FAIRFIELD TWP. — Rentschler Forest MetroPark provides families with opportunities to explore the area’s greenspaces and play areas. The park was recently ranked as one of the top parks in the region on the Journal-News Best of Butler County contest.
“It’s probably one of our most diverse parks in the MetroParks of Butler County system,” said Katie Ely-Wood, manager of communications for MetroParks of Butler County. “It’s approximately 400 acres, and it has access to woodlands and wooded trails. There are some prairie areas in the park and there’s also access to the Great Miami River as well as the Great Miami River Bike Trail, which is a series of paved bike trails that will eventually go all the way from the edge of Butler County up through Piqua.”
The park won top honors for “Best Playground” and “Best Park/Walking Path” in the Journal-News competition that was decided by voters. The park also earned a second-place honor for “Best Campgrounds.”
“This honor is so amazing. MetroParks works really hard to provide kids of all ages a great play experience outside, in each of the parks, and Rentschler Forest is our crown jewel of our playgrounds, so we’re really thrilled that this was recognized this year,” Ely-Wood said.
The park is best loved for its trails, playgrounds and picturesque views along the Great Miami River.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for providing a really important community asset. It’s great to hear that our hard work is being recognized, and people value what we do in the community. It’s a really important and cool recognition. Thank you,” she said.
Ely-Wood said creeking is also a fantastic opportunity to get in the water at Rentschler Forest MetroPark. Creeking provides an opportunity to look for fossils, and visitors may turn over a rock a find a new crayfish.
“There’s awesome creek access in the park, which also feeds into the amazing playground that was just voted ‘Best Playground’ in the ‘Best of Butler County.’ So, when families come and access the park, not only can they get in the creek, and explore, but they can also play on this excellent playground,” Ely-Wood said.
The playground at Rentschler Forest MetroPark was installed in 2014, she said, so it’s still fairly new.
“The playground itself was resurfaced last year, so there’s great Astroturf all over that local playground, which provides both a safe and enjoyable play experience for kids,” Ely-Wood said.
The playground was built for children ages 5 to 12, but there are components on the playground for kids younger than age 5. There are also shade structures if kids want to get out of the sun for a while.
It “was designed for a variety of sensory experiences, so kids can touch, look, and climb, and really have a unique play experience on that playground,” said Ely-Wood. “There are also different kinds of play components on the playgrounds. There’s a cool animal scavenger hunt component, so kids can look for different animals that are incorporated throughout the playground.”
There’s also a musical component, she said, so kids can play on drums that are off to the side of the playground. Younger children enjoy playing the drums.
Some of the favorite components within the playground include a fireman’s pole kids can climb, swings, slides, drums and the animal scavenger hunt.
The trees on top of the play equipment spark children’s imagination and add some whimsy to the play equipment, too.
Rentschler Forest also offers smaller play areas for younger kids (such as a fun tent, and places to run and hide). Plus, there’s balance and climbing equipment including a climbing web, a walk-the-plank feature, a rock wall and so much more.
“There’s lots of different things apart from traditional slides or monkey bar components that you might find on a traditional playground,” Ely-Wood said.
Other amenities at the park include fire pits, flush restrooms that are close to the playground, grills, various outdoor shelters (reservable and non-reservable,) and picnic tables, to name a few. There’s also great access to trails from where the playground is located as well as scenic river views.
“If you want to come and make a day of it, you really can come and eat your lunch, or have a good family outing for the day,” Ely-Wood said.
For those who want to explore more playgrounds and play areas in the region, MetroParks of Butler County recently opened a brand-new playground at the Timberman Ridge Area of Forest Run MetroPark.
Ely-Wood said there is also great play equipment at Voice of America MetroPark, Indian Creek MetroPark and others. MetroParks also has a nature playscape at Chrisholm MetroPark that offers a different kind of playing experience for families.
“We’ve really tried to diversify what experiences we’re giving people at each of our parks, and if you step into a different park in each area of the county, you are going to encounter something different. So, Rentschler Forest MetroPark is a great example of a park that really meets a variety of different recreational needs in the county,” Ely-Wood said.
More about Rentschler Forest
The park is located at 5701 Reigart Road and is open from 8 a.m. until dusk, daily. Visit the website yourmetroparks.net/parks/rentschler-forest-metropark for more.
Best of Butler County 2023
See other articles about Best of Butler County winners.