Our recent trip to Cincinnati had us re-visiting old favorites and discovering some new spots. You can read part one to discover the Newport Aquarium, riding the Oggo, dinner and beers at Taft’s Ale House, a sweet treat at Holtman’s, and more. Or jump ahead to part three, and take a look at our breakfasts at Cheapside Cafe and Maplewood too!
Following first breakfast at Cheapside and second breakfast at Holtman’s, we drove out to the Cincinnati Museum Center. This marks our third visit to the beautiful museum complex. Our last visit (read about it here!) was during the summer of 2017 to see a Star Wars costume exhibition; the museum was under-going renovations then, and the former train station has been re-opened in all its glory.
The Museum Center recently opened an exhibition titled Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs. Running through August 18, 2019, the exhibition’s only U.S. stop is Cincinnati! It features a collection of artifacts, artwork, sculpture, pottery, clothing, textiles, religious icons, video, models, and other items that tell the long history of life in ancient Egypt.
Room after room showcase objects that are thousands of years old. Some pieces, which are faded or partial, are offered context for how they looked or what they communicate/represent.
Beth noted some of the ceramic pieces that were built by hand, and how you can still see the marks of the fingers that shaped the pieces. It’s incredible to see the personal evidence of humans from thousands of years ago; these pieces almost make them feel present again.
Of course, there are some of the most iconic images from ancient Egypt, such as sphinxes…
…and, yes, mummies! One of the mummies is accompanied by a multi-sided video that shows X-ray layers of the wrappings and the preserved body within.
After spending time in the Egypt exhibition, we visited the dinosaur hall.
In addition to giant skeletons and other fossils, there’s a virtual reality experience that lets you feel like you’re a flying dinosaur. It was only $5, and the boys had fun with it.
Close by is an interactive activity area that teaches kids the basics of physics and simple machines.
For lunch we snuck down to The Banks, a growing area along the riverfront that includes a collection of restaurants and bars, the baseball and football stadiums, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the northern terminus of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, and other sights.
We stopped for a taste of Nashville-style fried chicken at Joella’s Hot Chicken.
It was a little too rainy to ride the Skystar Wheel, but it was fun to see. The traveling wheel is in Cincinnati until mid-June of 2019. Tickets are $12.50 per person, and it takes you 15 stories up to look out over the Ohio River and the city skyline.
Our afternoon activity included visiting the Cincinnati Art Museum for the very first time. The museum is situated on a hill in the middle of Eden Park, overlooking the city from the northeast. It’s free for everyone!
We’ve taken our boys to several art museums over the years, but let’s be honest: kids move at a different (read: more sporadic) pace than the adults, and sometimes it’s a challenge to see everything you want to see with a group.
To answer this, the Art Museum offers MyCam Art Hunts. These customized itineraries can be tailored for kids or adults. We let Owen build the itinerary at the touch screen. It prompted him to select from a variety of artwork throughout the museum.
When he finished, his map was printed at the front desk, and then he led us through the museum on a scavenger hunt to find the pieces he selected. It was brilliant because a.) it gave his wanderings purpose, and b.) it was designed to take him to different artwork from different eras, styles, and cultures.
He led the way as we discovered paintings, masks, sculptures…
…ceramics, jewelry, furniture, and more.
In addition the museum’s regular collections, there are special exhibitions running throughout the year; 2019 includes exhibitions about the 150th anniversary of the Arts Academy of Cincinnati, a restored Giorgione painting, and a look at Paris in 1900.
We always make art a priority when we travel, so we loved incorporating a visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum on this trip, and look forward to returning to explore it further.
Now continue on to part three of our trip! You can also:
- Read part one of our itinerary
- Read about breakfast at Cheapside Cafe
- Or breakfast at Maplewood Kitchen & Bar
- Check out our full Cincinnati travel guide