We can all agree that kids need to spend more time outside. No matter the weather, our children benefit from fresh air, a change in scenery and connecting with nature. Luckily, Cincinnati is home to endless opportunities for kids to simply be kids and get a little dirty out on a trail or wading through a creek. You’ll likely find yourself benefiting from and enjoying these hidden gems just as much as your kids!
Here are 10 must-visit nature centers in Cincinnati:
Colerain Township, OH
This charming little park is hidden in a busy area of Colerain, but you’d never guess it while wandering through the .6 mile Pin Oak trail. It’s the perfect spot for kids, with plenty of shaded areas for picnics and a two-story barn that often hosts nature-related events.
Caldwell Nature Preserve is home to a variety of wildlife including reptiles, amphibians and mammals. It also features a Nature Center and 3.5 miles of nature trails, including a level-paved trail that makes it possible for wheelchair users to go into the woods, see the flowers and hear the birds. (These paved trails are also great for families!)
This unique park has literally been built into the side of the hill below the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Devou Park. The area encourages creativity and allows children to follow their instincts and interact with the natural surroundings as they like.
At just 15 acres, this Kentucky park is the perfect size for kids. Trails are paved, making them both handicap and stroller friendly.
Sharon Woods is a large, popular park, perfect for exploring with children. There’s a 2.6 mile paved trail around the lake and other trails if you want to escape into the woods – there’s even a beautiful waterfall! And don’t miss the nature center and indoor playground.
Boasting 1,600 acres and 20 miles of trails, Cincinnati Nature Center is the largest member-supported nature center in the country. For kids, the main attraction is the PlayScape — plants, soil, and water can be touched and manipulated, creeks stomped in and logs built with. Admission is $9/adults, $4/kids 4-12, free for members and kids under 4.
Tucked away at the border of Montgomery and Blue Ash, the Johnson Nature Preserve is the perfect size for small kids. The .35-mile loop is a great hike for little legs, and the preserve features an abundance of plants and wildlife.
Anderson Township, OH
Enjoy nature with a river view at this picturesque park in Anderson Township. There is plenty to keep the little ones busy with paved trails, as well as wooded retreats that are easy enough for even young hikers.
Crosby Township, OH
Located on the west side of Cincinnati, Miami Whitewater is perfect for a day outside with your family. Hike the shorter or longer paved trail that winds past creeks, wildflowers and cornfields or enjoy a relaxing time, paddling away on the lake.
Mt. Airy Forest is definitely a hidden gem in Cincinnati. The main attraction for families is the Treehouse for Everyone, a wheelchair accessible tree house that is so fun to explore. There is also an arboretum, plenty of picnic spots and many swing sets to enjoy.