One of the best things about living in or visiting Cincinnati is that there are a ton of family-friendly activities out there. If you are looking for something fun and exciting to get out and do with the kids, here are some great ideas.
There are options based more on staying healthy and getting active, some are learning activities, some are for a fee and some are free. Some take more planning than others. One thing is for sure, these are all activities that your kids can have a great time doing!
ACTIVITY 1 – ARCHERY DODGEBALL AT ARCHERY ARENA
If you are looking for a great activity to get the whole family active, check out Archery Dodgeball at Archery Arena. This isn’t just the same old tired game you have played before. This is a fun and innovative take on several activities. It gets your mind and your body moving!
This is dodgeball with super fun and innovative twist. You use arrows with foam tips instead of balls. It makes the game take a little more skill and it serves to make it a little more competitive too.
The staff is friendly and informative. They help you get started and have fun safely. You don’t need any experience with archery or dodgeball. Just bring a positive attitude and get ready to have some fun.
Sessions last for 60 minutes. It’s appropriate for almost all ages and skill levels. Bring the whole family and make some fun memories while you stay active together!
This is a very physical activity and involves running. There is a fee for entry.
ACTIVITY 2 – CINCINNATI ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDENS
Everyone loves going to visit the zoo, and Cincinnai’s zoo is one of the best around! It is the second oldest zoo in the U.S. The zoo is a National Historic Landmark and was opened back in 1875. It has grown to include almost 1,900 different animals from more than 500 species and more than 3,000 kinds of plants!
Kids will love all of the exciting habitats and cool animals. There are lots of opportunities to learn about all of the animals and even meet some of them up close! Some of the notable exhibits are the P&G Discovery Forest, Reptile House, Cat Canyon, and Spaulding Children’s Zoo.
It is suggested to purchase tickets online beforehand, but they may be purchased at the gate.
This is a physical activity (walking) that will also provide an opportunity for education. There is a fee for entry.
ACTIVITY 3 – THE CHILDREN’S THEATRE OF CINCINNATI
It’s a wonderful idea to introduce children to the arts at a young age. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati lets you do just that! It’s always fun to see a live performance together or you can enroll your child in one of their many classes or camps for a more hands-on experience. Not only will your child have a great time learning something new, you will also be supporting local artists who do a ton of community outreach.
This one takes a little more planning, depending on exactly what you want to do. Tickets are available online. Class registration is available online.
This activity stimulates thought and creativity and there is an entry fee.
ACTIVITY 4 – MT. AIRY FOREST
The biggest park in Cincinnati is Mt. Airy Forest. It is a vast natural wonderland where kids can learn by playing and exploring. It’s a great opportunity to get outside and have some fun. There are lots of different activities that work great for this park.
They have 1,475 acres of land that include many hiking trails, a modern adventure playground, and a fabulous treehouse for kids to enjoy. There are also lots of picnic areas that come equipped with tables, grills, and swing sets that make a great setting for family fun.
You can plan a full day and take a picnic or just decide to swing by and play for a while with little to no planning.
This is a physical activity and there is no entry fee.
ACTIVITY 5 – THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
This place is built for kids! The best part of the Children’s Museum is that your kids will have a great time learning new things and they won’t even know they are learning! They have eight themed educational play areas that will let children learn about the world around them through play. Two of these special areas are specifically for the smaller children. They are not just allowed but encouraged to crawl, jump, run and play to interact with the areas and learn even more.
This activity takes very little planning to enjoy.
This is a physical activity that will also provide an opportunity for education. There is a fee for entry.
ACTIVITY 6 – QUEEN CITY RIVEBOATS
You can choose to cruise the Ohio River on a yacht or you can opt for a traditional riverboat experience. Either way, you will have a blast with your kids seeing the river in a whole new way! Queen City Riverboats offers many different types of cruises that allow you to pick what will work best for you and your family.
