Located on the Ohio River in the Tri-State Area near the Indiana and Kentucky Borders, Cincinnati is a beautiful and affordable city popular with families. The city boasts a condensed and easily walkable downtown with plenty of parks and family-friendly attractions to explore — not to mention great suburbs with fun activities. Want to know what to do in Cincinnati with kids? Here are the best Cincinnati family activities to keep you busy.
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Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden – Favorite Attraction to Visit in Cincinnati with Kids
The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the oldest in America and it was recently ranked as the best zoo in North America! The zoo was home to the last living Carolina parakeet and passenger pigeon and boasts one of the best breeding programs in the world as it was the first to successfully breed California sea lions, American bison, and more.
The zoo is definitely one of the best things to do in Cincinnati with toddlers and older kids. Make sure you visit Fiona, the smallest hippo to survive her premature birth and has achieved international fame.
If the zoo has made your list of Cincinnati family attractions to check out, general admission starts at $15 for adults and $9 for kids (with discounts on Penguin Days!). Family membership starts at $129 for two adults and children/grandchildren under 18.
Sawyer Point Park & Yeatman’s Cove – Free Places to Visit in Cincinnati
Yeatman’s Cove and Sawyer Point Park are two adjacent parks overlooking the Ohio River. Take a stroll along award-winning landscaping or let the kids get some exercise exploring the sprayground and playground equipment for plenty of free family fun.
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Sawyer Point hosts the annual Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati and it’s home to a bronze statue of Cincinnatus, the Roman General for whom Cincinnati takes its name. You’ll also spot Lucius (Lucky) Quinctus Pigasus, a Cincinnatus-inspired pig from Cincinnati’s Big Pig Gig.
Sawyer Point Park, 705 E Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 357-2604
Newport Aquarium – Top Cincinnati Attraction for Kids
The Newport Aquarium, voted as the top aquarium in the United States, is actually located in Newport, Kentucky across the Ohio River, not in Cincinnati. It still makes the list of best things to do in Cincinnati with kids because you can actually walk there from downtown Cincinnati! Older kids can get a kick from walking across the river on the Newport Southbank Bridge (or the Purple People Bridge to locals).
The aquarium is known for Sweet Pea and Scooter, two of the very few shark rays living in captivity, as the aquarium was the first to successfully breed the species. Explore exhibits through five acrylic tunnels as sharks and other marine life swim below, above, and around you. The aquarium is also famous for its shark bridge, the first and only in the world. This fun family-friendly attraction in Cincinnati is a hit with kids, allowing you to walk inches over an open shark tank.
Kids of all ages also love the chance to get hands-on with horseshoe crabs, sea stars, cleaner shrimp, stingrays, and sharks.
Newport Aquarium, 1 Levee Way, Newport, KY 41071 1 (800) 406-3474
Carol Ann’s Carousel – Affordable Family Fun
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Located in Smale Riverfront Park right on the Ohio River, Carol Ann’s Carousel is one of the newest things to do in Cincinnati with kids. The carousel, built in Ohio by the famous Carousel Works, features 44 characters connected in some way to Cincinnati (of course, a bearcat and flying pig are included!). The carousel’s artwork also features the characters playing in the city’s many parks.
You’ll find Carol Ann’s Carousel right next to other kid friendly activities in Cincinnati like the P&G GoVibrant Playscape and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and next to the iconic Roebling Bridge.
The Carousel is housed in a glass building with beautiful views so it’s open year-round. Rides are just $2 each. You can even book your child’s birthday party at the carousel!
Carol Ann’s Carousel, 8 E Mehring Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 381-3756
Duke Energy Children’s Museum – Fun & Educational Cincinnati Family Activities
The Duke Energy Children’s Museum is one of several museums that make up the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, an art deco structure and once one of the last great train stations in America.
The children’s museum features tons of family-friendly interactive exhibits including an entire kid-sized town and an indoor playground with a treehouse and climbing rope.
Admission for kids 3 to 12 is just $10.50. Cincinnati Museum Center family membership starts at $110 for two named adults and all kids or grandkids and includes free admission to all three CMC museums, free parking, and other perks.
Coney Island – Cincinnati’s Famous Kid-Friendly Water Park
Delighting kids and adults alike since 1886, Cincinnati’s Coney Island waterpark is located right on the Ohio River and it’s one of the best attractions for kids in Cincinnati. This famous landmark, named after New York’s Coney Island, recently underwent major renovations to remove all rides and focus entirely on its water park attractions.
Looking for fun things to do in Cincinnati with kids on a hot, summer day? Head to Coney Island to enjoy the two-acre Sunlite Pool, the largest recirculating pool in the world with in-pool slides. A new favorite among kids is Typhoon Tower with 73 interactive water play stations and the largest erupting hydro storm in the world.
Mt. Airy Forest – Top Cincinnati Family Attraction
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Mt. Airy Forest is one of the best free things to do in Cincinnati with kids to get in touch with nature. Mt. Airy isn’t just Cincinnati’s largest park; it’s also the first example of municipal reforestation in the United States. Its history dates back to 1911 when almost 1,500 unproductive farms were restored after years of agricultural use and land clearing led to poor soil conditions and erosion.
Today, Mt. Airy is home to a large arboretum and hundreds of acres of meadows, hardwoods, evergreens, and wetlands. The park’s main point of interest is Everybody’s Tree House, a hidden gem kids are sure to love. The massive treehouse, with moving joints connected to live trees, is free and open to the public.
Mt. Airy Forest, 5083 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223 (513) 357-2604
Cincinnati Fire Museum – Educational & Affordable Kid-Friendly Activities
Do you have a little one obsessed with fire trucks and dreaming of becoming a firefighter? One of the overlooked fun things for kids in Cincinnati is the Cincinnati Fire Museum. The museum celebrates Cincinnati’s history in American firefighting as the home of the country’s first professional paid fire department.
At the museum, kids can see what it was like to be a firefighter in 1906 with cool exhibits featuring some of the oldest firefighting equipment in the U.S. The most exciting activity at the museum is the fire safety education program that teaches kids how to prevent and escape home fires. Go through each room in a mock home to identify burn and fire hazards during a simulated fire event.
The best part? Kids can slide down a real firehouse pole!
Admission is only $6 for kids (free under 6) and $8 for adults.
Cincinnati Fire Museum, 315 W Court St, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (513) 621-5553
As you can see, there are lots of fun things to do in Cincinnati with kids, including free kid-friendly things to do in Cincinnati and a top-rated aquarium, zoo, and museums. Now that you know what will keep your family busy on the weekends, are you considering moving to Cincinnati? Trust the affordable Cincinnati movers at Bell Moving & Storage to help you through every stage of your relocation!