Until yesterday, I thought that magical forests existed only in fairytales. Then I discovered Inniswood Metro Gardens, whose lavish and playful world has made me a believer of supernatural nature.
Part of Columbus Metro Parks, Inniswood serves up 123 acres of horticultural heaven. It belonged to sisters Grace and Mary Innis, who donated the Westerville estate to the city in 1972. Streams, woodlands, wildflowers, wildlife, waterfalls, and 2,000 plant species burst through the grounds like a giant rooted fireworks display. More than 300 members and volunteers help keep the area in optimal condition.
Among Inniswood’s most mystical nooks are the Rose Garden, Woodland Rock Garden, Herb Garden, Fern Garden, Circle Garden, and Conifer Garden. Six walking trails zigzag the premises, with names like Chipmunk Chatter Trail and Frog Talk Walk. The Sisters’ Garden is a children’s garden with a story maze depicting the Native American tale Earth on Turtle’s Back.
Inniswood is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to dark. In an effort to connect people with nature, it offers nature education programs, where you can learn about everything from bluebirds and dragonflies to drying flowers and growing micro greens. It also hosts special events including concerts, yoga classes, and tai chi sessions.
If you’re seeking a place to hide out, rest up, and rekindle some childlike wonder, this is it.