Founded in 1963 at a local YMCA, the Cincinnati Ballet grew into a major regional company by adhering to its mission to express the human experience through dance. Today, it continues upholding that vision by housing resident artists who entertain audiences with dance performances of both classic and original work. Beyond supporting local audiences and their right to clap, the Cincinnati Ballet also seeks to nurture artists through the Otto M. Budig Academy. There, a professional faculty trains aspiring performers at all skill levels. These training opportunities are supplemented by outreach programs such as CincyDance!, which provides free training and dance attire to children.
Plenty people are afraid of the dark, but the macabre minds behind Scream Acres CT push this fear one step further. Inside the aptly named Blackout––one of four frightful themes that make up one colossal haunt––intrepid visitors must navigate their way through a pitch black haunted house as forces unseen conspire to hinder their progress. But not all the frights at the 20,000-square-foot Scream Acres lurk in the shadows. Victims of a deranged doctor terrorize those who enter the Castle Hill Funeral Home, while clowns and other ghouls pop out at unsuspecting guests inside the 3D funhouse. If it's all too much to bear, seek refuge in one of Scream Acres' real wood coffins—but only if you're willing to be buried alive.
Plunking guests into amphibious vessels based on a 1940s General Motors military design, the tour guides at Ride The Ducks Newport lead excursions through greater Cincinnati via city streets and the Ohio River. Tours spend about 25 minutes on the water as sightseers paint mental watercolors of local attractions, including Newport Aquarium, the Roebling Suspension Bridge, and the World Peace Bell. Along the way, guides regale tourists with tales about Cincinnati's role in films and songs, as well as stories about the city's history and famous personalities that surprise even lifelong residents. Tourists may bring drinks with lids (no alcohol or liquid nitrogen allowed), and vessels furnish guests with life jackets and Wacky Quackers that make duck noises to complement the tour's duck's-eye views.
Founded by a group of friends who created the acclaimed Newport Gangster Tour as a fundraiser in 2008, American Legacy Tours blossomed into a full-fledged tour company two years later. Participants choose from seven distinct tours that traverse cities as guides share fascinating and sometimes seedy history. The Queen City Underground Tour ventures beneath the city’s streets into a hidden burial vault and long-forgotten tunnels, and the Newport Gangster Tour delves into a scandalous past by visiting the sites of former brothels and speakeasies. Elsewhere, on the Haunted Covington Tour, guests feed their thirst for fright and their hunger for candy handouts from amiable apparitions.
Initially designed as a temporary tour and fundraiser for student travel, American Legacy Tours began humbly as the Newport Gangster Tour in 2008. When met with overwhelming success, the friends who had embarked on what they thought was a temporary project decided to take root and expand, creating American Legacy Tours in 2010.
Their first order of business as an official company was to introduce the Queen City Underground Tour, an exploration of the city's underground tunnels and history as a rabbit village. Today, a cadre of educated guides leads 10 different area walking tours, including seasonal Spirit of Christmas Tours and Newport is Haunted Tours held around Halloween.
The American Sign Museum dazzles peepers with its staggering collection of nearly 3,000 signs and sign-related objects. Admission for two (a $20 value; children under 12 are free) grants curious excursionists, postmodern art-lovers, and knowledge-thirsty bounty hunters a personally guided tour through a century’s worth of clearly labeled exhibits, including spinning Sputnik-like signs, opulent gilded specimens, and the samples used by salespeople. Witness scientific signage with a “changeable” neon sign that runs on radio waves, or surf through a sense-sating sea of sign-making tools, photographs, models, and artwork. Founder Tod Swormstedt leads most tours, doling out generous portions of knowledge on various signs’ histories and contributions to the American landscape.