Family Living

Cincinnati Must-Dos: A Summer Bucket List for Families

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Did you know that Ohio’s third largest city, Cincinnati, is known as the first purely “American” city, due to its founding after the American Revolution? With its historic architecture, Cincinnati was also once called the “Paris of America,” because of its many ambitious architectural projects in the 1800s. While Cincinnati locals boast being home to two major sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Bengals, they can also take advantage of a variety of beautiful parks and attractions. If you’re looking to make some family memories near home this summer, check out The Gardner School’s bucket list of attractions and places of interest in and around the city.

Camping at Winton Woods

Looking for a weekend outdoors getaway? Consider a camping trip to Winton Woods Campground. From bicycling to boating to fishing to horseback riding, the recreation activities are endless at Winton Woods. Special activities are available for kids, including a summer day camps and an adventure outpost for kids ages 8 and up.

Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati provides an opportunity for children to be introduced to the variety of art forms that come together to create the magic of theater. In addition to a variety of stage productions, the Children’s Theatre’s TCT Academy offers arts training to children in a variety of formats, including weekly classes and a two-week summer camp.

Cincinnati Art Museum

One of the oldest art museums in the United States, the Cincinnati Art Museum features a diverse art collection of more than 67,000 works, spanning 6,000 years. Parking and general admission is free, and there are always multiple exhibitions and collections to explore.

Cincinnati Nature Center

For 50 years, Cincinnati Nature Center's mission has been to enrich lives by inspiring passion for nature through experience, education, and stewardship. Consider a summer family outing to explore the outdoors at this tranquil and enchanting place, just minutes away from downtown Cincinnati. Special children’s programs are offered on Saturdays, and kids 3 and under get in free.

Cincinnati Reds Baseball Game

Baseball is among summer’s greatest sports, so why not take the family to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. Cincinnati’s Major League team, the Reds play at Great American Ball Park and offer a host of fun activities. Make sure to check out the special programs offered by Reds Kids!

Coney Island Amusement Park

Not be confused with New York City’s famous park, Coney Island Amusement Park is a small amusement park and waterpark located on the banks of the Ohio River, 10 miles east of downtown Cincinnati. From classic rides to live shows to miniature golf and so much more, Coney Island has something for every family member to enjoy.

Hocking Hills State Park

Packed with family-friendly fun and outdoor adventure, Ohio’s scenic wonderland known as Hocking Hills State Park offers towering cliffs, waterfalls, and deep gorges for families to explore. Surrounding the park is the Hocking State Forest with rock climbing, rappelling, and horseback riding trails.

King’s Island

Adventure awaits at the largest amusement and water park in the Midwest—King’s Island! King’s Island is a 364-acre amusement park located 24 miles northeast of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. From thrill rides to live entertainment, every member of the family is sure to have a blast at King’s Island. Bonus: You can experience the rides before you arrive by viewing videos on the park’s website.

Krohn Conservatory

Located in Cincinnati’s Eden Park, Krohn Conservatory was built in 1933 at the height of the Art Deco era. Families can experience a rainforest or a desert right in the heart of the city, as well as Cincinnati Parks’ nationally recognized showcase of more than 3,500 plant species from around the world.

LM&M Railroad

A unique and fun adventure for the family, the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad (LM&M Railroad) offers scenic train rides through Southwestern Ohio. There are always special events aboard the train for kids, so make sure to check the summer schedule. You can even rent out a caboose for special occasions!

Newport Aquarium

Located in Newport, Kentucky, this family-friendly attraction within minutes of Cincinnati features 60 exhibits, with 5 specially-designed underwater tunnels. Open 365 days a year, the Newport Aquarium showcases thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water. Kids will be amazed at all there is to see and do, including fun and interactive activities such as touching a shark or meeting a penguin.

Smale Riverfront Park

Families are sure to enjoy Smale Riverfront Park’s scenic riverside venue with fountains, gardens, walkways, playgrounds, event lawns, and restaurants. Kids can spend some time on the swings, splash in the Fath Fountain, and take a ride on Carol Ann’s Carousel. There’s also a fun labyrinth for families to explore together.