There are public lunch and dinner cruises, cruises that include live music, and even game-day shuttles when the Bengals or the Reds play. You can even catch a cruise from their harbor in Dayton, KY to the Coney Island Boat Ramp.
This is a quintessential Cincinnati experience. If you are a visitor you will want to check out the Ohio River.
This activity takes very little planning to enjoy.
This is a quiet activity (mostly sitting) and there is an entry fee.
ACTIVITY 7 – DISC GOLF AT GARDNER PARK
While Mt. Airy does have a nationally known, professional-level disc golf course, it is far too difficult for most children to enjoy. However, you are in luck because Cincinnati is known for having great disc golf courses.
A great one to enjoy with your whole family is at Gardner Park. The course is fun and challenging, but not too hard. It only has nine holes instead of eighteen, so it’s easier to complete in a shorter amount of time, even if you have a party of several people.
You will need discs to play, which average around $20, otherwise little planning is needed for this activity.
This is a moderately physical activity (with walking and throwing). This is a free activity.
ACTIVITY 8 – THE FIRE MUSEUM OF GREATER CINCINNATI
Most cities have some type of firefighting museum or tribute, but the fire museum of greater Cincinnati is really special because Queen City is the original home of firefighting as a profession.
Kids will have a blast sliding down the fireman’s pole. Plus, you can see all kinds of fire fighting equipment that ranges in age from the early days to the most modern state-of-the-art tools. There are hands-on exhibits. One really cool one lets your family pre-plan their own fire escape and work on home safety.
This is a physical activity that will also provide an opportunity for education. There is a fee for entry.
ACTIVITY 9 – GO-KARTS
There are several different places where the whole family can enjoy go-karts. Racing tracks for adults and children are available at Full Throttle Adrenaline Park, Motorsports Country Club, and Scene75 Entertainment Center.
This is driving activity and it does come with an entry fee.
ACTIVITY 10 – FINDLAY MARKET
While shopping may not be a top-of-the-list activity for a lot of children, the Findlay Market offers a ton of sights and sounds. It even has some products they might be surprised they would be interested in.
Additionally, there are lots of opportunities to taste new treats, and what kid doesn’t love that? They also have a seasonal farmer’s market on weekends.
This is a light physical activity (some walking). There is no fee for entry.
ACTIVITY 11 – CINCINNATI REDS BALLPARK TOUR
This is a super fun local guided tour and entry to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is included. You will learn the history of the team and the stadium as well as get to see behind-the-scenes areas that aren’t open to the public. You can sit in the dugout, go behind home plate and even visit the press box.
This is a physical activity that involves lots of walking. There is a fee for the tour and museum.
ACTIVITY 12 – KING’S ISLAND
Kings Island is Cincinnati’s theme park. It is a great place for the whole family. It features tons of rides, games, and activities. They also offer great food and cool live entertainment opportunities.
The park is home to The Beast. It is the longest wooden roller coaster in the world. Orion is another wooden coaster that brings many thrill-seekers to the park.
King’s Island has something for everyone and always has some kind of event going on.
This is a physical activity that involves a lot of walking. There is a fee for entry.
ACTIVITY 13 – SEGWAY TOUR THE RIVERFRONT
Cincinnati Segway Company offers a fun new way to tour the RIverfront. Grab a Segway and roll on through. You and your kids will have a great time exploring the area and enjoying Cincinnati’s scenic Ohio Riverfront.
Cincinnati Segway Company also offers Segway tours of Eden Park which your family would also love.
For these tours, you rent a Segway, but don’t worry! There is an instructor to show you how it works and how to ride one. This isn’t the best activity for toddlers but is a lot of fun for older kids. You can glide around and enjoy the city without tiring out from walking.
This activity involves riding a Segway. There is a fee for the Segway rental.
ACTIVITY 14 – A TALE OF FRISCH’S BIG BOY MUSEUM
Frisch’s Big Boy is one of many successful businesses headquartered in Cincinnati. They are known for their famous Big Boy Sandwich which uses a double-decker bun with beef patties with cheese, pickle, leaf lettuce, red onion, and tomato. What makes it special is Frisch’s Original Tartar Sauce.
