-come, first-serve shelter can be used free of charge without a reservation.
  • These shelters are available at 6:30AM when the park opens.
  • Please note, there is no guarantee that any particular shelter will be available on the date you desire.
  • If you claim a first-come, first-serve shelter, possession of the shelter is retained by you only if someone from your party remains at the shelter.
  • You may not arrive in the morning, set up decorations (or put up ‘shelter reserved’ signs) and leave. If another party is interested in the shelter and no person is currently occupying it, our Park Rangers will remove any decorations and allow the group to utilize the shelter until their party has concluded.

Metro Parks maintains three secluded natural areas called Day Camps within 30 minutes of greater Columbus, where only Scout Troops, organized and sponsored youth and church groups can reserve to connect with nature year-round (families and individuals cannot reserve Day Camps).

Having a wide-range of amenities, these areas offer the essence of the wilderness. Each has a diversity of major and minor ecosystems – forest, successional areas and flowing waters – ideal for school outdoor education, service days and conservation projects.

Three Day Camps available for reservations are:

  • Camp Dragonfly – Highbanks Metro Park
  • Camp Starview – Slate Run Metro Park
  • Camp Sugarbush – Blendon Woods Metro Park

Please note, Day Camps cannot be reserved online and inquiries must be emailed to reservations@metroparks.net.

CAN I HAVE _______?

The following guidelines and rules pertain to reservable and non-reservable venues and shelters at Metro Parks, as well as general Metro Parks Rules & Regulations, which can be read here.

Only the following reservable Metro Parks venues listed below are eligible for guests to apply and purchase an Alcohol Permit. After a permit application is approved and paid for, guests will have the ability to only serve beer, wine, champagne and hard cider at their event:

  • Highbanks Metro Park: Northern Shelter and Mansion Shelter
  • Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park: Cedar Ridge Lodge
  • Sharon Woods Metro Park: Spring Hollow Lodge
  • Scioto Grove Metro Park: The Grove Lodge
  • To have alcohol at the Blacklick Woods Golf Course Eagleview and The Banquet Room, please see the corresponding process further below.

The following states process to apply for an Alcohol Permit at eligible Metro Parks venues (not at the Blacklick Woods Golf Course*):

  • The permit application process may begin as early as 60 days prior to the reservation date, but the permit needs to be completed and paid for by 30 days prior to the reservation date.
  • Applications started less than 30 days prior to your event date may be denied.
  • The permit costs $250, plus a refundable $250 refundable security deposit. This deposit is returned after your event if all rules are followed and there are no issues with alcohol or your group during the reservation.
  • When you complete your signed permit, the total $500 (fee + refundable security deposit)
    is due.

    • If you are requesting to have alcohol at more than one venue, you will need to apply and pay for multiple permits and multiple refundable security deposits.
  • For example, if you have the Northern and Mansion shelters reserved at Highbanks Metro Park, you will need to have paid for two Alcohol Permits and two refundable security deposits.
  • As a reminder, Metro Parks only allows beer, wine, champagne and hard cider, and does not allow mixed drinks, wine coolers or liquor of any kind.
  • In addition, guests serving alcohol with a permit are allowed to have bartenders or catering staff to serve guests, but cannot charge guests for alcohol and cannot allow tips to be collected by bartenders or catering staff.
  • You will need to request, fill out and complete an Alcohol Permit application, and email it to reservations@metroparks.net, along with a copy of your current driver’s license.
  • Once we have your initial application and copy of your current driver’s license, we will connect you with our Park Manager to meet in-person and on-site prior to your event to go over policies and guidelines, and to cover any questions or concerns you may have.
  • When the Park Manager sends us back your approved application, it will need to be signed by the Metro Parks Executive Director, and then we will call you to collect your payment.
  • After the event is over, the following week we will review your event with our park team members (i.e. damage to venues, issues with alcohol use, other rules etc.), and if applicable, we will contact you regarding your refundable security deposit and process them.
  • Failure to adhere to any of the rules and regulations listed will result in retaining your security deposit amount, and the termination of any current reservations or future reservations with Metro Parks.

