One of my favorite things to do with my kids is explore places that are new to all of us. It’s so much fun to experience Cincinnati with your kids — we live in such a rich, beautiful city full of fun attractions and hidden treasures. Heritage Village Museum is the perfect example of this; it’s located in Sharon Woods, right behind the Sharon Center. Heritage Village is hiding in plain sight; as you exit the Sharon Center and enter this outdoor museum, you’ll be transported to another time and place.
Heritage Village Museum is one of Cincinnati’s most unique hidden gems. It’s a well-preserved glimpse into Ohio’s rich history and heritage, just waiting to be explored.
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. Most are authentic, plucked-from-the-1800s buildings that were saved from demolition and moved to the museum (a few are carefully recreated replicas of historic buildings).
Heritage Village Museum is a great place for school (and homeschool) groups, as guided tours are led by knowledgeable Interpreters dressed in authentic 1800s attire who demonstrate historic tasks and crafts such as spinning, weaving, candle-dipping, soap making, hearth cooking, carpentry work, herb lore, gardening, printing, trade and bartering and communication. When we were there, an interpreter was serving up homemade stew with fresh vegetables and grains!
We opted for a self-guided tour, as I wanted to let my kids roam and explore. We were given a map with details about each of the buildings, and off we went!
There’s a gravel path through Heritage Village Museum, with buildings branching off the path much like in a neighborhood. This is an easily walkable tour for young kids (even toddlers!), and a great way to get your kids outdoors and moving.
Tour highlights included the Chester Train Station (a real train station from the late 1800s which handled local trade, commerce and commuters), Fetter General Store (a Clermont County general store from 1866 that’s been restored by the museum), Schram Print Shop (one of Heritage Village Museum’s newly constructed buildings that houses an original collection of printing presses and letter trays) and the Flatboat (a life-sized recreation kids can climb aboard).
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of interactive activities at this living history museum. Kids can climb stairs, decks and carts; wander down dirt paths and through gardens; and let their imaginations run wild with stories and notions from the past.
Heritage Village Museum is located at inside Sharon Woods, just behind the Sharon Center (11450 Lebanon Road/Route 42, Sharonville, OH 45241). Please note you’ll need a Hamilton County Great Parks car pass for entry.
From October-April, Heritage Village Museum is open for outside, self-guided tours only, Wednesdays – Fridays. (Adults are $3, children 5-11 are $1 and kids under 4 are free). From May-September, both self-guided and guided tours are available Wednesdays-Sundays (Self-guided rates are listed above; Guided tours are $7 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-11 and free for kids under 4.) Please refer to the website for specific hours and more information.