There is a lot of beautiful land in Delaware County. Fortunately, the local Preservation Parks team has been collaborating with citizens, local education organizations, and the surrounding townships to restore and preserve the lands. Here are the most popular parks in the area worth visiting, some of which have been preserved for both your use and to protect vulnerable animal populations.
Gallant Woods Park
Gallant Woods Park is the largest park in Delaware county. Altogether, it boasts 231 acres of land designated for restored prairies, wetlands, and meadows. It is also home to large populations of small creatures like the grey tree frogs, eastern bluebirds, and chorus shrimp in the wetlands.
Popular activities are the sledding hill, reservable shelter with all the amenities for picnicking, a playground, and dog-friendly trails for leashed dogs. There are five 15–30-minute walking trails in total: the Gateway, Treefrog, Pheasant Run, Primitive, and Farm Connector trails. This includes the small Acorn Trail loop just off the gateway trail that’s popular for its sightings of coyotes, deer, foxes, raccoons, and squirrels.
Shale Hollow Park
Shale Hollow Park is the second largest park, and describes itself as a “scenic tranquil park with forest trails, a small stream, footbridges, and a natural play area.” It is aptly named for its shale stream bed that winds around a high shale cliff side.
This Park is notable for its hide-and-seek activity, wherein park visitors can participate in a local girl scout group game where children are given a pamphlet to find clues hidden in the play area. The game is designed to teach about park nature through informational clues.
The Park is also dog-friendly (leashed) and bird-watcher friendly, with off-trail exploration for those who are interested in its dense population of barred owls and songbirds, as well as the occasional whitetail deer and coyote sighting.
Hickory Woods Park
Hickory Woods is the latest park that is under construction. It was recently utilized as agricultural land but is planned to be a 114-acre park with that theme in mind. In addition, Hickory Woods will offer several hiking trails, a sled hill, a natural and traditional playground, a pond for fishing, and a hiking trail.
Like Gallant Woods Park, it will be reforested with oak and hickory trees and provide habitats fitting to several kinds of wildlife. This park is a must-see because it will offer nature programs centered around an agricultural theme called “Inspiring Outdoor Exploration” and information centered around the Olentangy River.
Deer Haven is the smallest park, but it is just as worth checking out as the others on this list. A 97-acre park located North of Shale Hollow and just South of Gallant Woods in Liberty Township, its area is considered “Preservation Parks’ primary hub for nature programs and camps.”
Two things this park is most known for are the Deer Haven Aviary and the Amy Clark-Bader Bird Sanctuary. The initial houses a small group of endangered birds called the birds of prey where visitors can learn of the species. The latter is great for interacting with migratory birds via interactive bird feeders. Each is surrounded by wetland, pond, and meadow habitats.
These are just a few of the activities available to the public. Along with a natural play area and nature library in the Visitor Center, three 10–30-minute trails, and an adjoining park, there’s an “insect hotel” and a pollinator garden to teach the public about the importance of pollination for the human and plant species.