Are you looking for something to do with your crew? Cincinnati is one giant playground if you’re a kid, with no shortage of fun in every corner of the tristate. We’ve compiled a list of places to go, things to try and experiences to have for Cincy kids of all ages! Think of this as a “must-try” list for Cincy kids.
Without further ado, here are 100 Things Every Cincinnati Kid Needs to Do:
1. Visit Smale Riverfront Park
Smale Riverfront Park is every Cincinnati kid’s dream: part water park, part playground, with a carousel thrown in for good measure. And the water park at Smale is unlike any other splash park in the city, as is the playground. Smale Riverfront Park, 100 W. Mehring Way, Downtown, cincinnatiparks.com.
2. See how a Cincy delicacy is made
If you’ve ever had the delightfulness that is a French Chew, then you can thank Doscher’s Candy Co! Candy Factory Tours are typically held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 and 10:30 am. The tours last approximately 35 minutes and all guests receive samples of our delicious candy as part of the tour. Tours are $5/person and FREE for kids 2 and under. RSVP here.
3. Go to the top of Carew Tower
For a few bucks and a 49-floor elevator ride, you can stand on the top of the city’s second-tallest building (the tallest is the Great American Tower) and get a bird’s-eye view of the skyline, Ohio River and Northern Kentucky from the Observation Deck. Carew Tower, 441 Vine Street, Downtown, 513-579-9735.
4. Visit Cincinnati Art Museum
The Cincinnati Art Museum has always been a welcoming space for families, especially with the recent addition of the Rosenthal Education Center (REC). Located on the first floor of the museum, the REC is a family-focused studio space where kids of all ages can explore art through hands-on experience. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiartmuseum.org.
5. Spend a day exploring Cincinnati Museum Center
After a nearly-three-year renovation that closed down many of the Cincinnati Museum Center’s beloved attractions, 2019 boasted the CMC’s big comeback as *the* place to hang with your kids. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, cincymuseum.org.
6. Drive the Antique Autos at Kings Island
This beloved ride returned to KI for the 2019 season, and is something you’ll fondly remember from your own childhood. Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, visitkingsisland.com.
7. Eat a scoop of Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip ice cream
Family-run for 150 years (Graeter’s will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2020), this local French pot ice cream chain is iconic for its giant, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chunks. Oprah loves it, and your kids will, too. Multiple locations, graeters.com.
8. Dine at LaRosa’s, Montgomery Inn or Skyline Chili
Cincinnati’s dining scene may not have the clout of NY or LA, but we take major pride in our unique cuisine. Buttery pizza with oh-so-sweet sauce, finger-licking ribs and cheesy-topped-chili-over-spaghetti? Yes, yes, and yes. larosas.com, montgomeryinn.com, skylinechili.com.
9. Walk across the Purple People Bridge
At 2,670 feet long, a round-trip across the Purple People Bridge is roughly a mile, making it the perfect length for little kid legs. It’s purple, it’s for people and it’s a literal rite of passage for any Cincinnatian. Purple People Bridge, purplepeoplebridge.com.
10. Go to story time at Blue Manatee Literacy Project
For the past 30 years, Cincinnati parents have taken their kids to Blue Manatee for story times, activities and good, old-fashioned snuggles in the store’s comfy corners and crannies. Over the years, Blue Manatee has weathered new owners, a name change, the rise of Internet shopping and a significant relocation; in 2019, the store changed owners and became the Blue Manatee Literacy Project, a place with renewed purpose. Blue Manatee Literacy Project, 3094 Madison Road, Oakley, bluemanatee.org.
11. Ride the Streetcar
With 18 stops (narrated by hometown celebrity Nick Lachey!), the Cincinnati Bell Connector is a fun way to get around the city. Cars come along every 12 to 15 minutes and take you past iconic Cincy landmarks. Tickets are $2 for a day pass and free for kids under 35 inches. cincinnati-oh.gov/streetcar.
12. Get a smiley face cookie from Busken Bakery
Busken Bakery opened in 1928 and is most famous for its happy, yellow cookies: sugar cookies topped with a bright yellow smiley face. Grab one at your local Busken Bakery, Kroger or UDF. Multiple locations, busken.com.
13. Enjoy a donut (or two) along the Butler County Donut Trail
The sweetest journey you’ll ever take is just north of Cincinnati, along the Butler County Donut Trail. Complete in a day or take the entire summer to fill your passport; the Butler County Donut Trail is the tastiest trip you’ll ever take. Have your Donut Trail passport stamped at all shops to get a free T-shirt. Butler County Donut Trail, gettothebc.com/donut-trail.
