Indoor Places to Play When You Need to Escape the Heat

Let’s face it – some days it’s just too hot to play outside! For the days where you can’t take one more wet swimsuit, here are a few ideas for indoor play with kids in and around Cincinnati.

MakerSpace at the Cincinnati Public Library

Totter’s Otterville:

Totter’s Otterville is a favorite in our family. The place has themed rooms and areas – all for kids. There’s a train room, a store (complete with carts and groceries), a kitchen, a veterinarian’s office, a puppet theater, a ballerina’s stage, and so much more. The kids can play dress-up, paint their own faces, play in the water, and color. They have a large ball pit area as well as an indoor play structure. And that is just scratching the surface! See our post about Totter’s Otterville here.

Tips: You can NOT bring your own food inside but they do serve up kid favorites like pizza, hot dogs, and juice boxes from their kitchen. Also, know there’s a toy store that you walk through to get into the play area. We have the same discussion every time we go – we are not here to buy toys :).

Admission is charged.

block center at totter's otterville

Children’s Museum:

The Children’s Museum is located within Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. The Children’s Museum has activities appropriate for children of all ages. Areas include: The Woods (kids 8 and older), the Energy Zone, Nature’s Trading Post, Kid’s Town, and more.

Learn more about the Children’s Museum here.

The Woods at the Children's Museum in Cincinnati

Adventure Station at Sharon Woods 

Adventure Station is an indoor playground located within Sharon Centre in Sharon Woods. Open to children ages 2-12, the two-story, handicap accessible playground features ladders, tunnels, interactive play areas and a ball pit for hours of indoor fun.

Tips: There’s a nice covered area for picnics at this park and you can take in your own food (to eat outside). They also have a wet playground area that’s great for smaller children if you want to extend your day. Know that in addition to an admission fee for the indoor play area, you will need to have a motor vehicle permit to enter the park. The good news is you can buy one that’s good all year.

Learn more about Great Parks’ indoor playgrounds here.

Parky’s Playbarn at Parky’s Farm

Parky’s Playbarn, located at Parky’s Farm in Winton Woods, is a former dairy barn has been converted into an indoor, farm-themed, accessible playground for children ages 2-12.

Tips: Know that in addition to an admission fee for the indoor play area, you will need to have a motor vehicle permit to enter the park. The good news is you can buy one that’s good all year. The park has multiple covered picnic areas if you want to take your own food.

Learn more about Great Parks’ indoor playgrounds here.

Parky's Farm at Winton Woods

Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library

Crafty kids will enjoy the main branch’s Makerspace (downtown). The Madeira Branch is one of our favorites as it has a fantastic play area for pre-schoolers including a puppet stage, train tables, Duplo, and more. Most of the library branches offer computer time. The library has a LONG list of story times and “Movers and Shakers” classes too.

EnterTRAINment Junction and the A-Maze-N Fun House

Kids of all ages will enjoy the world’s largest indoor train display at Entertrainment Junction. Kids can also enjoy a romp around the indoor play structure. Tweens and teens will love the A-Maze-N Funhouse with its Mirror Maze, the Crazy Caper room, the Curtain Chaos room, and more. There’s a toy store, a train museum, and food as well.

entertrainment junction amazen funhouse

Shopping Mall Playgrounds

We’ve tried lots of mall playgrounds and have two we can recommend. Tri-County Mall has a great indoor play area (ground floor near center of the mall) and Liberty Center has a great play area too (upstairs, close to Dillards).

Catch a Free Movie (Summer Only)

The Kenwood, Mariemont, Eastgate, and Esquire Theatres offer free kids’ movies on Monday and Wednesday mornings starting on June 4, 2018. Each week features one movie (repeated on Monday and Wednesday). Features include Muppets From Space, Jumanji, Stuart Little, Smurfs 2, Pirates! Band of Misfits, Muppets Take Manhattan, Surf’s Up, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. (no movies for the week of July 2)

Xscape Theatres in Northgate offers free kids’ movies on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. Movies start at 9:30am.

Go Bowling!

Kids Bowl Free (during the summer of 2018) at S&S Western Bowl, Heid Bowling Lanes, and Colerain Bowl; must register online; full details at Kids Bowl Free