Is there anything better than taking your kids to a playground on a warm, spring day? We don’t think so. And here in Cincinnati, there’s no shortage of fantastic, straight-from-a-fairy-tale, playgrounds. We’ll see your slide-and-swing set, and raise you ropes courses, giant see saws and a flying pig, thankyouverymuch!
Here are ten Cincinnati playgrounds worth the drive:
3600 Observatory Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45208
One of Cincinnati’s best-kept secrets, this East side gem features separate playgrounds for little (ages 2-5) and big (ages 5-12) kids, ensuring fun for the whole family! Picnic tables and walking trails make Ault Park Playground the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon. Read more about Ault Park Playground here.
Donaldson Highway, Erlanger, KY
This Northern Kentucky is totally worth the drive — airplane-themed playground equipment and front-row seats to CVG’s air traffic are sure to be a guaranteed hit with kids!
CP Tip: Check the airport schedule ahead of time for ultimate airplane viewing!
950 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH
Natural colored materials and earthy structures make Eden Park Playground one of the prettiest in Cincinnati. From a faux tree house to rope bridges, branch-rung ladders to tree trunk steps, this playground is like no other in the area. There are also lots of swings, swirly and tunnel slides, and rocks, ropes and “trees” to climb. Afterwards, we recommend checking out the seasonal show at Krohn Conservatory!
4050 Paul Road, Delhi Township, OH 45238
A West Side treasure, Embshoff Woods features a state-of-the-art playground complete with ropes, tunnels and things to climb. The main play structure is like one big puzzle for kids to interact with. Kids will love climbing the various types of “stairs,” hanging on the different types of ropes and bouncing on the nontraditional see saw. Afterwards, families can brush up on their parcours skills at Embshoff’s fitness trail.
10397 Springfield Pike, Woodlawn, OH
This Hamilton County Great Park is an unexpected breath of fresh air and beauty beside a very industrial area — plus it has one of the most innovative, imaginative and interactive parks we’ve ever seen. Highfield Discovery Garden is 12 acres of pure magic that will bring out the kid in everyone. There are seven different, themed gardens to explore within Highfield Discovery Garden, including a 25-foot-tall tree house, kid-sized cottage with a tea set and dress-up clothes, koi pond and Garden Learning Center with water to pump, dirt to dig in and daily classes. The big-and-small scale of everything will make you feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland – and you won’t want to leave.
10073 Daly Road, Cincinnati, OH 45231.
Parky’s Farm has it all: indoor and outdoor playgrounds, picnic shelters, a gorgeous garden, orchard and animals. Horse-loving littles will love the pony rides at Parky’s Farm, and older equestrian enthusiasts can go to horse camp or watch shows at the Winton Woods Riding Center (located on the Parky’s Farm grounds). Be sure to check out the schedule of classes at Parky’s Farm; each week, there’s a themed class perfect for the preschool crowd.
Pleasant Ridge Playground (pictured)
5919 Ridge Ave., Cincinnati, OH
Pleasant Ridge’s playground was built in 2000 by more than 3,000 volunteers, then renovated in 2013 to be even bigger and better. (In fact, this Cincinnati Recreation Commission playground was most recently expanded to include a water-park worthy spray ground.) From swings (infant, big kid and tire) to bridges, fairy tale castles to chomping crocodile slides, this playground is tons of fun. Cincy kids will especially enjoy banging on the larger-than-life xylophones.
West Mehring Way, Cincinnati, OH
Smale Riverfront Park has several gardens, parks and trails that are great for adults and families. For kids, there are four main attractions: the Main Street Fountain, Heekin/PNC Adventure Playground, P&G go Vibrantscape and, of course, Carol Ann’s Carousel. The Main Street Fountain and P&G go Vibrantscape are at the top of our list for summer fun, and kids will love running through fountains and playing with the water auger and pumps. The Adventure Playground features a rock climbing canyon, log climbers, twin racing slides, rope bridge and a mist feature; it’s the perfect place for kids to dry off after the spray ground(s)! And, Carol Ann’s Carousel is one of our favorite spots in the city: no visit to the riverfront is complete without a two-minute whirl around this attraction.
4335 Glendale-Milford Road, Blue Ash, OH
The new Blue Ash playground is state-of-the-art. There’s a giant ropes course. Massive slides. Spinning stools. A four-person see saw. A hill made out of AstroTurf that kids can slide down and climb up! Plus a dog park (because Fido needs a fun place to play, too!) Summit Park hosts a farmer’s market starting in the spring, weekly fitness classes in the summer and year-round events on the Great Lawn (which is also fantastic for kite flying). Recently, a crop of restaurants opened up at this park, making it the perfect place to plan a play date with a friend.
Race and Elm Streets, Cincinnati, OH 45202
The new Washington Park is a playful paradise for children with an incredible system of sprinklers, fountains and water activities. When the kids tire of the water, there’s a playground like no other with a castle, canal boat and climbing wall. As summer approaches, be sure to check out the many free activities happening at Washington Park!
This spring, have a family play date at one of these local playgrounds. And parents: bonus points for some swing jumps and tire swing spinning!