Day Trip: Downtown Mansfield

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With a carousel and children’s museum, downtown Mansfield, Ohio makes for a fun day trip from Columbus!

A few weeks ago, I shared in depth about our trip to Little Buckeye Children’s Museum.  This week I’m going to give you the details on how we spent the whole day in downtown Mansfield, also known as the Carrousel District. If you’re looking for a fun road trip this summer, I think this outing is worth the drive – which is only about an hour from downtown Columbus.

4 Things to do with Kids in Downtown Mansfield, Ohio:

1. Coney Island Diner

Address: 98 N Main St, Mansfield, OH 44902
Phone: 419-526-2669

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 6:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday: 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM

We started out with lunch at Coney Island Diner. a fun, colorful diner that traces its roots back to 1919!

coney island diner, mansfield ohio

coney island diner in Mansfield Ohio

There’s lots to look at on the walls and a very reasonably priced kids menu (the kids meals were served in fun dinosaur plates!). We made it for an early lunch and beat the rush (it got really busy around noon). If you wanted to make it earlier, they have a decent sized breakfast menu as well. You can view the whole menu here. The kids had fun sitting at the counter (of course they all fought over who got to sit by Grandma)!

kids at Coney Island Diner

2. Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

Address: 44 West Fourth St., Mansfield, OH, 44902
Phone: 419-522-2332

Summer Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

After lunch, we walked over to the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, which is where we spent the bulk of our day. The museum is 2 floors full of opportunities for imaginative play for your kids. Designed for ages 12 and under, the museum was a hit with my kids and my nephews!

kids looking at car at Little Buckeye Museum

water table at Little Buckeye Children's Museum in Mansfield

child playing with train track at Little Buckeye Children's Museum

digging for dinosaurs at Little Buckeye Museum in Mansfield Ohio

Much of the museum is set up like a town with areas to play like an auto repair shop, grocery store, hair salon, school house, and more. There is also an area for water play, vehicles to ride on, a baby area and space for birthday parties. You can read in depth about our visit to the museum here.

3. Relax it’s Just Coffee

Address: 105 North Main St., Mansfield, OH 44902
Phone: 419-522-1521

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM –5:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

After 3 hours at the museum, a few of us adults had to make a stop at Relax it’s Just Coffee for our afternoon pick me up! There was a good looking selection of baked goods (one of my weaknesses) and a definite artsy vibe.

Relax It's Just Coffee in downtown Mansfield, Ohio

inside Relax it's Just Coffee in Mansfield

father and son in downtown Mansfield Ohio

If we were kid-free I would have loved to spend more time here – you know, actually sit down at a table and leisurely drink my coffee, but we all know that is not how coffee is consumed once you become a parent.

4. Richland Carrousel Park

Address: 75 N. Main Street, Mansfield, OH 44902
Phone: 419-522-4223

Summer Hours (through Labor Day):
Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Monday – Thursday 10 AM – 5 PM
Labor Day through Memorial Day:  Monday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Richland Carrousel Park, Mansfield Ohio

Coffee in hand, we headed down the street to the carrousel. This carrousel was built in 1991 and has 52 figures to ride on, including a couple of chariots to sit in if your kids are too little or afraid to ride by themselves. There are also several rocking chairs to sit in around the carrousel for those who just want to observe. 

Tickets to ride the carrousel are purchased inside the gift shop where there are also concessions available. Ages 2 and under are free and all others are $1 per ride or 6 rides for $5. I don’t think you can go to the Carrousel District without stopping for a ride on the carrousel. It just wouldn’t be right, would it?

carousel in mansfield ohio

kids on the carrousel in mansfield ohio

Some of us ended up back at Coney Island Diner for hand dipped ice cream. (That would be those of us who didn’t partake in the caffeine break a few minutes earlier – if only I had known! (Ice cream is my first weakness).)

Here’s what I love about this day trip to downtown Mansfield – you can park in one spot and walk to all of these places. I really hate dislike getting my kids in and out of the car a million times during an outing.

There is a public parking lot at the corner of Main St. and Fourth St. You can park there for 3 hours. That might not be long enough to do all of these things, so if you’re lucky enough to have another adult with you, send them to move the car. 😉 There is also metered parking on the street and street parking is free on the weekends!

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ICYMI: Pizzuti Collection + Le Chocoholique


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Playdate in Uptown Westerville

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Confession: other than dropping off our taxes to the accountant, I haven’t spent any time in Uptown Westerville!  So who better to show me the ropes than a friend who grew up there? A playdate was in the plans so she suggested meeting for donuts before heading to Alum Creek Park North.  No one’s going to argue with that plan! We met up at Schneider’s Bakery to pick out our goodies before heading to the park.  This was my first time at Schneider’s Bakery, but from what I hear it is a Westerville institution.  The bakery opens at 1:30 AM.  Yes, in the morning.  I had to ask twice just to be sure!  This works well near a college campus and across the street from a bar . . . but keep this in mind if you get some middle of the night pregnancy cravings!  IMG_4007

IMG_3997There are a lot of goodies to choose from here including donuts, pastries, cookies and fresh bread and rolls.  Your kids will enjoy the I Spy Cake in the display case – a cake covered in lots of fun items with a list of things to look for.  We also got to sample a Celebration Donut, which is basically a humongous donut (10 inches in diameter, to be exact!) that you can order for special occasions!IMG_4003

Kids . . . they’re so funny.  They just haven’t learned yet that all that glitters isn’t gold.  They always choose sugar cookies with brightly colored sprinkles or bright blue ice cream with a name like Superman.  And then they spend the rest of the time asking me and their dad for bites of what we ordered – you know, the better tasting things like chocolate and normal colored foods.  Anyway . . . my kids both wanted a smiley face cookie, but then spent the morning asking for bites of my amazing glazed donut.  When will they learn?  And when will Mama get to eat her own food?  If you know the answer, do tell!  😉

The donut WAS one of the best I have ever had.  Really.

