Scioto Grove Metro Park
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Scioto Grove Metro Park

19th park in central Ohio system shines with streamlined amenities


Scioto Grove Metro ParkThe newest metro park in central Ohio doesn’t have a nature center, traditional swings or even a trash can.

What the Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City does have are sleek picnic shelters that appear straight out of an architectural book from the 1960s, a playground that requires kids to climb a tricky web in order to descend its tubular slide, and platforms for tents along a backpacking trail.

Visitors are asked to “carry in and carry out” their trash. Paper bags are provided in unassuming containers attached to posts. The absence of bulky trashcans really streamlines the park and perhaps even keeps wildlife in check.

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The 620-acre park opened along the Scioto River in May 2016. We recently explored its offerings and were taken by its back-to-the-basics approach. I liked seeing people tuned out of electronic devices and tuned into each other and nature.

We saw fathers and sons casting rods into the catch-and-release pond. We saw kids riding Big Wheels on a gravel path. We saw families cooking burgers on charcoal grills and competing in games of corn hole. We even saw a couple having a romantic picnic on one of the overlook decks.

What else can you do at the park? Visitors can hike seven miles of trails, many of which meander alongside the river, where you also can canoe and kayak. Campers are welcome from May through October, and a sledding hill also is available.

Established in 1945, Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks operates 19 parks in seven central Ohio counties. The park system protects more than 27,000 acres of land and water and offers year-round recreational and educational opportunities to the public free of charge.

Scioto Grove is located at 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City. Learn more.

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Gardens at Gantz Farm

Smell flowers, wade in a stream, walk a labyrinth


The Gardens at Gantz Farm is more than a pretty space to look at flowers. The Grove City park also is a learning grounds for thoughtful landscaping, a natural play place for curious kids wanting to turn over rocks in a stream, and a fine spot for contemplating life as you twist and turn through a brick-paved labyrinth.

Plus, it’s got a good playground.

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But, like its name implies, Gantz is first a garden. Visitors can pick up a brochure and take a self-guided tour through the gardens, situated alongside a historic farmhouse. Plant species are categorized by usage: cooking, floral arranging, producing natural dyes, making medicines, landscaping and even their pollution-fighting abilities.

My kids, though, were mostly interested in walking the labyrinth. Unlike a maze, the path of a labyrinth has one entrance that leads to its center with no dead-ends. I was delighted to see how much my children enjoyed this ancient, meditative activity.

Rosie and Max also joined other children in a nearby stream. Those, who didn’t join the fun, sat on the grassy embankment and watched others partake in another simple pleasure – flipping over stones in search of snails and crayfish.

The Gardens at Gantz Farm is located at 2255 Home Rd., Grove City. For more information, call 614-871-6323 or visit parks.grovecityohio.gov/gantz.

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Central Ohio Farm Markets

Prime picking time for farmers markets


One of the best things about summer in Ohio is the bounty of fruits and vegetables. There’s nothing like a sun-ripened tomato, picked fresh from the vine. Even better is dicing it up and combining it with peeled cucumbers, strips of basil and a freshly made vinaigrette for a tasty summertime salad.

You can find these ingredients and more at the many farm markets sprouting up this time of year in central Ohio. I recently visited the farmers market in the Columbus neighborhood of Clintonville, held each Saturday from April through November.

Vendors from around Ohio set up temporary shops along N. High Street, offering fruits, vegetables, pastries, jams, honey and flowers. The farmers grow their produce within 75 miles of Columbus, so it’s made for flavor — not made to survive long trips on trucks or trains.

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Here is a brief look at some of the many farm markets around central Ohio:

Bexley Farmers Market: 4-7 p.m., Thursdays, May through October, Bexley City Hall, 2111 E. Main St., Bexley. Learn more: www.bexleyfarmersmarket.com.

Canal Winchester Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-noon., Saturdays, May through October, Main Street in downtown Canal Winchester. Learn more: www.thecwfm.com.

Clintonville Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, April through November; and 4-7 p.m., Wednesdays, June through August, west side of N. High Street between Orchard Lane and W. Dunedin Road, Columbus. Learn more: www.clintonvillefarmersmarket.org.

Delaware Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturdays; 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays, May through October, Sandusky Street, downtown Delaware. Learn more: www.mainstreetdelaware.com/farmers-market.

