Staycations are amazing for several reasons. Sometimes you just can’t afford the big fancy vacation. Sometimes you just don’t want that added stress. And sometimes, it is just downright more relaxing to take some time off without leaving home. And lucky for us, Cincinnati is an incredible city for staycation planning. In this series, the Cincinnati Moms Blog team is giving you some excellent suggestions to help you plan your staycation. Feel free to follow the themes or mix and match between them! And as always, feel free to share your own suggestions and ideas in the comments.
A Cincinnati Staycation for the Nerdy Family
DAY ONE :: Science Day
- Trammel Fossil Park is a free community space for the whole family to explore. You are able to dig for fossils
and take home your treasures! There are several informational signs that educate about fossils in general and the fossils you’re likely to come across. A great learning experience! (After you work up a sweat finding fossils, stop by The Root Beer Stand on your way home for a fresh, homemade root beer float!)
- The Museum of Natural History and Science at the Cincinnati Museum Center is an amazing place to get your science on. Dinosaur Hall, STEM Discovery Lab, Nature’s Trading Post, The Cave, The Ice Age, and Neil Armstrong’s moon rock are all things to see and explore. You can also visit the current special exhibit, The Science of Sports.
- Located inside Norwood High School, the Drake Planetarium offers public programs to foster a love of science and education about this great universe we live in!
- The Cincinnati Observatory has great public events! From special events to general public viewings and historical tours of the Observatory, there’s options for everyone. They do charge admission, but usually only around $5 for the kid-friendly events. There are They also host free stargazes at Stonelick State Park on Saturday nights. (The Stonelick Stargazers even have their own Facebook site.)
DAY TWO :: History Day
- Have you heard of the Schoolhouse Restaurant? Built in the early 1860’s, during the Civil War, this building housed one of the first schools in the Midwest with a second story. It was in operation from 1864-1954, and the Miller family turned it into a restaurant in the 1960’s. It’s a great place to reflect and see history in action, and you can also visit the general store and the live animals in the yard!
- The American Sign Museum is located right here in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati! According to the museum, signs reflect the history, technology, commerce, and culture of our communities the years. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult and guided tours are included in the admission price. (On weekdays, tours include a stop at the neon shop for a demonstration of how neon signs are made.)
You’ve probably heard of Loveland Castle, but maybe you haven’t been there yet. If not, you’re missing out on another fun way to engage the family in a history lesson. Learn about the creator, have a picnic, enjoy games and puzzles, investigate the castle ghosts, explore various forms of architecture, and view period weaponry on display.
DAY THREE :: Reading Day
- Our local bookstores are always planning special events, and many of them are often free. You can meet authors at book signings, attend special story times, create a magic wand like Harry Potter at a Wand Workshop, or just browse some great books! Some of our favorites are Joseph Beth Booksellers, Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore, and Blue Marble Books.
- The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has 40 branches in addition to the main library location downtown. With that many options, you can find a program or event for any age. You can search their online program calendar, and we encourage you to try going to a library branch you’ve never been to before! (You could probably make an entire day of visiting library branches…)
- It’s summer! Pick a book (or seven) and go to your favorite park and read!
DAY FOUR :: Art Day
- Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum is an outdoor museum focusing on monumental pieces of sculpture in an environment of meadows, forests, and various gardens. With 60+ pieces of sculpture, over 300 acres, 7 lakes, and numerous trails, you probably won’t get through everything in just one day. There is also an Ancient Sculpture Museum displaying Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruscan sculpture thousands of years old.
- In the Northside neighborhood you will find a non-profit arts organization called Happen Inc. They are always
hosting events at their location (often free!) and also travel around the city bringing art programs to the masses in Cincinnati. Check out their event calendar or Facebook page to see what they have going on. They also have a toy lab in which you can build toys from stray pieces (for a fee).
- Make some local art! Several canvas painting studios have kids or family painting sessions, including Cheers to Art, A Stroke of Art, Painting with a Twist, and Paint by the Glass. There are also many pottery painting studios, including The Pottery Place, Color Me Mine, Mad Potter, and Funke Fired Arts. (Funke Fired Arts also has family pottery-making classes!)
DAY FIVE :: Technology Day
- Arcade Legacy is a video gamer’s dream. They have 7,800 square feet of space that houses 60+ arcade and pinball cabinets plus a console area with 18 stations where you can play anything from Atari 2600 to WiiU. They also have two high-definition projection screens for Rock Band, Mariokart, or Minecraft. Kids and adults of all ages would have fun here!
- Explore the new MakerSpace at the Main Library location of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. According to the website, “A makerspace is a place where creative people can gather, create, invent, and learn. Customers of the Library have access to 3D printers, audio and visual equipment, laser cutters and
engravers, sewing machines, cameras and other hardware and software tools that they can use for free to create pretty much anything they can imagine. (Some machines require additional materials which may be purchased for a fee.)” WHAT?! SO COOL!
- Have you taken advantage of free or cheap summer movies yet? Lots of outdoor venues are offering free movies, and you can find them in our monthly event guides. See an example here in the July guide! You could also try out one of our local drive-in theaters, Starlite Drive-In or Holiday Auto Theatre. (Never been to the drive-in? Check out our Mom’s Guide to the Drive-In post.)