*Alcohol at Blacklick Woods Golf Course: Eagleview and The Banquet Room:

  • Guests who’ve reserved either The Banquet Room or Eagleview at Blacklick Woods Golf Course and would like alcohol at their event must purchase alcohol directly from the Golf Course (without an Alcohol Permit) through our online store here, which showcases all of our available items.
  • The order must be made prior to two weeks before your event so that we can accommodate your needs and order in time.
  • Once the order is made, a member of our Golf Course team may reach out to you with questions. Should you need to reach out to them, you can always call the Golf Course Pro Shop at 614.861.3193.
  • On the day of your event, your alcohol order will be in the refrigerator of the venue you have reserved.
  • You are not allowed to bring your own alcohol and can only purchase from the Golf Course. We also only allow beer, wine, champagne and hard cider, and do not allow mixed drinks, wine coolers or liquor of any kind. In addition, guests who have purchased alcohol through the Golf Course are allowed to have bartenders or catering staff for their guests, but cannot charge for alcohol and cannot allow tips to be collected.
  • Failure to adhere to any of the rules and regulations listed will result in the termination or any current reservations and/or future reservations with Metro Parks.

These are not permitted at Metro Parks. Only in certain reservation areas may one small bounce house or inflatables may be allowed per reservation area, depending on the venue reserved or private reservable area, and at the discretion of our management and on-duty Park Rangers. If you have a venue reserved and you’d like to inquire about receiving permission for a bounce house or inflatable, you must email reservations@metroparks.net.

  • In addition, the following guidelines must be adhered to:
    • You must obtain permission to use a bounce house or inflatable prior to your venue reservation, and they must be used in a reservation-only area as to not encourage members of the public to access that reservation-only area
    • You must have a reservation at one of our approved reservable venues to bring a bounce house or inflatable to Metro Parks
    • Bounce houses set up on park property must be electric and not generator-powered
    • Bounce houses and other inflatables cannot cause damage to the turf or any park property
    • We do not have specific dimension requirements for permitted bounce houses or inflatables. However, we do not permit extra large or long inflatables

Metro Park does not allow fires or fire pits anywhere in the parks outside of designated grills or Metro Parks established fire pits in reservable areas. Should a fire burning structure be available at your reserved venue or shelter, you are welcome to bring your own purchased, pre-packaged firewood (i.e. from a store such as Kroger or Ace Hardware), but not firewood from a yard or another outdoor location. Please do not bring in your own firewood due to potential invasive species.

You are welcome to bring any catering that you desire to any of our reservable venues and shelters. However, no money/cash may be exchanged on Metro Parks property, so all food trucks must be paid for in advance off-site prior to or after your event. Please keep in mind our alcohol policy (below), and our Food Truck policy.

  • You are more than welcome to decorate the venue, as long as there will be no lasting damage to the venue, structures, any property or the natural landscapes.
  • If you have a reservation that goes overnight and into the next days, please note that while you are welcome to leave decorations overnight, the reservable area gates will be locked and it is still a public park. Metro Parks is not liable for loss, damage or theft of your items should you leave anything overnight.
  • You must use non-marring tape or string to fasten decorations
  • No nails, staples, tacks, duct tape, push pins or glue allowed
  • Decorations cannot be attached to road signs, gates, or trees
  • Metro Parks does not permit confetti, egg throwing, fireworks, glitter, open flames, piñatas, smoke sticks (including colored), silly string, sidewalk chalk, sparklers, water balloons or similar items on Metro Parks property, including any decorations that are difficult to clean up or remove, or that would impact the natural landscape. A bubble machine that would be plugged-in would be permitted. All loose litter must be picked up throughout your visit and please leave the area/venue as clean as you found it.

