Cincinnati may seem like a pretty boring place if you live here. Encircled by suburbs and the 275 loop, life can get pretty mundane. Drive to work, work your grind, drive home, eat, watch a show, go to sleep, repeat. But on Saturdays I’ve made it a point to get out of our little corner and experience something interesting. Saturdays are what we affectionately call ‘mom’s day off’ around my house, which means I give my wife the morning off and take our toddler out on adventures. I believe that all moms deserve a break, they deserve it! I work full time and together we manage two busy blogs so it can be hard to just breathe, relax and experience life’s little moments of joy and peace.
So every Saturday my daughter Hannah and I experience something. Whether that’s the play place at Chick-fil-A or the Costco, which has free samples of candy and cookies (her favorite), I make an effort to get out and explore our town. Cincinnati might appear like classic fly over country and for those living here it may appear to be just another mid-western metropolis, but underneath the obvious lays a world of fun and excitement for adults and little ones alike. So here are three of my most favorite little moments of joy from recent adventures in Cincinnati:
1). Washington Park. Located just north of downtown Cincinnati is Washington Park. Ten years ago this section of town was run down, crime was rampant and families rarely ventured here. But today the Over-The-Rhine district in Cincinnati is filled with a mix of cultures. Trendy bistros are cropping up everywhere and the city has invested millions into Washington Park which is the center piece of Over the Rhine. Now I work in OTR at an Ad Agency, so I walk through Washington Park on a daily basis. It’s a beautiful park, with a gazebo at the center, it encompasses the entire block. But what makes Washington park perfect for young kids…..the ‘sprinklers’ as Hannah calls them. It’s finally getting warmer and she is already asking about them. At the center of the park, near the gazebo are jets of water in the concrete. In the spring and summer months kids run and play for hours, Hannah included.
We pack up our lunch, she makes sure to bring her Ariel Barbie doll (she supposedly can breathe under water) and we are off on an adventure. If we don’t pack our lunch, on Saturdays food trucks line the block serving amazing street food…YUM. Along with the sprinklers is a fantastic kids playground with large music instruments and multiple slides. It truly is a great park. While OTR (as the locals refer to it) is a little too trendy for me, it’s a beautiful area of town that is perfect for a Saturday activity. The park often has events on the weekends and I geeked out on Saturday seeing an R2D2. Hannah of course called that boring and wanted to go swinging. I don’t mind embracing my inner geek!! After Washington Park we jump over to Holtman’s Donut shop for a delicious hand made donut, with sprinkles of course! (To see more photos of Over-The-Rhine, follow #ThisIsOTR on Instagram)
Today Hannah wanted to stop at another park in Downtown Cincinnati, a very unique park directly in front of P&G headquarters. It has beautiful walkways and courtyards. It’s worth a stop, located at 5th and Broadway.
2). Cincinnati Museum Center. Whether you are a Cincinnatian or a visitor the Museum Center is an amazing site to see. Located on the west side of downtown, it’s the old Union Train Terminal for the city. Converted into a museum it’s Art Deco feel and massive lobby will impress even the pickiest critic. The Children’s Museum and Natural History Museum are fantastic.
The Museum Center was kind enough to give us a day pass so that my family could spend the day roaming the halls of history. We started in the Natural History Museum because we knew we wouldn’t be able to pull Hannah out of the Children’s Museum. We walked through a maze of history. Hannah got to press the buttons and learn about our history. She got to see a ‘real’ cave, walk into the past and marvel in wonder, it was very cool. Bottom line, if your little one love Dino Dan or just Dinosaurs in general…um get yourself to this Natural History Museum! Next we moved to the Children’s Museum. Let me just say you could spend ALL DAY in there, it has amazing activities. I just sat down and just let Hannah play and play. By the time we got to the car she was completely exhausted! She roamed the trees, played in the water, learned about dams and grocery stores, played in the sand box, she had a great time.
3). Walmart’s Eyecare Center. Now let’s face, the eye care center at your local Walmart isn’t a common, ‘amazing,’ Saturday morning destination, but hear me out. First lets go over basics, I have a four year old who doesn’t understand the concept of spending money. Once I told her I didn’t have any money, she just told me to ‘use the debit card’ and yes she refers to the debit card not credit card. So trying to figure out places that cost very little but occupy lots of time is critical in my Saturday morning routine. Another note, I’m a glasses wearer. I got my most recent pair from Coastal.com for $18 shipped seriously. When they arrived Hannah wanted to try them on, so that got me thinking, she doesn’t need glasses…..YET, but she probably would LOVE to try on glasses! So on this particular Saturday morning I told her we were going someplace ‘special.’ We pull into the Walmart parking lot and she said out loud, ‘NOT WALMART! It’s so BOOOORING.’ Ditto kid, I agree, but just wait until you see the pink Hello Kitty glasses, you’ll just die! And that she did. We walked into the Eye Care Center and the nice Walmart representative asked if we needed help. I said no thanks we were just looking, little did she know, we’d be there for an hour and a half ‘just looking.’ I started Hannah out in what I call the BORING glasses.
Some were wire frames others were just thick rimmed, it was so cool to see her preferences and personality shine. Who knew a 4 year old had style preferences! Then after a little bit we got into the branded glasses, Hello Kitty here we come. She immediately jumped for joy and said she LOVED them, just loved them. I smiled and she demanded I take more pictures. While we didn’t get anything, explaining that she needed a doctor needs to give them to her, she enjoyed it so much that now every time we stop by Walmart she asks to go to the Eye Care Center.
Little moments of joy found trying on glasses.
This post was unwritten by the Cincinnati Museum Center. The Museum Center has multiple musuems for the entire family to enjoy. I’m proud to be a part of the Museum Center, since volunteering there in high school to promoting them today, they are a valued Cincinnati landmark. Visit and support them today!