Come in for a Big Boy or any of their other entrees and visiting the museum is free. Frisch’s uses items from many collections to create temporary displays, so you never know what kind of neat restaurant history you may see!
This is a quiet activity in a relaxed environment.
ACTIVITY 15 – KROHN CONSERVATORY
Krohn Conservatory is located inside Eden Park, which runs along the bank of the Ohio River. The Krohn Conservatory is a wonderful place to teach kids all about different places and the kinds of plants that live in them. When you visit the conservatory you will find a butterfly habitat, a desert, and a tropical rainforest. Children can learn about each habitat by being able to actually see and touch it in real life, not just in pictures.
While you are there, take some time to explore Eden Park. It is a fantastic urban park that will give the kids a chance to run around and play after the quieter experience of the conservatory.
This activity is a learning experience. There is a fee for entry. Tickets are available online or at the door
ACTIVITY 16 – NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER
This is a great activity for learning both history and a bit about modern issues. This historical center is dedicated to the study and abolition of slavery in any form during any time period.
The center has exhibits that teach about slavery and freedom from the American point of view as well as addressing it from a more international point of view.
This is a learning activity that involves walking. There is a fee for entry.
ACTIVITY 17 – ULTIMATE QUEEN CITY UNDERGROUND TOUR
This is a really cool tour that everyone will love, both kids and adults alike. Explore underground tunnels and a hidden crypt below the streets of Cincinnati. This is a guided tour where you will learn about a different side of the city’s history. The guides are friendly and knowledgeable and the tour is entertaining and informative.
This is a learning activity and experience that involves a lot of walking. There is a fee when signing up for the tour.
ACTIVITY 18 – CINCINNATI RIVERWALK
This is a superb trail that runs alongside the Ohio River for a length of about 4 miles. It gives a splendid view of the city as well as the Roebling Suspension Bridge, which is worth visiting all on its own!
This is a great way to get to know the city and it provides tons of opportunities for great photos.
Walking the full trail can be a rigorous journey, but you don’t have to walk the whole thing. This is a great activity to scale to size for your family. It is a free activity.
ACTIVITY 19 – CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM
The Cincinnati Art Museum holds a spectacular collection of almost 70,000 works of art including prestigious American and European paintings and a pottery gallery. The museum also houses antiques, African art, and East Asian art. They periodically add to their collection as well as house traveling displays, so you never know what kind of amazing art you may have a chance to see there!
This is a quiet activity that teaches and inspires creativity. There is a bit of walking with this activity and there is a fee for entry.
ACTIVITY 20 – SCAVENGER HUNT
A scavenger hunt is always a fun idea and the Crazy Dash scavenger hunt of Cincinnati is one of the best around. You complete challenges and find objects to collect points. You can follow your progress and the progress of others with an app on your phone. This is a fairly easy scavenger hunt meant for entertainment and to help you become more familiar with Queen City.
This is a physical activity and involves getting out and about, although it really is not strenuous in any way. It’s meant mostly just for fun and entertainment. There is a small fee to participate.
ACTIVITY 21 – TAFT MUSEUM OF ART
Cincinnati definitely values its art and its residents are lucky to have so many museums to be able to visit. The Taft Museum of Art houses 19th-century American furniture, European and American paintings and sculptures, French Renaissance enamels, Chinese porcelains, and European watches. The museum has a Taft Junior program for three to five-year-olds and their caregivers as well as Family Art Adventures and Explore, Create and Play events.
This is a creative activity that is also educational. There is a fee for admission.
ACTIVITY 22 – FLEISCHMAN GARDENS
Fleischman Gardens were created by Charles Fleischman, of Fleischman Yeast Company fame, and donated for public use by his heirs. The lovely landscaped gardens are now a park with an evergreen maze and a playground for children. A perfect place to spend a pretty afternoon. It is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily.
