2020 has presented many challenges for parents. And while we’ve adapted by staying socially distanced and favoring outdoor fun, the weather is starting to cool and fall brings lots of rainy days. Looking for safe, socially distant fun for a rainy day? We’ve got the lowdown on how your favorite local attractions are keeping you safe and adapting to life during a pandemic.
Here a roundup of indoor attractions in Cincinnati to take your kids this fall:
Carillon Historical Park (pictured)
Carillon Historical Park is a 65-acre history museum just south of Dayton. Indoor attractions include a working carousel, two transportation museums and the John W. Berry, Sr. Wright Brothers National Museum, which houses the Wright Flyer III.
COVID 19 Updates: Like most area museums, Carillon Historical Park shut down this spring in response to COVID-19. The museum reopened June 15 with increased safety measures and practices (read more here).
The American Sign Museum is a piece of living history that’s as accessible to kids as it is to adults.My toddler absolutely loved it. The signs all feature something that will appeal to younger audiences: recognizable imagery from popular culture (Ronald McDonald, Big Boy and Colonel Sanders), known objects (cars, bears, spinning globes) and vivid, bold colors. If you’re looking for something fun to do this winter, definitely plan a trip to the American Sign Museum. There’s free admission for up to three kids 12 and under with each paying adult — but if you take advantage of the library’s Discovery Pass program, you can get one adult ticket for free!
COVID 19 Updates: While not required, the museum strongly recommends visitors purchase tickets ahead of time. Masks are required for all guests, and temperature checks will be performed at check in. More information here.
Four floors of interactive exhibits and displays highlight Northern Kentucky’s rich history. Be sure to hit up each of the Museum’s “Top Ten Picks,” which include a drive-in theatre and train display with interactive crawl space.
COVID 19 Updates: BCM is open with reduced hours; in addition, the museum is closed on Mondays. All staff and volunteers, as well as guests, are required to wear face coverings, and complimentary masks will be provided to guests who need them. Child-size “grocery carts” will be available for families to carry toys through the museum and return after their visits for recleaning.
2020 has been a year of lots of surprises, but the show must go on. Happily, the curtain will rise on The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s 101st season. While the upcoming season is going to look a little different from seasons past, it’s going to be an incredible season full of heart and soul. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) has pivoted their 101st season with a playbill of guaranteed hits. Kicking off the season will be The Velveteen Rabbit (Nov. 12-Dec. 13), followed by Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude (Jan. 21-Feb. 14), Rapunzel’s Hairy Fairy Tale (Feb. 25-March 21), all at TCT’s Redbank Road theatre. Fingers crossed, Matilda The Musical Jr. will close the season at the Taft Theatre (April 17-25).
COVID 19 Updates: TCT’s 101st season has been relocated to the theatre’s Redbank Road theatre, where seating will be very limited and social distancing practices followed. The new line-up includes in-person performances for those who would like to experience a socially-distanced live show, and digital experiences for those who would prefer to enjoy the production from the comfort of their home. In addition, all Fall TCT Academy classes have moved to a virtual format.
The Cincinnati Art Museum reopened this summer with rigorous safety standards. All tours will be self-guided, programs and interactive activities are not currently available and the Rosenthal Education Center (REC) is temporarily closed. For those note ready to visit CAM in person, #MuseumFromHome offers myriad resources: Online Collection | Exhibitions | Blog | Teacher Resources. Connect with thousands of art lovers near and far by joining our new Facebook Group CAM Connect.
COVID 19 Updates: While general admission and parking remain free, you’ll need to register in advance for museum access. These tickets ensure that you can visit at your desired day/time. Follow this link to request your FREE tickets. Upon arrival, you will be asked to show your registration using your smartphone or printout.
Cincinnati Museum Center
This Cincy favorite is up and running, with one notable exception: The Duke Energy Children’s Museum remains temporarily closed. All guests will need to reserve tickets (free for members) ahead of their visit to ensure CMC can adhere to social distancing guidelines.
COVID 19 Updates: CMC reopened to the public July 17. Among the steps CMC is taking to keep its guests and staff safe, is instituting timed tickets for both general museum admission and featured exhibitions like Maya: The Exhibition.
In addition to checking out the world’s largest indoor train display, you can enjoy fall fun *indoors* at Entertrainment Junction! Jack O’Lantern Junction runs through Oct. 31, and is Halloween fun for the whole family! Walk thru our indoor, kid friendly maze and see friendly ghosts, skeletons Halloween mini scenes and a Halloween themed train display! Note: EnterTRAINment Junction will be closed on Wednesdays through November 17th.
COVID 19 Updates: The popular family attraction is following state guidelines for mitigating exposure to COVID-19. Precautions include extended overnight cleaning and re-cleaning high-touch surfaces multiple times per day. Restrooms may also be shut down briefly throughout the day to allow more frequent cleaning. EnterTRAINment Junction’s associates are adhering to all the state guidelines, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing as much as possible.
The Garage is a pop-up used bookstore, literally set up in the Hartwell Warehouse’s (formerly unused) garage space. The Garage sells bundles of books and popular titles, as well as puzzles and other items. And the prices are second to none: board books are 5 for $5, beginning readers paperbacks are 10 for $10 and hardcover picture books are 5 for $10.
COVID 19 Updates: The Garage is open limited hours and available for private appointments. Inventory is featured on their social media channels, and you can place an order via direct message, emailing [email protected] or calling at 513-349-4573. From there, you can set up a time to pick up your books — and touch-less curbside pickup is available.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is the largest aviation museum in the world and one of Ohio’s most glorious hidden gems, and it makes for a perfect day trip from Cincinnati. The museum is divided into four massive buildings/hangers, each housing a different time period of the history of the Air Force, from WWI and WWII to the Cold War and even space travel. There are countless planes, engines, models, missiles and space shuttles, spread out throughout the grounds.
COVID 19 Updates: The Museum is reopened in July — read up on their COVID-19 safety protocol here. The museum’s sit-in cockpits and aircraft are currently closed.
Newport Aquarium is the perfect place to spend a rainy day in Cincinnati. Located just across the river, this Northern Kentucky gem is an entire world unto itself; you’ll explore worlds and biomes under the sea that seem unreal and otherworldly.
COVID 19 Updates: The health and safety of Newport Aquarium’s guests and employees was a top priority — and, as such, they will be implementing a number of new safety measures and procedures. Face masks or face coverings will be required for all visitors ages 3 and up, guest temperatures will be taken on arrival and social distancing guidelines practiced. Visit NewportAquarium.com/PlaySafe for everything you need to know for your next visit!