These free Cincinnati indoor play areas are a great way to burn off some energy without breaking the bank. Be warned though, a few of these places will be hard to leave empty-handed.
Free Cincinnati Indoor Play Areas
The Dungeon at King Arthurs Court Toys
They live true to their motto, “Where Play is King” by encouraging play and allowing imaginations to go wild. Their recent addition, The Dungeon is located in the basement of the store. Descend the medieval stairs to a magical play area where you can practice your archery, climb a rope bridge or simply relax in one of their hanging hugglepods.
Big comfy couches are located in the dungeon and throughout the store for parents to enjoy. Not to mention complimentary popcorn and coffee. You heard me right, coffee and popcorn are free! Why would I ever pay to go to a play cafe again!
On average we spend an hour and a half to two hours each visit. The store is packed with the wonderful toy selection so be warned that your child’s shopping cart will fill up fast.
Another great fact is that right in the same block is an Aglamesis Ice Cream Parlor and Deeper Roots Coffee. Venture down the street even further to find the Blue Manatee Bookstore.
Cincinnati Children’s Discovery Center
My daughter enjoyed the whack a pig game the best, in which you could race an opponent on who could hit the most lite up pigs.
The playground is aimed for children 2-12 however, I saw quite of few parents take advantage of a baby area where the littlest member of the family can stretch and kick.
Mirrors and sensory boards are scattered throughout making this is a great spot to visit with multiple children in tow. During our most recent visit, we did notice that it was starting to look a little worn.
We love that a branch of the local library is located directly across from the play area. If your little ones get bored, head over there then wrap up with lunch at one of the great restaurants in Liberty Center. During hot summer days, there is a little splash pad right outside by the Graeters.
Graeters Play Area in Anderson
Located inside the newly remodeled Graeter’s of Anderson is one sweet ice cream playground. Tedder-totter on a banana, serve up sundaes from the truck or slide down an ice cream cone. They even have a little section under the big structure designed just for tinier tots who might not quite be ready for the big slide.
Seating is located inside the play area, while a few parents opted to sit at the tables from outside to keep watch. Another great feature we loved is the water bottle refill station located right outside of the play area. Looking for a place to host a birthday party? Check out their darling party rooms right inside the play area. Now excuse me while I savor this black raspberry chip cone while my daughter plays her heart out.
On Thursdays, they offer an Art Play Class free for members, $5 for non-members. Designed for ages 2-5 this is the perfect opportunity for them to get hands-on an create their own art. Each class has a theme and ends in a kid-friendly yoga class. The museum is not huge, however, there are plenty of things to do to keep little ones entertained for about an hour.
Cincinnati Art Museum REC Center
It is free to everyone and there is plenty to explore and create. Exhibits inside the REC Center change throughout the year, so you never know what will be in store when you walk in. The friendly staff members are always available to help you with any questions you may have.
The art museum itself is full of great paintings, sculptures, and curiosities that are bound to get little ones talking so don’t be afraid to take them through the exhibits. Keep in mind the Art Museum is closed on Mondays.
Your Local Library
Not all libraries are the same in Cincinnati, so you may have to do a little digging to see which ones have great spots for kids near you. Help everyone out, by leaving which local libraries your kids like best in the comments below.
There are some libraries that have a tiny children’s section and others that have a full out play area, complete with train tables, playhouses, and kitchens. The public library offers free programs for kids of all ages throughout the week. From a baby storytime class to teen clubs there is something for everyone. We are huge fans of the Mariemont and Maderia branches as they offer a lot for toddlers to keep busy.
Honorable Mentions: Free Cincinnati Indoor Play Areas
Eastgate Mall Play Area
Jungle Jim’s in itself is a feast for the eyes, but located inside each location is a darling toy store. Noodle around while little ones enjoy playing on the play table. The toy store has lots of unique and fun items. You just may end up leaving with a few things in your cart.
After you have corralled everyone out of the toy store, the rest of Jungle Jims is a foodie paradise with tons of interactive displays. On average we spend two hours exploring and $75 bucks on novelty groceries. This trip could go from free to pricy real fast if you let it!
Bass Pro Shop
Another great store that kids love exploring is the Bass Pro Shop. This outdoor wonderful is full of things for your little naturalist to take in. During the holidays they put on a fabulous display, complete with pictures with Santa, arts and crafts and more.