  • These are not allowed in any Metro Parks without first applying for and receiving an approved Special Use Permit.
  • The exception to this rule is for private reservation-only areas, as long as the following guidelines are in place:
    • You must have a valid reservation at one of our private reservable shelter venues and the use of food trucks or game trucks must be approved by Metro Parks at reservations@metroparks.net.
    • All food and game trucks must have their own source of power and cannot be generator-powered.
    • No money/cash may be exchanged on Metro Parks property, so all food trucks must be paid for in advance off-site prior to or after your event.
    • No park guests who are unaffiliated with your event may use the food truck.
    • Food truck vendors may not distribute alcohol.
    • Reservable venues that permit food and game trucks under these circumstances include:
      • Blacklick Woods Metro Park: Beech-Maple Lodge
      • Blendon Woods Metro Park: Shadblow Shelter, Dogwood Shelter, Hickory Grove Shelter, Sycamore Shelter and Camp Sugarbush (Scout & Youth Groups only)
      • Highbanks Metro Park: Northern Shelter, Mansion Shelter and Dragonfly Day Camp (only Scout Troops, organized and sponsored youth and church groups)
      • Slate Run Metro Park: Camp Starview (only Scout Troops, organized and sponsored youth and church groups)

Hammocks are permitted at Metro Parks. However, we do ask that you take particular care with the trees you tether your hammock between. Depending on the tree type you may have to provide a barrier to protect the tree.

Some of our reservable venues offer firewood as part of the reservation (please see amenities for specific venues and shelters). For those reservable venues and shelters that offer free firewood, it will be at your venue and ready to use the day of your reservation. If requested, our on-duty Rangers would be able to assist you with starting a fire in the firepit, fireplace, and/or wood burning stove. However, you would be required to manage it the rest of your stay.

Should a fire burning structure be available at your reserved venue or shelter, you are welcome to bring your own purchased, pre-packaged firewood (i.e. from a store such as Kroger or Ace Hardware), but not firewood from a yard or another outdoor location. Please do not bring in your own firewood due to potential invasive species.

Generators are not allowed on Metro Parks property.

You’re welcome to bring your own grill, either propane or charcoal to the park for your party’s use. Please note, you are not permitted to store your grill in the park overnight. Also, many reservable areas offer grills and/or firepits, which you can manage as a reserved guest.

Unless you are planning on doing something outside of the typical rules and regulations of Metro Parks, regular weddings and events do not require a Special Use Permit or liability insurance. For all questions, please email reservations@metroparks.net.

You are allowed to have a DJ at your event, but please keep in mind that your music noise level must be limited. Our noise regulation is that your music or sound producing device cannot be heard more than 50 feet from your reserved venue.

There is no parking allowed on the grass and you must park in designated spaces only. No vehicles can be left in the park after hours.

We do not allow any domestic animals except for cats and dogs. Pets must be on leashes and in physical control at all times.

We do not offer assistance in rearranging the tables at outdoor reservable venues. However, you are more than welcome to bring your own outdoor tables and chairs, as long as they do not damage the grass. We do ask that if you move any of the tables and chairs provided for you outside, that you move them back inside before your reservation ends.

Two signs are allowed per group. One directional sign, and one immediately in front of your area. All signs must be taken down when finished and signs cannot be attached to road signs, gates or trees.

We do not permit large party tents, nor anything with stakes to anchor the tent due to impacting the grass. However, you would be able to use 10×10 tents, but they are not allowed to be left overnight. Nor are tents that have walls are also not permitted, unless they are mesh or see-through.

  • To host your wedding and/or reception at Metro Parks, we have a variety of options that can be perfect for your special day!
  • Our reservable venues range in maximum capacity from 45 people to 175 people permitted. Our venues also have a wide range of included outdoor space.
  • You can host your wedding or reception at our non-reservable, first-come, first-serve shelters at no cost, but keep in mind these cannot be reserved ahead of time, and are subject to occasional closure for program use.
  • To book your wedding at Metro Parks, please email reservations@metroparks.net.

