You don’t have to look very hard to find some amazing museums in Cincinnati. From Duke Energy Children’s Museum to the Taft Museum of Art, this city boasts a plethora of museums right here in our own back yard. But if you and your family are in the mood for a little road trip, here are our suggestions for museums that are worth a little extra wear and tear on the family vehicle.
With three floors of interactive exhibits — including the famous giant toilet that will give you a look into everyone’s favorite seat in the house — kidscommons delivers fun for all ages. You could spend all day climbing, building and learning at this hands-on children’s museum, but if your kiddos still have some energy at the end of the day, walk across the street to The Commons Playground. This no-cost play area boasts a 35-foot-tall climbing structure and a colorful indoor playground for all ages.
309 Washington St., Columbus, Indiana | kidscommons.org
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
This natural history museum in Dayton is devoted to interactive STEM learning. Families can play and be inspired as they explore a hands-on space that includes a children’s museum, a technology and science center, and a zoo. As an added bonus, Boonshoft is part of the Association of Children’s Museums Reciprocal Network, which means that members of the Duke Energy Children’s Museum here in Cincinnati can score half-price tickets!
2600 DeWeese Pkwy., Dayton, OH | boonshoftmuseum.org
Kentucky Science Center
Is it a children’s museum or is it a science center? We say it’s both! There are so many things to experience at the Kentucky Science Center, the largest hands-on science center in the state. Design a roller coaster, build a magnetic tile structure, play with wind tunnels and so much more. When you’ve explored all three floors of interactive exhibits, kick back and relax in Kentucky’s only four-story, 3D digital theater that is located in the museum, where you can watch everything from documentary films to Hollywood hits.
727 W. Main Street, Louisville | kysciencecenter.org
The Magic House
St. Louis, Missouri
This national award-winning interactive children’s museum provides fun, hands-on learning activities that encourage creativity. The museum staff invites kids to role play, conduct experiments and get physical on the hopscotch courts in the outdoor play garden. Currently, the museum offers an exhibit on Argentina (through November), a construction zone, Star-Spangled Banner with replica oval office, bubble room and more. And there is a cool coloring area where kids can color 2D cars, planes and houses, then scan their creations and watch as they become 3D and virtually move around the walls with all the other kids’ creations.
516 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis | magichouse.org
Fort Wayne, Indiana
When there’s an indoor tunnel slide in the museum that will whisk you from one floor to the next, you know you’re in for a good time. But Science Central is not just fun and games (although there are plenty of both). This museum is northeast Indiana’s only science center, and it’s where you can learn about physical, natural and applied sciences in the best way: with hands-on displays. If you have kiddos ages 7 and younger, head to the third floor, where you’ll find an area just for them, with water tables and a mini climber.
1950 N. Clinton Street, Fort Wayne | sciencecentral.org
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
There are many reasons why people flock from around the globe to visit this, the world’s largest children’s museum, but here’s a big one: It’s truly amazing. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is five floors of educational fun for all ages, and there is even more reason to visit with the addition of Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, which opens for the season in mid-March. This 7.5-acre outdoor health and fitness area encourages movement with interactive exhibits that let visitors play a variety of sports, including tennis, football, basketball, golf and more.
3000 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis | childrensmuseum.org
Carillon Historical Park
Carillon Historical Park celebrates the city’s rich historical heritage, and features a hand-carved carousel, 4-D theatre, trains, slides, living history experiences, thousands of artifacts, extensive educational programming and so much more. Experience the city’s past brought to life in a way that is fun for the whole family!
1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton | daytonhistory.org