Gorman Nature Center- Mansfield, Ohio

Gorman Nature Center has been the source of some of my family’s favorite outings over the years. When we had a beautiful day here in North Central Ohio, we couldn’t wait to get out and hit the trails for an easy hike.

With three miles of public hiking trails that meander through 150 acres of forests, fields, prairies, ponds and streams, Gorman Nature Center is a popular site for area residents.

For this hike, we took the gravel trail that leads past the Visitor’s Center, to the covered bridge.

On the way to the bridge, we saw the bird blind, but my teenagers were making so much noise that I’m sure they frightened away any wildlife within a ten mile radius that would have been there otherwise.

The trail to the covered bridge is clearly marked, you really can’t get lost but if you’re more comfortable with a guide in hand, you can download a map of the trails before you leave home.

With the covered bridge in sight, we had to stop by this small pond and look for tadpoles and gaze across the meadow. It was a bit early for the tadpoles, but they’ll be there soon and we’ll be sure to check back.

The bridge is not the end of the trail. We crossed through it and followed the path to a boardwalk that runs along the creek for a ways. Several years ago, the kids arrived early in the morning with supplies and captured plaster castings of deer tracks along this trail. Yes, this is special place, with special memories.

If you peek through the trees to the prairie, you’ll be able to make out the tower on top of the hill.

Here’s a better look at that tower, which overlooks the property allowing you the opportunity to glimpse the wildlife.

This picture shows the easy, well-marked trail that leads through the tall prairie grasses to the tower.

You’ll pass the pond as you near the end of the trail, or head of the trail, depending on which side of the parking lot you choose to start walking from.

The turtles were fun to watch, and normally visible on their log. They didn’t seem to mind my loud, goofy teens too much and didn’t even budge as my daughter approached to snap this picture.

The Red-Wing Blackbirds were hanging out near the pond too, allowing my daughter to get some incredible pictures.

We spent about an hour at Gorman Nature Center on this trip, but we have been known to pack a lunch to eat at the picnic area and stick around for a bit longer, it just depends on our plans for the day.

The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk, allowing you to view abundant wildlife (as loud as we were, we still saw some!) while the indoor displays showcase animals, reptiles and amphibians common to the area. You can call 419-884-3764 to find out the hours for the Visitors Center.

The Visitors Center offers you a glimpse at green, environmentally friendly features which include a composting toilet.

Gorman Nature Center is a fun, family-friendly, educational attraction that I consider a gem for the area. In addition to special progamming and field trips, they also offer weekly naturalist programs that are FREE and open to the public.

Gorman Nature Center can be found at 2295 Lexington Avenue Mansfield, Ohio 44907   419-884-FROG   

Other nearby attractions include:

Wayne’s Country Market- Less than a minute from Gorman Nature Center

The Blueberry Patch- Located right around the corner, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to buy and pick blueberries in the state of Ohio!

The Ohio Bird Sanctuary- Purchase meal worms to feed to the birds in the aviary and they’ll literally land all over you!

Malabar Farm State Park- From the Maple Syrup Festival, Heritage Days to the summer square dancing, Malabar Farm always has something going on. Worth the 15-20 minutes it will take you to get there from Gorman Nature Center.

Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve- A short drive from Mansfield in the opposite direction and one of the best spots in Ohio to view spring wildflowers.

 

© 2012 – 2013, Tonya Prater . All rights reserved.

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