  • We offer a variety of wedding packages at Eagleview and The Banquet Room at Blacklick Woods Golf Course, and The Grove Lodge at Scioto Grove Metro Park.
  • The Weekend Wedding Package includes 4 hours of setup on Friday night, anytime after 4:00pm until 12:00am, and 10 hours on Saturday, anytime between 7:30AM-12:00AM, for your wedding and reception. This package is $1200 for Franklin County Residents and $1,300 for non-Franklin County Residents at either venue, and you get to pick the hours on each day that best fit your wedding schedule. This Wedding Package requires an additional 20% security deposit at the time that the reservation is made. This is offered at The Grove Lodge at Scioto Grove Metro Park, and Eagleview and The Banquet Room at Blacklick Woods Golf Course.
  • The Eagle Nest Package includes a full day (7:30AM-12AM) at both Eagleview and The Banquet Room. This package is $1,500 for Franklin County Residents, and $1,600 for non-Franklin County Residents. This Wedding Package requires an additional 20% security deposit at the time that the reservation is made.
  • The Eagle Nest Weekend Wedding Package includes 4 hours of setup on Friday night, anytime after 4PM until 12AM, and 10 hours on Saturday, anytime between 7:30AM-12AM, at both Eagleview and The Banquet Room. This package is $1,600 for Franklin County Residents, and $1,700 for non-Franklin County Residents. This Wedding Package requires an additional 20% security deposit at the time the reservation is made.
  • If you have a wedding with a guest count that exceeds our largest facility capacity (Eagleview – 175 people), we recommend The Eagle Nest Weekend Wedding Package, which allows you to book the Friday-Saturday combination mentioned above.
  • The only exception to our 365 day policy are Wedding Packages, which cannot be booked online and must first be submitted to reservations@metroparks.net.
  • Our premier venues (Eagleview and The Banquet Room at Blacklick Woods Golf Course and The Grove Lodge at Scioto Grove Lodge) require a 30 day advance notice for reservations. Any reservations for these venues more than 30 days in advance will be permitted to be booked online. Any reservations less than 30 days will be required to email reservations@metroparks.net for availability and requires the approval of the Park Manager.

  • Weddings and wedding photography are permitted in the Rose Garden, which is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is no fee for holding a ceremony in the Rose Garden and it cannot be reserved.
  • Group size is limited to 50 people or less, including the wedding party.
  • No chairs, runners, or decorations can be brought into the garden.
  • We suggest having a backup location as the Rose Garden doesn’t have shelter in the event of inclement weather and there is no other location on the grounds where a ceremony can be held.
  • For all additional questions regarding weddings at Metro Parks, please email reservations@metroparks.net.

  • Weddings are permitted at any of the reservable venues at Homestead.
  • Tables and chairs are not provided, and if you reserve the Lakeside Pavilion only the venue is included in the reservation.
  • The grassy hill outside of the venue is a first-come first-serve space that does not permit tables and chairs.

METRO PARKS GENERAL FAQs

Prairie Oaks, Rocky Fork, Scioto Grove and Walnut Woods Metro Parks require you to carry out any trash you carry into the park. These parks have paper bag stations to assist you in removal. In addition, all Metro Parks have receptacles for dog waste.

Each Metro Park maintains its own lost and found. To see if your item has been located by our team members or turned in by another guest, please contact the on-duty Park Ranger at the park where your item was misplaced. If your item has not yet been located, the Park Ranger can record your information and call you if it’s found.

At Metro Parks, ‘dark’ is defined as approximately 30 minutes after sunset.

Metro Parks has a few ziplines for kids:

Yes, it’s true! The 9-hole Learning Course is now free for Franklin County residents. Golf cart rental fees and pull cart rental fees still apply. The 18-hole Championship Course is not free but is offered to Franklin County residents at a discounted rate.

We allow and encourage many kinds of recreational activities, as long as those activities are safe and a reasonable use of space at Metro Park and its resources. To view all activities allowed at Metro Parks, click here.

Metro Parks defines “recreation reasonable use” by Park Rule 4.7, which states: “All recreational activities undertaken by visitors shall be done so in appropriate and/or areas designated by the Executive Director or Park Manager and with due regard to the safety of themselves and others and shall not disrupt the good order of the park, natural environment, and enjoyment of other guests.” Under this rule, park guests are allowed to jog on trails, kayak in designated waterways, practice golf, use toys and play sports.

