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5 Children’s Museums in Ohio Your Kids Will Love

Take your kids to one of these amazing children’s museums in Ohio filled with tons of hands-on activities that are educational AND fun!

Taking your child to a museum might not sound like a fun experience – – unless you take them to one of these awesome children’s museums in Ohio! These museums are full of hands-on activities that will keep your kids entertained and engaged! These museums are created just for kids with tons of interactive (and educational) activities. Imaginative play is the name of the game at these museums and young kids and older kids alike can all find something to enjoy.

Our family has personally visited each of the children’s museums on this list! Check out these ideas and plan your next Ohio road trip!

1. The Children’s Museum at Cincinnati Museum Center

  • Address: 1301 Western Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45203
  • Website

The Cincinnati Museum Center is an amazing museum to visit with kids in Cincinnati! We LOVE this museum! Technically, the Cincinnati Museum Center contains several museums under one roof as well as an OMNIMAX theater.

The museum is housed in Union Terminal and includes Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, The Children’s Museum, Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center. It’s a really fun place for the whole family to visit!

For this blog post, I am going to focus soley on The Children’s Museum. You can read about the other museums in my blog post about things to do in Cincinnati.

A boy operating a crane at Cincinnati Children's Museum.

The Children’s Museum has a huge play area that is divided into different themes. Highlights include Kids’ Town (an imaginary town kids can play in), a water play area, a working crane and construction site, and an Energy Zone.

Kids' Town play area at Cincinnati Children's Museum.

Additionally, there is a really large play forest called The Woods for kids ages 8 and up.

This is a really large museum for kids in Ohio! It’s definitely worth a road trip to Cincinnati! Your admission includes all 3 museums and if you happen to have a COSI membership, you can get in for free!

2. SPI Spot (Science Play-Space Initiative)

  • Address: 400 S. Main St., Mt. Vernon, Ohio 43050
  • Website

The SPI Spot in Mount Vernon, Ohio is such a gem! If you have young kids, it’s worth a trip to Mt. Vernon just to learn and play at the SPI Spot. It’s probably one of the best things to do with kids in Mt. Vernon, Ohio! Amazingly, admission is only $4 per person! That price beats almost any other (non-free) indoor play area around!

Play area at SPI Spot children's museum in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

The mission of SPI Spot is as follows: “Our mission is to enhance the Knox County community by bringing people of all ages together to explore science and technology through play.” I think it’s fair to say that mission is fulfilled within this fun space! We visited with three generations of my family and were able to spend a couple of hours exploring and playing.

There is so much for kids to do at SPI Spot! This kids’ museum has science experiments, a soft play area for the younger kids, a climbing wall, and lots of hands-on-activities.

A play area and tree house at SPI Spot in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

At the time of writing, admission is 50% off with a membership to COSI or The Works and free with your membership to the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland!

3. COSI (Center for Science and Industry)

  • Address: 333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215
  • Website

COSI is home to more than 10 much-loved, classic exhibits that remain on display permanently. Some of our favorite permanent exhibits are Ocean, Progress and Energy Explorers. My kids have loved visiting these exhibits over and over again throughout our years of living in Columbus!

The Gadgets exhibit at COSI in Columbus, Ohio.

Visitors of all ages can find something to love at COSI, but if you have young children (1st grade and under), make sure to visit little kidspace on the second floor! It’s one of the best indoor play areas for young kids in all of Columbus!

The American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery is a permanent exhibit at COSI and it has been such a welcome addition since my youngest son is a huge dinosaur fan! Visit the Dinosaur Gallery to see the dinosaur models, climb in the Oviraptor nest and interact with the hands-on exhibits!

Two boys trying to lift a car with a giant lever at COSI in Columbus.

COSI also has an outside exhibit called the Big Science Park. There are hands-on exhibits like the Whisper Dishes and a pulley that allows you to lift a car!

4. Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

  • Address: 2600 Deweese Pkwy, Dayton, OH 45414
  • Website

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is probably one best things to do with kids in Dayton, Ohio. This museum really impressed me when we visited!

Make sure to pick up a museum map when you visit because there are 34 rooms full of activities! You don’t want to miss any of the exhibits and it can be hard to find them all if you don’t have a map!

The water play area at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio.

Features of this museum include Boonshoft Kids Park, a play area for younger kids, Splash!, a water play area, and the zoo area called Discovery Zoo. My favorite area was the Treehouse, a room in the trees, surrounded by windows, where you can watch birds and other wildlife! Kids of all ages will find something to enjoy at Boonshoft!

A boy looking at a LEGO display at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton.

You can get a 50% discount on admission to Boonshoft Museum of Discovery with either your COSI membership or your Columbus Zoo membership. Also, the museum is right around the corner from Wegerzyn Gardens and it would be a fun day trip to do the two together!

5. AHA! A Hands-on Adventure, A Children’s Museum

  • Address: 1708 River Valley Cir S, Lancaster, OH 43130
  • Website

This adorable children’s museum in Lancaster, Ohio has been one of our favorites to visit throughout the years. There are lots of hands-on activities here!

A boy playing with toy dinosaurs at the A-HA Children's Museum in Lancaster, Ohio.

The main area contains a construction vehicle and fire truck to climb in, pretend fishing and dinosaur digging. There is also a “real life” play area that contains a house, grocery store and pizza shop. The museum has a separate space for art projects and classes and a water-play room.

Don’t miss the outdoor Nature Playscape area! Kids will love the outdoor activities like sand pits, tricycles, tunnel slides, and a wooden boat to play in!

A wooden boat you can climb into at the outdoor Nature Playscape at A-HA Children's Museum in Lancaster.

This children’s museum is perfect for kids ages 6 months to age 8, but my kids have even enjoyed it at older ages. Read my entire list of things to do with kids in Lancaster for more ideas for your trip!

This list of children’s museums in Ohio offers lots of interactive opportunities for kids to play, learn and imagine! Our family has loved visiting these museums throughout the years and I hope you will, too!

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Thursday 28th of March 2024

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