If you are traveling to, or just passing through Cincinnati, Ohio, be sure to spend time enjoying many of the family-friendly venues and attractions the city boasts. Cincinnati shares its border with Newport, Kentucky so you’ll find a list of fun things to do with kids for both cities. Here are my top ten favorite things to do with kids in Cincinnati…
1. The Newport Aquarium is nestled on the edge of Cincinnati in Newport, Kentucky. It was voted the #1 aquarium by Reader’s Choice Travel Awards from 10best.com. It truly is one of the best aquariums in the country. The collection of jelly fish is overwhelming. You can touch a shark, watch sharks circle around the glass tunnel, see alligators in a low country habitat and bask in the amazement of other stunning aquatic creatures. Our family loves the otter exhibit and there is even a kid’s activity center. If you have younger kids the kid’s activity center can take quite a bit of time!
2. Newport on the Levee. Just outside of the aquarium entrance provides many fun venues for kids like Gameworks, Wizards Magic Theater, bowling, a movie theater and other dining establishments. At Dewey’s Pizza you can place your order and watch the guys making your pie right in front of your eyes. Our kids never miss a trip to the Sweet Dreams Candy Company! We’ve even been lucky to catch some amazing free outdoor entertainment in the evening.
3. Ride the Ducks. Also in the Newport area, is a historical boating and sightseeing experience on the river. You can see the catchy little duck boats as you walk up to the dock. The tour is about 45 minutes and takes the family along the Cincinnati/Kentucky riverfront. Your family will stay engaged with the tour with your “Wacky Quacker” a whistle that sounds like a duck quack. The captains are fun and engaging and love to tell stories and jokes. If the duck tour doesn’t do it for you, a more classic ride along the river with B&B Riverboats may be the pace you are seeking. It is a historical steamboat tour perfect for families who want a quite river cruise on an old time boat.
4. The Cincinnati Museum Center is the trifecta of education and fun. It hosts the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, Cincinnati History Museum and Museum of History and Science. You can find three great museums all in one place! Our older kids love the History and Science Museum. One exhibit depicts the evolution of technology. Each period of time is illustrated with artifacts from that time period. Our favorite is the downstairs glacier exhibit. This is one of our favorite museums and the best part is if you have a membership to your local science museum you will likely gain free admission with your reciprocal benefits.
5. The Cincinnati Reds baseball and Cincinnati Bengals football. Our boys have enjoyed more than a few Reds games and tickets to the games are often affordable. Grab a hot dog, icy soda, of course Cracker Jacks, and you are set for an afternoon of fun.
6. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Located near downtown Cincinnati, within the University area. The zoo is the second oldest zoo in the United States and spans across 75 acres. The zoo offers variety of specialized programs for animals and you will be sure to see sea lions, bats, gorillas and tigers. A favorite of our children when they were younger is a train ride around the zoo.
7. Kings Island – Amusement Park and Waterpark. Just north of Cincinnati, in the suburb of Mason. It is the largest amusement/waterpark in the Midwest. This is the same amusement park featured in the popular Brady Bunch episode. You could easily spend two days here during park season May – October. October is our favorite time to visit the park as you can take in the stunning foliage just before plummeting down one of many headliner attractions. The park is broken into themed sections with at least one key attraction in each area. There is an adventure area, technology and boardwalk to name just a few.
Kings Island has an awesome kid’s area with mini-coasters and traditional rides scaled down for the smaller guests. The area is Planet Snoopy. All of the Peanut characters come together to make this an engaging and fun section for the kiddos. In fact, Planet Snoopy earned the award for one of the best children’s areas of an amusement park.
You must ride the famous wooden roller coaster, The Beast, and grab a slice of LaRosa’s pizza before you leave the park. Honestly, it is difficult to pass up LaRosa’s pizza because the aroma alone is captivating. Most nights the park performs a fireworks display which is a great way to end the night. If you are staying in the fall the park’s Halloween Haunt is great for a few scares and trick or treating for kids at Planet Snoopy.
8. Soak City. Pack your bathing suits and you can take advantage of the awesome waterpark! It is full of waterslides, a lazy river and a great kid’s section. Soak City is affiliated with Kings Island and you can purchase dual park passes to enjoy a bit wet, refreshing fun and some exhilarating amusement park fun. Adventure Cove is the perfect spot for smaller children with a splash pad, mini slides, Lily Pad Walk and more!
9. Great Wolf Lodge Located next to Kings Island, is a great place to stay. Great Wolf lodge includes a large indoor waterpark geared toward kids and adults. Great Wolf Lodge has all the typical waterpark amenities but they also have a children’s spa, wolf walk and nature hike, 8:00 p.m. pajama and story time and varying daily activities such as face painting, music and dancing games, balloons and bingo!
10. Cincinnati has a number of notable restaurants. Three-way chili, Cincinnati style, with a touch of cinnamon and chocolate can be found at Skyline Chili or Gold Star Chili locations around the city. Are you looking for pizza? Many locals love LaRosa’s pizza. You can find a slice at King’s Island or at a variety of nearby restaurants. Some of the best local barbeque is home to Montgomery Inn. Montgomery Inn was voted one of the top 10 barbeque restaurants in the country and recently voted number one restaurant in Cincinnati in the “Where the Locals Eat” contest. They have two locations but our favorite, The Boathouse, is downtown on the river.
From food to fun, Cincinnati is a great place for families. I’d love to read your thoughts about the many other great, family-friendly events in Cincinnati, Ohio!