If you have a specific question about a recreational activity, please email info@metroparks.net.

Metro Parks has a dedicated team of more than 900 volunteers who contribute their time, energy and talents toward the preservation and enjoyment of natural areas and parks for millions of guests each year.

All you need to become a volunteer is enthusiasm for natural or cultural history, a willingness to learn and a desire to share with others. Work schedules are flexible and depend on your chosen assignment and park and no previous training or experience is needed as training programs are provided.

To learn more about volunteering at Metro Parks, click here.

Metro Parks is sometimes able to accommodate service and volunteer projects for school, organizations or scout programs, depending on scheduling and availability. Please email info@metroparks.net with a detailed description of your inquiry and we will address it as soon as possible.

There is a very robust volunteer program at Inniswood Metro Gardens. The Inniswood Volunteers Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was created to support and promote the development of Inniswood Metro Gardens. Over 300 members strong, our fun, energetic and dedicated volunteers provide hundreds of hours of service each month and are crucial to the success of Inniswood Metro Gardens.

Every March, new volunteers complete a training program and volunteers are asked to donate 40 hours per year to maintain their member status. In doing so, volunteers automatically become members in the Inniswood Garden Society and enjoy those benefits as well. Volunteers assist with many aspects of Inniswood operations, including garden maintenance, tours, educational programs and special events. Various horticultural and educational opportunities are available throughout the year for volunteers.

For additional information or to enroll in the next training program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Terri Bassett-Smith at 614.895.6226 or bassettsmith@metroparks.net.

The Inniswood Garden Society (IGS), a 501(c)(3) organization, was created in 1984 to assist Metro Parks in the growth and development of Inniswood Metro Gardens in a manner that is consistent with the goals and philosophies of the park district. Additionally, IGS members assist with the promotion of Inniswood by sponsoring horticultural programs for its members and the public. The Society has been instrumental in the creation of the Sisters’ Garden and Greenhouse Multipurpose Center as well as the restoration of the Woodland Rock Garden, thanks to gifts from private citizens, businesses and philanthropic organizations.

IGS members receive a quarterly newsletter, a vote at the annual meeting and information on the activities and special events at Inniswood. Additional benefits include discounts at local garden stores, nurseries and businesses (see below for list), as well as discounted fees for special programs at Inniswood. Membership in IGS helps ensure the success of Inniswood and brings a deep sense of involvement in knowing that your membership helps support this excellent horticultural facility.

To learn more and join the Inniswood Garden Society, click here.

The Friends of Columbus & Franklin County Metro Parks is a non-profit organization with a mission to enhance public use and enjoyment of the parks, seek out public support and advocate for our parks for current and future generations. To learn more about Friends of Metro Parks and to join, click here.

Metro Parks is currently not offering specific programming for scout troops, schools and homeschool groups. However, Metro Parks host a wide variety of programs, activities and experiences throughout the park district and in our Nature Centers. All reservations for Metro Parks programs can be made online through our website here.

You are more than welcome to call on our park Naturalists at the following Metro Parks to schedule an in-person field trip, or for specific resources:

Groups are also encouraged to reserve a shelter to host any of their own programming, and only Scout Troops, organized and sponsored youth and church groups may be eligible to reserve a Day Camp. To learn more, visit metroparks.net/reservations.

Metro Parks is currently not offering specific off-site programming for schools and organizations. However, Metro Parks host a wide variety of programs, activities and experiences throughout the park district and in our Nature Centers. All reservations for Metro Parks programs can be made online through our website here.

You are more than welcome to call on our park Naturalists at the following Metro Parks to schedule an in-person field trip, or for specific resources:

Groups are also encouraged to reserve a shelter to host any of their own programming, and only Scout Troops, organized and sponsored youth and church groups may be eligible to reserve a Day Camp. To learn more, visit metroparks.net/reservations.

To read the most up-to-date Metro Parks Rules & Regulations, please click here.

All the parks in the Metro Parks district can be a beautiful backdrop and natural environment for your photography and filming needs and interests.

