Eight fun ways to discover Cincinnati as a family


Aesop's fabled City Mouse and Country Mouse both would find things to be pleased about in Cincinnati, Ohio. Located on the banks of the Ohio River, Cincinnati offers an array of big-city attractions, while its pretty neighborhoods and parks exude small town charm. And since it's only five hours from Chicago, even a weekend trip is worth the drive. Think of this list as appetizers on a menu-appealing by themselves or just starters to a full-course meal.



See the wildlife at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is the second oldest zoo in the United States and has been rated by other zoos as one of the best in the nation. Visit Lorikeet Landing and feed a lorikeet as it perches on your arm, see giant walking sticks at World of the Insects and hike through Wolf Woods.



Observe the sights at Carew Tower

Carew Tower in downtown Cincinnati is a National Historic Landmark and the city's tallest building. The observation deck is reached by riding in an old-fashioned phone-booth-sized elevator and costs only a couple of dollars. The view extends for several miles in each direction.



Wander the walking paths at Eden Park

Eden Park encompasses lakes, walking paths and a playground for the kids as well as outstanding views of the Ohio River and Kentucky. The park is home to the Cincinnati Art Museum (always free admission and well worth a visit) and the Krohn Conservatory.



Connect to the past at Cincinnati History Museum

The Cincinnati History Museum at Cincinnati Museum Center allows visitors to step aboard a 94-foot side-wheel steamboat, see an actual streetcar and view a model of Cincinnati from the 1900s to the 1940s with working trains. Costumed interpreters give visitors a personal connection to the past.



Taste the local fare at Findlay Market

Findlay Market is the oldest continuously operated public market in Ohio. The iron-framed building is on the National Register of Historic Places and has more than two dozen indoor merchants. Check findlaymarket.org for a schedule of special events and activities. Be sure to try a Belgian waffle.



Graeter's Ice Cream maintains historic production methods

Graeter's Ice Cream, founded in 1870, continues to use the same recipes and methods of production as when it began. Made using the French Pot process, two gallons at a time, this might be the most delicious ice cream you will ever taste (recommended: black raspberry chip).



Experience stories at National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is dedicated to telling the story of the struggle for freedom from slavery in the United States. The museum has three buildings representing courage, cooperation and perseverance, the cornerstones of freedom.



Guess the secret flavor of Skyline Chili

Skyline Chili features Cincinnati's signature soup, brought from Greece by Nicholas Lambrinides. Try to guess the secret flavor (hint: it's not chocolate...or is it?). It's ordered one of three ways: 3-way features chili over spaghetti noodles topped with cheddar cheese; 4-way includes two teaspoons of chopped onion; 5-way adds a layer of cooked red beans.



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