The Cincinnati region is home to some really fantastic parks, and those of us who live here are thankful to have so many options when it comes to going to the park. I'm not just talking about a playground on a bit of greenspace. There are many unique and interesting Cincinnati parks, and some don't have one piece of playground equipment, but provide fun and entertaiment in other ways. Take time to explore some of the wonderful parks Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have to offer. I've listed just a few of my family's favorite parks to hang out in, but don't stop with this list...after you've visited these parks explore some more!
Cincinnati Nature Center at Rowe Woods
If you are in the mood for a beautiful walk in the woods and a creative place for kids to play, then you need to head to Rowe Woods, home of the Cincinnati Nature Center. You can walk around ponds and look for turtles, let your children explore nature and construct things with actual logs, watch your wee ones splash in a creek and climb on rocks. It’s a nature wonderland for the whole family!
Located in Covington, Ky., at the corner of Riverside Drive and Garrard Street, George Rogers Clark Park does not boast a playground or have a lot of acreage, but for a tiny patch of park in an urban area it does have big charm. Pack a picnic and sit on a blanket while enjoying the sights. Watch barges go by on the river, count cars that pass on the Roebling Suspension Bridge, and maybe you’ll get lucky and be at the park when the Reds score a homerun and you can see fireworks from the ball park! After your picnic, take a walk by the river – if you walk towards the old Covington Landing you can see the beautiful Roebling Murals, and if geocaching is your thing, there’s a rather fun set of geocaches to be found along the river.
If you’ve driven on I-75 through Northern Kentucky you’ve probably noticed the grand clock tower in Covington, Ky. This clock tower is the centerpiece of a small park with big charm. Goebel Park’s historic Carroll Chimes Clock Tower has a mechanical puppet show production of the Pied Piper of Hamlin that plays every hour on the hour (April-December), and you can sit on the promenade and enjoy some sweets from the Candy Bar while you take in the show. It’s the playground and surrounding park that are making news, though. There have been some major renovations and now the park has a playground that kids LOVE. The park is also home to goats that were brought in to eat the overgrown grass in different parts of the park! There are also plans to create a pump track for bikes. All of these plans for betterment have been championed by the families in the neighborhood, and will be enjoyed by many.
Highfield Discovery Garden at Glenwood Gardens
North of Cincinnati is a magical wonderland of a playspace for children. The Highfield Discovery Garden has a giant treehouse, fairy gardens, goldfish ponds, model trains whizzing above your heads, a little house perfect for tea parties and MORE. My children have enjoyed this creative playspace since they were very small. We often pack a picnic to eat in the gardens and then spend an afternoon exploring the Discovery Garden. Season passes are reasonably priced and the Discovery Garden offers children’s programming.
If your family is into the arts, I highly recommend a trip to Hamilton to visit the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum. Sculptures of all sorts are spread throughout the hills and valleys of this gorgeous park. It’s a great place to get some exercise while exploring phenomenal art. If walking isn’t your thing, the park does rent carts to get around to see all the sculptures.
The Riverfront Parks in Cincinnati
On any given sunny weekend day you can find my family hanging out in the parks along the Ohio River. We start out at the International Friendship Park with our bikes and then head down to Sawyer Point for some fun play time at the inclusive “Every Child’s Playground”. Then we hop back on the bikes and finish up at Smale Riverfront Park, where there are fabulous swings (resembling porch swings), interactive water features to splash in, and a playground for the kids as well as the magical Carol Ann's Carousel. If we are hungry after all of this bike riding and playing there are numerous restaurants at The Banks to choose from!
The green space right smack in the middle of downtown called Washington Park is not just a park, it’s an events center. On any given day in the warmer months you can find all sorts of fun things happening at this popular Over-the-Rhine gathering spot. Come for the splash area and playground, and stay for free live music, outdoor movies, yoga, kids activities and much more!