If you are a member of the media (i.e. Television, Paid Advertising, Radio, Print/Journalism, Podcasts, etc.), you must first email your media request at info@metroparks.net for approval.

Drone flying for recreational purposes are allowed in all Metro Parks during park hours of operation, with the exception of any of the state Nature Preserves, and only at the discretion of the on-duty Park Rangers. At any time, a Park Ranger may ask you to pause, or to wait until the area is safe to fly your drone, and Metro Parks reserves the right to ask guests to cease any activity that may be unsafe, impact the experience of other guests or impede park operations. In addition, you are also required to adhere to any FAA regulations regarding drones during your flight.

Prior to flying recreational drones, we ask that you contact our on-duty Park Rangers to check with them regarding safety concerns for wildlife that are sensitive to drones, and other guests, especially during high-volume visitation, special events and summer operations.

Metro Parks does have a designated drone field at Scioto Grove Metro Park (when entering the park turn right at the roundabout, the field is immediately on your right). This field is open to anyone wishing to fly a drone in that area and it is open daily during park hours of operation.

All other drone photography and filming for commercial or media use apply for a permit and be approved by Metro Parks, and first emailed to info@metroparks.net.

Filming: All filming (commercial, student, or otherwise, etc.) must apply for a permit and be approved by Metro Parks, and first emailed to info@metroparks.net.

Photography: Metro Parks does not currently require a permit for personal or commercial (non-media) photography, but all Metro Parks Rules & Regulations must be adhered to while onsite. Please take into consideration that other guests will be in the parks, so please do not block paths or trails.

Inniswood Metro Gardens: Metro Parks does not currently require a permit for personal or commercial (non-media) photography at Inniswood Metro Gardens, but all Metro Parks Rules & Regulations must be adhered to while onsite. Please take into consideration that other guests will be in the parks, so please do not block paths or trails. Additional guidelines for photography at Inniswood Metro Gardens include the following:

  • Please stay out of the flower beds, even if there are areas where nothing is growing at the moment. Often there is nothing growing because guests continue to stand in those areas and soil compaction has a negative impact on the flora and fauna.
  • Please stay on mowed lawn, paved paths, stone paths, or wood chip paths. This includes camera gear (i.e. tripods, or camera bags).
  • Please do not block any paths. Remember that Inniswood Metro Gardens is a public garden and not a photography studio and other guests are enjoying the gardens as well.
  • Please do not move benches or stand on them, as most of them are memorial benches.
  • Please do not leave props unattended in the gardens as other guests come to experience the gardens
  • Weddings and wedding/bridal photography is restricted to the Rose Garden.

CAN I _______?

Domestic dogs and cats are welcome at Metro Parks, and those pets are permitted in all public picnic areas and outdoor shelter houses. We do ask that your furry friends are on a leash at all times, unless inside a dog park or on the designated off-leash trail at Rocky Fork Metro Park.

We allow service pets everywhere within the Metro Parks including all trails, venues and Nature Centers.

For information on pet-friendly trails and areas at Metro Parks, click here. You can find a flyer for all pet-friendly trails here, including specific dog parks and swimming areas!

We do not permit any overnight camping in our parks with the exception of our backpacking trail campsites at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park and Scioto Grove Metro Park, both of which require a reservation. Backpacking is free at both locations, and reservations can be taken by using SignUpGenius. Firewood is provided by park team members. Campfires are only permitted in designated fire pits found at the campsites. No cutting of firewood is permitted. We encourage you to contact the on-duty Park Ranger at Scioto Grove Metro Park at 614.949.1078 for any day-of questions.

For Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, click here. For Scioto Grove Metro Park, click here.

For questions on camping at either backpacking trails, email reservations@metroparks.net.

Metro Parks does not allow foraging, collections or removal of any plant, mineral or live materials throughout Metro Parks, with the exception being leaves, mushrooms, fruits and seeds in general picnic areas and other regularly mowed surfaces. The only exception is that mushroom foraging is allowed in the Public Hunting Area at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, but only from March 1st-August 31st.

