Amusement & Water Parks

Banshee roller coaster at Kings Island (photo: Provided by Kings Island
Banshee roller coaster at Kings Island (photo: Provided by Kings Island

With more than 100 rides, shows and attractions plus Soak City Waterpark, Kings Island offers the perfect combination of world-class thrills and family attractions. Climb aboard Mystic Timbers, a wooden coaster offering 16 airtime moments and a tantalizing mystery. Or try out the new giga coaster, Orion, a steel coaster that reaches speeds of 91 miles per hour.

Enjoy plenty of amusement park rides, the world's largest recirculating swimming pool and exciting water slides at Coney Island featuring Sunlite Water Adventure and the new Challenge Zone, the largest Aquaglide pool obstacle in the country!

Up north, enjoy food and drinks in Sandy Cove and Aqua Lounge at Land of Illusion's Aqua Adventures park, which also offers the Witbit Adventure Zone and paddleboarding.

Sports

Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park (photo: @real.mayhem)
Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park (photo: @real.mayhem)

Feel the breeze from the river, hear the crack of the bat and crunch on some peanuts or Cracker Jack and celebrate the return of fans at Cincinnati Reds games!

Get even closer to the action at a Florence Y'alls baseball game. A member of the independent Frontier League, the games offer post-game bands, fireworks, giveaways, discounted tickets, food and drink specials and more.

Experience Major League Soccer with FC Cincinnati. A lively crowd of all ages flocks to the team’s matches held at the brand-new TQL Stadium in the West End.

Another fun thing to do in the summer is get a first-hand view of the fanfare at the Western and Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center August 14-22, 2021. This professional tennis tournament features many of the best players from around the world plus an amazing fan experience that includes a variety of food, wine, beer, shopping and entertainment.
 

Family-Friendly Attractions

Feeding a giraffe at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (photo: David Bradbury)
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (photo: David Bradbury)

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s 75 acres house more than 580 animal species and 3,000 plant varieties making it one of the largest zoo collections in the U.S. Be sure to visit Africa, an exhibit designed to bring guests closer to animals including Cheetah Encounter, Hippo Cove, the Meerkat Exhibit, and Painted Dog Valley. You can even walk among kangaroos in the new Roo Valley.

Newport Aquarium – located in the Newport on the Levee entertainment district – offers a million gallons of fun. Touch stingrays in Stingray Hideaway's 17,000-gallon touch pool, walk the Shark Bridge, and enjoy the new Shipwreck: Realm of the Eels. While you're at the Levee, try your hand at some spares and strikes at Rotolo Bowling or hit up the arcade games at GameWorks.

The Duke Energy Children’s Museum at Cincinnati Museum Center (temporarily closed) encourages kids to climb, crawl, explore and learn about themselves and the world around them. Get more hands on fun in the new Science Interactives Gallery inside the Museum of Natural History & Science. Then swing by Dinosaur Hall to view this new exhibit that includes six gigantic prehistoric creatures. 

Enjoy a scenic cruise along the Ohio River aboard BB Riverboats. All summer long, BB offers themed cruises for the kids like Pirates of the Ohio, Princess, and Ice Cream Social cruises.

Ark Encounter is a full-sized reconstruction of Noah's Ark and the attraction includes a restaurant, gift shop and the Ararat Ridge Zoo home to Tibetan yaks, kangaroos, and ostriches. Plus, take a ride atop a donkey or camel.

 

Free Things to Do

Kids playing in the interactive fountains at Washington Park (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)
Interactive fountains at Washington Park (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)

Washington Park in historic Over-the-Rhine is popular day and night. Let the kids enjoy the playground and splash ground during the day. Then return in the evening for nightly entertainment or simply relax on the The Porch while sipping a local beer. 
 
Fountain Square has long served as a gathering place in downtown Cincinnati. Buy or bring lunch to enjoy while watching the fountain or the latest offerings on the big screen. In the evening, they offer nightly entertainment like trivia, salsa music & dancing, and more. 
 
Explore Smale Riverfront Park along the river in downtown Cincinnati and enjoy the large porch swings, water play and splash grounds, kids play area, giant foot piano and much more. 
 
There are also plenty of free ways to experience local arts. Cincinnati Art MuseumContemporary Arts Center and 21c Museum Hotel all offer free admission, and the Taft Museum of Art is free on Sundays. Plus, see public art including more than 120 murals created by Artworks throughout the region.
 
Click here to find even more Free Things to Do.
 

Summer Festivals & Events 

Glier's Goettafest (photo: @hidekikealoha)
Glier's Goettafest (photo: @hidekikealoha)

Nothing says summer quite like dancing and singing to your favorite songs during an outdoor concert on the river. Check out the schedule at Riverbend Music Center and snag tickets to see your favorite bands.
 
Feel the fluttering wings of butterflies from around the world during the annual Butterfly Show at Krohn Conservatory. Or choose from one of these local events to celebrate 4th of July with a bang.
 
Enjoy two weekends of Glier's Goettafest along Newport's riverfront on July 29-August 1 and August 5-8, 2021, and try all the goetta dishes.

If handmade and local goods are your thing, check out popular outdoor shopping events like City Flea, Art on Vine or the O.F.F. Market
 
Riverfest featuring the Western & Southern / WEBN Fireworks is the region’s annual end-of-summer celebration held the Sunday prior to Labor Day with a 30-minute fireworks display over the Ohio River.

Find more popular summer festivals and events by clicking here.