Prairie Oaks Metro Park

3225 NE Plain City-Georgesville Rd.
West Jefferson, Ohio 43162

614-208-4321   |  https://www.metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/prairie-oaks/
6:30 a.m. to Dark
Free

Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Located along the banks of Big Darby Creek, Prairie Oaks Metro Park is one of two parks in the area boasting restored prairie land.

Located along the banks of Big Darby Creek, Prairie Oaks Metro Park is one of two parks in the area boasting restored prairie land. In the summer, seas of yellow flowers with pops of blue stretch for acres interrupted only by large groves of bur oaks. The scenic Big Darby Creek, which runs through the center of the park and is nationally recognized for its biodiversity, is not only a popular thruway for adventure seekers but also dozens of species of fish and mussels. All of the park’s natural features provide windows into the history of the region.

The park contains roughly 500 acres of pristine meadows restored from the few remaining patches of the Darby Plains, a stretch of prairie land that once blanketed much of western Ohio. Before the influx of settlers, Native American communities called the area home. The park even contains a burial mound built by the Adena people. Over the 19th century, however, settlers cleared the stretches of land that made up the prairies for agricultural development, leaving fertile farmlands but at enormous cost to the plains.

The Metro Parks began to restore parts of the Darby Plains in the mid-20th century. Prairie Oaks opened in 2000 following an intensive restoration project. Prairie Oaks joins Battelle Darby Creek as two of the most extensive restored oak savannahs in the area.

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Credits

Melvin Barnes