Activities – Outside
A compact zoo and botanical garden, the 2nd oldest in the United States, with a mix of the older style animal pits and an increasing number of newer, “natural” habitats. Consider parking on nearby streets to avoid parking fees and increase your exercise. The zoo often has “Penguin Days” throughout the months of January & February and a designated day in the summer with half-price admission.
From the International Friendship Park at one end to the Smale Riverfront Park at the other, the riverfront offers numerous things to see and do. Stretching approx 1.5 miles along the riverfront there are walking and biking trails, playgrounds under the 471 (Big Mac) bridge and at the Smale Park end, access to the Purple People Bridge which crosses the Ohio River into Newport on the Levee, the Serpentine Wall, the Roebling bridge which crosses the river into Covington, river view swings, and Carol Ann’s Carousel. Bicycle rentals including bikes for 4-6 people are for rent at the Smale end of the park within the parking garage across the street. Best places to park include the International Friendship parking lot (free), along the street (free) under the 471 bridge, in the parking garage across from Smale park, and just across the Roebling to the left (free).
Cincinnati has numerous great parks throughout the city. The Cincinnati park system should not be confused with the The latter usually requires a small annual fee to enter. Some of our favorites include: Fernbank park (20 minutes west along the river), Washington Park (across the street from the Music Hall in downtown Cincinnati), Ault Park (with gardens, walking trails, overlook, and playground), Alms Park (overlook, playground, and stone slide), Otto Armleder (and bike trails), Eden Park, Mt. Airy Forest (check out the treehouse), and French Park.
Other local parks of note include: Summit Park in Blue Ash, West Fork Park off 74 in Green Township, Pride Park in Taylor Mill, KY, Leblond Park on Riverside Dr., Pleasant Ridge Park on Ridge Rd, Bellevue Beach Park in Bellevue, KY, Lunken Airport Playfield near the Lunken Airport (huge fenced playground; enter through the back gate after 5 p.m. or in the off season for free access). Fernbank Park is along the river on the west side of the metro and includes a large fenced (one entrance/exit) playground, bike path and picnicing options. England Idlewild (KY) also includes mountain bike trails and a pump track. The Trammel Fossil Park is a (free) place to dig fossils to your heart’s content. And the list could go on and on…(feel free to submit your own favorites)
Burnet Woods (OH), Mt Airy Forest (OH), England Idlewild (KY), Lincoln Ridge (KY), Dunham Recreation Center, Highland Hills Park (KY), Johnson Hills (OH)
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum
Go for the day, take a picnic and explore. Check for deals on Groupon or CincySavers.
Carew Tower Observation Deck
Carew Tower, until the last few years, was the tallest building in Cincinnati for decades. Ride elevators to almost the top floor, climb the last couple flights of stairs, pay a small admission fee, and step out on top of the world. Lovely views of the city and miles around. Can you spot the GBSC campus?
Enjoy the city from the middle of the Ohio river!