14. Travel back in time at Ohio Renaissance Festival
One of Ohio’s most unique festivals; every fall, Cincinnatians make their pilgrimage to the Ohio Renaissance Festival in Harveysburg, OH, to visit one of the most extraordinary family events of the year. Ohio Renaissance Festival, Harveysburg, renfest.com.
15. Take a ride on the LM&M Railroad
Boarding stations, classic train cars and historic lookout towers — LM&M Railroad is full of unique photo opps and good, old-fashioned family fun. Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad, 16 E South Street, Lebanon, lebanonrr.com.
16. Visit Clifton Mill over the holidays
A sea of red lights cascade down the riverbanks. The historic covered bridge comes to life in a synchronized light show. Cross the bridge and travel back in time to the 1800’s. The water-powered grist mill is aglow! There’s even a miniature village with tiny replicas of Clifton Mill’s historic buildings. Open 5-9 pm through December 31st, closing at 8 pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Clifton Mill, 75 Water Street, Clifton, cliftonmill.com/christmas/.
17. Explore the Cincinnati Fire Museum
The Cincinnati Fire Museum is a place where kids can learn all about fire trucks, fire fighters and our city’s many contributions to U.S. fire fighting history. There’s even a real fire truck kids can control! Cincinnati Fire Museum, 315 West Court Street, Cincinnati, cincyfiremuseum.com
18. Walk through the rainbow light tunnel at Cincinnati Zoo’s Festival of Lights
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s annual holiday event is one of the top light displays in the country. In addition to 3 million twinkling LED lights, festively adorned foliage, glowing animal sculptures and the Insta-worthy rainbow-light tunnel, there are puppet shows, the Toyland Express train ride, a synchronized holiday music-and-light display on Swan Lake, and visits from Santa. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine Street, Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
19. Spend a day at Young’s Jersey Dairy
Young’s Jersey Dairy is a family-owned farm that has turned their family traditions into a fun-filled destination. Located in Yellow Springs, OH, you’ll find family-friendly farm fun at Young’s Jersey Dairy all year round. Their fall festival is a must, and the *free* annual Easter Egg Hunt is a beloved favorite. Young’s Jersey Dairy, 6880 Springfield-Xenia Road, Yellow Springs, youngsdairy.com.
20. Go shopping at Jungle Jim’s
Jungle Jim’s is an amusement park for foodies, and shopping there is an experience. Kids will love it, too: there’s lots of visual interest at Jungle Jim’s, from pop culture characters to a fortune teller (statue) to vehicles perched above the aisles. It’s all very exciting! And fun. Jungle JIm’s, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, junglejims.com.
21. Visit Parky’s Farm
If you have a child who loves farms or you’re simply looking for good, old-fashioned fun, then you have to check out Parky’s Farm. When you visit, you’ll discover more than 100 acres to explore, learn and play — and it’s all just a short drive from most areas of town. Winton Woods/Parky’s Farm, 10073 Daly Road, Cincinnati, greatparks.org/parks/winton-woods/parkys-farm.
22. See the little hippo who could at the Cincinnati Zoo
Since her premature birth in January 2017, Fiona has become a Cincy celebrity. Initially weighing just 29 pounds, she inspired the hashtag #TeamFiona, plus international media coverage, children’s books and tons of themed merch. Fiona is now a sassy and playful multi-hundred-pound hippo — visit her and her mom, Bibi, in the Zoo’s Africa exhibit, where she’s hanging whenever the temp’s above 45 degrees. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine Street, Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
23. Catch Playhouse in the Park’s A Christmas Carol
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s annual production of A Christmas Carol has become a yearly tradition for so many families. This is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable miser who journeys with three spirits on Christmas Eve, and learns the lessons of compassion, forgiveness and generosity. This triumph of the human spirit is a joyful way to celebrate the holidays. Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com.
24. Go to Riverfest for the best fireworks display of the year
This Labor Day bash is the unofficially official end of summer in Cincinnati. Food, music and one of the largest firework displays in the Midwest, it’s one of the best parties all year long – and every Cincinnatian is invited. Riverfest, webn.iheart.com/featured/western-southern-webn-fireworks/.
