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Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category

bike-trail-2This weekend we finally broke in our new bike trailer, which I love.

We biked the Heritage Bike Trail in Hilliard. It was a great trail for our first trip with the trailer because the trail is flat and wide.

For the most part, the munchkin was pretty happy riding in the trailer. I packed lots of snacks and books for her, and she ate and read her books for most of the trip. Towards the end of the 12 mile ride, she got a little cranky and slept for the last three miles.

The only negative to Heritage Trail is that because it so flat, the sun was beating down on us for almost the entire trip and because it was so windy on Sunday, the wind kept blowing the bike around. This bike trail certainly isn’t my favorite trail and I don’t know if we’ll bother riding it again this year, but it was a good way to test out the trailer.

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This weekend, we had beautiful fall weather which was perfect for a hike. Hiking in the fall is great, because it isn’t too hot or too cold and the bugs aren’t biting.

We went to Old Man’s Cave in the Hocking Hills State Park. I was a little worried about hiking with a 21-month-old, but she loved it. She rode on my back in a backpack carrier the entire time. She snacked on granola bars and drank from my water bottle as I walked.  

We parked in the parking lots at the Welcome Center, and began our hiking by taking the Gorge Overlook Trail. The trail was an easy hike. We crossed at the “A” Frame Bridge Over the Gorge and took Grandma’ Gatewood Trail back.

Grandma’ Gatewood Trail was a harder hike. There were more fallen trees across the trail and more rocks to climb up, down, and over. Having a 27-pound toddler strapped to your back doesn’t make the hike any easier. It took us about four hours to complete that hike, but that included multiple stops for lunch and water breaks. 

This was a great, free activity for a fall weekend. I haven’t been to Old Man’s Cave in about 10 years, and I forgot how incredibly beautiful the park is. The trees have not started to change yet, but the hike will be even more magnificent when they do.

Where: From Columbus, take U.S. 33 East through Lancaster to Logan, Ohio and exit onto State Route 664 South. Take 664 South approximately 12 miles to the park area. It took us a little over an hour to drive there from Columbus.

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Fall is beginning to make an appearance in Columbus, and the weather is beginning to cool down a little bit, which makes this the perfect time of year to visit some of Columbus’s great parks.

This weekend, my daughter and I went to Slate Run Metro Park, one of our favorite parks in Columbus.

First, we went to the Slate Run Living Historical Farm, which she loves. During this visit, she got to see baby ducks with their mama, along with horses, cows, pigs, and sheep. The sheep were as interested in her as she was with them. They seemed to enjoy her attention and pets. She also helped the staff feed the pigs some okra.  

After the farm, we explored more of the park. First, we went to Buzzard’s Roost Lake. The lake has a boardwalk that goes out over the lake. We spent close to an hour sitting on the boardwalk watching the fish and frogs. She loved dropping fallen leaves into the lake and watching them float away. She was content to just watch everything. She is at that amazing age where everything is fascinating. 

She also loved playing at the playground at the Buzzard’s Roost Picnic area. Slate Run is a great park. With the farm, lake, and playground, we spent about three hours there. Definitely worth a visit!

Location: The park and farm are location in northeastern Pickaway County. From I-270, take U.S. 33 east toward Lancaster to the Canal Winchester/S.R. 674 exit. Turn right onto Gender Rd./S.R. 674 and go about 2 miles until it dead-ends into Lithopolis Road. Turn left and go about 1/2 mile to S.R. 674. Turn right and go about 4 miles to the entrance on the right. 

Hours: The farm’s hours change seasonally. For September and October, the hours are Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The farm is closed Mondays. Check the park’s website for current hours. 

Fee: The park and farm are free! 

For more about our previous adventures at the farm, visit this post.

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Today, my daughter and I went to the Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival, which is a great event for kids. The festival had tons of art activities for kids.

While we were there, the munchkin colored on the sidewalk with chalk, which she loves to do. The nice people who supplied the chalk told us about Via Colori Columbus.

Via Colori is an Italian street painting festival. At Via Colori Columbus, more than 100 artists, both professional and amateur, will paint the sidewalks of Goodale Park.   

For the kids, there is Via Bambini, an area for kids to get creative with chalk. Along with the art, the festival also features lives music an food vendors. 

All proceeds, after expenses, go to Columbus Ohio charities – Homeless Families Foundation, Ohio Arts League, and CD101 for the Kids. 

Where: Goodale Park

When: September 13, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and September 14, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Fee: Free! 

For more information about the event, call 614-580-7988.

[Photo Credit: Chalk]

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I had a reader today ask me about parks in Columbus. We are new to the park scene this summer and still discovering Columbus’s parks and playgrounds.

