My 8 year old has requested that we visit all the Metroparks this summer and the second park on our list and one of the most visited is Wildwood Preserve Metropark located at 5100 W Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43615.
Treasures you’ll find at Wildwood Preserve Metropark:
Natural beauty and man-made elegance come together as one at Wildwood Preserve Metroparks. The 493-acre park is the former estate of Toledo’s Stranahan family. Surrounded by natural habit, the stately home, now called the Manor House, played important roles in Toledo—and the park district’s—history. (Source)
Manor House & Garden
The Manor House was built in 1938 by Champion Spark Plug tycoon Robert Stranahan and wife Page. Stranahan is a name deeply rooted in Toledo’s history.
As you walk up to the house you can imagine guests arriving at the estate in one of the Stranahans’ limousines, a butler would have greeted visitors at the large front door and showed them to the Gentleman’s Study or Morning Room where Robert or Page waited to welcome them.
Visitors who spent extended periods of time at the estate were further impressed by the amenities of the home.
- Seven bedrooms were reserved for live-in maids, and all the main rooms in the house featured call buttons that ensured family and visitor needs were just an arm’s reach away.
- Each guest bedroom included a walk-in closet, private bathroom and ﬁreplace.
- When guests left their rooms, house staff cleaned the ﬁre places and restocked them with wood.
- An underground fan and tunnel system leading to the banks of Ten-mile Creek delivered cool, fresh air throughout the home.
While the estate was certainly constructed to entertain and impress visitors, its most important function for the Stranahans was to provide a familial sanctuary. Robert and Page had two children of their own, but Robert had ﬁve children and Page had two children from previous marriages. In constructing Stranleigh (Manor House Estate), they created a home large enough for their many children and grandchildren to visit them comfortably. Two large dormitory style rooms were included on the third ﬂoor and reserved exclusively for their grandsons and granddaughters.
Mainly for the children, a large in- ground swimming pool was installed in front of the home. The white cabana changing rooms stand to this day marking the location of the pool. Swimmers enjoyed high and low diving boards, lights for night swims and lessons from a swimming instructor.
For nearly 40 years Robert and Page Stranahan dedicated themselves to making the estate of their dreams a reality. They spared no expense constructing and maintaining Stranleigh. Given the lengths the Stranahan family went to create such a unique property, it is not surprising that nearly 65,000 Lucas County residents voted to preserve the estate in 1974.(Source)
I have so many fond memories of time spent at the Manor House with loved ones, touring the decorated Georgian colonial style house at Christmas, Tea as a child with my grandmother and mother, the annual Ice Cream Social on the front lawn, and the traditions continue with my children. In fact we spend so much time here in the summer we jokingly call it our summer house, haha! When you visit Wildwood Preserve Metropark do take the time to read the plaques located around the park and learn more about the history of Stranleigh.
The new playground is all the rage right now (just opened this month!) and is filled with fun climbing apparatuses for the older kiddos, merry-go-round for all ages, xcelerator, a playground for the littlest park dwellers (toddlers and preschoolers), an expression swing (adult or older child sits face-to-face with baby/toddler), safety surfacing to cushion falls, and more.
The one thing that was disappointing about the new playground is the swings, not all of our friends can play on it; we have friends with special needs who have to sit on the side and watch due to the fact that there isn’t an adaptive swing seat….also, we were disappointed that the new playground has less swings than the old one….we need more swings! (please 😉 )
Window on Wildlife
The Window on Wildlife is housed in what were formerly the old Stables on the Stranahan Estate and is now called Metz Visitors Center (also houses the Park Information, Rentals, Programming, & Environmental Educational).
It is a relaxing indoor space with large windows looking outside. There is plenty of seating to sit, relax, and observe wildlife and nature. My kiddos enjoy watching the birds, squirrels; chipmunks, turtles, etc. pass by the windows.
(It should be noted that the Window on Wildlife is receiving a facelift, so the outdoor scenery might look a bit different when you visit). It is a must see whenever we visit, no matter the time of year, FYI; it is a great spot to stop and warm up in the winter months.
While you’re at the former Stables be sure to stop in the restroom and checkout the décor,
Trails & Boardwalk
What’s a park without trails, hiking, biking, dog walking, etc.? There are no shortages of trails at Wildwood; Meadow, Prairie, Floodplain, Woods Trails, and the Boardwalk offer such magnificent scenery, variety is the spice of Wildwood Preserve.
No two trails are the same, each offers a different habitat to observe and explore. What’s more is the fact that each trail changes with the seasons, there is literally something new each day.
And there is so much more….
Do make certain you check out all the awesome programs offered at Wildwood for toddlers on up & the awesome events going on weekly, CLICK HERE for Calendar & Programing Events
Also be sure to check out Oak Grove Schoolhouse when you go!
Hours: 7am-dark everyday
Address: 5100 W Central Ave Toledo, OH 43615
Ranger Phone: (419) 270-7500
Also be sure to checkout…..(click on image)