Around 2 miles east of downtown Columbus is 88 acres of park known as the Franklin Park Conservatory. The Franklin County Agriculture Society purchased the land in 1852 to be used as the site for the first Franklin County Fair. In 1874 it was designated the space for Ohio State Fair. In 1886, the Fair moved to its current home- what is now known as the Ohio Expo Center. The city of Columbus then built the Palm House on the property and opened it to the public in 1895 as Franklin Park Conservatory. It was known just as Franklin Park from 1884-1895. Columbus Parks and Recreation owned Franklin Park Conservatory up until 1989.
Some 400 species of plants are housed inside the Conservatory’s green houses and each of its “rooms” are divided according to the natural environments in which the plants would be found: Himalayan Mountain Biome, Rainforest Biome, Desert Biome, and the Pacific Island Water Garden.
The Conservatory is a popular rainy day activity and just as interesting in the winter as it is the same temperature indoors year round. Fall 2015 will feature large pumpkin carvings by Villafane Studios .Over the Christmas holidays (November 21, 2015 – January 3, 2016), the Conservatory hosts Merry & Bright with Christmas lights and hundreds of poinsettias on display.
Outside is the The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Community Garden Campus- added in 2009- has 40 community plots as well as culinary, herb, and fragrance gardens.
It’s not often that you could pick a park based on its smell. The Park of Roses is such a place and I mean that in a good sense. Located on a 13-acre section of Whetstone Park in Clintonville, the Park of Roses was named one of America’s Top Ten Public Rose Gardens by the All American Rose Society. The park is home to 12,000 roses made up of 350 varieties of roses. It’s also home to the first public Earth-Kind Rose Garden outside the Southern United States. These roses do not need pesticides, fertilizers, dead-heading, or pruning.
In addition to rose gardens, is a herb garden added around 1976 and now has some 200 varieties of plants. At the North end of the Formal Rose Garden is an observation tower. The paths in the Park of Roses are paved for those who require a wheelchair or other assistance getting around. The roses are in full bloom from mid-June to mid-September, although the park is open year round and is open Dawn to Dusk.
The roses are a part of Whetstone Park and so there are also tennis courts and baseball fields, picnic tables, and a playground as well. There is also a multipurpose trail at the West end of the park that runs parallel to Ohio Route 315.
While the Columbus Parks & Recreation Department owns & maintains Whetstone Park- and, by extension, the Park of Roses- the Columbus Park of Roses Foundation provides financial support through dedications (engraved stones/pavers in the park) & (financial) donations as well as overseeing the volunteer program which helps to maintain the park. The Foundation became a 501(c)(3) corporation in 1973, making contributions to it tax deductible.
The 2015 list of roses and park map is available for download if you want to print a copy prior to visiting: http://www.parkofroses.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Rose-List5.12.15.pdf
Whetstone Park / Park of Roses
3923 High St.
Columbus, OH 43214
I wasn’t able to find a specific address for the Park of Roses on Hollenback Rd. but the High St. address gets you to the entrance to Whetstone Park and you just take Hollenback Rd about a half-mile and it ends at the Park of Roses parking lot.
Developer Bill Bonner passed away September 2, 2003 at age 68. Long before there was an Easton Town Center, he developed the Continent and French Market which opened in 1974.
The Continent/French Market was a new concept when it opened 41 years ago: a mixture of retail, offices, apartments, and restaurants all in one place, much like Easton is today. Like any business that changes hands, the new owners never put the time or work into keeping it running and as the 1990s progressed, businesses moved out. Businesses like The Toy Box at The Continent, the Candle Shoppe, Houlihan’s, and Rapallo’s. The Post Office closed Friday, March 25, 2011, according to the sign still in the window.
The center was most recently acquired by Los Angeles based Axs Opportunity Fund in 2007, making it the 3rd owner in 11 years. At that time, AXS President Shahram Afshani said as part of redeveloping the property, the movie theater would return to first-run movies. So far that hasn’t happened and I wouldn’t bet on it happening.
Rob Click, managing director in Columbus for CB Richard Ellis Inc., thinks the complex needs to be demolished and development started from scratch. “The problem is the buildings don’t function as they were developed,” he said in 2007. “It needs to be razed and it needs to be redeveloped.”
Columbus real estate consultant Robin Lorms said the days of the Continent as a specialty retail and entertainment destination have long passed. “There’s too much going on at Easton and too much going on at Polaris,” said the Lorms & Belfrage Inc. principal. “The original concept isn’t working there today.” That quote is from January 2000.
145 acres of parkland make up the Scioto Mile in downtown Columbus, along the Scioto Mile. It stretches along the riverfront from the Arena District south to the Whittier Peninsula. One amenity that I can’t take a picture of- for obvious reasons- is the free Wi-Fi provided by Time Warner Cable is available along the Scioto Mile and at Bicentennial Park. The fountains at Bicentennial Park are open 10 AM – 10:30 PM Sunday through Thursday and 10AM – 11PM on Fridays & Saturdays from late-April until mid-October. There is no specific closing date in the fall as it really depends on the weather at the time.
And in December, Bicentennial Park gets all lit up for the holidays:
North Bank Park, along the northern end of the Scioto Mile: