You may be able to acquire free passes to some of these museums using the Cincinnati Public Library’s Discovery Pass. Check it out!
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
The old Cinci train station houses three museums: Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s Museum and Museum of Natural History. Educators can receive a discount on membership. Membership has different levels, with different benefits. One great benefit is the reciprocal museums: get free or discounted admission to many other museums across the country, including COSI (Columbus, Ohio). Rotunda tours can be taken for free (parking fees still apply).
Cincinnati Art Museum
A free (+nominal parking charge if you park in their lot), quality museum with changing exhibits. Free parking can be found along the street outside the gate. Some special exhibits have a fee.
Taft Museum of Art
Deals for this museum can occasionally be found on CincySavers or Groupon. In the spring, the ArtsWave event weekends sometimes offer free admission to this art museum, along with others.
Pendleton Art Center
With 8 floors (there is an elevator) and over 200 artists, PAC is the world’s largest collection of artists under one roof! Open to the public on Final Fridays (the last Friday of each month from 6 – 10 p.m.) and Second Look Saturdays (the day after the Final Friday event from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.). If you are game for some exercise it is within walking distance of campus (down the steps and across Liberty Street).
A showcase of more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. Hosts an impressive butterfly show each spring ($). Purchase a reasonably priced Family Pass for access to all the shows and the regular displays anytime for one year, definitely the best deal for a family.
High quality museum with a Biblical worldview, lovely gardens, and a petting zoo. Ziplines are also available for the more adventurous.
Life sized Noah’s ark with expansive grounds.
Various events and educational opportunities related to the heavens.
Just across the river in Newport, KY
About 30 minutes away, in Milford, OH, is a cleverly disguised playground. Very much a playground, but truly a outlet store for trampolines, swing sets, slides, and more, Recreations Outlet has Pay-to-Play and Charitable Play (less expensive) options for days when the kids need to move, and the weather isn’t great.
Unique one-man project.
Small museum in Devou Park with permanent and some seasonal rotating exhibits.