Let Middle Tennessee’s premier holiday destination bring out the tourist in you!
Teamboats, flying pigs and chili on spaghetti … Cincinnati certainly has some interesting quirks – if you really want to fit in, practice using “Please?” for “What?” before you travel – but this city on the Ohio River offers something for everyone in your crew.
No visit to Cincinnati is complete without visiting downtown’s Fountain Square, or riding the elevator to the observation deck in Carew Tower ($2, adults; $1 children). However, one of the best places to learn about the city’s rich history (as well as get a glimpse of its amazing architecture) is at Cincinnati Museum Center, located in the historic Union Terminal. Once a railroad terminal, the building is now home to the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, The Cincinnati Historical Society Museum and Library, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAXâ€š Theater, and the Cinergy Children’s Museum.
The history museum offers detailed exhibits showing the city’s growth as well as Cincinnati In Motion – an interactive model of the city, including working trains and trolleys. The natural history and science museum invites families to explore the Ice Age of the Ohio Valley, as well as a re-created Kentucky limestone cave with underground waterfalls, streams and a live bat colony. The Cinergy Children’s Museum – a must for younger members of the family – allows kids to climb, crawl and explore a variety of educational, hands-on exhibits.
Cincinnati, along with all of Ohio, is currently preparing for the state’s Bicentennial Celebration. Cincinnati’s big moment in the celebration will arrive in October, along with over a dozen riverboats, for Tall Stacks 2003 – a music, arts and heritage festival. The festival highlights the culture of the steamboat era, and includes riverboat tours and races, history exhibits with costumed characters and on-shore entertainment.
Some of Cincinnati’s biggest attractions require a full day, such as the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky – home to 11,000 marine animals, including jelly fish, penguins, alligators, sharks and plenty more. The aquarium also offers clear tunnels that provide a 300-degree view of the underwater world.
The award-winning Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is open year-round and offers 70 acres of both indoor and outdoor exhibits where you can get up close and personal with everything from polar bears to a real Komodo dragon from Indonesia.
Paramount’s Kings Island, which opens for the season in April, features plenty of rides for thrill-seekers (be sure to check out The Beast, the country’s largest wooden roller coaster), as well as tamer attractions for the very young (although adventurous kiddies will get a kick out of The Beastie – a scaled down version of its grandparent). Little ones will enjoy Hanna-Barbera Landâ€° and Nickelodeonâ€° Central, and the park’s newest addition, Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Castle.
If you want to sample the flavors of Cincinnati, several eateries are a must. Stop at one of the many Skyline Chili diners and order yourself a three-way (spaghetti, chili and cheese). Cincinnatians also love their BBQ, and they make Montgomery Inn At The Boathouse the most popular restaurant in town. The Ribs King’s fare has been enjoyed by presidents, professional athletes and other celebrities, and offers a magnificent view of the Ohio River. After dinner, head over to any Graeter’s ice cream shop for another hometown treat. The French pot ice cream is super rich and the chocolate chips are huge.
Where to Stay
The Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau is currently coordinating a special promotion, Warm Up Your Winter. More than 40 downtown and suburban hotels will offer special rates ranging from $39 to $89 through March. The vouchers are available for purchase until Feb. 28 and may be redeemed through March 31.
If You Go …
Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau
800-CincyUSA or 513-632-5378
Cincinnati Museum Center
1301 Western Ave.
800-733-2077 or 513-287-7000
adults: $6.75, children 3 – 12: $4.75
Toddler Pass (valid for all museums) $3.75
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
3400 Vine St.
800-94-HIPPO or 513-281-4700
adults: $11.50, children 2 – 12: $6
children younger than 2 free
1 Aquarium Way, Newport, KY
adults: $16, children 3 – 12: $10
children younger than 3 free
Paramount’s Kings Island
800-288-0808 or 513-754-5700