Urban Oasis: The Topiary Park

On the heels of a very busy weekend, you might want to slow down with a visit to someplace uncrowded, free, and gorgeous. The Topiary Park, situated right behind the Columbus Metropolitan Library Main Branch, is just that.

The history of the grounds is just as interesting as the park itself. It sits on the ground of the Old Deaf School, which was abandoned, then burned to the ground. The land was turned over to the city as the Town-Franklin neighborhood was named an historic district. It was tuned into The Old Deaf School Park, and in 1992, James T. Mason created the sculptured topiary park. If the figures look familiar, that's because you've seen them before:

Sunday Afternoon On the Isle of la Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat (via wikipedia)

Before you head to the park, show the painting to your kids and print out this sheet as a guide or scavenger hunt!  There is a whole educator packet you can print out to help guide your tour. And if you want a guided tour for a group, you can arrange that as well through the website. This would be the perfect place to take your out of town guests!

The park is a perfect size for little ones at about 7 acres. There are paved paths, picnic tables, and lots of grassy areas. The entire park is fenced in with a historic iron gate from the Statehouse. My only word of caution is about the pond. It is very, very easy to walk/fall into, so toddlers who aren't aware of their balance will need extra supervision. 

My kids and our friends loved rolling down the hills, playing in the wide-open grass, and of course exploring the topiaries. It is the perfect place for hide-and-seek!

On the evening we were there, we spotted a mother duck with two duckings RIDING ON HER BACK. If you're on Instagram, you can see the video at @LittleAdvCbus. The pond represents the River Seine, and the flower gardens surrounding it are stunning.

There is a visitors center with limited hours. Inside, you can find Seurat souvenirs and a new video tour. 

This is the perfect evening adventure, especially if you want to capture some golden hour family photos. 

Park at the meters along Town Street, which are free after 6 pm, or add it on to your library trip and park in the garage. And if you are worried about navigating downtown, just follow the road signs to the highway (it is a very direct route). Enjoy!

**At this time, I am unsure if there is an onsite bathroom, but I am checking into it. If the library is open, that is an emergency restroom option**

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