Last summer, the munchkin was too small for parks.Now, we love a good park. With a 19-month old, my criteria for a good park is a good playground. 

One of my favorite parks is Goodale Park located in Victorian Village.  Goodale Park has two playgrounds – one for younger kids and one for older kids. The playground for the younger kids has baby swings – a must in our park criteria.

Goodale Park also has a lot of open space for the pumpkin to run around in and sidewalks that cross through the park. 

Another favorite park is Homestead Park near Hilliard. Homestead has one of the largest playground areas that I’ve seen in Columbus, and is in three separate areas inside the park. The toddler area has baby swings and a sand-area that is perfect for the little ones. It is located near the front of the park.

The second playground area has a section for younger kids with baby swings and smaller equipment, and an area with larger equipment for older kids. The two areas are connected together, which is good for parents with kids of different ages. 

The third area in Homestead Park is a waterpark. Again, there are two areas for the waterpark – one for older kids and one for younger kids. The water area for younger kids has faucets the children can turn on that flow into metal basins. My daughter enjoys this area. She is too young to turn the faucets on herself, so I do that for her. The waterpark for the older kids is called Fort Washington, and both times we’ve been there this summer, kids are running around spraying each other with water guns.

Both parks are great, and we are frequent visitors. In addition to these parks, we also love Slate Run Metro Park and Farm and the fountains at Ballantrea Park

Locations: Goodale Park is located one block west of High Street at W. Goodale Street and Park Street in the Victorian Village. Homestead Park is at 4675 Cosgray Road, Hilliard, Ohio 43026.

What other parks are great in Columbus?

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About 20 miles south of Columbus is Slate Run Metro Park and Slate Run Living Historical Farm. The farm is a living historical farm, which means the farm is operated as Ohio farms in the 1880s were.

My daughter loved the farm. We went early in the morning, and were the only visitors in the barn for about an hour.  By being there early, we missed the school and camp groups that were arriving as we were finishing up our visit.

The farm staff, who are dressed in period clothes, are very friendly and provided us with information about the individual animals.  Inside the main barn the munchkin got to pet horses, cows, and sheep. All the animals were calm, friendly, and allowed her to touch them. The horses were in their stalls and lowered their muzzles for her.  

Behind the main barn, we got to see the pigs and turkeys. I was shocked at how large pigs are! (Yes, I am a city girl.) And they are not clean and pink as the books and movies make them look. We also saw chickens, roosters, and ducks. The ducks roam the farm freely, and they are faster than an 18 month-old.

Besides the barn, visitors can tour the farmhouse, and see how food was prepared in the 1880s, along with various other buildings, such as an outhouse. We skip that stop on our tour!

Location: The park and farm are location in northeastern Pickaway County. From I-270, take U.S. 33 east toward Lancaster to the Canal Winchester/S.R. 674 exit. Turn right onto Gender Rd./S.R. 674 and go about 2 miles until it dead-ends into Lithopolis Road. Turn left and go about 1/2 mile to S.R. 674. Turn right and go about 4 miles to the entrance on the right. Once inside the park, go past the ranger station and take the first road left and follow the signs to the farm.

Hours: From June through August, the farm is open Tuesday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The farm is closed on Mondays. Check their website for hours since they change seasonally. 

What to Take: The path that leads from the parking lot to the farm is too far for little ones to walk. We brought a wagon, which was perfect. Stroller would be good too, but the path is dirt and a little bumpy, so a jogging stroller would be good. Other than that, the usual for the kiddos – snacks, drinks, sunscreen, hats. The farm does provide hand sanitizer at two locations. The farm asks that visitors do not feed the animals.

Fee: Free! 

Additional Info: For additional information about the farm, visit the Friends of Slate Run Farm website. The site has a schedule of events taking place on the farm, frequently asked questions about the farm, a baby animal report, and articles written by the farmers. Thanks to Farm Lady for the additional information!

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This weekend is Comfest, and it was my first year attending. A friend and I took our two munchkins to the festival. The kids had a blast and the moms end up exhausted. 

Comfest is a free community festival in Goodale Park. The festival has live music, vendors – both art and food, and lots of good people watching opportunities. 

First, we threw down a blanket and let the kids run around while we listened to some good local music. Then, we took them over to the playground so they could burn off even more of their energy. Goodale Park has a great playground. 

After that, we got some dinner from some of the local food venders – falalfal sandwiches from Benevolence Cafe and tea from ZenCha Tea Salon. Both the sandwiches and tea were very good. 

Comfest was a lot of fun. Taking kids involved a lot of chasing, which was difficult because the park was crowded. If you plan on attending, definitely take a stroller, a blanket to sit on and a lot of water. Parking is difficult. Allow time to look for a parking space. We parked in the garage on Vine Street by the North Market and had to pay $8. 

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