Living in a big city like Columbus can disconnect you from Mother Nature. Luckily, there are several parks a short walk away from campus.
All of these parks are along the Alum Creek Trail. This is a paved trail that is perfect for walking, running, or biking. The south section of the Alum Creek Trail runs five miles from Airport Road to the end of Three Creeks Metro Park, and five miles after it. All along the trail are bends and peaceful views of Alum Creek. At some points, it feels like you aren’t in a big city at all.
The first park, Academy Park, is off of Nelson Road. This green-space is relatively small, but it’s worth visiting to see the Marshall Taylor Bridge that crosses Alum Creek. Adjacent to the park is Capital’s ballfields where you can watch the softball and baseball teams play in the spring. Across the Marshall Taylor Bridge is Wolfe Park. Wolfe Park has a wide-open field that goes along Alum Creek and a small wooded area. You can go here to unwind after being cramped in a classrooms all week. There are also tennis courts available if the tennis courts on campus are occupied.
On the other side of the Creek is Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This magnificent park off Broad Street has 88 acres of tress, grasses, and plants of a seemingly endless variety. The park has a trail that loops around the park so you can take it all in. In front of the conservatory building is the botanical gardens. This centerpiece is regularly maintained and changed according to the season.
If you are willing to spend a few bucks, you can go inside the glass-plated conservatory building. Inside, there is a variety of plant life, from the Himalayas to the desert. If you are looking for fresh produce, you can go to the community garden to take some fresh tomatoes or plant some potatoes.
If you are looking for a more natural park, there is one just 3 1/2 miles south of campus. Located between Refugee and Groveport Road, Three Creeks Metro Park is a nature preserve in Bexely’s backyard. Here you can find open fields in its northern end and a deciduous forest to the south. In the forest, you can take a trail to a rare sight. The Alum, Big Walnut, and Blacklick Creeks all naturally converge together. This convergence is similar to the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, but without the skyscrapers and pavement. If you don’t like paved trails, or trails at all, Three Creeks has a designated off-trail area you can explore. Whether it’s smelling the roses, exploring the woods, or going for an evening stroll, these parks have something for everyone.