25. Catch an FC Cincinnati match
The team currently plays at UC’s Nippert Stadium, which is a beautiful and family-friendly venue (FC Cincy is moving to a new stadium in the West End in 2021). The UDF Kids Zone is a pre-game must for kids; it’s located on the Sheakley Lawn next to Nippert Stadium and features games, food and drinks, merchandise and all sorts of other fun things to get kids pumped for the games. FC Cincinnati, fccincinnati.com.
26. Shop local at The City Flea
Shop local at this curated urban flea market, which pops up monthly from May to October in Washington Park. The Kids Market is August is a must for mini makers, and December’s Holiday Flea is about as festive as it gets. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, thecityflea.com.
27. Two words: Oktoberfest Zinzinnati
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the nation’s largest ‘fest. Must-see traditions include the Running of the Wieners dachshund races and the world’s largest Chicken Dance. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, oktoberfestzinzinnati.com.
28. Ride bikes on the Loveland Bike Trail
The Loveland Bike Trail is perfect for beginners: you start in Downtown Loveland near a fun playground/picnic area, and can literally make the ride as long (or short) as you’d like. Go during a weekday or weekend afternoon to beat the crowds. Loveland Bike Trail, Loveland, lovelandbiketrail.com/index.html.
29. Cheer on the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnatians love their Reds, through thick and thin… and decades without a World Series win. From April to September, there’s lots of family fun to be had at a Reds game, from face painting to playgrounds to giveaways and helmet-sized Nachos. 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, mlb.com/reds/ballpark.
30. Walk, run or watch the Flying Pig Marathon
The flying pig is Cincinnati’s mascot, and for one weekend a year, Porkopolis comes alive with the pounding of
feet hooves on the pavement. Created in 1997, the Flying Pig Marathon draws people from around the world to make it through a 26.2-mile hill-tastic course, which takes participants through a true tour of Cincy. Flying Pig Marathon, flyingpigmarathon.com.
31. Hike at the Cincinnati Nature Center
With 1,600 acres of forests, fields, streams and ponds, the Cincinnati Nature Center has 16 miles of hiking trails, plus an epic PlayScape where kids are invited to literally play in the mud. Cincinnati Nature Center, 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford, cincynature.org.
32. Sample local fare at Taste of Cincinnati
If Riverfest is the city’s end-of-summer celebration, Taste of Cincinnati is its start. Over 50 of Cincinnati’s best restaurants take over Fifth Street each Memorial Day Weekend for the oldest free culinary festival in the country. Taste of Cincinnati, tasteofcincinnati.com.
33. See a CSO show at Music Hall
This 19th Century landmark recently underwent a major renovation that included acoustic upgrades, new fixtures, more legroom and tech improvements. The CSO fills these hallowed halls with pure magic, and their Lollipops shows are fantastic for families. Music Hall, 1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati, cincinnatisymphony.org/tickets-and-events/.
34. Get tickets to Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a timeless story with incredible music, and it’s the perfect performance for children and adults alike. The Cincinnati Ballet takes this classic ballet and adds just enough modern and playful touches — including the recent addition of a dancing Fiona the Hippo — that everyone will enjoy it from beginning to end. Cincinnati Ballet, cballet.org.
35. Spend a day at Summit Park
Summit Park is a Cincy kid favorite – and somehow, it keeps getting better. First came the playground – which is amazing. Then, the bike trails, which are perfect for families. The Observation Tower opened in 2018 and is such a unique attraction. Most recently, Summit Park added a Nature PlayScape which includes zip lines and massive water play area. Summit Park, 4335 Glendale-Milford Road, Blue Ash, summitparkblueash.com.
36. Visit the Schoolhouse Restaurant
Located in Camp Dennison, The Schoolhouse Restaurant is a quaint, family-friendly eatery located in a 150-year-old schoolhouse. It’s filled with charm and history, and offers a true “family style” dining experience. 8031 Glendale Milford Road, Camp Dennison, theschoolhousecincinnati.com.
37. Celebrate 100 years with The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati
The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati provides Cincy kids with accessible, Broadway-level theatre experiences. This Cincy institution offers memorable experiences and interactions with the arts that your family will remember forever. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, thechildrenstheatre.com
38. Go back in time at Heritage Village
Located inside Sharon Woods, Heritage Village is an outdoor history museum with real buildings from the 1800s. The buildings are from various locations around Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, and include churches, log cabins, homes, a barn and old train station. Heritage Village Museum, 1450 Lebanon Road/Route 42, Sharonville, heritagevillagecincinnati.org.
