Things to Do in Cincinnati with Kids: Family-Friendly Attractions and Activities

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Cincinnati boasts a vibrant blend of family-friendly attractions and activities that provides an unforgettable experience for both kids and adults alike. With an array of museums, parks, zoos, and interactive experiences, the city has something for everyone to enjoy and explore.

Some popular attractions to check out include the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Newport Aquarium, and Smale Riverfront Park. Kids can foster their love for learning at the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Children’s Museum while participating in hands-on exhibits and programs. Sports enthusiasts can marvel at the history showcased at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame or even catch a game.

From thrilling theme parks like Kings Island to exciting outdoor adventures such as kayaking, canoeing, and scenic railroad tours, Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky provide countless opportunities for families seeking fun and culture in the Cincy Region.

Iconic Cincinnati Attractions

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

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The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is a top attraction for families with kids in the Queen City. Known for its diverse range of species, kids will love visiting the famous Fiona, the baby hippopotamus, as well as exploring popular exhibits like Cat Canyon, Giraffe Ridge, and the Spaulding Children’s Zoo where they can interact with animals such as aardvarks and wallabies. The zoo also features an aerial ropes and obstacle course called Kanga Klimb, perfect for adventurous youngsters.

Cincinnati Museum Center

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For families seeking an educational experience, the Cincinnati Museum Center is a must-visit. This iconic museum houses various attractions under one roof, including the interactive Children’s Museum where kids can get hands-on with exhibits. The Museum Center also features the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which is an important resource for learning about the history of slavery and the fight for freedom in the United States.

  • Children’s Museum: Interactive, hands-on exhibits
  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: History and culture of freedom struggle

Great American Ball Park

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The Great American Ball Park is the perfect destination for baseball-loving families. Home to the Cincinnati Reds, this family-friendly stadium allows visitors to catch a game, explore the Reds Hall of Fame, and indulge in delicious food. Young fans will enjoy special kids-focused events and activities throughout the season, making the ballpark a memorable experience for the entire family.

Venue Highlights
Great American Ball Park Cincinnati Reds games, Reds Hall of Fame, family events

Smale Riverfront Park

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Smale Riverfront Park is a beautiful green space in downtown Cincinnati that offers kids and families a chance to relax, play, and explore. With interactive features like splash pads and playgrounds, along with picturesque views of the Ohio River, it’s a fantastic spot for a family outing. Nearby, the carousel at Carol Ann’s Carousel is another popular attraction for young visitors, affording a whimsical ride that the whole family can enjoy together.

  • Park Activities: Splash pads, playgrounds, and scenic views
  • Carol Ann’s Carousel: Nostalgic carousel ride for families

Family-Friendly Outdoor Adventures

Eden Park

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Located in Cincinnati, Eden Park is a popular destination for families to enjoy the outdoors. With picturesque views, playgrounds, and several nature trails, it’s an ideal spot for children to burn off energy. The park also features a gazebo by the lake, perfect for picnicking and capturing memorable family photos.

Cincinnati Nature Center

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Cincinnati Nature Center offers a variety of educational experiences for kids while immersing them in the great outdoors. With over 1,000 acres of forests, meadows, and streams, the center provides children with ample opportunities for exploration. The nature center features several kid-friendly hiking trails, making it a great destination for families to adventure together.

  • Newport, Kentucky: Just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati lies Newport, Kentucky, which offers additional outdoor attractions for families. Here, you can visit popular spots such as the Newport Aquarium and local parks.

Loveland Castle & Gardens

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Located just outside of Cincinnati, Loveland Castle & Gardens is both a family-friendly and historical destination. Surrounded by lush gardens and nature trails, visitors can tour the castle and immerse themselves in the enchanting atmosphere. Children will love exploring the grounds while learning about the history of this unique attraction. The nearby Loveland Bike Trail is an excellent way for families to enjoy a leisurely ride together through Ohio’s scenic beauty.

Kings Island Amusement Park

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Kings Island Amusement Park is a must-visit for families looking for thrilling rides and attractions. With over 100 attractions, including roller coasters and water rides, this park caters to kids of all ages. Adjacent to the amusement park, you’ll find Soak City, a waterpark covering 33 acres filled with pools, water slides, and a wave pool, making it a perfect summer destination.

Here’s a summary of the attractions in this section:

Location Features
Eden Park Playgrounds, nature trails, lake, picturesque views
Cincinnati Nature Center Kid-friendly hiking trails, Ohio forests, and streams
Loveland Castle & Gardens Castle tours, gardens, nature trails, bike trail
Kings Island Amusement Park Roller coasters, water rides, kid-friendly attractions
Soak City Waterpark with pools, slides, and a wave pool

Educational and Interactive Experiences

Cincinnati Fire Museum

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The Cincinnati Fire Museum is an excellent destination for children interested in learning about firefighting and fire safety. The museum displays a variety of firefighting equipment and artifacts from the past, including fire engines, alarms, and uniforms. Kids can step into a firefighter’s shoes through interactive exhibits such as the fire pole and smokehouse, where they can practice escaping from a simulated fire. This educational experience promotes fire safety awareness and highlights the role of firefighters in the community.

