Monday, May 23, 2011

Fun and Inexpensive Staycation Ideas for Mansfield, Ohio (including Richland County)


Today I’m excited to join Toni from the Happy Housewife, Carrie from Springs Bargains and a host of other bloggers to share Staycation ideas for nearly every state in the US. I’m sharing free and inexpensive ideas for Mansfield, Ohio- a place I called home for most of my life, places that my family loved and miss.

Conveniently located between Cleveland and Columbus in North Central Ohio lies Mansfield, seat of Richland County and a hub of family fun and hidden treasures.

Kingwood Center Mansion Photo courtesy of Shannon Beauford Photography. Used by permission.  

Kingwood Center Gardens 900 Park Avenue West,  Mansfield 419-522- 0211, Non-guided tours $1 for adults/free for students or members/small charge for parking.

My family has spent many days at Kingwood Center, picnicking on the grounds, touring the mansion, feeding the ducks at the pond or trying to catch a glimpse of the wandering peacocks.  

Mansfield Blockhouse South Park corner of Brinkerhoff and Park Ave., Mansfield. Admission price to be announced. 

Built in 1812, the blockhouse has served as a courthouse, jail and fortress against Indian attacks. The blockhouse will open for tours on June 1st with a newly constructed courthouse setting.  

Mansfield Memorial Museum 34 Park Avenue, Mansfield 419-524-9924, Free admission.   

The Mansfield Memorial Museum is often overlooked but once you step foot inside, you won’t be able to keep away! Housed in the historic Soldiers & Sailors Memorial building, this unique, eclectic, and historical museum is now home to ELECKTRO, the oldest robot in the world. ELEKTRO was created by Westinghouse, a company that was once prominent in Mansfield, specifically for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  

Mansfield Fire Museum and Education Center 1265 West Fourth St., Mansfield 419-529-2573, Free admission.

I don’t know what it is with boys and fire trucks, but when my boys were younger, they LOVED this museum!  You’ll learn about the history of fire fighting and take a stroll through historic downtown Mansfield along cobbled streets for a special peek at bygone days.  

Richland Carrousel Park 75 N. Main St., Mansfield 419-522-4223, Rides begin at 75 cents but are offered at discounted prices when you purchase three or more. Parking is available for a nominal fee. 

Young and old alike will be unable to resist a ride on the old-fashioned carrousel ride. With over 50 figures, the Richland Carrousel was the first  hand-carved carrousel to be built and operated in the United States since the 1930’s.

Coney Island Diner 98 N. Main St., Mansfield 419-526-2669

Less than a block away from the Richland Carrousel Park, this old-time diner with black and white floor tiles, Formica tables and red vinyl seats is the perfect inexpensive place to stop in for a quick bite to eat. Their specialty? Coney's, of course!  

Biblewalk 500 Tingley Avenue, Mansfield 419-524-0139, Prices begin around $3.75 depending on the tour. Discounted rates are available for families and AAA members.

Biblewalk,  or the Living Bible Museum as it was once called, brings the bible to life through scenes depicting life size wax figures and mannequins that bring to life the the Old and New Testament before your eyes, specifically the Life of Christ and Miracles of the Old Testament. There are also two other tours available, including Christian Martyrs and the Heart of the Reformation. Biblewalk is also home to some amazing folk art, woodcarvings and a rare collection of old bibles.  

Holly’s Book Rack 1464 Lexington Ave., Mansfield 419-756-2667

This independent book store is the area’s only new and used bookstore that offers trade credit. I’ve been known to stop in on many occasions to trade an armload or two of books and unfortunately, haven’t been able to find a store like Holly’s since moving to Alabama. 

Gorman Nature Center 2295 Lexington Ave., Mansfield 419-884-3764 , Free admission.

With over three miles of hiking trails through a range of habitats, wildlife is abundant at Gorman Nature Center. The indoor displays offer visitors a look at some of the area’s wildlife, while the building itself offers you a look at green, environmental friendly features.   

Ohio Bird Sanctuary 3774 Orrweiler Rd., Mansfield 419-884-HAWK, Free admission.

The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a refuge for injured birds. They offer educational programs, hiking trails, a live hawk and owl bird display,  and a song bird aviary that guests can walk through. For a very small price you can buy a cup of meal worms which will guarantee you get a lot of attention from the existing residents.  

The Warrior Pizza and Ice Cream 3393 Park Avenue West, Ontario 419- 529-8922

The Warrior may be known for their award winning GPS Pizza (green peppers and sausage) and Lasagna Pizza but you won’t want to pass up one of their amazingly yummy ice cream treats. Located on Park Avenue, minutes from Mansfield, you can’t miss this diner,  just look for the crowds and the blue building with the Corvette on the roof.

Apple Hill Orchard 1175 Lexington- Ontario Rd., Mansfield 419-884-1500, Free admission.