39. Visit Lunken Airport’s Sky Gallery restaurant
When you think of airports in the Cincinnati area, Lunken may not be the first that comes to mind — but it’s full of history and Art Deco charm. This small airport is one of the coolest places in the city to hang out, due to its surrounding biking and walking trail, parks and playground — and the Sky Galley Restaurant. Located inside the main building at Lunken, your family can enjoy a delicious meal with the added bonus of a view of aircraft coming and going. Sky Gallery Restaurant, 262 Wilmer Avenue, Cincinnati, facebook.com/Sky-Galley-Restaurant-at-Lunken-Airport-162012787171066/.
40. See the sunflowers at Gorman Heritage Farm’s annual Sunflower Festival
Held the first weekend in October, Sunflower Festival is one of Ohio’s most famous fall festivals. In addition to boasting lots of family fun, you’ll also find an enormous sunflower maze that is just as magnificent as it sounds. Gorman Heritage Farm, 10052 Reading Road, Evendale, gormanfarm.org/product/sunflower-festival.
41. Splash around in the world’s largest recirculating pool at Coney Island!
The 200-by-401-foot Sunlite Pool has plenty of space for Cincy kids and their parents to cool off during the summer. Coney Island Amusement Park, 6201 Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati, coneyislandpark.com.
42. Pick strawberries at Blooms & Berries
Each summer, this Loveland gem comes alive with its eponymous red berries. Blooms & Berries truly is one of the most family friendly places in Cincinnati, and a summertime visit guarantees you’ll see the best of its red, ripe strawberries! (And don’t forget about Blooms & Berries fall festival, which is a beloved Cincy tradition.) Blooms & Berries, 9669 S. St. Rt. 48, Loveland, bloomsandberries.com.
43. Enjoy the epic corn maze at Shaw Farms
By day or by flashlight, every Cincy kid needs to experience the corn maze at Shaw Farm’s fall festival at least once. Shaw Farms, 1737 State Route 131, Milford, shawfarms.com.
44. Check out the Public Library of Cincinnati’s Maker Space
3D printing, button and magnet making, and a booth where you can record your own MP3 — the MakerSpace is a wonderful example of what makes our Cincinnati Public Library system so special. Main Library, 800 Vine Street, Cincinnati, cincinnatilibrary.org/main/makerspace.html.
45. Cross the Shark Bridge at the Newport Aquarium
Ever wonder what it would feel like to walk the plank into shark-infested waters? Well, wonder no more by venturing across Newport Aquarium’s Shark Bridge, the world’s first rope bridge suspended just inches above the 385,000 gallon Surrounded by Sharks exhibit. It’s 75-feet of adrenaline-pumping fun for the most daring Cincy kids. Newport Aquarium, 1 Aquarium Way, Newport, newportaquarium.com.
46. Visit Cincy’s very own castle
Located on the banks of the Little Miami River, Cincinnati’s Loveland Castle (“Chateau Laroche”) is a true testament to the power of imagination. Modeled after European castles, it features towers, a dry moat, hand-tiled ceilings, murder holes and a collection of period weaponry. Loveland Castle, 12025 Shore Road, Loveland, lovelandcastle.com.
47. Experience a Cincinnati Cyclones game
Ice Hockey is another sport that kids are typically fascinated with and it doesn’t get much more fun than a Cincinnati Cyclones game at U.S. Bank Arena. The games are loud, can get a little rowdy, and are always entertaining. The Cyclones often host specials with food, drinks and giveaways, so be on the lookout for those, to make this sports event a budget-friendly one, as well as family friendly. Cincinnati Cyclones, U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway St, Cincinnati, https://cycloneshockey.com.
48. Check out the Reds Opening Day parade
Opening Day is a serious holiday for Cincinnatians. And you don’t need a ticket to join the fun – the annual Opening Day Parade begins at Findlay Market, led by an honorary grand marshal and some 200 other businesses and groups — local politicians, the Budweiser Clydesdales, high school bands, etc. — and ends at the Taft Theatre. The Reds are the nation’s oldest professional baseball team, and this historic parade is something you must experience at least once. Opening Day Parade, findlaymarketparade.com.