Duke Energy Children’s Museum

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At the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, kids can enjoy a variety of hands-on exhibits that cater to different age groups, allowing them to learn through play. One of the popular attractions is The Woods, an indoor adventure-themed play area where children can climb, crawl, and explore. Additionally, the Energy Zone teaches kids about the science and principles of energy through engaging activities like launching balls and building structures. With multiple interactive sections, the museum aims to foster learning, creativity, and fun in a safe environment for all children.

Cincinnati Art Museum

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The Cincinnati Art Museum offers a great opportunity for kids to explore the world of art and creativity. With over 67,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years, the museum boasts a diverse and impressive collection. One unique feature is the Rosenthal Education Center (REC), which provides children with hands-on art-making activities, interactive exhibits, and opportunities to learn about different artists and art forms. The museum also offers family programs, such as Art in the Making, where participants can create their own masterpieces and learn about the artistic processes. By exposing kids to various forms of art and engaging them with educational projects, the Cincinnati Art Museum stimulates young minds and fosters an appreciation for art and culture in the community.

Aquatic Wonders

Newport Aquarium

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Located just south of downtown Cincinnati in Newport, Kentucky, and across the Ohio River, the Newport Aquarium is a perfect destination for families seeking aquatic adventures. The aquarium boasts a range of exciting attractions like dive shows, the Tide Pool touch tank, and a Frog Bog, where visitors can both observe fascinating frogs and let loose in the play area.

One of the highlights of the Newport Aquarium is its incredible variety of aquatic species, from colorful fish and playful penguins to captivating stingrays. A unique feature is the presence of white alligators, a rare and visually striking breed for visitors to observe.

Coney Island Park

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For those looking for a wet and wild experience, look no further than Coney Island Park found in Cincinnati itself. This family-friendly destination encompasses the Soak City Waterpark, offering an entertaining way to cool off during warm weather.

At Coney Island Park, families can enjoy dozens of exciting water attractions, such as:

  • Thrilling waterslides
  • A relaxing lazy river
  • Interactive splash zones for younger visitors
  • A unique pool that replicates the natural waves of the Ohio River

In addition to the Soak City Waterpark, Coney Island Park is home to other kid-friendly attractions like amusement park rides and games, ensuring a fun-filled day for the entire family.

Urban Explorations

Findlay Market

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Findlay Market is a historic public market located in the heart of Cincinnati, Ohio. It offers a wide variety of fresh produce, artisanal products, and delicious food options for the whole family to enjoy. Visitors can explore the market by hopping on the streetcar, which stops conveniently near the market. The market often hosts events and activities tailored for kids, making it one of the most family-friendly attractions in Cincinnati.

Washington Park

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Located in the city center, Washington Park is a popular destination for families and children of all ages. It features a wide range of amenities, such as a playground, interactive water features, and a picnic area. The park serves as an excellent spot for a break, where you and your kids can relax and take in the vibrant atmosphere of Cincinnati’s downtown area. Just a short walk from the bustling Fountain Square, Washington Park is an ideal urban oasis for families.

Cincinnati’s Historic Neighborhoods

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While visiting Cincinnati, take the opportunity to explore some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods:

  • Over-the-Rhine: Known for its stunning 19th-century architecture, Over-the-Rhine offers a rich history alongside trendy boutiques, eateries, and vibrant arts scene.
  • Mount Adams: This quaint neighborhood offers breathtaking views of the Ohio River and the city skyline, along with charming streets lined with unique shops, galleries, and restaurants.
  • Hyde Park: A family-friendly urban village, known for its tree-lined streets, historic homes, and lovely Square, where various events and gatherings take place throughout the year.

Cincinnati’s historic neighborhoods showcase the city’s rich cultural heritage while offering plenty of family-friendly attractions to explore and enjoy. Taking a leisurely stroll or riding the streetcar through these neighborhoods offer a unique and engaging experience for travelers of all ages.

Sports and Recreation

Cincinnati Sports Leagues

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Cincinnati, Ohio, offers numerous sports leagues for children of all ages. Youth baseball programs like Reds Rookie Success League provide young athletes with the opportunity to learn about the game and develop their skills in a positive and fun environment. Football enthusiasts can join the Cincinnati Bengals’ NFL Flag league, which offers kids a chance to experience a non-contact format.

Besides these professional team-affiliated leagues, Cincinnati has various community sports organizations where children can participate in soccer, basketball, swimming, and more. Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor activity, these leagues foster a spirit of competition, teamwork, and sportsmanship among kids.