We do sometimes offer programming around Ohio’s wild edibles, and for these, collection is permitted for a specific Metro Parks program with a designated team member. You can always view our programs on our website here.

Metro Parks prohibits the feeding of wildlife, as feeding bread or other items to ducks and geese is bad for their digestion. It fills them up on food that has very low nutritional value, which can be harmful to their health. Feeding geese or other birds can also disrupt their normal migration patterns, which can lead to potential harm to their overall health.

General Fishing: Fishing is permitted in many Metro Parks! To learn more and for specific park locations and bodies of water that allow fishing, click here.

Metro Parks ponds and lakes do not require fishing licenses as fishing is catch and release and catches cannot be taken away from the park.

For any river, creek or waterways, anyone above the age of 15 must have a valid Ohio fishing license from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Metro Parks does not have sole jurisdiction over rivers and waterways, and any restrictions that apply to rivers, creeks or waterways are applied by the State of Ohio and ODNR. (i.e. Fishing on the Scioto River requires a valid Ohio fishing license and all bag limits must be observed.)

Fly Fishing: Each year, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) typically stocks Clear Creek at Clear Creek Metro Park annually in late October/early November with trout. Unfortunately, we do not have a specific date, as stocking is based upon prevailing weather conditions, and Metro Parks typically finds out a day ahead of time when they will be dropped.

Ice Fishing: Ice fishing is not permitted at Metro Parks due to safety concerns.

There are public hunting areas in specific designated zones at the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Public Hunting Area during appropriate hunting seasons.

This 800-acre area is open for small game, deer and waterfowl hunting in accordance with all Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Metro Parks rules and regulations.

To view a map of the hunting area, click here.

In addition, Metro Parks hosts an annual lottery hunt at Clear Creek and Slate Run Metro Parks. Our latest blog post regarding this opportunity can be read here.

When conditions are suitable, Metro Parks has two ice skating ponds, one at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park and the other at Blendon Woods Metro Park. Typically, it takes two weeks at constant temperatures below 32 degrees to obtain a good freeze on the ponds.

There is no overnight parking of vehicles at Metro Parks, unless you are utilizing a designated overnight/after hours parking lot at Battelle Darby Creek and Prairie Oaks Metro Park, or are pre-registered for backpacking at Scioto Grove or Battelle Darby Creek Metro Parks.

Overnight vehicle parking is granted after you fill out and sign Extended Hours Vehicle Card, which can be obtained at both Prairie Oaks Metro Park or Battelle Darby Creek canoe access locations, or by contacting the on-duty Park Rangers in advance. Extended Hours Vehicle Parking Cards are only permitted for guests who are utilizing Big Darby Creek or biking along the Camp Chase Trail, and parking may not exceed 72 hours.

Should there be unsafe conditions on the Big Darby Creek, the canoe access points may be closed any time at the discretion of the on-duty Park Rangers and Park Managers.

Vehicles left in the park overnight without an Extended Hours Vehicle Parking Card are subject to towing at the owner’s expense. If your vehicle is disabled, or you have another extenuating circumstance please immediately contact the on-duty Park Rangers immediately to discuss the situation with them directly.

Access points for Big and Little Darby Creek are at the following locations:

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park: 8465 Alkire Road, Galloway, Ohio 43119 (please park in the gravel lot after filling out a card, not in the paved parking area)

Prairie Oaks Metro Park: 4275 Amity Road, Hilliard, Ohio 43026

Please note that the Osprey Lake Area parking lot is open 24 hours and does not include Extended Hours Vehicle Parking Cards, but does have a boat launch access area. Please contact the on-duty Park Rangers at 614.370.6254 should you plan on parking overnight.

Metro Parks is smoke-free, as we do not permit smoking on park property. You are permitted to smoke inside your personal vehicle, as it is your private property.

Designated smoking areas have also been set aside at some parks with private reservable venues and shelters, and may be used by the reserving party and their guests. If you have reserved a venue and wish to know if it includes a designated smoking area, please contact our Reservations Team at reservations@metroparks.net.

