There are many places to visit in Columbus, Ohio, that make it easy to get back to nature. If you’re in the area and are looking for a way to get some fresh air while enjoying the scenic beauty of Ohio’s capital city, you’re in luck. These lush green spots and outdoor attractions make for the ideal way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium lies along the O’Shaughnessy Reservoir on the Scioto River. You can see marine animals and other animals in their habitats here. Sections of the zoo include Congo Expedition, Asia Quest, Heart of Africa, North America and Australia. Jungle Jack’s Landing features family rides, Animal Encounters Village and Stingray Bay. Renowned zookeeper Jack Hanna does educational programs for zoo visitors several times a year.
Columbus Park of Roses
Columbus Park of Roses, featuring more than 12,000 roses, is located within Whetstone Park. The park also showcases perennial and herb gardens and displays beds of annual plantings. It’s easy to enjoy the 13-acre park with its wide, paved paths and numerous teak benches. The Heritage Rose Garden is in full bloom in late May, and the Formal Rose Garden usually reaches peak bloom in mid-June.
The Topiary Park
The Topiary Park is an interpretation of a painting of a landscape. The painting depicted by the topiaries is George Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”
It includes eight boats, 54 human figures, three dogs, a monkey and a cat. The topiaries are made of yew, and the tallest one is 12 feet.
The Scioto Mile
The Scioto Mile, located on the riverfront in the heart of downtown Columbus, boasts more than 175 acres of parkland.
You can paddle along The Mile, splash through the 15,000-square-foot interactive fountain, visit the Cultural Art Center, go picnicking at Bicentennial Park and walk or bike along greenway trails. The promenade is a popular spot that features a stone colonnade with gardens, park benches and game tables.
Alum Creek Greenway Trail
Alum Creek Greenway Trail is a hiking area that stretches along the scenic river corridor. The 25-mile paved trail runs from Westerville through Columbus to Groveport.
It’s easy to reach adjoining neighborhoods where there are public parks and dining and shopping options. There are many bridges, in a range of architectural styles, on the trail. A double-arch bridge is situated over the creek in Strawberry Farms Park.
Blendon Woods Metro Park
Blendon Woods Metro Park is a 653-acre park with beech-maple and oak-hickory forests that surround open fields. Stream-cut ravines with exposed ripple rock sandstone are focal points of the park. The Walden Waterfowl Refuge with its Thoreau Lake is a sanctuary for wildlife and birds. Two elevated observation shelters with spotting scopes make it easy to view waterfowl. The park is open year-round.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens shows off special exhibitions, exotic plant collections and Dale Chihuly artwork. The conservatory was originally built in 1895, and its John F. Wolfe Palm House is a grand Victorian-style glass greenhouse. An architectural light installation by internationally renowned light artist James Turrell illuminates John F. Wolfe Palm House.