NJM Blog

Fun Things for Kids to Do in Ohio

Girl Feeding Two Giraffes At The Public Wild Park Against Trees At Summer Sunny Day

The Buckeye State offers abundant history, natural beauty, and culture to make it a fun place to visit for the whole family. Here are some places you want to visit, whether you’re a lifelong Ohioan or just traveling through the state.

Iconic and Traditional Museums

A Christmas Story House (Cleveland) — if you like the movie, you'll love the house. See memorabilia and actual movie props, including Ralphie's official Red Ryder carbine action BB gun. Diehard fans can also spend the night in the house. (achristmasstoryhouse.com)

American Sign Museum (Cincinnati) — housed in an old warehouse, the display of classic and electric signs includes many from familiar burger stands and gas stations of the past. American Sign Museum

Center of Science and Industry (Columbus) — voted America’s No. 1 science museum three years in a row, the planetarium, labs, and live shows will show kids how fun science can be. COSI - Center of Science and Industry

Cincinnati Museum Center — housed in a converted train terminal, it includes a scale model of the city and has plenty of activities for kids. Home Page — Cincinnati Museum Center (cincymuseum.org)

Children's Museum of Cleveland — youngsters can enjoy the miniature house display and play areas, including a dress-up theater. Children's Museum Cleveland — Children's Museum Cleveland (cmcleveland.org)

Cleveland History Center — learn a lot about Cleveland's history; it features two floors of the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum with scores of collectible cars, planes made in Cleveland, and a working carousel. Cleveland History Center | Western Reserve Historical Society (wrhs.org)

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati) — powerful exhibits bring home the story of the struggle of enslaved Black people and their arduous path to freedom. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Imagination Station (Toledo) — features many hands–on activities for children, including an airplane simulator, be–a–TV broadcaster demo, and a MindMaze. Homepage | Imagination Station (imaginationstationtoledo.org)

Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton) — any kids who play or watch football will appreciate the exhibits and videos that bring to life pro football’s history. Pro Football Hall of Fame | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site (profootballhof.com)

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Canton) — features seven floors of exhibits with fun, interactive activities, including trying out musical instruments. Welcome to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (rockhall.com)

Motion Museums (Air, Auto, Motorcycle, Rail)

America's Packard Museum (Dayton) — located in a restored Packard dealership, kids will be impressed at how huge and luxurious these impressive cars were, some which date back to 1903. America's Packard Museum (americaspackardmuseum.org)

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (Dayton) — learn about the Wright brothers and aviation history and see the brothers' restored cycle shop and the parachute museum on the second floor. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

International Women Air and Space Museum (Cleveland) — learn about the women who made aviation and space history. International Women Air & Space Museum (iwasm.org)

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (Wright-Patterson AFC) — the world’s oldest and largest aviation museum features four airplane hangars of exhibits with aircraft from all eras of flight; you can even board an original Air Force One. National Museum of the USAF

The Ohio State Railway Museum (Worthington) — one of the oldest railroad museums in the country. Travel back in time to the 1800s when rail was the way to go. Ohio Railway Museum — Worthington, OH

WACO Historical Society (Troy) — hosts many vintage Weaver Aircraft Company (WACO) planes built in Troy. Top off your visit with a trip on a bi-plane. HOME (wacoairmuseum.org)

Parks and Gardens

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Brecksville) — the only national park in Ohio. Follow the Erie Canal and its towpath, and visit the Beaver Marsh to see frogs, snapping turtles, birds, and beautiful waterfalls. Board the park’s scenic railroad that meanders through the valley. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Hocking Hills State Park (Logan) — amazing rock formations, towering cliffs, gorges, upper and lower falls, and Old Man's Cave are just some of the highlights of this picturesque park. Hocking Hills State Park — Ohio State Park Guide to Hocking Hills Cabins, Dining, Events. (thehockinghills.org)

Smale Riverfront Park (Cincinnati) — situated along the Ohio River, this family–friendly park offers views of the city and cascading waterfall fountains while you relax on the swinging benches as the kids play at one of several playgrounds. Smale Riverfront Park — Cincinnati Parks (cincinnati-oh.gov)

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Akron) — one of the oldest mansions in the U.S. The estate of this 65–room includes 70 acres of stunning gardens. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens


Children's Discovery Garden (Dayton) — prepare to connect with nature and a day of discovery that includes a sensory garden, music maze, sandboxes, a fossil cave, and watercourses. Children's Discovery Garden — Five Rivers MetroParks

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens — rated one of the top zoos in the U.S., the bamboo and foliage give it an exotic feel. The zoo is spacious with a great variety of animals, the most famous being Fiona the Hippo. Welcome to the Cincinnati Zoo — Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden®

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo — its more than 3,000 animals includes the largest collection of primates in the U.S., but the Eagle Zip Adventure is a must. Visit a Top Ohio Zoo | Cleveland Metroparks Zoo | Cleveland Metroparks

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium — features many attractions for visitors to enjoy, including Nature’s Neighborhood with its interactive displays and the aquarium, which is one of the most diverse in the U.S. The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

The Wilds (Cumberland) — features the largest conservation park in North America, spanning 14 miles, with an open–air safari to see animals in their natural habitat. The Wilds — Home (columbuszoo.org)