If you are looking for a unique family weekend escape from Cincinnati look no further than Mansfield, Ohio. This small town is an ideal getaway for young families and offers more than meets the eye. An easy two-and-half hour drive up I-71 will land you in this quaint farming community that is full of pleasant surprises.
Splash Harbor Indoor Water Park at Comfort Inn
Regardless of what the weather is outside, the temperature is always warm inside Splash Harbor. While not as large as some other water parks like Great Wolf Lodge, it offers a little something for everyone. A water slide, main/kiddie pool, and splash pad make up the majority of the Water Park. It is ideal for young families; those with older children may find that it loses its luster fairly quick. Admission to the park is included with your room package or you can opt to buy a day pass.
Little Buckeye Museum
Let me stand on my soapbox for a few minutes and rave about this wondrous children’s museum. I have been bringing my daughter here since she was a 10 months old and each visit I watch her inquisitiveness and curiosity grow. The museum is broken down into various areas each that encourages creativity, imagination and learning. The areas span from a baby section to a spot where older children can learn about physics. The museum is two stories and they currently don’t have an elevator to get you to the top floor so plan accordingly. They are fundraising to put one in. My favorite part of this museum is that it lets them be little and encourages creative play. From working the bank teller booth to an being a veterinarian, plan on spending a few hours at the Little Buckeye Museum.
Richland Carrousel Park
As the first wooden carrousel built since the 1930’s, this centerpiece is beloved by all generations. Located in the heart of Mansfield, the Richland Carrousel is open 7 days a week, minus holidays. Yes, that is how they spell “carrousel”. At the low-cost of $1 per ride, this attraction is one that will light on the budget but heavy with fun and laughter. It is one of the few carrousels that is handicap accessible to ensure that everyone can enjoy this timeless treasure.
Kingwood Center Gardens
The remarkable gardens at the Kingwood Center are not to be missed. Stroll through immaculate, manicured gardens boasting colorful arrangements of seasonal flora dotted with tranquil fountains. The original King Mansion is located on the grounds and is open to the public for self guided tours or scheduled tours. Check to see what special exhibit they have going on before visiting. They have had the Ribbit Exhibit and Giant Bugs come through, which always intrigues little minds. Be sure to take your crew to the Peacock Playhouse (open from May until end of September).
Mohican State Park
Roughly a half hour from Mansfield is Mohican State Park. Canoeing and tubing are very popular here and makes for a good respite from the heat on a hot summer day. Mohican hosts scores of hiking and biking trails that will satisfy your inner naturalist. Camping is available in addition to cabins to rent. I would recommend staying in one of their amazing treehouses! We haven’t ventured to Mohican Adventures yet, but it is on our radar once our little one gets a little older. Go-carts, an aerial park and putt-putt golf is also available here.
Ohio State Reformatory
Are your kids misbehaving? Take them to the old Ohio State Reformatory! Kids will be fascinated about learning about the prisoners that walked these halls and prison life. Parents, this is the “Shawshank Redemption” prison, so while little one may not appreciate the references to this classic movie, you can enjoy the facts along the way related to the movie and even pose with a character cutout or two!
A few more recommendations:
Relax, It’s Just Coffee – Parents who need a good cup of java: swing into this fun coffee joint for an espresso and fresh pastries. Delicious coffee, coffee drinks, local breads, and pastries. An absolute must!
Fast Eddie’s Pizza- The Best pizza in the Mansfield/Bellville area. Eat in or have them deliver it to your hotel room!
Coney Island Diner – This classic diner is always a family favorite. Serving up classics since 1936.
Main Street Books- Even if it isn’t story time swing into this cute book store with a fun children’ section. While it isn’t huge they do offer a unique and fun selection.
These are just a few of the adventures you can have while visiting Mansfield. Never be afraid to venture off the beaten path and create your own.
Looking for more weekend trips from Cincinnati? Check these options out!