7 Tips for Visiting Smale Riverfront Park with Kids

I LOVE Smale Riverfront Park! It’s been such a great addition to the Cincinnati Riverfront and it continues to get better with each addition.

I’m sharing tips for practical for visiting Smale Riverfront Park with kids to make your experience more enjoyable. 

Smale Park

Here are a few practical tips for bringing kids to Smale Park

If you have younger kids, it’s nice to know what to expect before you visit the park.

Smale Park 3

1. Ride the carousel before letting kids go in the fountains

 If you think that you would even consider going on the carousel, make sure that you do that first.

A ride on the carousel costs $2 and they do not allow wet riders to help preserve it.

Carol Ann’s Carousel features 44 whimsical Cincinnati-centric characters with original artwork by Jonathan Queen.

Smale Park 9

2. Play Music on the Giant Foot Piano

You can also live out your dream to play music on a giant piano with your feet like in the movie BIG.

Smale Park 1

3. Plan Ahead to Play in the Fountains

I highly recommend that you bring a change of clothes and towels in the warmer months.

Your kids WILL want to get wet. There are so many great fountain areas at Smale Park that you might even be tempted to join in the fun too.

To save time, have your kids wear their swimsuits to the park. Pack or wear flip flops to make your life easier. 

It’s a pain to constantly be putting back on socks and shoes between the different sections of the park.

Smale Park 12

Don’t forget to pack sunscreen!

Several areas of the park are new which means that there is not a lot of shade available yet. You can typically find shade under the Roebling Bridge near the playground. 

Smale Park 17

4. Look for the Swings

The swings are very popular at Smale Park. Be on the lookout for empty swings because they don’t last long on beautiful days.

There are two separate sections of swings at Smale Park located on opposite sides of the Roebling Bridge. (blue bridge)

Smale Park 10

5. Bring a water bottle and snacks because kids are ALWAYS hungry

There are several water fountains that you can refill your bottle throughout the park. If you want to grab a bite to eat before or after your visit to the park the restaurants at The Banks are a great option.

Restaurants at The Banks are within close proximity to Smale Park and you can easily park once and enjoy both. 

rent scooters at Sawyer Point in Cincinnati

6 Allow time to explore the additional parks along the Cincinnati Riverfront

Smale Park connects to Yeatman’s Cove & Sawyer Point, and Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park.

The Cincinnati Bike Center has lots of family-friendly bike rental options. 

There are RedBikes rental stations in Smale Park and at Friendship Park. You’ll also find scooters that you can rent in random locations throughout out the park but those are technically not for kids. 

Smale Riverfront Park provides lots of free fun for the whole family to enjoy.

Smale Park Night

7. Smale Park is Beautiful to Visit at Night Too

Smale Park is definitely worth visiting at night too. The colorful lights with the fountains in several sections of the park make for stunning pictures. 

The swings that look out at the Ohio River are another peaceful area to sit and relax at night. 

Where to Park for Smale Park

For the least amount of walking to Smale Park, use the Central Riverfront Garage.

Additional parking options are at Sawyer Point and the Public Landing.

On the Kentucky side, you can park inexpensively at Newport on the Levee and walk across the pedestrian bridge

If you don’t mind walking you can park for FREE at Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park. This would be one of the farthest distances but it’s still not too bad.

You can find out more about free events and park features at Smale Riverfront Park from their website.

Smale Riverfront Park is located 100 W Mehring Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

7 tips for visiting Smale Park in Cincinnati

19 thoughts on “7 Tips for Visiting Smale Riverfront Park with Kids”

  1. Thanks for these tips! I’ll have to make sure I visit the Smale Riverfront Park with my kids the next time I visit Cincinnati!

    What was your favorite part about the park?


  2. That’s a bummer! Probably parking in Kentucky under the bridge and walking over if you kids are ok to walk a farther distance. The parking garage by Morelein does get pricey after a while and it’s hard to guess how long you will be playing for. I will try to let you know if I find some better options.

  3. Do you have a parking recommendation? We have found the “free” fun to be very expensive after factoring in parking tickets.

Leave a Comment