Children’s Wonderland continues to draw familiesWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jackie Oaks-Lyell says Children’s Wonderland is a tradition that should be shared with family.
“I have 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and I can remember the years of taking my own kids there and watching the big eyes. Now I am taking the second generation,” said the 70-year-old Toledo area resident.
Children’s Wonderland is open through Dec. 31 at the Lucas County Recreation Center, 2901 Key St. The admission prices have remained the same for six years: $5 for adults; $4 for seniors; and $3 for children 2 to 13 years old.
“This year we wanted to make sure it was affordable with everything going on in the economy,” said Laura Nowak-Glover, Children’s Wonderland spokeswoman.
She said there are new displays every year, and the exhibits are never in the same order, making it worthwhile for patrons to return annually.
This is good for Oaks-Lyell, who takes as many of her grandchildren as possible. Sometimes it requires more than one car, although she has never taken all 16 at once because of the age spread. Her grandchildren range in age from 2 to 22.
“It is a tradition,” she said. “We go every few years and sometimes we do it every year … that is a big part of it, going with the cousins.”
When Oaks-Lyell was younger, it was a big treat to go Downtown and see the storefront decorations. Now, that treat is Children’s Wonderland.
Her 44-year-old daughter, Penny Lyell-VanBuskirk of Springfield Township, has five children, in addition to three grandchildren. Going to Children’s Wonderland is a tradition she has continued.
She remembers going as a young girl and being amazed at the animation and the music.
“I just remember walking around and watching all the characters. It was exciting,” she said.
“It has been a tradition. We haven’t been there this year. We plan on going, but this year, I will be using a walker,” Lyell-VanBuskirk said, who is recovering from surgery.
Children’s Wonderland features some old favorites from its historical 45 years, in addition to splashes of new. It was started 45 years ago by the Lucas County Commissioners, Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said.
Displays include international holiday scenes from around the world, Santa’s toyshop, alien Christmas; a nativity scene, and Wonderland Express, which is a miniature train and station that take children on a ride through the North Pole.
SpongeBob SquarePants will visit Children’s Wonderland Dec. 6 and 7, and Diego, star of “Go Diego Go,” will visit from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14. A Santa’s secret shop will be set up for children under the age of 12. Additionally, Santa will be in his newly designed lodge for photo opportunities until Christmas.
Children’s Wonderland receives an average of 65,000 guests each year over the five-week period. The majority of the patrons are on field trips, which consist of school groups, day care centers and children with disabilities.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The special Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Children’s Wonderland is closed Christmas Day. Parking is free.