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5 places around Columbus to enjoy the outdoors

New section of the Dragonfly Trail Network officially opens

The official opening of the first segment of the Dragonfly Trail Network was Wednesday in downtown Columbus. The Dragonfly is Columbus' network of off-road greenway trails people can use for recreation, transportation and interaction.
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The official opening of the first segment of the Dragonfly Trail Network was Wednesday in downtown Columbus. The Dragonfly is Columbus' network of off-road greenway trails people can use for recreation, transportation and interaction.

It’s summertime, which means it’s time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

There are plenty of great outdoor attractions around Columbus to spend the day visiting, so here’s a brief list of some of the best. And don’t worry, if you’d rather spend the day in the cool air conditioning, or discover some ways to beat the heat, we’ve got you covered here.

Flat Rock Park

From disk golf to fishing, Flat Rock Park has attractions for everyone.

There’s plenty of rock formations to hike, a mountain bike trail to bike and a paved road that runs through the park for cyclists. It’s free and open to the public from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days-a-week, so it’s the perfect spot to embark on those early-morning or evening runs.

Additionally, Flat Rock Park has grills, shelters and a playground, which makes it a great spot for a family outing.

Address: 6106 Warm Springs Rd.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7-days-a-week

Price: Free and open to public.

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center

Opened in 1995, Oxbow Meadows provides exhibits, natural history displays and nature trails, and also offers educational programs about the ecology and natural history of the region.

Visitors can view a variety of snakes, turtles, fish and more, and can also take a walk down the center’s trails to view its wetlands and ponds. The center holds events throughout the year, and a variety of summer programs.

Address: 3535 S Lumpkin Rd.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. Closed on Sunday.

Price: Free ($5 donation recommended)

Columbus Botanical Garden

The Columbus Botanical Garden includes three gardens, a vegetable terrace and a walking trail, and offers events and guided group tours for $5 per person, though reservations for tours must be made two weeks in advance.

Address: 3603 Weems Rd.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7-days-a-week

Price: Free ($2 donation recommended)

Dragonfly Trail

The Dragonfly Trail is a multi-use bike and pedestrian trail that weaves its way through Columbus. The current 34 miles of trail include the Riverwalk, Fall Line Trace and a 1.4-mile connector.

The 11-mile biking trail follows former rail lines that wind through Columbus, where you can see a different side of the city, with rest stops along the way.

Address: 10th Ave.

Hours: Open 7-days-a-week

Price: Free and open to public.

Weracoba Park/Lakebottom Park

Also known as Lakebottom Park, Weracoba Park is located in the heart of MidTown. Park amenities include tennis courts, a walking trail, a fitness trail and more. Built in 1890, it is the oldest large-scale daily use recreational facility in the city.

Today, the park includes fields for football, soccer, baseball and softball, a track, tennis and basketball courts, a playground and a popular walking trail around its perimeter. There are also historical markers throughout the park, which help tell the story of Columbus’ first large-scale park.

Address: Cherokee Ave. and 17th St.

Hours: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7-days-a-week

Price: Free and open to public.

Joshua Mixon is a reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer. He covers sports (Auburn and preps) and local news, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. He previously covered Georgia athletics for the Macon Telegraph. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshDMixon.
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