The Homestead

Free Hilliard Outdoor Play Splash Park

Get into water-gun battle around wooden fort


Entertaining youngsters and cooling them down on a hot day is easy at the Homestead in Hilliard. That’s because the 44-acre park, at 4675 Cosgray Rd., is full of fun things for kids to explore, including a wooden fort with water guns.

The Homestead, operated by Washington Township Parks and Recreation, offers an array of recreational activities for people of all ages and abilities. The park has a farm-like atmosphere with white picket fences, a pair of barns, apple trees and a 2-acre pond stocked for fishing. There’s also a covered bridge, a train station and a caboose.

The play equipment, though, is what attracted this mother of two young children. We recently visited the park on a warm, drizzly afternoon, which proved to be a good move since the rain appeared to keep others indoors.

The wooden Fort Washington looks like the set of a Western movie, except it’s child-sized. There are three water hoses with trigger-activated nozzles. Two are located at the base of the fort and one is on top, which makes for a good three-way water battle.

My kids didn’t seem too interested in getting wet. They just liked running barefoot on the pebbles and ducking in and out of passageways throughout the fort.

Near the fort is another play area with water features for children ages 5 and younger called Norwich Toddler Farm. Bordered by a picket fence, this area contains wooden cutouts in the shapes of farm animals, little slides and shallow water troughs, best controlled by adults.

The Homestead also has basketball and sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and two playgrounds linked by a tunnel that my kids enjoyed more than the slides, swings and climbing apparatuses. A third play area is wheelchair accessible.

Circling the property is a paved path, which links to the adjacent the Heritage Rail Trail that stretches 7 miles from downtown Hilliard to Plain City.

For more information, visit www.wtwp.com/parks-and-recreation/facilities/the-homestead-park.

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Wendy and Mike Pramik

Wendy and Mike Pramik are writers from Columbus, Ohio. Their favorite topic is travel, and they enjoy sharing stories about the many weekend adventures they take with their two children, Rosie and Max.