Sound the alarm! The Cincinnati Fire Museum is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Housed in the historic City Firehouse, Engine House #45 the museum is home to one of the best collections of firefighting artifacts in the country. The Cincinnati Fire Museum is listed on the National Historic Registry and allows visitors to experience what everyday life was like in the firehouse during 1906. Take a guided tour or stroll through the museum at your leisure and take in the deep-rooted history of fire fighting in our city.
Did you know that Cincinnati had the first paid professional fire department in the nation and became a model for other fire departments? How about that the first female firefighters in Cincinnati weren’t hired on until 1984? The museum is full of interesting facts and even more fascinating history about fire fighting in Cincinnati.
Stepping into the old fire station you are greeted by its signature fire pole. Guests even have the opportunity to slide down it. Many items in the museum date back to the early 1800s and are in pristine condition. The leather fire buckets are most impressive along with the fire drum dating back to 1808! Guests can’t help but marvel at the antique fire engines and full-size live-saving trampoline.
Take note of the building itself. See where the fire hoses were hung to dry, where the hay came down to feed the horses and the gorgeous spiral staircase leading up to the second floor.
The museum does have a few interactive exhibits that little ones will enjoy. You little firefighter will get the chance to run the lights and siren in the E-One Pumper cab, pump water to put a “fire” out and test out their fire safety skills in the Safe House. Little ones do get the opportunity to slide down the fire pole and sit in the tiller bucket of an aerial ladder.
Visiting The Cincinnati Fire Museum
- The fire museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-4pm. Check their website to ensure they are going to be open when you wish to visit.
- Guided tours for adults and children are available. The museum asks for you to call ahead and RSVP for guided tours.
- A self-guided tour with a child will often result in a very quick walk-through of the museum. I would say 15-20 minutes. A half hour max, if you can’t pull them away from running the lights and siren. Depending on the interest, adults would likely spend an hour reading the history and signage.
- The museum has a fun little gift shop with firefighter themed gifts.
- Yearly passes are available for purchase online or in the museum.
- The museum often has promotional admission tickets on Groupon. Be sure to check to save your family a little money.
- Parking is located on the street or in the paid parking lot directly across the street from the museum.
One thing that stood out is the affordability of their party room. They offer a Junior Firefighter package of $175 that includes room rental and admission to the museum for up to 15 people. You can bring in your own food, beverage, and decorations. They do rent the room out for other occasions as well.
This museum is ideal for history buffs and those looking for something outside of the ordinary to do. The antique photos, equipment, and artifacts are impressive. I personally would not recommend taking young toddlers down as there is not much for them to do and you end up chasing them away from exhibits they can’t touch. I think the ideal age for the fire museum is ages 4-and-up unless you have a young fire truck enthusiast.
Go down and support this local museum — you won’t regret it.
Looking for more family-friendly activities in Cincinnati? Read our Family Favorite List to discover more fun attractions to explore.
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