Not only can you pick your own fruit when it’s in season, Apple Hill Orchard also has a small petting zoo, a working bee hive that you can view and the best fresh apple doughnuts I’ve ever tasted! I can hardly resist stopping by when we’re in town just to grab a dozen!   

Springmill Drive-in Theater 1040 Springmill Rd., Mansfield 419-747-2156, Rates are yet to be announced for the 2011 season.

Drive-in theaters are quickly becoming a thing of the past and it’s harder and harder to find them operating these days. Why not make some family memories, load up on snacks and bug spray and head off to the next feature film that appeals to your family?

Malabar Farm State Park 4050 Bromfield Rd., Lucas 419-892-2784, Free admission to the farm. Small fee for home tours.

Malabar Farm was home to author and Pulitzer Prize winner, Louis Bromfield. Built in the beautiful rolling hills of the Pleasant Valley, Malabar Farm became the perfect backdrop for Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall’s wedding. Today you can tour the home (for a small fee), pet the animals in the barn, fish in the pond and stroll along the many trails, one of which that leads to a small cave that you can enter and explore. Malabar Farm is a nature lover’s dream. With a new state of the art Visitor’s Center and Songbird Aviary, and regular festivals and activities throughout the year, it seems that there is always something going on at Malabar Farm.     

Oak Hill Cottage 310 Springmill St., Mansfield 419-514-1765, Tours begin at $5 for adults and $1 for children.

After your visit to Malabar Farm, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Oak Hill Cottage where Louis Bromfield’s cousin lived. Not only is this home a wonderful example of gothic architecture, it was also written about in Bromfield’s book, Shane’s Castle.

The Historic Ohio State Reformatory 100 Reformatory Rd., Mansfield 419-522-2644, Prices are $8 for adults/$6 for students ages 7 and up/additional $5 for audio tour rental.

This historic structure is one of the top five castle like structures in the US and houses the world’s largest free standing cell block. It has also been home to four major motion pictures, which include Tango and Cash, Air Force One and the Shawshank Redemption which has led to a trail all it’s own, the Shawshank Trail. The trail begins at the reformatory, but takes you on a journey to 11 other sites in the area where the movie was filmed.     

Planktown Country Market 1921 Free Rd., Shiloh 419-896-3525

This Mennonite owned and operated country market is one amazing store! Loaded with bulk spices, flours, grains and cereals this market was once a regular stop for my family. They now offer over 75 deli meats and cheeses at some of the best prices in the area. With visitors from all over the country, this is one stop that you won’t want to miss!      

Splash Harbor 855 Comfort Plaza Dr., Bellville 419-886-4000, Day passes are often available.

This Comfort Inn Hotel not only offers lodging, but an indoor water park for guests. It’s hard to resist the looping water slide, hot tubs, floating raft and gushing geysers! Day passes are often available, making this an affordable and fun stop on your next Staycation.

Richland County B & O Bike Trail stretches just over 18 miles from Mansfield to Butler, Free admission. 

A favorite attraction among locals, this smooth, paved bike trail provides an opportunity for bikers, walkers and roller bladers a safe place to exercise in a beautiful scenic location.

Many of these attractions also offer letterboxes or geocaches that you can find for a bit of added fun.  

An easy day trip from Cleveland or Columbus, and a wonderful Staycation spot  for those planning an at-home vacation, as you can see, Mansfield is brimming with a number of attractions.  I hope you find this list of my own family’s favorite fun spots appealing to your family too. 

Are you looking for more fun, inexpensive Staycation ideas in Ohio? Then visit Rachel at  Living Better One Day at a Time for tips for Mt. Vernon, Becky for ideas on Cincinnati at Savings Lifestyle Cincinnati, Bridgett at Savings Lifestyle Dayton for the Dayton area and Diane at Savings Mania for ideas on a Cleveland Staycation.

So, what do you think? Will you be traveling this summer, or do you plan to take a look at attractions closer to home?  

Stop back tomorrow where I’ll be sharing links of other Staycation spots throughout the US. 


  1. You have really sold Mansfield... I'm going to plan a trip there!

  2. Wonderful, Kristal! Mansfield really has a lot to offer if you just know
    where to look! :) Have a great time on your trip. :)

  3. From Ohio, heard of most of these places, some I have not. Maybe my family will have to go for a visit. :) Thanks for sharing! 

  4. Thanks for stopping by! These are some of our favorite places to visit! Even my teens love the Carrousel! You may enjoy the new Little Buckeye Museum. It's only a block away from the Carrousel in Downtown Mansfield and I've heard from some of my friends that have younger children that it is really neat and well worth the visit. If you're looking for cold weather activities, Snow Trails is a favorite for my kids (skiing and snowboarding), but they also have a tubing park that appeals to families. If you need any other pointers, let me know. I could only had so much room in the post. :)


I love hearing what you think! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! Blessings!:)

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