Rocky Fork Metro Park: New Metro Park glimmers with classy touches
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Rocky Fork Metro Park

New Metro Park glimmers with classy touches


Secondary_Rocky Fork Metro ParkIn New Albany, where the roads are lined with white, picket fences, you’d expect to find public spaces with superb fit and finish. And that’s just what you’ll find at Rocky Fork Metro Park, which opened just north of New Albany in August 2015.

One of 19 central Ohio Metro Parks, Rocky Fork was developed through a partnership among New Albany, the city of Columbus and Plain Township.

Nature does its own work to make this 1,003-acre plot of land attractive. But it’s the details in the man-made construction that makes Rocky Form Metro Park a bit more fashionable.

Fine craftsmanship is especially noticeable in the park’s picnic shelter, where guests will find glossy-topped picnic tables surrounding a two-sided fireplace with stone chimney. Nearby are knotty pine Adirondack chairs.

Kids will like the play area, which has fake boulders to climb and a rolling slide, all set on a squishy surface.

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Parents will appreciate the clean bathrooms. And pet owners will like the off-leash dog trail and dog park with fountains for Fido to cool down.

Other than these few accoutrements, the space is pretty sparse. That’s fine, especially for nature lovers, who’ll find miles of quiet trails for walking, biking and horseback riding.

We enjoyed the North Meadow trail, which meanders one mile around a field that’s abuzz with bees visiting fragrant clover and daisies. Highlights included seeing deer, watching the summer breeze cause the field flowers to sway and finding droves of young frogs hopping across the path toward a cattail-lined swamp.

Rocky Fork Metro Park is located at 7180 Walnut St., Westerville. For more information, visit metroparks.net.

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Peapod Play Cafe

Coffee shop with indoor play space just right for Gahanna, New Albany


Peapod Play Cafe recently opened its doors in northeast Columbus, joining a string of indoor play spaces in central Ohio offering fun for youngsters and a coffee-shop atmosphere for parents.

Peapod, at 4874 Thompson Rd., fills a void, says owner Chien Shu Cho, who opened her spacious, modern gathering place in November.

“There are no indoor playgrounds in the area to serve New Albany and Gahanna,” said Shu Cho, during a soft opening in late October. “Moms here need a place for their kids to play, especially in the winter.”

What makes Peapod different?

Shu Cho, originally from Taiwan, offers an assortment of unique toys and play items, mostly from her home country. There’s a sturdy, plastic bowl that several children can sit inside and rock. There are also four-wheeled riders that children pedal while standing up.

“Toys are important,” Shu Cho said. “I want to offer something that kids never see and want to play with.”

Shu Cho and her husband, Tengyin Hu, built a wooden playhouse and an ice-cream truck for the cafe and even created ice-cream treats out of fabric.

The duo are graphic designers by trade. Shu Cho moved to Columbus 17 years ago to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design. After being laid off from a design job one year ago, she said she felt the need to reinvent herself.

Having two young children, the couple was drawn to the play cafe business and saw an opportunity in northeast Columbus.

Their cafe is geared toward an age range of children beginning to walk through 7-year-olds. Other play items include rubber balls, train sets and a metallic wall for sticking magnetic letters. There’s also a lot of carpeted space for children to romp around.

For the parents there is a separated space with seating and free Wi-Fi. Coffee and healthy snacks also are for sale.

How does it work?

Just show up, sign a waiver, pay and allow your kids to play and yourself some “me” time.

Cost is $10 per child. Price decreases with additional children ($6 for second child, then $4 each additional child). The cost for crawlers is $4.

Half-priced admission is available during the last hour of playtime.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed from 1-2 p.m.), Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday.

The space also is available for parties during after hours.

For more information, visit www.peapodplaycafe.com.