Dublin Farmers Market: 3:30-6:30 p.m.., Wednesdays, May through September, Oakland Nursery, 4261 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., Dublin. Learn more: www.dublinfarmersmarket.com.

Franklinton’s Market at 400: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturdays (biweekly), year round, 400 W. Rich St., Columbus. Learn more: 400westrich.com.

Grandview Avenue Farmers Market: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays, July through October, 1371 Grandview Ave., Grandview Heights.

Grove City Farmers Market: 8 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, April through October, Grove City Town Center, at the corners of Park Street and Broadway.

Hilliard Farm Market: 4-7 p.m., Tuesdays, June through September, parking lots at the corner of Wayne and Center streets, Hilliard. Learn more: hilliardfarmmarket.com.

Jefferson Township Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, June through September, Jefferson Community Park, 7494 Clark State Rd., Blacklick.

Lancaster Farmers Market: 8 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, May through October, Government Services parking lot, 239 W. Main St., Lancaster. Learn more: www.lancasterohfarmersmarket.org.

Pearl Market: 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesdays and Fridays, May through October, Pearl Alley, one block north of the Ohio Statehouse, downtown Columbus. Learn more: downtowncolumbus.com/pearlmarket.

Powell Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, May through October, City of Powell Municipal Building, 47 Hall St., Powell.

Reynoldsburg Farmers Market: 3-6 p.m., Thursdays, June through August, Huber Park, 7300 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg.

Worthington Farmers Market: 8 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, May through October; 9 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, November through April (indoors), downtown Olde Worthington. Learn more: worthingtonfarmersmarket.blogspot.com.

Upper Arlington Farmers Market: 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays, May through September, Upper Arlington Senior Center, 1945 Ridgeview Rd.

Uptown Westerville Farmers Market: 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays, May through October, N. State and E. Home roads, Westerville. Learn more: www.marketwednesday.com.

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World of Bounce

Children, adults can play on large, inflatable objects


Parents seeking to entertain their children or at least tucker them out before an afternoon nap will enjoy World of Bounce in Grove City.

Located inside a warehouse in an industrial area six miles southwest of downtown Columbus, the 12,000-square-foot space contains two rooms filled with inflatable play equipment. The large, air-filed objects are made of strong rubber and plastic and are like the ones found at carnivals or summertime birthday parties.

World of Bounce is a great place for kids to romp when it’s cold or raining. Children ages 2 and older can jump, climb, slide and play on the inflatables. Adults can play too, if they’re so inclined.

The space is open to the public during open bounce periods and rentable for private parties. My family of four visited during a Friday “open bounce session” from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. We were told it was more crowded than normal because a nearby school had the day off. Despite the extra children, it wasn’t overly busy.

With tax, we paid $7.47 for our two-year-old daughter, Rosie, to play for three hours. Adults are allowed to accompany their children for free. Guests are asked to sign a waiver reqlinquishing World of Bounce from injury liability. It also grants its staff permission to perform First Aid. The waiver is available online.

Rosie and I took off our shoes and stored them, along with our coats, in a designated space. I followed Rosie into the bounce area, where we climbed up a ladder inside one of the inflatable toys and came down a modest slide. It was great being able to play alongside my daughter instead of just watching her have fun.

World of Bounce’s friendly staff, called “bouncers,” also keep a watchful eye on children, making sure they take turns going up and down slides and don’t overcrowd bounce areas.

I liked that I didn’t hear any annoying whistles or loud music blaring throughout the space. I hope it stays this way.

The space is thoughtfully designed. It contains two large bounce areas and two party rooms, each with a big, inflatable birthday chair. Wedged between the bounce areas is a room where parents and guardians can hang out and view children through large picture windows. It contains a big-screen television and eight tables with chairs. Several adults were working on their computers while their children bounced.

World of Bounce is neat and clean, and it has spacious bathrooms. There are hand sanitizers mounted at entryways into the bounce area and drinking fountains with step stools for children.

World of Bounce is located at 1649 Gateway Circle. For directions and information on open play times and party rates, refer to the company’s Web site. The cost is $9 per child and $6 per sibling. Adults can play for free when accompanying a child. Discounts are available for groups of 10 and larger and for those who frequent the facility often.

For more information, visit www.worldofbounceparty.com.