If you want to mix things up when it comes to adventure, there are lots of unique outdoor adventures around Cincinnati to discover.
I’m sharing more about the outdoor hidden gems that you will want to add to your list.
3811 Newtown Rd, Cincinnati, OH
What is Lawn Bowling?
In the simplest terms, Lawn Bowling is a fusion of bocce ball and curling.
One of the differences is that Lawn Bowling has balls that are rolled on a mat vs. throwing them down the court like bocce ball.
Lawn Bowling is played on a sand-based 120 square foot putting green.
Players roll the “bowl” on the mat with the goal of reaching the jack (white ball) at the other end of the green. There are two dots on the sides of the ball, one large and one small. The ball will turn in the direction of the smaller dot on the ball when it is rolled. The closest bowls get the points and you play in teams.
Cincinnati is the only city that you can lawn bowl within a 250-mile radius!
Times for Lawn Bowling are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 pm and Saturdays at 10 am. The recommended age for Lawn Bowling is 16 because players need to be able to roll a 3lb- bowl, the size of a grapefruit, 75-100 ft.
If you want to try Lawn Bowling for the first time you need to schedule a tutorial. The Lawn Bowling tutorial is set up with a member/coach.
Visit the Lawn Bowling website for contact info to schedule a $15 tutorial for 1.5 hours that can be later applied toward membership.
Search for Fossils at Trammel Fossil Park
11935 Tramway Dr, Sharonville, OH
You can dig for fossils embedded in the rocks at this free park. Bring an old paintbrush and a bucket and see what you can unearth.
After you uncover some fossils, reward your excavation with a root beer float at the Root Beer Stand located nearby afterward.
Try Cable Wakeboarding at Wake Nation Cincinnati
201 Joe Nuxhall Way, Fairfield, OH
No boat, no problem! Wake Nation Cincinnati is the first and only full-size cable wake park in the Midwest!
What is Cable Wakeboarding?
Cable wakeboarding provides the ability for riders of all skill levels to wakeboard, water ski, kneeboard, and wakeskate without a boat on a 10-acre lake! All of the riders are towed around the lake through a course of optional sliders and rails.
The ropes are attached to a moving cable that sits high above the water. If/when you fall it’s not a big deal. You just swim to the outer shore of the lake and go back to the line at the starting dock to ride again.
Walk up and Down the Art Climb stairs at the Cincinnati Art Museum
The steepness of the hillside is nine stories connecting the staircase from the sidewalk near the intersection of Eden Park Drive and Gilbert Avenue to the front entrance of the Cincinnati Art Museum.
I recommend climbing up AND down the Art Climb to enjoy two different perspectives of the stairs. The Art Climb has several landings if you need to take a break or you can get a great workout by climbing them continuously. For another perspective, come back at night.
Stand in Two States at Once on the Purple People Bridge
425 York St, Newport, KY
On the Newport Southbank Bridge, known as the “Purple People Pedestrian Bridge,” you can walk from Newport on the Levee in Newport, Kentucky to Sawyer Point Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The bridge is just over a half a mile long and a great way to explore both sides of the Ohio River.
The Kentucky-Ohio State Boundary is clearly marked to help create some fun photo ops.
Kayak to the Ghost Ship
(This location is private property which is why you need to kayak to it)
What is the Ghost Ship?
The “Ghost Ship” has a lot of history and has been deteriorating to a shell of its former life for decades. Originally the ghost ship was launched in 1902 as “The Celt.” It was used in both World Wars, was a ferry for tourists in Manhattan for over 40 years.
The Ghost Ship was also used briefly in the background of Madonna’s music video “Papa Don’t Preach.”
Later it was privately purchased and has been resting in a creek in northern Kentucky off the Ohio River for over 30 years.
I would recommend putting your kayaks in the water at Tanners Creek in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
Wipe Out on an Inflatable Obstacle Course on the Water at Aqua Adventures
8762 Thomas Rd, Middletown, OH
Located at Land of Illusion Adventure Park, Aqua Adventures is a fun way to challenge yourself on their inflatable obstacle course.
All Aqua Adventure guests on the obstacle course are required to wear a life jacket. You’ll be thankful for that after wiping out and picking yourself back up a few times.
The inflatable obstacle course has an assortment of challenges that are fun for all ages. If you want a good laugh, observe the blob area for a while.
If you need a break from the course you can relax on a lounge chair, swimming area, or play one of the outdoor games.
Let Your Imagination Run Wild at Highfield Discovery Garden
10397 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, OH
The 25-foot Discovery Tree definitely makes an impression within the 12-acre garden at Highfield Discovery Garden. Guests of all ages will enjoy the fusion of nature and imagination with seven smaller themed gardens.
The Highfield Discovery Garden at Glenwood Gardens seriously feels like a scene out of an imaginary children’s book that is brought to life.
3400 Bridgeville Rd, Brooksville, KY
Feel like a kid again by climbing a tree… but this time enjoy the experience with the security of a harness with EarthJoy Tree Adventures.
