Bison, tree homes, climbing wall

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Video: Development in progress at Quarry Trails Metro Park

An old quarry becomes a unique mixed-use and adventure metropark.

Doral Chenoweth, The Columbus Dispatch

The 19 natural areas that make up the Metro Parks system in central Ohio are great local attractions all year round. The system offers hiking trails, nature center programs and all types of wildlife.

But did you know that Metro Parks also have a herd of bison, a 10-meter climbing wall and a tree house?

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Here are some of the more unique aspects and hidden gems of these central Ohio green spaces:

Bison at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

While walking through a park in the Columbus area, one might expect to see birds or deer, or maybe even a snake. However, visitors to this Galloway park can also see a herd of bison roaming free in two large, enclosed pastures.

A popular attraction in central Ohio. About 10 of these giant creatures name the more than 7,000 acres of forest, prairie, and wetlands that make up Battelle Darby Creek.

The park is believed to be an accurate replica of the prairie land that runs along the Big and Little Darby Creeks, making it an ideal habitat for bison.

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Tree forts in Glacier Ridge Metro Park

Named for the glacier debris that was left behind when the glaciers retreated from the area about 15,000 years ago, this Plain City park offers a special forest retreat that will delight both children and adults.

For those looking for a quiet moment, people can take refuge in one of the forts made of branches and logs that occupy the wooded area. They are the perfect hiding place or a place to relax with a good book.

Visitors just have to look out for frisbees, as the wooded area also features a tricky disc golf course that winds around tree trunks.

Kindergarten in the Inniswood Metro Gardens

Sisters Grace and Mary Innis donated their home and the surrounding land to the Metro Parks system in the 1970s to help create this outdoor sanctuary in Westerville. A must-see marquee is the nearly 3-acre Sisters’ Garden, which is geared towards children.

The area includes a water pump and pools for children to splash around in. There is also a tree house and suspension bridge for imaginative play and a small house to visit.

A series of paths and mazes complete the attractions of the sister garden. Visitors can spend the day exploring or even getting lost in the quirky park grounds.

Climbing wall in Scioto Audubon Metro Park

Located just south of the hustle and bustle of downtown, this 120-acre green oasis is home to numerous wildlife, especially birds. However, the obstacle course and climbing wall are definitely a must for adventurers of all skill levels.

The main climbing feature has three towers and two arches and reaches a height of 35 feet while extending over 7,000 square feet. The massive structure is a great place to practice bouldering as well as top rope and lead climbing.

There are four automatic fuses for those who want to bring their own harnesses. For safety reasons, the wall function is only open from the age of 13; However, there are small 10 foot high boulders for younger children to climb.

Living historic farm in Slate Run Metro Park

Take a step back in time while visiting this location in Canal Winchester. There, visitors can experience life on a farm in the 1880s by viewing a historic farmhouse and barn.

Visitors can talk to costumed staff and volunteers, and get an up-close look at a variety of farm animals such as pigs, horses, geese, sheep, and turkeys.

It is always a pleasure to visit him shortly after the birth of a farm baby.

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