49. Go train crazy at Entertrainment Junction
The world’s largest indoor train museum is just north of Cincinnati. Entertrainment Junction is all about the trains, and a visit to this museum never disappoints. You’ll love how family-friendly this museum is, providing hours of indoor fun for kids of all ages. Entertrainment Junction, 7379 Squire Ct, West Chester Township, entertrainmentjunction.com.
50. Explore Spring Grove Cemetery
This beautiful hidden gem offers a variety of walking and tram tours each month, but truly comes alive in the fall. Be on the lookout for a “Twilight Tour” – admission is free and you’ll see the cemetery in a whole new light. Spring Grove Cemetery, 4521 Spring Grove Avenue, Spring Grove Village, springgrove.org.
51. Go over the river (and through the woods) to Behringer-Crawford Museum
This transportation-themed museum in Covington is best-known for its holiday train display, but there’s a lot to experience here all year long. Behringer-Crawford Museum, 1600 Montague Road – Devou Park, Covington, bcmuseum.org.
52. Enjoy Sunday Funday at the Taft Museum
Every third Sunday of the month is a Funday at the Taft. Kids will enjoy themed activities, accessible art exhibits and fun performances. Admission and parking at the Taft Museum are always free on Sunday. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike Street, Downtown, taftmuseum.org.
53. Pose in front of the iconic fountains at Union Terminal
The best photo op in Cincy is back! Bring your kids for an Instagram-worthy pic, then spend the day at the museum. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, cincymuseum.org.
54. Marvel in the dressed-up dogs at the Mount Adams Reindog Parade
This under-the-radar holiday tradition is a must for dog lovers. The Mount Adams Reindog Parade, which happens each December, has been happening for the past 30 years. This festive event is fun for everyone – even if you don’t have a pooch. Mount Adams Reingdog Parade, spcacincinnati.org.
55. See the sky illuminate during Balloon Glow at Coney Island
This July 4th tradition is one of the best and brightest in Cincy. During the annual Balloon Glow, tethered hot air balloons illuminate the park with glowing color all evening. Guests can walk beneath this dazzling display, then enjoy the fireworks grand finale over Lake Como. Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati, coneyislandpark.com
56. Enjoy a Shakespeare show – for free
The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company puts on a free series every summer, bringing the Bard to parks, public spaces and other area attractions throughout Greater Cincinnati. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, cincyshakes.com.
57. Slide down the concrete slide at Burnet Woods
Burnet Woods, located next to the University of Cincinnati campus, includes the Wolff Planetarium at the Trailside Nature Center, a fishing lake, historic bandstand and the pièce de résistance: an epic concrete slide beloved by generations of Cincy kids. Burnet Woods, 3251 Brookline Avenue, Clifton, cincinnatiparks.com.
58. Watch a flick at Esquire Theatre
This Clifton landmark shows a number of family-friendly films throughout the year, including cult classics like The Neverending Story and ’90s hits you’ll remember from your childhood, like Babe and Space Jam. Follow their Facebook page for kid-friendly “Esquire Jr” showings. Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Avenue, Clifton, esquiretheatre.com.
59. Peruse the Cardboard Boat Museum
Every August, the mighty Ohio comes alive with cardboard boats of all shapes and sizes. The Cardboard Boat Museum (the world’s only cardboard boat racing museum), is located in the heart of Downtown New Richmond, inside an old car service station, complete with garage doors, concrete floors and brick walls. But don’t let appearances fool you: inside these walls are some of the most exquisite works of art you’ll ever see. Cardboard Boat Museum, 311 Front Street, New Richmond, cardboardboatmuseum.com.
60. Experience a movie on the big screen at the OMNIMAX
Every parent knows that movies are a tried-and-true option for those too-hot, too-rainy, too-snowy, too-tired days. Why not take your movie game to the next level? CMC’s OMNIMAX puts your kids there, whether it’s inside America’s pristine National Parks, alongside paleontologists in Ancient Egypt or under the turquoise oceans of Cuba. OMNIMAX Theatre at Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, cincymuseum.org/omnimax/.
61. Take an ArtWorks mural tour
Since 2007, ArtWorks murals have brightened the streets of Cincinnati, creating over 100 public works of art. Take your kids on the ArtWorks “Spirit of OTR” walking tour, a mile-long look at a dozen dazzling works of art. ArtWorks, artworkscincinnati.org.
