Richland County Attractions and Events Offer Up the Perfect Classroom

Exploring nature and family fun get an A+

With Spring just three weeks away, everyone’s anxious to get out of the house and into the great outdoors. Mansfield has a few perfect locations and opportunities that offer up both a glorious outdoor classroom and a whole lot of fun for the entire family.

A great way to spend an early Spring day is a hike through Ohio Bird Sanctuary. Sitting on over 90 acres of forest and marsh, this natural gem is one of the area’s best kept secrets. Over eight different hiking trails wind along the banks of the Clearfork River, through miles of pine groves, marshland, and meadows. When it’s time for a break, take a leisurely stroll through the songbird aviary and admire the butterfly garden’s early blooms stretching towards the sun and warmer air. A stop at the live bird display will leave the kids in awe, as they see raptors, crows, ravens and other species. Each enclosure is clearly marked with a bio of the bird, personal history, and pertinent facts about the species; a living textbook, interesting and educational. On the grounds, an outdoor classroom and amphitheater is used for many of the Sanctuary’s Birds of Prey exhibitions. For a listing of upcoming events or more details on the educational programs, check the website at

There are few places quite as beautiful as Kingwood Center in the Spring. A stroll through the gardens to witness the transition from bulb to bloom, is a boost to even the most winter weary spirits. Wandering along the brick paths amongst the blankets of tulips, daffodils, and other traditional Spring flowers presents an opportunity for a lesson in horticulture. Peacocks freely roam the grounds and a large pond is home to a variety of ducks and water fowl and duck food pellets are available for the kids to feed these aquatic entertainers. There is a large greenhouse with a wide array of plants from different regions of the country. Classes are offered throughout the year for both adults and children. Check Kingwood’s website for a complete listing at .

Mark your calendars for April 27-29th for a phenomenal weekend of family fun and learning. Predators of Ohio is the 2012 theme for Mohican Wildlife Weekend. This annual event has a lot to offer families in the way of entertainment and education. A celebration of wildlife, habitat, and natural history, Wildlife Weekend offers a selection of over 30 different programs at six outdoor sites running from morning until night. Participating sites have tailored the programing to be enjoyed by the entire family. Educator, photographer, and author, David FitzSimmons will explain the creative process of photographing animals for his book, Curious Critters. Using puppets in his presentation to keep the kids engaged, he will also host a book signing afterwards. The weekend’s programs offer lessons in fly fishing, the Wildflower Walk, and sessions to learn about bats, snakes, and even which insects are edible. Ohio Bird Sanctuary will host a birds of prey show with photo ops available. A variety of nature games and crafts are also on the agenda for the kids. Accommodations are available in the area for overnight stays for full immersion into a weekend of nature and wildlife. For a comprehensive listing of all the activities, and lodging options, check the website

For other area activities, visit the Mansfield/Richland County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s calendar at .