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum

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The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum celebrates the rich history of this iconic MLB team, making it a must-visit destination for sports fans of all ages. Located at the Great American Ballpark, the museum houses an extensive collection of Reds memorabilia and exhibits that showcase the team’s accomplishments throughout its history.

Visitors can explore various exhibits, including:

  • The Hall of Fame Gallery: Featuring plaques of all the Reds Hall of Famers, including legendary players such as Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan.
  • The Kids’ Clubhouse: A special area dedicated to engaging young Reds fans through hands-on activities and interactive displays.

Additionally, the museum hosts special events like player autograph signings and educational programs, giving children a unique opportunity to discover more about their favorite team.

While visiting the museum, families should also explore the Great American Ballpark, home to the Cincinnati Reds. They can partake in a stadium tour and see behind-the-scenes areas like the dugout, press box, and the Reds’ clubhouse.

Sports and recreation are an integral part of Cincinnati’s culture, and families with children have plenty of options to choose from, be it engaging in sports leagues or visiting iconic landmarks like the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum.

Culinary Delights for the Whole Family

Ice Cream Parlors

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In Cincinnati, Ohio, there are a plethora of ice cream parlors that cater to both kids and adults. One popular choice is Findlay’s Ice Cream, known for its delicious flavors and delightful atmosphere. Here, children can enjoy a wide array of flavors, including classics like chocolate and vanilla, as well as adventurous options such as lavender honey. Families can share an ice cream sundae or indulge in a customizable ice cream sandwich.

Another great option for ice cream enthusiasts is Aglamesis Brothers Ice Cream. This ice cream parlor has been serving the Cincinnati area for over a century and offers a delightful dose of nostalgia with its vintage decor and old-fashioned ice cream. Kids will enjoy concoctions like the banana split, while parents can indulge in a premium ice cream-flavored milkshake.

Family-Friendly Restaurants

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Cincinnati has numerous family-friendly restaurants that cater to a diverse range of tastes. Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Sleepy Bee Cafe: Designed with kids in mind, Sleepy Bee Cafe offers a playful atmosphere and a menu featuring healthy, locally-sourced ingredients. Their dishes include pancakes, eggs, and a variety of sandwiches, as well as a dedicated kids menu. The cafe has three locations: Downtown, Oakley, and Blue Ash.
  2. Cincinnati Streetcar Food Tour: This culinary adventure takes you through historic Over-the-Rhine and downtown restaurants while showcasing Cincinnati’s food scene. The tour is family-friendly, and kids will enjoy sampling dishes from local eateries.
  3. Local Farmers Markets: To give kids a taste of fresh produce and artisanal products, visit one of the many charming farmers markets around Cincinnati. At these bustling markets, families can bond over delicious samples, homemade goods, and vibrant displays of fruits and vegetables.

With a myriad of ice cream parlors and family-friendly restaurants in Cincinnati, Ohio, your family is sure to enjoy the city’s culinary scene. Make the most of your visit by trying out these delightful options that cater to both kids and adults alike.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

Festival of Lights

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The Festival of Lights is a stunning event at the Cincinnati Zoo, perfect for families with children. This seasonal event transforms the zoo into a winter wonderland with over three million twinkling lights. With countless light displays throughout the park, it becomes a magical experience for kids and adults alike. While visiting the zoo, families can enjoy other attractions at the Spaulding Children’s Zoo, where kids can interact with animals, watch barnyard shows, and play on the “Be the Animal” playscape. The Festival of Lights provides an enchanting atmosphere that makes for an unforgettable family experience in Cincinnati.

Various Neighborhood Festivals

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Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are home to numerous neighborhood festivals that cater to families with kids of all ages. The following are some of these family-friendly events:

  • Sunflower Festivals: During the fall season, beautiful sunflower fields bloom across the region. Participate in sunflower festivals offering plenty of activities for children, such as sunflower maze exploration, games, and pumpkin picking.
  • Fall and Halloween Celebrations: As autumn settles in, various communities host fall-themed and Halloween festivities. These events typically include pumpkin patches, family-friendly haunted houses, and trunk or treat activities.
  • Scuba Santa at Newport Aquarium: Celebrate the holidays with a local tradition at the Newport Aquarium. Children can witness Scuba Santa diving, a unique and delightful sight during the Christmas season.

Cincinnati offers a variety of seasonal events and festivals, each showcasing unique aspects of the city and providing fascinating and engaging activities for families and kids.

Arts and Culture

When exploring Cincinnati with kids, the city offers a variety of art museums and cultural experiences for the whole family. In this section, we will focus on two noteworthy institutions: the Contemporary Arts Center and the Taft Museum of Art.