Challenge your group to reach the top or play a version of capture the flag under the guidance of the pros. The hammocks are also a nice reward for making the climb up.
You can also book an overnight in one of the three treehouses on property.
Ride in an “Art Cart” At Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum
1763 Hamilton Cleves Rd., Hamilton, OH
The perfect blend of art and the outdoors. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park is definitely a hidden gem worth discovering.
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park has incredible sculptures from artists all over the world. There are 56 outdoor sculptures by 48 artists.
You can drive yourself around the park or rent an “art cart” AKA golf cart. The art cart makes it easy to view more than 50 pieces of art in 265 acres of natural surroundings.
Play a Song With Your Feet on the Giant Piano at Smale Riverfront Park
166 W Mehring Way, Cincinnati, OH
Remember the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks? If you don’t, now you have an excuse to watch it.
You can have your moment of chopstick glory playing the giant foot piano at Smale Park.
Ride Down the Concrete Slide by the Stairs at Burnett Woods
3251 Brookline Ave, Cincinnati, OH
The concrete slide and stairs combo is a unique take on a traditional slide. When given the option, slide over stairs!
I’ve found that sitting on a double-sided picnic blanket with the tarp side facing down is a nice option if you are concerned about your clothes.
The slide steps are to the right of the Trailside Nature Center building if you are looking at the front door.
Go Tandem Skydiving at Start Skydiving
1711 Run Way, Middletown, OH
Start Skydiving is THE destination for thrill-seekers!
You can cross skydiving off your list with a tandem jump or pursue training to become certified to jump solo.
Start Skydiving trains more skydivers than any other drop zone in the United States at their JUMP Institute.
Unfortunately, this is an adventure that I haven’t officially crossed off yet.
I was SUPER close to taking my first tandem jump and I’d even signed the waivers and bought the video package.
But after three hours of waiting for the clouds to break, the weather didn’t cooperate during my visit to go.
That extreme adventure will have to be crossed off my list another time.
Take a Self-Guided Mural Tour in Downtown Cincinnati
If you love street art, you will definitely want to try this adventure. Cincinnati has incredible murals created by artists from around the world.
Download the map and explore 40+ murals in Downtown, Over the Rhine, and Pendleton neighborhoods of Cincinnati.
10 E Central Pkwy, Cincinnati, OH
Tour the city on your own via an e-bike rental or take a Segway tour with the Garage OTR. I’ve personally taken the Riverfront and Eden Park Segway Tours. During the tour, I learned a lot about the city while having a blast on the Segway.
The Riverfront Tour is on a flatter terrain and starts downtown and then takes you along the Ohio River. If you want to experience steeper inclines with less congestion check out the Segway Tour in Eden Park tour.
Visit a Herd of Bison at Big Bone Lick State Historic Park
It’s an odd name but the name inspiration came from the Pleistocene megafauna fossils found there.
The Mammoths were believed to have frequented this location by the salt lick deposited around the sulfur springs.
With that understanding, it makes a little more sense.
What’s amazing is that fossils from this location have been displayed in museums all over the country.
There is a museum and visitor center, hiking trails, and a herd of bison that you can see.
Go Ziplining or Try the Aerial Course at Screaming Raptor Ziplines
2800 Bullittsburg Church Rd, Petersburg, KY
Thrill-seekers can experience a birds-eye view of the area during a zipline canopy tour. You can choose your own comfort level with zipline tour options ranging from 1- 4 hours.
The Adventure Tour Extreme is a 4-hour zipline tour for thrill-seekers with 19 ziplines and seven sky bridges. This tour includes a zipline over 900 feet and an extreme zip line almost 1,800 feet long.
If you want to challenge yourself, even more, tackle the elements on the aerial course. There is a Children’s Course that lasts about an hour and an Adult Course that lasts about two hours.
Play a Round of FootGolf
What is FootGolf?
FootGolf is a fusion of soccer and golf. Players kick a soccer ball, trying to get it into a 21-inch diameter circle. Most of the rules are based on the rules of golf and FootGolf is played on a golf course.
It’s important that you call the golf course that you are interested in playing at prior to your visit. Many of FootGolf courses need a reservation/tee time because they schedule around golfers on the same golf course.
Ride Through the City Together With Pedal Wagon Cincinnati
1114 Bunker Alley, Cincinnati, OH
What is a Pedal Wagon?
A Pedal Wagon is a multi-passenger rolling celebration on wheels that takes you on two-hour rides to Cincinnati’s best bars, restaurants, historic landmarks, parks.
You will want to book in advance for your Rides on the Pedal Wagon. There are several tours that are open to the public or you can book a Pedal Wagon with family or friends. You can bring your own food and drinks on the Pedal Wagon. Make sure that you check out their alcohol policy if you are having everyone BYOB.
There are 15-passenger and 13-passenger wagons available in Cincinnati. My husband and I joined a group on a Taco Tour through Dishcrawl in the city several years ago and had a blast!
This is a fun adventure if you have something to celebrate or just want an excuse to get friends together.
Which unique outdoor adventure are you ready to cross off your list next?
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