Beat heat, dance with 15-foot-tall bunnies
Housing developments tend to look alike with “rows of houses that are all the same,” as the Monkees sang in their 1960s hit song “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
But the whimsical community of Ballantrae, in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, is a pleasant exception. It resembles an Irish countryside with stone houses, fabricated rolling hills, decorative grasses and hand-stacked, rubble walls.
And then, of course, there are the 15-foot-tall dancing rabbits.
The three statues, titled the “Dancing Hares,” are part of a 32-acre community park at the entrance of the development at 6350 Woerner Temple Rd. The park also contains the Ballantrae Spray Park, an outdoor water fountain that’s a popular hangout for families in the summer.
The fountain is open daily from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., May 26 through Sept. 3.
I enjoy taking my two young children to inspect the rabbits, which have everyday objects embedded in their bronze bodies. We climb the hilltop where the rabbits are perched and play a quick game of “I Spy” before heading back down to the adjacent fountain. “Look, Mommy, a camera,” my daughter, Rosie, says.
We can hear children squealing with delight as they splash in the fountain.
The spray park, which opened in 2002, is a great place for a picnic. It’s surrounded by a lawn containing big boulders, a fishing pond and a jogging path. The center is the earth mound, or hillock, with the dancing hares. In front of the hill is a 125-foot stone-like (it’s really concrete) wall that frames the spray park. Leprechaun faces are carved into the wall and a wave of water cascades from its center.
Rosie and Max like to play in the fountains that shoot from the ground. Water jets change pattern and heights from one foot to three feet. Less-adventuresome children can take their time getting used to the water in little fountains that spew low, frothy water, while thrill seekers can run under the gushing waterfall.
There’s a nearby parking area with public restrooms.
Take a blanket, chairs, towels and toys and a picnic basket. There’s not much shade on sunny days, so bring along sunscreen and an umbrella.
The Ballantrae play area is located across the street from the Dublin Community Pool, which is open only to Dublin residents.
For more information, visit dublinohiousa.gov/parks-open-space/ballantrae-community-park-spray-fountains.