You don't need to wander far to experience nature at Jeffrey Park in Bexley. With its grassy meadows, towering trees and wooded trails, the park looks like a rural backyard tucked into the suburbs.

You don't need to wander far to experience nature at Jeffrey Park in Bexley. With its grassy meadows, towering trees and wooded trails, the park looks like a rural backyard tucked into the suburbs. That design came naturally - the park surrounds the historic Jeffrey Mansion and at one time was private land. No one lives there today, but the grounds are rarely empty. The mansion houses the city's recreation and parks department and is rented for weddings and other events. Jeffrey Park provides a picturesque backdrop and much more. It covers 34 acres, and connects to the community pool and two tennis courts. The park has a playground, picnic areas with grills, pavilions, walking trails and a boardwalk that runs along Alum Creek. Much of the park is wooded, but there's ample green space, too. A large field borders the main playground area with classic equipment - swings, monkey bars and slides - designed for kids ages 2 to 5. The playground does have bucket swings to accommodate babies and toddlers, but if your little one is in the mulch-throwing or mulch-eating stage, head over to the "tot lot." This fenced area has a solid, rubber floor - safe for wobbly walkers - along with a playhouse, a tunnel, a dinosaur-shaped slide and benches for the grown-ups. The fun and enchanting setting makes this site a popular choice for kids' birthday parties during warm-weather months. Bexley residents can rent one of two pavilions by visiting the recreation and parks department in-person. For more information, call the department.