2295 Lexington Ave, Mansfield, OH 44907

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Richland County Parks

Richland County Park District and Gordon Nature Center offers a number of programs for families in and around the area. We also offer programs all year round. Information on types of programs we offer are listed below.

Request a Program

Gorman Nature Center does educational programs by request. Please request your program at least one month in advance so that staff have time to plan your program and can be flexible with your desired dates. During our busy spring and fall seasons, it is recommended that you request your program 2-3 months prior to your desired program date.

Examples of organizations we have provided programs for include: schools, girl scout and boy scout troops, garden clubs, day care and preschool programs, home school groups, special needs facilities, and retirement facilities.

We are flexible, and will try our best to fit you into our schedule and provide the type of program that fits your needs. At this time please call 419-884-3764 or email us at info@RichlandCountyParks.com and  provide as much information about your group and desired topic as possible, and a staff member will reply to you as soon as time allows.

Public Programs

Animal Feeding Day
Join us for Animal Feeding Day! Animal Feeding Day happens every Tuesday, from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m., May 1st through October 31st. Participants have the opportunity to interact with our educational animals. Kids and adults, can hold and touch animals, while helping to feed them, as well as assisting with filling of water bowls and cleaning of enclosures. This is a great way for kids to interact with their peers and get some great volunteer experience. Many of our animal feeding volunteers go on to become regular RCPD volunteers and interns! All of our educational animals are native to Ohio, so this is a great opportunity for folks to see what kind of reptiles and amphibians are found in Richland County and the surrounding area. Please Note! The GNC Visitor Center is closed on Tuesday, but we will be open each Tuesday, from 3:30-5:00 p.m., for Animal Feeding Day!

Boy and Girl Scouts

GNC facilitates a number of badges and achievement goals for both girl scouts and boy scouts from March-December. We also offer enrichment programs during the winter on a limited basis. Information on types of programs we offer for various levels of both groups are listed below. Learn More...

Home School

Natural Wonders
Natural Wonderers is a new program for 6-9 year old home school students that focuses on wondering and wandering in nature. Students in this class read, writing, draw, make, and explore various nature topics as they actively participate in the world around them! Registration required. Class size is limited and fills quickly, so if you are interested in this program please call (419) 884-3764 to be put on the list for notification when the next series is occurring. 

Creative Writing in the Outdoors
Our creative writing class is offered in 10-week sessions for 10-18 year old home school students during the fall and winter of each year. Every class focuses on practicing story building followed by peer reviewing and constructive criticism, and each series has a different focus or theme. Students are asked to dress for the weather and bring their own journals and other writing materials. As much time is spent outside as possible with the goal of having a calm space to write, and immersing ourselves in nature to make it easier to picture story scenes.

Bringing Up Discoverers

Bringing Up Discoverers (BUD) is a program for 3-5 year old's who love being outside. Classes are offered in 6 week sessions from September-April on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. BUD has a limited class size and registration is required. Registration cost is $75/6 week session for non-members and $100 for sustaining members.

Oaks & Acorns

Not only for moms, this weekly program is for all adults and their (pre-school aged) little ones to come enjoy the outdoors together. It can include activities, crafts, hikes, and games, and takes place at 9 and 10 every Wednesday morning. Both sessions are identical so that families can choose the session that works best for their schedules. Older siblings are welcome, but are asked to allow younger students to participate fully. If you would like to be added to our mailing list please contact Karen Pryor at: kpryor@richlandcountyoh.gov.

Co-ops and Other Groups

GNC also facilitates private field trips for homeschool co-ops and other groups. We are very flexible with wide ranging ages of students, and can work with you to cover topics that are age appropriate and match your current studies. To schedule a private group program, please call the nature center at (419) 884-3764, or fill out or program form. If you would like an example of a typical field trip, please visit our field trip page.