62. Visit King Arthur’s Court for the ultimate toy store experience
For the last 35 years. King Arthur’s Court has made shopping for toys an experience: you’ll find demos of practically every toy sold in the store, from train tables to Magformers to doll houses and costumes. Most recently, King Arthur’s Court took their Medieval theme to the next level, converting the former basement into an appropriately named Dungeon: a fun and free indoor play area that truly transforms this store into a land of imagination. King Arthur’s Court Toys, 3040 Madison Road, Oakley, kingarthurstoys.com.
63. Spend a day at Stricker’s Grove
Stricker’s Grove is a slice of Americana; a classic amusement park experience and good, old-fashioned summer fun. This family-owned and operated, 25-acre old-fashioned amusement park is home to nostalgic games, classic rides and two famous roller coasters. Stricker’s Grove, 11490 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton, strickersgrove.com.
64. Wander around Everybody’s Treehouse
Tucked away in Mt. Airy Forest is Everybody’s Treehouse. The wheelchair-accessible structure is the only treehouse like it in Ohio and was built to be accessible to everyone. It’s a magical place your kids will absolutely love. Everybody’s Treehouse, 5083 Colerain Avenue, Mount Airy, cincinnatiparks.com.
65. Check out the Great Green Room at Blue Marble Books
66. Wander through the American Sign Museum
The American Sign Museum celebrates the art (and artistry) that went into the bright, eye-catching signs in the first half of the 20th century. There are elegant glass signs from the early 1900s, “pre-neon” signs from the teens and ’20s and bright neon numbers from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. The signs blink, flash and spin; they’re larger than life, three-dimensional works of art from a bygone era. American Sign Museum, 1330 Monmouth Avenue, Camp Washington, americansignmuseum.org.
67. Cruise down the Ohio River on a BB Riverboats
Cincinnati is a river city, and it’s best explored by boat. BB Riverboats celebrates this legacy with its spectacular, steamboat-powered cruises. These excursions are a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a scenic and playful time aboard one of Cincinnati’s iconic riverboats, and you’ll find plenty of kid-approved options, including the “Pirates of the Ohio” cruise. BB Riverboat, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, bbriverboats.com.
68. Stargaze at the Cincinnati Observatory
Located on the top of a hill in Hyde Park, with its dome-shaped buildings, the Cincinnati Observatory is iconic. It’s not simply a place where Cincinnatians can learn about space — it’s a place for kids and adults to dream big and be inspired… and get a great history lesson, too. Cincinnati Observatory, 3489 Observatory Place, Hyde Park, cincinnatiobservatory.org.
69. Dig for fossils at Trammel Fossil Park
70. Rent an Art Cart and explore Pyramid Hill
This outdoor sculpture museum is big and bold and very family friendly. 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). Pyramid Hill, 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road, State Route 128, Hamilton, pyramidhill.org.
71. Celebrate spring at Krohn Conservatory’s Annual Butterfly Show
Krohn’s annual interactive butterfly show signals the start of spring in Cincinnati. There are colorful flowers, foliage and fluttering wings everywhere. It’s like stepping into Oz from Kansas; Krohn’s Butterfly Show is a vibrant visual feast after the dull, dreary winter. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiparks.com.
72. Ice skate on Fountain Square
From Halloween through President’s Day, Fountain Square becomes a public ice rink for skaters to enjoy for a reasonable rate. Ice skating at Fountain Square is a beloved Cincinnati tradition, and every Cincy kid needs to give it a whirl. Fountain Square, 520 Vine Street, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.
73. Celebrate all things baseball at the Reds Hall of Fame
Cincy is a baseball city, and you can revel in baseball year-round at The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. This museum has something for everyone, and will surely be a hit with fans young and old. Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, mlb.com/reds/hall-of-fame.
74. Ride Carol Ann’s Carousel
Built in Mansfield, OH, Carol Ann’s Carousel is comprised of 44 whimsical Cincinnati characters, like a flying pig and queen bee, and is a whirling’ good time for families. Smale Riverfront Park, 100 W. Mehring Way, Downtown, cincinnatiparks.com.
75. Watch planes at the CVG Aircraft Viewing Area
The CVG Aircraft Viewing Area was designed with families in mind, complete with picnic tables and a small play area filled with airplane-themed equipment. Bring lunch and enjoy the view! CVG Aircraft Viewing Area, 1459 Donaldson Highway, Erlanger, cvgairport.com/about/tour/viewing-area.
