As a parent, you get the unique opportunity to rediscover your city all over again! Between the city’s new offerings and classic favorites, there is no shortage of fun to be had in the Queen City.
In fact, Cincinnati is full of “hidden gems” – and we love sharing our favorites!
Here are our top 10 Kid-Friendly Hidden Gems in Cincinnati:
Highfield Discovery Garden is quite possibly the most magical place in Cincinnati. This straight-from-a-fairytale Great Park is full of secrets, mystery and wonder, and will absolutely get your kids excited about the great outdoors.
Located at the 1907 Court Street Firehouse (a registered historical building), the Cincinnati Fire Museum is a well-preserved piece of history along an otherwise modern road in Cincinnati’s West End. You’ll walk on original cobblestone sidewalk to get to the entrance on the side of the building, and the Fire Museum’s facade features the original garage doors and vintage lettering. It’s a charming building that will take you back to Old Cincinnati.
Located on the top of a hill in Hyde Park/Mt. Lookout, at the end of a street full of classic, Victorian houses, the Cincinnati Observatory is iconic. Comprised of two buildings with immediately recognizable dome-shaped roofs, the Cincinnati Observatory isn’t just a place where Cincinnatians can learn about space — it’s a space for kids and adults to dream big and be inspired… and get a great history lesson, too.
Tucked away in the Village of Evendale, is one of the great gems of the Cincinnati metro area, Gorman Heritage Farm.
Formerly a family run farm, today Gorman is a 122-acre, fully working farm and education center run by staff and volunteers whose mission is “…to educate about agriculture, nutrition, sustainability, and the environment.”
The Loveland Bike Trail is a great way to spend an afternoon with your kids. Everyone in the family can be active at this unique Cincinnati destination, which is for expert bikers, tots on training wheels, and everyone in between! Since the trail is 70 miles long and has many towns and stops along the way, the Loveland Bike Trail is perfect for families with kids of any age, and makes for a fun and active afternoon.
Located on the banks of the Little Miami in Loveland, Cincinnati’s Loveland Castle (“Chateau Laroche”) is a true testament to the power of imagination. This authentic, full-scale castle was built brick by brick by Cincinnati native (Sir) Harry Andrews. He began construction in 1929 and spent the next 50 years working on his masterpiece, using stones from the Little Miami River and hand-molded bricks made of cement and quart milk cartons. The castle includes gardens, several towers, a dungeon and rooms full of medieval replicas and memorabilia.
Mt. Airy Forest boasts 700 acres of reforested hardwoods, 200 acres of forested evergreens, 269 acres of wetlands, 170 acres of meadows, and a 120-acre arboretum
. It’s 1,459 acres of lush, picturesque, from-a-postcard, forest.
And at the center of that picture-perfect postcard
is Mt. Airy Treehouse. Now this is something you have to see! It’s 14 feet tall and connected to 12 trees within the forest. It has whimsical, fairy-tale features, such as a winding (and wheel-chair accessible) ramp, a swirly, shingled roof, and windows with crooked branches as windowpanes. The views from the treehouse are breathtaking.
Pyramid Hill is a true hidden gem – it’s tucked away in Butler County off a rolling country road. But to be fair, nothing about Pyramid Hill is “hidden;” this outdoor sculpture museum is big and bold. A bright red sculpture stands at the entryway; and from there, the hills and valleys of Pyramid Hill’s 300 acres are covered with larger-than-life sculptures that demand to be seen (and admired).
Blue Marble Books is located in Ft. Thomas, just blocks from the center of the city. It’s nestled in one of the beautiful houses the area is known for, right across the street from the Campbell County YMCA. You’ll park on the street (there is no parking lot, but plenty of street parking), and the walk to the store along one of Northern Kentucky’s most charming little downtowns. An outdoor trolley, expansive book selection and Great Green Room make Blue Marble Books one of the most special spots in town.
Trammel Fossil Park is located in an industrial area of Sharonville. From the road, this “park” looks like any other hilly, undeveloped area off the interstate. It’s 10 acres of rocky, rugged terrain, exposed to the elements — and totally rich with remnants from the past. The park is unique because it’s one of the only places to dig for fossils in the Cincinnati area that’s safe and accessible. Since the plot of Trammel Fossil Park has never been disturbed, there’s an abundance of fossils available at the tip of your fingers (or shovel). Plus: admission is totally free — and you can take whatever fossils you find!
Can’t get enough hidden gems? Be sure to read our monthly Hidden Gems column in the magazine! And be sure to follow Cincinnati Parent on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on our newest finds and most family-friendly spots in the city!