Things to do in Ohio indoors
Ohio is the land of many seasons – and multiple winters, or so it seems! Yes, cabin fever has reached a peak in our home and I’m sure it has yours, too! But don’t stress, there are plenty of things to do indoors in Ohio (for good reason). Here’s a list of 10 indoor Ohio attractions that are good for kids – and their parents.
The Cleveland Museum of Art
While you may think of art museums as only for adults, the Cleveland Museum of Art is inspiring for all ages.
The Armor Room allows children to dream of the times of knights and warriors. Another popular exhibit with our children was the Egyptian mummies and artwork. And, great news for adults, general admission is free. This is one of my favorite things to do in Ohio!
The LEGOLAND Discovery Center opened in Columbus in the fall of 2018. This completely indoor attraction is geared towards children aged 2-10 but has something for all ages. Pack a lunch and plan to spend the day building, riding, playing, and watching 4D movies. Your children will be begging to go back!
Here’s our family’s review of LEGOLAND Columbus.
Want to stay nearby? The Easton area offers plenty of shopping and dining, too! I recommend the Residence Inn by Marriott at Easton.
Another Museum of Art? Yes! Believe it or not, you can always find something for the children at an art museum. Save yourself some money by visiting on a Sunday, when admission for all is FREE.
“Think Outside of the Brick: the Creative Art of LEGO,” is amazingly fun for kids! This exhibit begins again on November 18, 2023. If you don’t make it to see the awesome LEGO creations, there are still designated areas that allow children to create and design, away from galleries.
Staying overnight? Check out the Home 2 Suites when visiting the downtown area. It is the perfect space for families.
This museum is just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, but I’m including it anyway! The Newport Aquarium was voted the #1 Aquarium in the Midwest! Cabin fever will float away after a few hours gazing at the world’s underwater life. Make sure you leave time to watch the penguins put on a show at Penguin Palooza and then walk the world’s first and only Shark Bridge.
Visiting Cincinnati in the summer? Check out my ideas for a perfect weekend in Cincinnati.
Buckeye Imagination Children’s Museum
Mansfield, Ohio is a small city with the perfect museum for kids! The recently relocated and updated museum offers something for everyone. The newly opened second floor is even good for older kids with games like air hockey and arcade games.
Kids can race DUPLO cars, put on a play in a miniature theatre, and even work a McDonald’s drive-thru. The model train is perfect for your Thomas enthusiasts.
When you’re done visiting the Museum, make sure you leave time to visit all of Mansfield’s other awesome family attractions. Things to do in Mansfield, Ohio with kids.
Duke Energy Children’s Museum
This Cincinnati Children’s Museum just reopened last spring after an extensive renovation. The museum is full of interactive child’s play. Our favorite spot was the wilderness section titled, The Woods. Kids have hundreds of ways to crawl, climb, and slither their way through a forest-themed area. This section alone will make parents wish they could be a kid again!
There’s also water play, a construction site, a large grocery store, a vet clinic, giant teeth (think: dental hygiene), and an art room. Adults will appreciate the numerous seating areas! TIP: If you’re trying to save money, cafeteria tables are located just outside the entrance. Pack a lunch.
For more ideas of things to do in the Cincinnati area, click HERE.
Armstrong Air & Space Museum
A small-town boy from Wapakoneta, Ohio made it all the way to the moon. Now the museum that bears his name draws visitors from all over the world. The Armstrong Air & Space Museum chronicles more than just the life of Armstrong, there is a large emphasis on Ohio astronauts, the Apollo 11 mission, and NASA.
Our children were 8, 6, and 4 at the time of our visit and we found this to be an easy museum to visit with kids. Things that aren’t meant to be touched are behind glass. Interactive displays are sprinkled throughout the museum to keep young ones paying attention. Our youngest, age 4, even found things that kept her engaged. You can find a full review of our visit HERE.
The Bicycle Museum of America
The Bicycle Museum of America is an indoor attraction located in New Bremen, Ohio. In 1997, the owner of Crown Equipment went to Chicago and purchased the entire collection at an auction in the hope of bringing it back to his hometown. The museum contains three floors of exhibits showing the history of bicycles. Newer bikes of interest are the bike from the movie, Pee Wee’s Adventures and those of actor Robin Williams.
Interactive displays are the biggest hit among young children. Our children’s legs weren’t quite long enough to pedal the high-wheel bicycle, but my husband and I had a fun attempt! On the third floor, children can help pedal a car and try a scooter. For more to do in this part of Ohio – click here.
Dennison Railroad Depot Museum
It’s not often that you visit a historical museum that is equal parts educational for kids and interesting for adults. Dennison Railroad Depot Museum fits the description and more.
Dennison, Ohio is the epitome of a railroad town. The small village lies halfway between Columbus and Pittsburgh, a perfect 100 miles from each. This distinction made it a place born out of pure need- A steam train could go 100 miles before needing water.
One of the perks of the Railroad Depot Museum is that for kids under 7- admission is FREE. Kids are also given a scavenger hunt to help, Bing (the railway dog), find all of his bones. On top of this, they receive a dog-tag-style necklace and earn a charm once they complete the hunt. This interactive play helped my kids learn about the railway in a fun way! For a lengthy review of our visit click HERE.
Play: CBUS is active entertainment for any kids (or adults) who need to burn off some winter energy! Think of it as a playground of the American Ninja Warrior with a ropes course and a zipline! This is one place that my kids beg to visit again.
Play: CBUS is open on evenings, weekends, and school holidays- so it isn’t too difficult to find a time that will work for your family. Consider this a great “experience gift” for birthdays, or host a birthday party at this indoor attraction. They also have a toddler area that is good for kids aged 2-6.
The National Museum of the US Air Force
Can you take your kids to a museum and have them on their feet for four hours with very few complaints? Yes! We finally found it! (Cue the Hallelujah chorus!)
The National Museum of the US Air Force is located in Dayton, Ohio, and includes 4 hangars detailing the history of flight and the United States Air Force. It’s an amazing display of design and ingenuity – even my husband and I were astonished at the advances in aircraft in such a short time frame! We went from 12 horsepower planes designed by the Wrights to Cold War aircraft that can fly up to 2,200 mph! Wow!
There are plenty of hands-on displays to keep kids entertained, from video games simulating warcraft and landing a spaceship, to walking through Air Force 1 or sitting in a cockpit. Our kids really weren’t eager to leave!
Pro tip: Make sure that you eat and drink plenty before arriving as there is no food allowed indoors and the cafeteria on site charges $3.50 for a 20 oz. Pepsi. Oye.
Franklin Park Conservatory
Looking for a warm tropical destination that doesn’t require a plane ticket? Standing in the midst of towering ferns and flowering plants at the Franklin Park Conservatory may be just what the doctor ordered. Special exhibits throughout the year include the Blooms & Butterflies or the Fall Festival.
If you have a train enthusiast in your family, the Himalayan exhibit has a model train! You can find out more about visiting the Franklin Park Conservatory HERE.
What’s your favorite indoor attraction in Ohio? Do you visit museums or prefer a mall or PlayPlace? Give me your best ideas!