Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

July 23, 2024

Mom Report: Contemporary Arts Center

Surrounded by Art
Inspiration comes easy
With my masterpiece

After being hunkered down all week, my son and I felt the need to break free of our cabin fever. After looking into our Saturday options, I found something that met all of my criteria … Something we hadn’t done in a while, something enriching, something active, and something indoors. Would you believe me if I told you that the “something” I found was also … FREE?! I know, I was excited, too. Ready to find out what this something is, so you can enjoy it with your family, too?

The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) holds “Family Festivals” once a month on Saturday afternoons. The theme during our visit was frosty frozen fun, and boy, did it deliver on all of my criteria and then some.


We hadn’t visited the CAC in a while, and I can’t remember why! The UnMuseum is such a fun, unique space for kids (and adults). It is definitely an enriching environment for children to explore and actively experience. It was warm inside, and we had a great city view. And yes, it was free!

And it will continue to be free! A generous donation from the Johnson Foundation and 50 kind, giving young professional donors ensures free admission to the Contemporary Arts Center starting February 13! (Find out more here:

But Cincy Fam friends, I am telling you honestly, this has been the most fun I have had all year (I know, it’s not even February, but I will mark this as our top January outing, by an avalanchey landslide)!

We walked in, and felt the theme immediately. Staff had decorated the entryway with hanging cotton balls that made it feel like it was snowing! There were several hands-on crafts we were able to make and take home with us. We created our own ice artworks, decorated snow globes, and cut our own unique snowflakes!


There was also a snowball fight area, where my son and I paired up with another family to battle. I’m not sure who won, but we all had an Arctic blast, so I don’t feel there could really be a loser.  All snowball fight participants were laughing and scrambling to get ammunition while ducking to avoid getting hit. It was a workout! I counted it as my cardio for the day, and found my tummy growling towards the end.

My hunger needs were met with snacks that were provided … again, for free. We noshed on popcorn, frosted sprinkle animal cookies (the only kind I like!), apple juice, and there was a hot chocolate bar from Coffee Emporium. My son will probably ask for a cherry with his hot chocolate forevermore.



All this sounds great, right? But, it gets even better. Newport Aquarium’s WAVE Foundation had a station set up! We were able to feel penguin feathers (which were much more fluffy than I expected), hold a replica penguin egg (and see the real deal), hold a seal skull, and … PET A REAL PENGUIN!! Simon the African Penguin was an absolute delight to meet. My son was amazed that he was petting a penguin. He thought it was hilarious when Ally from WAVE told a visitor that Simon doesn’t like hot chocolate, but loves to eat fish.



Overall, I’m not sure it could get much better! My son and I give Family Festival at the Contemporary Arts Center four cumulative thumbs up!

Mark your calendars now, the February 27 Family Festival is sure to impress. The “Home Sweet Home” theme will have you feeling right at home as you wear pajamas and build pillow forts, tents and tepees.

Find out more about the Contemporary Arts Center’s children’s programs at:

To learn more about the WAVE Foundation, visit:

There are lots of opportunities to celebrate penguins this winter:

Newport Aquarium: Now through Feb. 28, two kids get in free with each adult ticket purchased ($23.99)

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden: Now through March 11, get half off admission for Penguin Days (includes daily penguin walk)



About the Author

Amanda Ciani

Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).