By Wendy Pramik
Richland County’s small-town feel is perfect for families, offering kid-friendly attractions in a combination of urban and rural settings.
Take a spin on a hand-carved, hand-painted wooden carrousel at the Richland Carrousel Park in downtown Mansfield. The indoor carrousel boasts 52 colorful, hand-carved animal figures and a gift shop full of fun souvenirs.
Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, which will expand into the Imagination District in 2022, promotes learning through play in interactive models of doctor’s offices, restaurants, classrooms and more.
Visit a replica century-old fire station at the Mansfield Fire Museum. The museum takes donations for admissions and is open on weekends from mid-May through mid-October.
At the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, visitors can feed songbirds in the aviary and greet hawks, eagles, owls and other birds who have recovered in the rehabilitation center. You can even join feathered friends in the treetops by ascending a boardwalk “branch” to the fully accessible, open-air treehouse, set to open late 2021. Hike the accessible branch anytime or attend an educational program in the treehouse itself.
For aquatic fun any time of year, Splash Harbor waterpark, inside Comfort Inn in Bellville, offers day passes to one of the state’s top parks for young families. Flit around in the water during warm weather at the Mansfield Area YMCA Splash Pad Park.