Play on sandy playground at picturesque park in Powell

When there’s nothing particular to do on a warm afternoon in central Ohio, my family and I often seek out an awesome playground or a picturesque park.

We recently found both at Liberty Park at 2845 Home Road in Powell, Ohio. From the moment you enter the park’s winding driveway, between white picket fences surrounded by marigolds, you know you’ve found a secluded sanctuary to while away the hours. Across the street is a placid cornfield.

The park contains soccer fields, softball diamonds and basketball and tennis courts. It also has a fishing pond, sledding hill and nearly two-mile walking loop through the woods and over bridges. My kids, though, ran straight for the big playground.

Labeled “Every Kid’s Playground,” the equipment is the kind parents are coming to expect at playgrounds these days: interconnected contraptions that encourage children to climb, scale, swing and slide. This one also has a popular rolling slide, sand area and lots of flowers planted along the perimeter.

What I liked best was how noticeably quiet the park is, distanced from noisy highways and housing developments. It just seemed to exist, tucked under the wide-open sky. Most parents there seemed to know one another, and kept quietly to themselves, too, adding to the serenity.

The park, which is operated by the Liberty Township Parks Department, is open daily from 9 a.m. to dusk.

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Embrace inner diva at glittery salon

Sweet and Sassy is a colorful salon and spa at Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, where princess-loving preschoolers and precocious preteens go to get pampered. The franchise is established throughout the United States, but the Polaris store is the only location in Ohio.

I recently took my 5-year-old daughter there to get a breezy haircut and a nail polish application. But little did I know how much fun she’d have getting all dolled up and how much I’d appreciate our “girl time” afterward, eating lunch in a booth for two at the nearby Cheesecake Factory and splashing in the mall’s outdoor fountain.

The salon’s services include haircuts and styles for girls and boys, manicures, pedicures and ear piercing. Its retail space offers cheeky merchandise such as peace sign-covered backpacks, big-eyed stuffed animals and bottles of chocolate shampoo. Customers also can concoct their own lip-glosses and glittery lotions.

Rosie got a “Sassy Cut,” which included a fruit-scented shampooing, haircut and a modified French braid that wrapped around her head and ended in a tasseled tail. I was pleased to see the stylist, dressed sleekly in pink and black, engaged in a conversation with Rosie and not me, her doting mom. “You’re going to love it,” she told Rosie, beaming.

I stepped aside to allow Rosie some privacy.

I watched a half dozen giggling girls enter the salon for a birthday party in an area labeled “Glam Central.” They put on sequined dresses and sat in tall chairs before a wall-length mirror. Their hair was arranged in an array of up-dos, and stylists applied makeup to their fresh faces. As a finale, they sashayed down a makeshift catwalk to loud music.

“I want to go on stage,” delighted Rosie, as her stylist sprayed cupcake-scented hairspray on her new braid.

After a quick application of purple nail polish, Rosie pranced on stage like the star of the show. Purple polish and cupcake hairspray? What’s not to like?

Sweet and Sassy is located at Polaris Fashion Place at 1540 Polaris Parkway. For more information, visit

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