10 Best: Cincinnati Summer Bucket List 2021

Summer is flying by… but are you already running out of things to do with the kids? Check out One Little Small’s summer bucket list with 10 cool places in Cincinnati to check out with your little ones.

10 Best: Cincinnati Summer Bucket List 2021
from One Little Small

Cincinnati Riverwalk

The best way to explore the riverfront area is to spend the morning exploring the Cincinnati Riverwalk path. Known by several names, this path runs from Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park (next to Montgomery Inn Boathouse) down to Smale Riverfront Park.

Your best bet is to start in Friendship Park (where parking is free) and make your way west to Smale Riverfront Park. Along the way you’ll pass 1000 Hands Every Child’s Playground at Sawyer Point – an amazing playground under a bridge, Otto Armleder Memorial Aquatic Sprayground – a large sprayground, public art, tennis and volleyball courts, and amazing views of the Ohio River. When you reach your destination, you’ll find that Smale Riverfront Park is packed with things to do and see, from two splash pad areas, a large playground, a maze, and porch swings facing the river. The Cincinnati Riverwalk is one of the prettiest areas in the city and has so much for all ages to explore.

The Cincinnati Riverwalk path is bookended by Smale Riverfront Park and Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park.

Smale Riverfront Park is located at 166 W Mehring Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park is located at 1135 Riverside Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Graeter’s Kenwood Lil’ Pints Play Room

Picture this – sitting down and enjoying your ice cream in peace while your kiddos have the time of their lives in the ice cream themed play room of their dreams. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

The new Graeter’s Kenwood store features a Lil’ Pints Play Room. This play room, designated for kids ages 9 and under, features a large ice cream cone slide and two climbing areas, a smaller area for crawlers and younger kids, and several interactive features including puzzles and color-changing touch boards. I don’t like to play flavorites, but I can guarantee you’ll like this spot a waffle lot.

Graeter’s Kenwood store is located at 8167 Montgomery Road Cincinnati, OH 45236

Graeter's Kenwood Lil' Pints Play Room Cone Slide
Lil’ Pints Play Room Cone Slide

Cincinnati Fire Museum

Did you know that Cincinnati is home to the first professional fire department? At the Cincinnati Fire Museum, you can learn all about the history of professional firefighting, see lots of fire trucks, climb into a cab of a real fire truck, slide down a fire pole, and learn about fire safety. This museum is the perfect place to extinguish any feelings of boredom. There is enough to see, do and touch at the Cincinnati Fire Museum to spend about 2 hours there.

The Cincinnati Fire Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm (closed Sunday and Monday). Children age 6 and under are FREE with the purchase of an adult or senior ticket. Current ticket prices can be found on their website.

Cincinnati Fire Museum is located at 315 W Court St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Cincinnati Fire Museum
Cincinnati Fire Museum – January 2020

Kaleidoscope Color and Co.

I’ve been wanting to tie dye some t-shirts with my little guy, but that’s one activity I don’t think I can tackle on my own. So I’ve been dying to check out a local tie dye studio that opened up this winter. Located about 5 minutes from Kenwood Towne Center, Kaleidoscope Color and Co. is a DIY tie dye studio that can accommodate artists of all ages.

Reservations can be made online and the reservation fee is then deducted from your studio purchase. Hours are based on reservations.

Kaleidoscope Color and Co. is located at 8454 Blue Ash Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45236

Highfield Discovery Garden

Located within Glenwood Gardens, Highfield Discovery Garden is a magical spot with a giant tree and playhouse to explore, a little tea house, a miniature train, a small pond, curated walkways, and several gardens to explore. We love to watch the little miniature train zoom over bridges and through tunnels and look for the little fairy garden tucked away near the rope bridges. Highfield Discovery Garden is such a special place; there is truly else nothing like it in Cincinnati.

During the summer, Highfield Discovery Garden is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30am to 5:00pm and on Sunday from 12:00pm to 5:00pm (closed on Monday). Admission is $5.25 per person and kids under age 2 are free.

Highfield Discovery Garden is located in Glenwood Gardens at 10397 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45215

BONUS: Stop by Wyoming Pastry Shop for some delicious treats or Wyoming Community Coffee for some amazing coffee. Both are about a 5 minute drive from the garden.

