Cincinnati is a large city that attracts tourists year-round. With a picturesque skyline and large bridge over the Ohio River, the city is not only a tourist destination, but also a place many families call home. Whether you’re living in Cincinnati, visiting the city on vacation or just passing through, you’ll find plenty of family friendly activities in this Midwestern city.
Rich in culture and history, Cincinnati is home to several museums. Cincinnati Museum Center (cincymuseum.org) is in the historic Union Terminal. This large complex is home to the Museum of Natural History & Science, The Robert D. Linder Family OMNIMAX Theater, the Cincinnati History Museum, the Cincinnati History Library and Archives, and the Duke Energy Children’s Museum. All of these museums and sites are on the same grounds. The Museum Center is home to more than 1.8 million works of art, artifacts and archives that are incorporated into various exhibits for kids and adults alike. The Taft Museum of Art (taftmuseum.org) features a world-class collection of art and has free admission on Sundays. The museum is in the Baum-Longworth-Sinton-Taft House built in the early 1800s and is a National Historic Landmark. The Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati (cincyfiremuseum.com) features exhibits and demonstrations that focus on the profession of firefighting and fire safety. The museum offers fire safety educational exhibits and demonstrations, and has opportunities for kids to flash the lights on a fire truck or slide down a real fire pole.
Parky’s Farm (no website; 10073 Daly Road, Cincinnati; 513-521-3276) is operated by the Hamilton County Park District and is in Winton Woods. The former dairy barn on site has been transformed into an farm-themed, indoor playground. The 100-acre farm also features farm animals, pony and wagon rides, and an outdoor playground. Families can enjoy spending the day with horses at Muddy Waters Equestrian Park (muddywaterranch.org). The facility has riding lessons and classes, and trail rides and rides just for kids. It also offers programs and training for at-risk kids, and for adults and children with special needs. The Cincinnati Zoo (cincinnatizoo.org) is home to a variety of fish, birds, bears, monkeys, reptiles and amphibians. It also has a 4-D theater, train rides and a carousel, as well as Botanical Gardens with more than 3,000 types of plants.
Amusement and Water Parks
For the thrill-seekers, check out one of Cincinnati’s amusement or water parks. CoCo Key Water Resort (cocokeycincinnati.com) offers day passes and overnight accommodations. This indoor water park has a variety of slides, a lazy river, an indoor/outdoor spa and a kids activity pool. A play island and zero-depth entry pool caters to younger children. Coney Island (coneyislandpark.com) is an amusement/water park that has something for everyone in the family. From classic amusement park rides like the Ferris wheel, Scrambler and Flying Bobs to an expansive water park with more than 3 million gallons of water, families will stay busy all day at Coney Island. The park also features a kiddie area with smaller rides, an arcade, miniature golf and a kid-size old Western town for play.
Cincinnati is home to several nature preserves and centers that allow families to get a glimpse into the animal and plant life of the city and around the globe. Krohn Conservatory (no website; 1501 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati; 531-421-5707) showcases more than 3,500 types of plants from all around the world and has special programs and exhibits throughout the year. The Butterfly Show is a popular exhibit where thousands of butterflies are released to fly around the show room. Guests can also visit the rainforest waterfall and the plants in the Tropical, Desert, Palm and Orchid houses. LaBoiteaux Woods Nature Center (no website; 5400 Lanius Lane, Cincinnati; 531-542-2909) has hundreds of acres of woods with 4 miles of hiking trails where hikers often see animals such as turtles, mink, deer and hawks. A nature center has live animals and animal mounts. Trailside Nature Center (no website; 3400 Brookline Ave., Cincinnati; 531-751-3679) is in one of the city’s oldest parks, Burnet Woods, and has a children’s museum, nature programs and education and a fishing lake.
- Hamilton County Parks District: Parky's Farm
- Muddy Waters Equestrian Park
- CoCo Key Water Resort: Water Park
- Coney Island
- Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
- Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati: Museum Features
- Cincinnati Museum Center: About Cincinnati Museum Center
- Taft Museum of Art
- Cincinnati Parks: Nature Centers & Preserves
- University of Cincinnati: Living in Cincinnati
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images