Contemporary Arts Center

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The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) is a one-of-a-kind destination for modern art enthusiasts of all ages. This unique museum offers a variety of engaging exhibitions and hands-on experiences designed to entertain and educate children.

Located in downtown Cincinnati, the CAC features several interactive spaces such as:

  • UnMuseum: A dedicated space on the museum’s top floor designed for children to explore contemporary art through hands-on activities and creative play.
  • CAC Art Labs: Workshops and activities that allow kids to create their own art pieces inspired by the current exhibitions.

The CAC also includes changing exhibitions showcasing the works of established and emerging artists, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to experience.

Taft Museum of Art

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A historic house turned art museum, the Taft Museum of Art is another excellent destination for families visiting Cincinnati. Housed in a remarkable 19th-century mansion, the museum contains a wealth of American and European art pieces.

Some highlights of the Taft Museum of Art include:

  • Wide Variety of Art Genres: The collection spans paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and more, which can help introduce kids to various forms of artistic expression.
  • Diverse Artists: The museum showcases works from famous artists such as Rembrandt, Goya, and Whistler, giving children an opportunity to appreciate masterpieces up close.
  • Family Programs: The Taft offers several family-friendly programs such as Art for All, Children’s Storytime, and the Taft Jr. series featuring themed activities and tours.

In addition to these two prominent institutions, Cincinnati is also home to other art museums such as the Cincinnati Art Museum and the American Sign Museum, providing families with even more diverse arts and cultural experiences to explore.

Nature and Wildlife Exploration

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Explore Cincinnati Gardens and Conservatories

Cincinnati offers many opportunities for kids to explore nature and wildlife. One of the best places to start is at the botanical gardens, such as the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Here, children can observe over 500 animals and more than 3,000 plant species, such as the captivating sights on Gibbon Island or feeding giraffes at Giraffe Ridge. Another excellent location is the Krohn Conservatory, where kids can discover a wide variety of plants, including the Peggy MacNeale Daffodil Collection and the Pat Kipp Memorial Shade Garden.

In addition to gardens, the Cincinnati Nature Center provides a range of activities and educational experiences for children. Designed for kids aged 3-13, the programs at the Nature Center immerse children in hands-on nature exploration and outdoor skills training.

Highfield Discovery Garden

One of Cincinnati’s hidden gems for families is the Highfield Discovery Garden, located in Glenwood Gardens. This enchanting garden is full of secrets, mystery, and wonder, guaranteed to ignite children’s excitement about the great outdoors. The garden is divided into seven small play areas packed with fun, each offering unique hands-on educational experiences.

While exploring Highfield Discovery Garden, kids can:

  • Stroll along the accessible treble clef-shaped walkway in the music garden
  • Create melodies and beats on outdoor instruments like drums and chimes
  • Discover the educational themed gardens, including the Butterfly and Vegetable Garden
  • Experience a sense of serenity in the peaceful Serenity Garden

Another fantastic location within the Cincinnati Nature Center is the Nature Playscape. Lush green spaces and natural materials offer a unique play experience for children, fostering a connection to nature and encouraging environmental stewardship.

Adventure and Thrills

Thrilling Theme Park Rides

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Cincinnati offers a fantastic destination for families who are looking to experience thrilling amusement park rides: Kings Island. This popular amusement park features a wide variety of attractions, including an array of roller coasters that cater to all ages and thrill levels. One of the most iconic roller coasters at Kings Island is The Beast, which holds the record as the longest wooden roller coaster in the world.

For families with younger children, Kings Island also houses Planet Snoopy, a Peanuts-themed area that offers kid-friendly rides and attractions. Some of these attractions include:

  • Flying Ace Balloon Race: A spinning balloon ride with Snoopy theme.
  • Peanuts 500: A mini-car race ride suitable for younger kids.
  • Woodstock Gliders: A scaled-down version of the classic flying scooters, perfect for young thrill-seekers.

Outdoor Adventure Activities

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In addition to the exciting rides at Kings Island, families can also enjoy various outdoor adventure activities at Soak City, a water park located within the park’s boundaries. Soak City offers several water-based rides and attractions, such as:

  • Mondo Monsoon: A four-person raft ride with twists, turns, and splashes.
  • Pipeline Paradise: A set of multi-lane water slides suitable for kids and adults alike.

Here is a brief summary of what Kings Island and Soak City have to offer:

Attraction Type of Activity Suitable for
The Beast Roller Coaster Thrill-seekers
Planet Snoopy Kid-Friendly Rides Young children
Soak City Water Park All ages

Overall, Cincinnati’s Kings Island and Soak City provide a variety of thrilling and adventurous activities for kids, ensuring endless enjoyment for all members of the family.

I am a mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, writer, living in Virginia Beach. I love creativity, ideas, crafts, arts, photography, movies, food, coffee, naps, outdoors. I love to make stuff!