Explore the outdoors in Mansfield, Ohio

CR Rae
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Herald-Journal

Ohio has a lot to offer those seeking the outdoors, scenery and beauty. One place to see is Kingwood Center Gardens in Mansfield, now open year-round.

Center Director Chuck Gleaves recognized that in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the public is seeking outdoor experiences that offer a break from everyday monotony, but with natural social distancing. These 47 acres of beautiful open outdoor gardens will offer an oasis for those looking for a change of scenery.

The garden estate was once the home of Charles Kelley King, an industrialist. The gardens are known for their distinctive floral displays, woodland trails and unique plant specimens.

The historic mansion on site was built in 1926 for the King family. King made his fortune with the Ohio Brass Co. in Mansfield. He left most of his estate to the foundation that continues to operate Kingwood. The center has been open to the public since 1953.

Kingwood offers a greenhouse and duck pond and is known for its peacocks. At this time, the greenhouse is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, the Garden Shop is open to visitors, offering many options of plants including perennials, tropicals, cacti, annuals and herbs. Also available are gardening tools, garden art including fairy garden accessories, postcards, greeting cards and peacock-themed garden accessories. Shopping from 10 to 11 a.m. is reserved for the at-risk population. The website has detailed instructions for visiting the shop and curbside pick-up.

The new Garden Gateway expansion and improvement project will be unveiled later this summer. It will include a visitor center, updated and expanded perennial garden areas, a new café, gift shop, pavilion and retail greenhouse. A new exhibit gallery will tell the story of King’s business and his legacy. Other exhibits will highlight the history of the region from 1926 to today.

Kingwood Center offers events and workshops throughout the year. Visit kingwoodcenter.org for information.

For more outdoor fun visit the Ohio Bird Sanctuary in Mansfield. At this time, the visitor center is closed, but the bird display is open. The sanctuary has a host of native birds, nature preserve and living museum. On its 90 acres the team works to aid sick and injured birds and create opportunities for people to engage with nature. Enjoy a video tour and learn more about what to see and do at the sanctuary at ohiobirdsanctuary.com.

Also nearby: Ride, walk or run the Richland B&O trail. It is 18.4 miles of paved bike trail built where the B&O Railroad tracks once were. It connects Mansfield, Bellville, Butler and Lexington and takes riders, walkers, inline skaters and joggers through some of the most beautiful parts of the state. For maps and information about the places along the trail visit destinationmansfield.com.

Destination Mansfield President Lee Tasseff said the group is concerned about the safety and well-being of visitors, staff and residents during this time of COVID-19 and they are being mindful of the governor’s rolling opening plan for museums and attractions. The area of Mansfield and Richland County is beginning to carefully welcome back visitors.

Most Richland County hotels, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds and private rentals are open with enhanced sanitation and some restrictions to keep guests safe.

For more information on Ohio’s travel adventures visit DestinationMansfield.com or call 800-642-8282.