76. Have an adventure aboard the Whitewater Valley Railroad
Whitewater Valley Railroad offers a number of excursions and special events during the summer, fall and winter. One of the railroad’s most popular excursions is a round-trip ride from Connersville to the historic canal town of Metamora, IN. All aboard! Whitewater Valley Railroad, 455 Market Street, Connersville, whitewatervalleyrr.org.
77. Wander around Findlay Market
The ultimate farmer’s market and artisan fair, Findlay Market is an unparalleled experience that’s classic Cincinnati. Fuel up for your adventures with a carb-tastic treat from Blue Oven’s Toast Bar. Findlay Market, 1801 Race Street, Cincinnati, findlaymarket.org.
78. Watch the Penguin Parade at the Cincinnati Zoo
Going to the Zoo when it’s cold is magical: in addition to beating the crowds, you see lots of animals you wouldn’t normally see. Bears! Big cats! And penguins. Lots of penguins. In fact, the cutest parade you’ll ever see happens during Penguin Days at the Cincinnati Zoo — this is something you have to experience in person! Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine Street, Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
79. See the bison at Big Bone Lick State Park
Big Bone Lick State Park is a historic area that your kids will actually want to visit. You can walk through history at this 813-acre park and there is plenty to do to enjoy some family fun. Wander down the Bison Trail, where, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a herd of bison, America’s largest land mammal. Big Bone Lick State Park, 3380 Beaver Road, Union, parks.ky.gov/parks/historicsites/big-bone-lick/.
80. Learn about history at the William Howard Taft Historical Site
Ohio is known as “the Mother of Presidents,” as an impressive 8 U.S. Presidents hail from Ohio. Most famous (or infamous) is President Taft, who had that unfortunate experience in the bathtub. Located in Mt. Auburn, the William Howard Taft Historical Site is the house where Taft was born and raised. It’s a fun and free outing any Ohio kid needs to explore. William Howard Taft Historical Site, 2038 Auburn Avenue, Cincinnati, nps.gov/wiho/index.htm.
81. Explore The Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati
If your kids love trains, it doesn’t get more authentic than the The Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati. This outdoor museum is entirely volunteer-run, and maintains an impressive collection of authentic trains and railroad equipment. The Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati, 315 W. Southern Avenue, Covington, cincirailmuseum.org.
82. Let the kids loose in the greenspace at Ault Park
Ault Park has a wonderful playground and swoon-worthy fountains, plus an expansive greenspace where your kids can run, roll and wander. Ault Park, 3600 Observatory Avenue, Cincinnati, cincinnatiparks.com/parks-venues/east/ault-park/.
83. Enjoy the best Cincy skyline views from Devou Park
For the best views of Cincy, you need to head over the river. Devou Park’s designated overlook is hands-down the best view of the city, and offers benches, a gazebo, picnic tables and is ADA accessible. Devou Park, 1201 Park Drive, Covington, exploredevoupark.org.
84. Goetta yourself some goetta at Goetta Fest
Goetta is a Cincy classic. Each fall, Goetta devotees flock to Glier’s Goettafest in Newport for a celebration of all things goetta, including goetta mac and cheese, deep-fried goetta balls and even goetta brownies. Glier’s Goettafest, goettafest.com.
85. Rent a pedal boat at Sharon Woods
This Cincy kid favorite has a beautiful harbor with rentable pedal boats, for a fun, family-friendly day on the water. Sharon Woods, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, greatparks.org/parks/sharon-woods.
86. Explore the straight-from-a-fairytale Highfield Discovery Garden
A visit to this Great Park is like stepping into a real-life fairy tale. With a magic treehouse, outdoor trains, kid-sized fairy worlds and enchanted gardens, Cincy kids will be enchanted by this Great Park. Highfield Discovery Garden/Glenwood Gardens, 10397 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, greatparks.org/parks/glenwood-gardens.
87. Drive through Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods
This annual drive-thru light display takes you across more than a mile of wooded roadway. See Santa and his elves, and discover scenes from A Christmas Carol, Babes in Toyland and It’s a Wonderful Life. After the driving tour, visit Santaland in the Sharon Centre for music, holiday trains and pictures with Santa. Holiday in Lights, holidayinlights.com/home.html.
88. Check out the Duke Holiday Trains at Cincinnati Museum Center
Holiday Junction has been a Cincinnati tradition since 1946, and returned in 2018 following a restoration-related hiatus. Holiday Junction Featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is an epic, must-see holiday display with festive fun and whimsy. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, cincymuseum.org.
