8 Pint-Sized Adventures in Cincinnati

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Cooped up? Get out of the house! Here's a roundup of cozy places for lots of indoor family fun.

With the right planning, you can have a perfectly great adventure with your youngster in the morning and be back for afternoon nap time! We’ve included meal and snack options — oh, and all of these have baby-changing tables!

Adventures with Free admission

Cincinnati Art Museum

Little legs want to move around — why not amid great art? Located in Eden Park, The Cincinnati Art Museum features more than 65,000 works of art. The last Wednesday of each month is Wee Wednesday, when the museum opens early (10 a.m.) and the day is geared toward little ones ages 2 – 5. Enjoy interactive learning stations in the galleries, storytellers and a hands on art project all for free, no reservations needed. Check out the free tours you can sign up for if your child’s younger than 2.
• Location: 953 Eden Park Drive
• Hours: 10 a.m. last Wednesday of the month; 11 a.m. Tuesday – Sunday
• Food: There’s a restaurant but the food is adult-ish.
• Admission: Free, but parking is $4 per vehicle.
• Contact: cincinnatiartmuseum.org or 513-721-2787

Joseph-Beth Booksellers

Kid focused story time, kid-friendly dining and plenty of space to move — all under one roof! Joseph-Beth is a bookstore with a children’s section, a train table and Bronte Bistro that offers a kids’ menu and crayons while loaning a picture book to read to your little one while you wait. The store has a free 30-minute story time three days a week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 10:30 a.m.
• Location: 2692 Madison Road
• Hours: 8 a.m. Monday – Saturday; 9 a.m. Sunday
• Food: Bronte Bistro opens at 7:30 a.m. Monday – Friday and at 8 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
• Admission: Free
• Contact: josephbeth.com or 513-396-8960

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Free classes and story times geared by age. The library also offers a movers and shakers class for toddlers, allowing them to wiggle and sing along to songs while listening to stories. To find out the class times at your closest branch, visit the library website at cincinnatilibrary.org or just walk into your closest library and inquire.
• Hours: Time and days open vary by location.
• Food: No food in the library.
• Admission: Free
• Contact: cincinnatilibrary.org or 513-369-6900

Adventures Costing $10 or Less

Recreations Outlet

This is an indoor playground showroom featuring playground equipment (think play sets and trampolines). For a fee, your little ones can play on the playgrounds, play soccer, basketball and ride scooters. There are also little toddler houses and kitchens set up that can help occupy little ones for a long time.
• Location: 885 St. Rt. 28, Milford
• Hours: 9 a.m. Monday – Saturday; 12 p.m. Sunday
• Food: Lu-Lu’s Café serves snack foods.
• Admission: Monday – Friday it’s $6 per child, weekends $8 per child. Best deal is to go for the charitable play hours, which are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and pay $2 per family.
• Contact: recreationsoutlet.com or 513-831-7383

Recreations Outlet

Enjoy playground-like features but indoors at Recreations Outlet.

Krohn Conservatory

Get transported to a tropical island and enjoy letting your little ones toddle around in the warmth! The Krohn Conservatory is located in Eden Park and showcases more than 3,500 plants from around the world. Climate controlled (so nice and warm in the winter!), enjoy beautiful plants, a rain-forest waterfall, ponds and rivers with fish.
• Location: 1501 Eden Park Drive
• Hours: 10 a.m. Tuesday – Sunday
• Food: Self-serve coffee machine and a vending machine with some healthy snacks/water.
• Admission: $4 adults, free ages 4 and younger. Go online to print off a coupon for $1 off admission, too. Parking is free.
• Contact: cinicnnatiparks.com or 513-352-4080

Pogo Play

This place is built for indoor active play with building rooms, imagination playground, dramatic play area, sports court and a giant playground. The LEGO & Block Mania station and slides are particularly great for preschoolers while the special toddler area offers mats, toddler toys and books for littler ones. Note: Socks are required on the playground and interactive floor.
• Location: 10870 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash
• Hours: 9 a.m. Monday – Saturday
• Food: Allison’s Café & Gourmet Coffee serves snacks and some lunch items.
• Admission: $10 ages 3 and older, $4 ages 2 and younger
• Contact: gopogoplay.com or 513-432-5593

Adventures Costing More Than $10

The Duke Energy Children’s Museum

Tons of hands-on fun with themed play areas, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum is located in the Cincinnati Museum Center in Union Terminal. Kids can go on a wilderness adventure through The Woods, be part of a complex machine in the Energy Zone, float boats in the Splash Zone and explore the neighborhoods in Kids Town. Especially nice is the area just for little ones 4 and younger featuring slides, a pretend garden and a sand table.
• Location: 1301 Western Ave.
• Hours: 10 a.m. Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. Sunday
• Food: The food court opens at 11 a.m. for pizza and sandwiches. A Starbucks cart opens at 9:30 a.m. and offers snack items.
• Admission: Single museum costs $10.50 adults, $8.50 ages 3 – 12, $5.50 ages 1 – 2, free ages younger than 1; parking is $6
• Contact: cincymuseum.org or 513-287-7000

Childrens Museum

Kids can splash around in water at the Duke Energy Children’s Museum.

Newport Aquarium

See fish, touch a shark or tortoise, and play at an indoor play area. Toddlers will marvel at the fish and just be happy to get to run around, and preschoolers may like hearing more information about the animals. Although this may seem like more of a trek, little legs can easily run through the whole aquarium in under an hour.
• Location: One Aquarium Way, Newport, KY
• Hours: 10 a.m. daily
• Food: Sharky’s Cafe opens at 11 a.m. for snacks and sandwiches.
• Admission: Single tickets are $23 adults, $15 ages 2 – 12, free ages younger than 2; parking is $3 (annual passes are $45 ages 13 – 64; $29 ages 2 – 12)
• Contact: newportaquarium.com or 800-406-3474

Hilary Wasson is a local freelance writer.

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