Get Outside in Delaware County


get outside in delaware county


The weather may not feel like it just yet, but fall is around the corner.  My favorite season!  The humidity is gone; the temperatures are down; the leaves are changing color; there is some semblance of a schedule now that kids are back to school; life is good!  Life is even better outside!

Below are my top six places to get outside in Delaware County.  Although it doesn’t seem to be a factor that was considered when ranking the health of Ohio counties, I believe that our awesome outdoor spaces have something to do with Delaware’s #1 spot.

Shale Hollow Preserve

Hands down my favorite place.  It’s a hidden gem in the middle of suburbia.  I thought about not even adding it to this list because, selfishly, I kind of love that not many people know about it yet.

  • What I love:  Natural play areas.  Shade.  The best creeking around.  The best rock skipping around.
  • Know before you go:  You really have to be looking for it, especially if you are driving north on 23.
  • Bathrooms:  Yes.
  • Combo Trip:  Olentangy Mini Golf or Dairy Queen both within two minutes of the park.

shale hollow

Stratford Ecological Center

Their website says it best: fostering an appreciation for the land.  There are animals, gardens, greenhouses, barns, trails, a pond, and tons of room to explore!

  • What I Love:  It’s a working farm!  Wonderful volunteers!  Kids are encouraged to get dirty and to ask questions.
  • Bathrooms: Yes.
  • Know Before You Go:  Visiting is free, but donations are encouraged.  Play clothes and shoes are a must.
  • Combo trip:  Asahi Sushi and Hibachi – so yummy and so many options for both the kids and adults!


Alum Creek Below Dam Playground

  • What I Love:  Two playgrounds, shade in shelter houses, pretty views of the reservoir, a workout on the steps up to the dam, often model planes are flying about, thanks to nearby Dinneen Field.
  • Bathrooms:  Yes.
  • Know Before You Go:  The playgrounds can be very wet and muddy after a good rain.  Still fun to play, but bring rain boots for you and the kids!
  • Combo Trip:  Climb the stairs around sunset.  Stunning!  Or, dinner at the newly opened 101 Beer Kitchen for adult drinks and a great menu for the whole family.

alum creek below dam

Alum Creek State Park

So many adventures to be found with over 4,000 acres of land and over 3,000 acres of water to explore.

  • What I Love:  Never the same adventure twice.  It feels like a vacation when you are near the water.  A beach!  Tons of trails.  Docks to watch boats, birds, and fish.
  • Bathrooms: Yes, at the marina.  Or behind that tree 😉
  • Combo Trip:  Rocky’s Italian Ice at the Marina.

alum creek state park

Veteran’s Park

A park that opened in summer 2016, this “Spray and Play” area is huge, and well planned.

  • What I Love:  Safe for a wide variety of ages.  Easy to see the whole area.  Unusual playground equipment.
  • Know Before You Go:  Not a lot of shade.  The splash pad is really close, so be ready for a battle if you don’t intend on letting the kids get wet.
  • Bathrooms: Yes, super close, and very clean!
  • Combo Trip:  Dinosaur themed splash pad, Delaware YMCA, snack bar (be sure to check the hours), and a picnic shelter all on the same property.   Make an afternoon of it!
Veteran's Park
                                Veteran’s Park

Downtown Delaware

  • What I Love:  Quaint, trendy, friendly.  Great restaurants, local shops, and entertainment.  Walk everywhere.  Great window shopping!
  • Bathrooms: Yes, for paying customers in establishments.
  • Combo Trip:  No need to leave downtown.  You can paint pottery at Bare Bowl, eat dinner at Son of Thurman, have frozen custard at Whit’s or find a new favorite book for the kids at Fundamentals.

I know there are TONS more outdoor spots in Delaware County.  Please share your favorite with the Columbus community below.

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When Jen is not trading sarcastic jabs with her husband or hanging out with her kids, she can be found bargain shopping, digital scrapbooking, or *gasp* sleeping. She lives by the Golden Rule and tries to teach her kids to do the same. Jen is a school counselor and loves being an advocate for kids. She is mom to two awesome girls: a rule following, empathetic-beyond-her-years 5 year old and a spunky and sweet 1 year old. She has been married for ten years and has lived in Ohio forever. She was born and raised in the Cleveland area and established roots in Columbus 15 years ago. Her basement is full of "stuff" Including deals too good to leave at the store and childhood memories. She is a recovering people pleaser and a current Pepsi addict. She loves people watching but hates cleaning the bathroom. Jen is hopeful that Columbus Mom's Blog can help families in central Ohio connect while also creating that lost feeling of community that she craves.