We do not permit swimming in any of our parks, waterways or ponds.

We allow service pets everywhere within the Metro Parks including all trails, facilities and Nature Centers.

Drone flying for recreational purposes are allowed in all Metro Parks during park hours of operation, with the exception of any of the state Nature Preserves, and only at the discretion of the on-duty Park Rangers. At any time, a Park Ranger may ask you to pause, or to wait until the area is safe to fly your drone, and Metro Parks reserves the right to ask guests to cease any activity that may be unsafe, impact the experience of other visitors or impede park operations. In addition, you are also required to adhere to any FAA regulations regarding drones during your flight.

Prior to flying recreational drones, we ask that you contact our on-duty Park Rangers to check with them regarding safety concerns for wildlife that are sensitive to drones, and other guests, especially during high-volume visitation, special events and summer operations.

Metro Parks does have a designated drone field at Scioto Grove Metro Park (when entering the park turn right at the roundabout, the field is immediately on your right). This field is open to anyone wishing to fly a drone in that area and it is open daily during park hours of operation.

All other drone photography and filming for commercial or media use apply for a permit and be approved by Metro Parks, and first emailed to info@metroparks.net.

Filming: All filming (commercial, student, or otherwise, etc.) must apply for a permit and be approved by Metro Parks, and first emailed to info@metroparks.net.

Photography: Metro Parks does not currently require a permit for personal or commercial (non-media) photography, but all Metro Parks Rules & Regulations must be adhered to while onsite. Please take into consideration that other guests will be in the parks, so please do not block paths or trails.

All other drone photography and filming for commercial or media use apply for a permit and be approved by Metro Parks, and first emailed to info@metroparks.net.

Metro Parks does allow the use of metal detectors in most parks, with the exceptions to this being Inniswood Metro Gardens, Blacklick Woods Golf Course and Slate Run Living Historical Farm.

You are only permitted to use them in the picnic and playground areas, and not at any reservable areas. In addition, you must replace any divots created after digging, and digging can only be done with small tools no larger than a hand trowel.

Please call the on-duty Park Ranger cell phones when you arrive at the park to let the on-duty Park Ranger know you are planning to use a metal detector.

Should you find anything of historical significance, please contact info@metroparks.net for public record documentation and archiving purposes.

To host a special event, 5K, or multiple events, you’ll need to request a Special Event Permit application. At the end of each year, we begin accepting applications for the following year. These permits are granted on a case-by-case basis, depending on the details of your request and availability. For additional questions, please contact info@metroparks.net.

You may apply for a Special Use Commercial or Nonprofit Permit to gain an exception to a Metro Parks rule by emailing info@metroparks.net. These permits have associated costs, and are granted on a case-by-case basis, depending on the details of your request and availability.

For your convenience below is a list of each on-duty Metro Park Park Ranger cell phone number, and the number to the Metro Parks Dispatcher. In addition, these numbers are posted at all park bulletins and signs around the parks.

In the event of an emergency, please call 911 immediately, and then our on-duty Metro Park Rangers during open park hours of operation or the Metro Parks Dispatcher at 614.620.1865.

Friends of Metro Parks manages the Tree & Bench program. For more information on the Tree & Bench program, click here, and to check the availability of the program, please visit the donation page here.

The Metro Parks Passport program is made possible by the Adams Legacy Foundation through the Friends of Metro Parks, and provides a way for guests and their families to enjoy the park district.

You can pick up a passport at the following Nature Centers: Blacklick Woods, Highbanks, Blendon Woods and Battelle Darby Creek Metro Parks.

Visit all the parks and destinations marked on the park pages and find a Metro Parks team member to stamp your passport.

Once your passport has at least one stamp on each page, fill out all of the information listed and turn it in at a Nature Center to receive an exclusive Metro Parks t-shirt. If every box on every park page is stamped, you’ll receive a Metro Parks swag bag, as well as the t-shirt by mailing your passport to the Metro Parks Headquarters at 1069 W. Main St., Westerville, Ohio 43081.

Don’t see a question answered? Please email info@metroparks.net.