Baby, if you’ve ever wondered. Wondered… just what the heck to do with kids in Cincinnati? Fortunately, Cincy is home to tons of great kid-friendly attractions, including world-class zoos, excellent kids museums, and thrilling amusement parks and waterparks. Of course, with so many Cincinnati kids activities to choose from, it can be hard to decide how best to spend your time. So we did the hard work for you! When planning your day, start by checking out some of our best deals on things to do in Cincinnati with kids.
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
The Cincinnati Zoo isn’t just one of the best zoos in America, it’s also one of the oldest. The zoo first opened its doors in 1875, and many of its buildings are considered historic landmarks. But while parents may revel in the zoo’s historical significance, kids are more likely to be dazzled by the awesome interactive exhibits. Here are a few you won’t want to miss:
Choosing the best amusement park in Cincinnati is tough, especially since they all seem to be home to a number of record-breaking roller coasters. So why did we choose Kings Island as our favorite? One word: Banshee. At more than 4,000 feet, it’s the world’s longest inverted roller coaster and boasts seven inversions, including two vertical loops, a zero-g roll, and a pretzel knot. Visiting with younger kids? Don’t worry—the park also boasts plenty of attractions for non-daredevils, including a beautiful antique wooden carousel and an entire Planet Snoopy play area.
Some kids love roller coasters while others love water slides. Coney Island caters to them both with a collection of more than two dozen attractions. That’s not even counting its most famous draw: the pool. At 200 by 400 feet, it’s the largest recirculating pool in the world, and is big enough to accommodate shallow-end swimmers, lap swimmers, and kids practicing their cannon balls, all without crowding anyone.
Considered by most to be one of the best Children’s Museums in the country, the Duke Energy Museum specifically caters to preschool-age children. Exhibits are geared to help little ones better understand the world around them, the most popular of which is a Kids Town where children explore shops and try their hand at different professions such as veterinarian and dentist.
Okay, okay. Technically, the Newport Aquarium is located just across the river in Newport, KY, but considering you can see Paul Brown stadium from its doorstep, we’ll let The Queen City take credit for this awesome aquatic institution. Here are a few exhibits you’ll want to be sure to hit during your visit:
Ring of Fire: World of the Octopus. Brand new this year, this exhibit lets visitors explore the habitat of the color-changing Giant Pacific octopus and the other creatures that share its home, including moon jellyfish and Japanese spider crabs.
Gator Alley. This exhibit is home to two rare, white American alligators, as well as Mighty Mike, the aquarium’s most famous resident, and the largest American alligator outside of Florida.
Shark Bridge. Not for the faint of heart! Visitors have the rare opportunity to walk a narrow suspension bridge that hovers over the aquarium’s shark tank, putting them just inches from the monsters of the deep.
Think you can’t get your kids to enjoy fine French cuisine? Think again. Graeter’s ice cream crafters make all their delectable flavors using an old-fashioned French pot method, and have since they opened their doors in 1870. The process must be working, since many (including Oprah Winfrey!) have called Graeter’s the best ice cream they’ve ever had. Be sure to try the black raspberry chocolate chip, which is the company’s signature (and most popular) flavor.
Instead of relying on a supply of tokens (which always seems to run out pretty quickly), the arcade games at Gameworks are activated by play cards, which allow you to access as many games as you can in hour-long increments. Kids will love the newer games, while parents will enjoy getting to play old standbys like Pac-Man and pinball. But the reason we really love Gameworks is its better-than-average concessions menu. Where else can you enjoy a smoothie or a plate of fettuccine alfredo between rounds of Guitar Hero.
A lot of parents spend time trying to stop their kids from climbing trees, but not at EarthJoy. Here, kids and adults learn how to climb safely using harness and belay ropes, and do so under the direction of a skilled climbing instructor. Once safely in the canopy of branches, they’ll also have the opportunity to rest in hammocks or swing in tree swings. But it’s not all fun—the exercises are also a great way to teach kids how to work in a team. Just don’t be surprised if they start begging for a tree house once you get home!