Don’t you, though?

Once we had our sweets, us mamas had to head down the street to Java Central for our daily dose of caffeine.  Don’t plan to eat your donut here (the signs are very clear about that), but pick up some coffee before you head to the park. (You probably already know this is a theme of mine.)  Java Central is a cute coffee shop with a lot of regulars, a lot of coffee choices, and a variety of food and snacks for sale.  (I didn’t try the Nitro, but I am definitely curious.)IMG_4021

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IMG_4014This day in particular was beautiful, not too hot, not too cold and it would have been totally possible to walk to the park, but I was on a time crunch, so we got back in our cars and drove to Alum Creek Park North.  The parking for the park is along Alum Park Dr.  The first time I came here, a few years ago, I took a few wrong turns around Otterbein, unsure where to enter.  There are spots lining the edge of the park and a small lot at the bottom of the hill.

This is a fun park with a lot of different areas to play in (I also featured it here.)  There’s a play train for the younger kids, an older kids play area, a climbing wall, a play-web structure, a sand pit and an Neos 360. There are also swings for all ages. The boys spent the majority of their time on the train and then in the sand pit.IMG_4047

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IMG_4031Something super serious is being discussed at this meeting of the minds – like, “is my smiley face cookie as good as your donut?”IMG_4066

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Caffeinated mamas are happy mamas!

I’ve seriously been thinking about that donut ever since our visit so I’m thinking a return visit to Uptown Westerville is in order! Anywhere else I need to visit while I’m there?

Know Before You Go:

Schneider’s Bakery
Location: 6 S. State St., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-882-6611
Hours:
Monday: 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Tuesday -Thursday: 1:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday: Apr-Oct: 1:30 AM – 9:00 PM; Nov-Mar: 1:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 1:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Sunday CLOSED
Cash or Check only!

Java Central
Location: 20B South State St., Westerville, Ohio 43081
Phone: 614-839-0698
Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 7:00 AM-9:00 PM
Friday: 7:00 AM-10:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM-10:00 PM
Sunday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Alum Creek Park North
Location: 221 W. Main St., Westerville, OH 43081

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ICYMI: 6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers


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Saturday Morning in the Short North

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We {heart} the Short North!  When we moved to Columbus, it’s where we wanted to be. My husband and I lived here for three and a half years before we had our first child. We took full advantage of walking out our front door and straight to some of the best dining, arts and shopping in the city!

We love having kids in the Short North, the proximity to so many fun places, parks and museums is awesome!  We love being in a walkable neighborhood that’s full of life and energy!  But, let’s be honest, our excursions to High Street have decreased in frequency since the bambinos came along.  Gallery Hop comes to life mostly after bed time and strollers don’t always fit inside tiny, hip restaurants or crowded art galleries.  But over the past few years we’ve noticed more and more strollers popping up on the sidewalks around us and with the creation of the group Short North Parents, there’s been a movement for families with children to stay in the area as their kids grow.

Just this past year we’ve seen the opening of the first retail shop in the Short North that is 100% for kids (correct me if I’m wrong, I can’t think of another!).  That is certainly a sign that the times are changing and that the Short North CAN be kid-friendly!

Even if (and especially if) you don’t live here, you should know that you CAN bring your kids to the Short North and have a really fun time!  Today I’m going to share with you a recent outing I had with my family – all four of us.

First Stop:  Laughlin’s Bakery

This quaint little bakery sits on 2nd Ave. just east of High St.

bakery

The cookies, cakes and pastries are beautiful and it was tough to choose!

laughlins

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My oldest went straight for the pink one (technically the Lemon and Pomegranate Haley Cake) because he’s into icing!  Eric and I shared a Laminated Sugar Brioche which was awesome!

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The selection is amazing and I could try one of each – so could my kids, for sure!  There are 3 or 4 tables for sitting.  The atmosphere is bright and I bet every day feels like Saturday in here! See also: 5 on Friday: Columbus Bakeries!

happyboys

Laughlin’s Bakery
Location: 15 East 2nd Ave, Columbus Ohio, 43201
Phone: 614-914-8858
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Saturday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sunday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Closed Monday

Second Stop: Italian Village Park

If you’re exploring the Short North and your kids need somewhere to get out excess energy or a place to take a break and have a snack, veer east on Buttles Ave., over to Italian Village Park, which is about a block and a half from high street.  This is a pretty large green space for the area and a great meeting place for the neighborhood.  There is a lot of seating here, room to run and a small playground.  We’ve stopped off here a number of times to eat ice cream from UDF or let the kids out of the stroller to run after walking up and down High Street.

park

italianvillagepark

Italian Village Park
Location: 55 E. Hubbard Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

Third Stop: Cub Shrub

Cub Shrub grew from one shelf in Tiger Tree to it’s very own storefront!  Since its opening in November, 2015, this was our first visit to the store!

cubshrub

My kids enjoyed the workbench set up for play and they especially loved pushing the little shopping carts around the store.

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shoppingcarts

shoppingcart

Cub Shrub carries toys and clothing for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  If you’re looking for a unique, one-of-a kind birthday or shower gift, look no further!  The clothing is hip and adorable and the toys are eye catching and high quality.  There is also a fun selection of books, decor and children’s accessories.

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Cub Shrub
Location: 749 N. High St. Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-947-1193
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Free and metered street parking can be found on the side streets around the Short North. There are also several parking garages available.  Check out this link for more detailed parking options in the area.  If you’re looking for more in the Short North, check out our trip to North Market and keep an eye on the blog as we will continue to share more Short North fun with kids!

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ICYMI: The Farm at Walnut Creek

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