Mason Municipal Aquatic Center 

The City of Mason opened its brand new outdoor leisure pool this summer, and it’s the perfect spot to both splish and splash. The Mason Municipal Aquatic Center leisure pool was designed with kids in mind. It’s got a big splash pad away from the pool area, with a little river, several sprayers and water cannons, dump buckets, spraying water rings, and more. The pool has a large zero depth entry area with built-in water table, large dump bucket, and water cannons. In the deeper area, you can find basketball hoops, the lazy river, and two water slides for bigger kids. And although it’s a popular spot, it’s a huge space with plenty of chairs and shade for everyone.

The Mason Municipal Aquatic Center leisure pool is open daily from 11:00am to 7:00pm through August 15, 2021. The extended season will begin on August 16, but exact dates and times have not yet been announced. Pool passes are included with some community center memberships and pool memberships are still available. Daily passes can be purchased for $10. Children under age 3 are free.

Mason Municipal Aquatic Center is located at 6249 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, OH 45040

Mason Municipal Pool Splash Pad
Mason Municipal Pool Splash Pad

The Cone

What could be cooler than getting ice cream from a giant ice cream cone building? I remember going to The Cone as a kid, and I’ve been wanting to take my son there for a cone (or two!). The Cone offers soft serve ice cream in many different flavors, including their famous orange sherbet, and more. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating at The Cone, as well as a family-friendly game room and a drive thru.

The Cone is open Tuesday through Thursday from 12:00pm to 9:00pm and Friday through Sunday from 12:00pm to 9:30pm (closed on Monday).

The Cone is located at 6855 Tylersville Road, West Chester Township, OH 45069

Behringer-Crawford Museum

Nestled in Devou Park, the Behringer-Crawford Museum is a gem of a museum that explores the history and culture of Northern Kentucky. The museum has hands on exhibits with trains, cars, and steamboats, which is what attracted us to check out BCM. The first floor of the museum explores the impact of railways in NKY, with streetcar you can walk through and a large model train display. The second floor explores life after WWII, complete with 1950s play kitchen and drive-in movie experience. The top floor features a large replica of a steamboat to explore, along with special exhibits and more. We took our families to BCM for our son’s second birthday and we easily spent two hours there exploring and playing.

In addition to the super fun museum space, the Behringer-Crawford Museum also has a handicapped-accessible naturescape play area called the NaturePlay@BCM. The NaturePlay area is located next to the museum’s parking lot, is free of charge and is open daily from dawn to dusk.

The Behringer-Crawford Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm (closed Monday). Wednesdays at BCM are Grandparent days where one grandchild is admitted for free with each paying grandparent. Full details on admission prices can be found on their website.

Behringer-Crawford Museum is located at 1600 Montague Rd, Covington, KY 41011

Behringer-Crawford Museum
Behringer-Crawford Museum

Trammel Fossil Park 

Did you know that there’s a local park dedicated to fossil hunting? Trammel Fossil Park in Sharonville was created specifically for little fossil hunters to dig their little hearts out. The park consists of a large, rocky hill that is teeming with fossils. At the bottom of the hill is the parking lot, a porta-potty, and a display area where kids can learn all about area fossils. The hill Trammel Fossil Park sits on is pretty steep and can be tricky to navigate, so this outing is best for kids age 2 and up.

Trammel Fossil Park is open daily from 9:00am to 8:00pm. Don’t forget to put together a “fossil hunting kit” before you head out. Items like a bucket, shovels, brushes, spray bottle, and a magnifying glass can make this experience so much more fun.

Trammel Fossil Park is located at 11935 Tramway Dr, Sharonville, OH 45241

Trammel Fossil Park
Trammel Fossil Park

Catch a Reds game – and check out a playground at GABP

Love going to a Reds game, but dread the thought of getting your kiddo to sit through all 9 innings? Well, your worrying days are over! Thanks to not one, but two, play areas at Great American Ball Park, a day at the Reds game can feel like a walk in the (ball) park.

GABP features two separate areas for kids to enjoy – a 3-story play set located in the Fan Zone at the Terrace Level and a large Family Zone located up in the View Level. And I’ve got all the details you need to know on my GABP Playgrounds review below.

Great American Ball Park is located at 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Thank you for reading One Little Small’s Cincinnati Bucket List for summer!