This is a fun and light physical activity, it is also free.
ACTIVITY 23 – FOUNTAIN SQUARE
Fountain Square is the heart of downtown Cincinnati and it is a fun place to take the kids for an hour or so in the afternoon. There is always plenty to do no matter the time of year, from an ice rink to bumper cars, to festivals, and more. Lots of local shops and restaurants are nearby too, to help complete your afternoon excursion.
This is a free activity that provides some light walking but isn’t super physical.
ACTIVITY 24 – PAUL BROWN STADIUM
Home to Cincinnati’s professional football team the Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium presents a fun afternoon of exploration and football history. Tours can be scheduled Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. during certain months.
If you like football, you should consider catching a game there. More than 705 of seating is considered sideline seating. It is a fun and fan-friendly experience that your whole family will love.
This is an activity for learning and entertainment. It may involve a lot of walking if you decide to tour the stadium.
ACTIVITY 25 – ANDERSON FERRY
This is a fun experience and a nice scenic ride across the water. If you aren’t local, you will really want to do this especially if there isn’t a ferry close to where you live and your kids have never been on one before. It is a fairly short trip that they will enjoy without getting bored or tired. This can also be a fun activity to stick in the middle of an afternoon between other stops.
This is a learning activity done mostly for the experience and view. It is a quiet activity and will cost a fee to board.
ACTIVITY 26 – CONEY ISLAND
Coney Island is a water park that is a great way to enjoy the water and cool off in the summer. It has the world’s largest recirculating swimming pool. It also has lots of water slides to keep the kids having fun for as long as you let them stay. This is a great activity that offers something for everyone in the family.
This is a water-based activity that is very physical. There is a fee for entry.
ACTIVITY 27 – THE CINCINNATI MUSIC HALL
The Cincinnati Music Hall is a National Historic Landmark built in 1878 and it offers many learning experiences. It features Victorian-gothic architecture and is home to the nation’s second-oldest opera company. Taking in a show here is a fantastic way to introduce children to the arts so that they will be able to appreciate them as adults. Many famous musicians also credit his type of exposure as their early inspiration for their interest in music.
This is a quiet activity that provides a great opportunity for learning. Both the tours of the Cincinnati Music Hall and any shows there are ticketed events.
ACTIVITY 28 – PUTT PUTT GOLF
Putt Putt or miniature golf is a fun way for kids, especially a small group to spend a few hours in the afternoon. The courses are small with fun obstacles. No one needs to be a skilled athlete and it shouldn’t be super competitive. Cincinnati offers several miniature golf courses including General Custer’s, The Acres (formerly Etter’s Golf Center), and Little Miami Golf Center, as well as a few others.
This is a physical activity and involves some walking, but it isn’t fast-paced or demanding. There is usually either a fee for entry or a fee for balls and clubs, provided by the establishment for the specific course.
ACTIVITY 29 –1919 THE YEAR THAT CHANGED BASEBALL TOUR
This is a special tour geared specifically toward remembering the 1919 baseball season and world series. In that world series, the Chicago White Sox played the Cincinnati Reds. That season and that world series had a profound effect on baseball and on Cincinnati forever. If you are a sports fan or your kids are, this is the perfect tour for you!
This one is a little bit longer so maybe better for older children and it does involve some walking. There is a fee for the tour.
ACTIVITY 30 – THE GREATER CINCINNATI POLICE MUSEUM
The Greater Cincinnati Police Museum covers policing agencies that have jurisdictions in South West Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Eastern Indiana. They cover all Federal, State, Local, and Private agencies. The Greater Cincinnati Police Museum celebrates the history and officers that make this one of the safest regions in the entire United States.
This is a good learning activity but will involve some walking. There is a fee for entry.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun and family-friendly things to do in Cincinnati. Get out and enjoy discovering all that Queen City has to offer!