89. Experience WinterFest at Kings Island
This beloved event features some of best and brightest lights you’ll find in Cincy. Every night at 5:30 pm, families can enjoy a spectacular lighting ceremony, making the Eiffel Tower the most stunning “Christmas tree” in town! Kings Island, visitkingsisland.com/play/winterfest
90. Explore Krohn Conservatory
It’s always spring at Krohn Conservatory, and this Cincy gem deserves to be explored in its entirety. Waterfalls, tropical trees and picturesque plants make Krohn Conservatory a wonderful destination year-round. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, cincinnatiparks.com.
91. Spelunk in Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center’s Cave is about as realistic as it gets (without actually venturing underground), with waterfalls, pooled water, tight corridors and cave formations like stalagmites and stalactites. It’s an immersive and totally awesome experience. Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, cincymuseum.org.
92. Go downtown to admire the giant Christmas tree on Fountain Square.
Cincinnati officially welcomes the holiday season with “Macy’s Light Up the Square,” the annual lighting of the Christmas tree on Fountain Square. This event happens the weekend following Thanksgiving, but you can marvel at the tree through December – and it’s spectacular! downtowncincinnati.com.
93. Enjoy a game of laser tag at Lazer Kraze
In Cincinnati, Lazer Kraze is *the* place to go for a game of adrenaline-pumping laser tag. Lazer Kraze’s arena is two levels, very family friendly and accessible for kids. Family fun, check and check. Lazer Kraze – Mason, 7082 Columbia Rd, Maineville, lazerkraze.com/masonoh/index.asp; Lazer Kraze – N. KY, 1335 Donaldson Road, Erlanger, lazerkraze.com/nky/index.asp.
94. Splash in the fountains at Washington Park
OTR has undergone a massive revolution since we were kids, and this is epitomized by Washington Park. This park is an urban masterpiece, with an accessible playground, wonderful green space, dog park and absolutely delightful splash park. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.
95. See a show at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s Showtime Stage
The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati moved to its Redbank Road home in 2015, and this space is truly a place for community engagement. TCT boasts a number of family-friendly shows on its Showtime Stage; past shows include The Cat in the Hat, Rumpelstiltskin and Bah Humbug! A One-Man Christmas Carol. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, 4015 Red Bank Road, Cincinnati, thechildrenstheatre.com/mainstage/showtime-series-19-20.
96. Check out The Betts House
Located in Cincinnati’s West End, The Betts House is the oldest residential building in Cincinnati (it’s also the oldest brick building in Ohio). It’s a well-preserved piece of Cincinnati history that was home to several generations of Betts family members, including dozens of children. Your kids will never complain about sharing a room again. The Betts House, 416 Clark Street, West End, thebettshouse.org.
97. Explore modern art at the Contemporary Arts Center
The CAC proves contemporary art is for everyone. Located on the sixth floor, the UnMuseum is a gallery of interactive art designed to make innovative art accessible and fun for families. There’s also an impressive art-making space where kids can immerse themselves in art. Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth Street, Downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org.
98. Visit Cincinnati’s very own Beach
Cincinnati may not be close to the coast… but we do have our very own Beach! The Beach Waterpark has been a Cincy kid fave since 1985, and its just as much fun today as it was 35 years ago. Kids will have a blast on the Banzai Blast and Big Creek Beach, while Cincinnati parents will feel super zen floating down the Lazy River. The Beach Waterpark, 2590 Waterpark Drive, Mason, thebeachwaterpark.com.
99. Go canoeing on the Little Miami
Some things are best experienced by boat. The Little Miami is one of those. Designated as a State and National Scenic River, the Little Miami looks much the way it did 200 years ago, with its majestic banks, pristine waters and numerous wildlife including the Great Blue Heron, species of turtles, frogs and fish. Rent a canoe and sail away! Loveland Canoe & Kayak, 174 Karl Brown Way, Loveland, lovelandcanoe.com.
100. Walk on the Moon in the CMC’s Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery
There are so many amazing feats that are taken for granted with today’s kids. (Hello, YouTube.) And what happened on July 20, 1969 is one of those things. On this date, Neil Armstrong made history when he landed on the Moon. This event is a spectacular accomplishment of imagination, technology and the power of mankind… and CMC’s Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery celebrates this truly extraordinary feat. The gallery features unique artifacts and equipment from the Apollo 11 mission, plus lots of fun, kid-friendly interactives. Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, cincymuseum.org.