Located between Dublin and Marysville off U.S. Rte. 33, Glacier Ridge Metro Park maps the glacier history of Central Ohio, its progression into farmland and the fight to reclaim wetlands that were once drained for crops.
Glacier Ridge Metro Park 9801 Hyland Croy Rd., Plain City 614-891-0700 Homepage
The Wisconsin glacier tore though the park before retreating between 12,000 and 17,000 years ago. Years later, it was turned into the type of farmland that still dominates the surrounding landscape -- the soy and corn fields peaking out from tract developments that have sprawled north and west of the outerbelt.
Though one of the least rugged Metro Parks, it's a pretty place for a picnic. Essentially divided into a northern and southern section, the park has several long improved loop trails, including an educational wetland boardwalk. There's also a disc-golf course, a bike-friendly path and picnic pavilions.
View larger image Honda of America has donated significant funds to create an interactive wetland area in the southern section. This observation deck is a great place for watching the waterfowl and shorebirds that fly through twice each year.
View larger image Behold the coolest tree in Franklin County, just feet from a parking lot along the wetland paths.
View larger image These mute swans were an awesome sighting May 22. At the right times, you'll also see blue-winged teals, hooded mergansers, canvasbacks and other waterfowl. It's also one of the most reliable Central Ohio spots to see eastern meadowlarks.