Parks in ColumbusThere’s much more to Columbus, OH than its retail outlets and restaurants. This great American city is home to some of the most beautiful natural parks found anywhere in the country.

The Metro Parks Center of Central Ohio offers hiking, nature watching and even fishing. Keep reading to learn more about the many parks that dot the Ohio landscape.

Chestnut Ridge was the first ridge found in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. With a vast span of around 4,500 feet and heights that go up to more than 1,000 feet, prepare yourself for a full day of hiking and enjoying Mother Nature at her finest. The black oak, shagbark hickory and northern red oaks adorn the landscape.

The Scioto Audubon Metro Park is perfect for those who appreciate the bird habitats. You can also fish, play volleyball and take advantage of the climbing wall. This is a pet-friendly park, too, so it’s ideal for the whole family. There’s 120 acres of “never get bored” recreation.

Another favorite park in Columbus is the Slate Run Living Historical Farm. Visitors feel like they’ve stepped back in time. This is a wonderful opportunity to lay aside the phones and mp3 players for an opportunity to experience some of the slower-paced days that didn’t include worrying for hours about why someone hasn’t replied to a direct message. Here, you’ll see pigs, geese, Percheron horses, turkeys and other animals. The real attraction, however, is found closer to the barns and gardens. Tour the farmhouse, complete with full costumes adorned by the staff. You’ll be able to see how life truly was when you tour the living room, the kitchen and parlor and other areas. This is a popular choice for teachers who are teaching their students all about history.

You’ve never seen so many shades of green than when on Green way Trails in the spring and summer months. The multi-use green ways are used as trails for transportation and recreation. It’s an ideal way to bring together people and nature while also enjoying the clean air and water. The trails are well-maintained, making them a great day trip for families. Currently, the natural history collections house more than 30,000 cataloged specimens, which are spread among fossils, rocks and minerals, plants, insects and other arthropods, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fishes. More than 215,000 of these specimens are on long-term loan to The Ohio State University’s Museum of Biological Diversity.

Another great hiking opportunity is found in the High banks Metro Park. With Native American burial grounds within the property, this is truly scared ground. Hikers love the 100 ft. bluffs and the rivers blow. Plenty of hiking trails for beginners and old hands, too. All of this comes together to make for a great Saturday or overnight camping trip.

Whether it’s a quiet, shady space for a picnic or brisk walk with nature, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for in the great Columbus outdoors. Be sure to check for park opening and closing times as well as the attractions, especially if you’re bringing the little ones.