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Staycation Fun in Cincinnati, Ohio

Summer is so close! For some that means vacations out of town. For others it means staying in town for a staycation. Either way, if you will be in the Cincinnati area this Summer there are lots of things to do for fun!

Check Bridgett’s Staycation Ideas for Summer Fun in Dayton too!  This list of ideas is a work in progress.  Check back for often for additional ideas.

Cincinnati Staycation Ideas

Sawyer Point

We love to spend time at Sawyer Point downtown Cincinnati.  Enjoy climbing the steps by the river, playing on the playgrounds, picnics, open areas for play and more!  My kids love the 1,000 Hands Project Everybody’s Playground.  It’s fun and accessible for all!  Except for a $4 parking fee, Sawyer Point is Free to enjoy!

Paul Brown Stadium Tours

Take a tour of Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the Cincinnati Bengals.  Tours are available Monday-Friday from 10 a.m – 2 p.m. from April 1 through July 31. Call 513-455-4800 for more information.

Krohn Conservatory

See plants from around the world at Krohn Conservatory in Eden Park.  Visit the rain forest, desert and more all under one roof.  Exhibits and programs change throughout the year.    Admission to Krohn Conservatory is a requested donation except during special events. The Butterfly Show is going on through June 26th.

Cincinnati Museum Center

With 3 museums in one place there is bound to be something for everyone.  Visit the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, Cincinnati History Museum, Natural History Museum, Omnimax Theater or do it all.  Admission rates vary based on what you choose to do while there.

A Cincinnati Museum Center Annual Membership is the best option if you plan to visit more than once.  Check the Reciprocal Museum list if you will be traveling or have a membership to another museum.  It just might mean Free admissions for you and your family!  FYI: Booneshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton and COSI in Columbus are on the list.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens

The Cincinnati Zoo is a great place to spend a family day!  See animals in many outdoor and indoor settings.  Don’t miss Zuri the baby Giraffe! Daily admission prices are $14 for adults ages 13-61, $10 for children ages 2-12 and seniors 62 or older.

A Cincinnati Zoo Membership is the best value if you plan to visit several times year round. Like the Museum Center, the Zoo is also part of a reciprocal program. A Cincinnati Zoo membership allows members to enjoy free or discounted admission to over 100 other zoos.

Coney Island & Sunlight Pool

Nothing says Summer fun like swimming in the largest flat surface pool in North America. Our family staycations always include a day at Coney Island and Sunlight Pool. The pool features over an acre of shallow water, 4 water slides and six diving boards. Take a break from the pool to enjoy the classic rides at Coney Island.

Tickets are available for just Coney Island, just Sunlight Pool or both. Save by going after 4pm. Check your entertainment book for admission discounts. If/when other discounts become available, I’ll add them here.  Coney Island & Sunlight Pool Season Passes are also available.

Kings Island

Are you a coaster rider or do you like the rides that go in circles?  Kings Island has many of both plus the Boomerang Bay Waterpark!  Admission is one price for both parks.  This isn’t necessarily an inexpensive family outing but there are ways to save if you are planning a day at the park.

  • Kings Island Gold Season Passes mean a Summer full of days at Kings Island with Free Parking.  The option to purchase Gold Passes goes away after May 30th.
  • Pack snacks and a picnic for your meals.
  • Go on a weekday when crowds and lines may be smaller
  • Purchase tickets online before you go and save $16/per adult ticket off the gate price.
  • Another option would be the Starlight Admission.  Head to the park after 5pm for just $19.99/ticket.

Carew Tower

Enjoy the view of Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky from the observation deck on top of Carew Tower. Admission is $2 per adult and $1 per child.  Warning: Walking down the 804 steps isn’t as easy as it sounds.  My legs were sore for days after my boys talked me into doing it.

Wet Playgrounds, Hamilton County Parks

The wet playgrounds at 3 different Hamilton County parks are great places for kids (and adults) of all ages to take a break from Summer’s heat.  Each park has it’s own theme but all have lots of water fun.

Admission is $2 per child ages 2-12 or pay $5 for every 3 children.  If you’re planning to visit several times over the Summer, a $15 Season Pass wristband would be the best value.  Wristbands are good at all three Wet Playgrounds:

Parky’s Farm

Take the kids for a day on the farm …. Parky’s Farm that is!  Located at Winton Woods, Parky’s is a 100-acre demonstration farm.  Kids can enjoy live animals such as goats, pigs, sheep, chickens and more.  Help water the vegetables in the garden.  Spend some time on the outdoor playground and/or inside the 2 story play barn.  Pony rides are available too!  Most of what Parky’s has to offer is free.  Admission to the play barn is $2.50 per child ages 2-12.  Pony rides are also $2.50 for children under 48″.

Free Summer Concert Series

There are Free concerts all over the city all Summer long.  Add a blanket and a picnic and you will have a great evening out for Free!  All of the concerts we have been to have been kid friendly.  To me they feel like a kid friendly adult night out if you know what I mean :).

Movies in the Park

Just like the drive in but Free!  Area parks offer Free movies under the stars.  Pack a picnic dinner, a blanket & chairs for a fun Free family night out.

Family Friendly Cincinnati

Family Friendly Cincinnati is our family fun partner site.  The site contributors visit family friendly locations and share their honest opinions with readers. It’s a fabulous resource for those in the Cincinnati area – we love ’em!

Do you have other Cincinnati Staycation ideas?
I know there are many more ideas to come. This is going to keep growing so check back often!


  1. Tiffany on May 24, 2011 at 7:33 am

    We love Cincinnati. It’s just an 1 1/2 hour drive for us. Thanks for the recommendations on fun stuff. Some of your list is new to me.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Becky on May 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

      You’re welcome Tiffany! Are there things you like to do here that aren’t on the list? Let me know and I’ll get them added.

  2. heather g on May 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    We’re currently living outside of Dayton and planning to move to Cincinnati as soon as we can sell our house. This was fun for me to read! I look forward to checking out many of these fun places with my family! Thanks! :)

    • Savings Lifestyle: Becky on May 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this list! Hope you get to try many of the ideas when you get to move this way. Did you see Bridgett’s Ideas for Summer Fun in Dayton post? She shared lot to do there too!

      • heather g on May 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm

        Yep! I read her list right after yours! We visit many of the places on her post often, but there were a few that we’ll have to try. I love this idea! :)

  3. Dawn on May 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Hello, we plan on being in Mason, Ohio during the 4th holiday. Do you have any suggestions on where to see the best fireworks? We are family of 5, 3 boys 11, 10 and 9

  4. Savings Lifestyle: Noelle on May 21, 2012 at 11:51 am


    The Red, White and Blue Ash fireworks are always popular and a great show!

    Hope this helps!

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