Disclaimer: The photos included in this post were courtesy of the Cincinnati Museum Center with their permission. Photos under Holiday Junction are an exception, those were taken during my trip in November 2018.
Do you live in Cincinnati or are you planning to travel to or through Cincinnati this holiday season? Definitely check out the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) for some family friendly fun that will be sure to leave lasting memories! There are so many holiday programs, education activities, exhibits and programs! You’ll be amazed!
The CMC was reopened last November after being closed for two years to undergo historical building restoration and preservation. The museum has been re-imagining exhibits and galleries and opening them back up in phases.
The CMC houses the Museum of Natural History and Science, the Cincinnati History Museum, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX theater, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, as well as numerous other special exhibits.
I visited the museum last November when it first re-opened. You can read my review of the CMC after its reopening here. The review includes details about the historic building, my personal connection, some of the exhibits open at that time and food options. There have been many more updates since then, which you can read more about below!
Get Your ‘Space Education’ Here!
Space lover??? This is the place to be this holiday season! CMC has TONS of unique Apollo 11 and space-themed programs, galleries and exhibits currently. They are:
- Permanent Exhibit: Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Exhibit
- Temporary Exhibit: Destination Moon – The Apollo 11 Mission
- Omnimax Film: Apollo 11 – First Steps Edition
- Several Themed Winter Programs
Below are more exciting updates to the museum since my last visit in November 2018! If you don’t wish to pay admission, there’s plenty to explore about the building without paying admission to the museum areas (you just have to cover parking)! This building is incredible!
If you or your children love trains – this is the place to be! Check out the HUGE (former Duke Energy) train display, say ‘hi’ to Thomas the Train, walk through the rainbow lit hallway, decorate your own snowman and much more! CMC Santa is planning to make an appearance also (more information under ‘Other Activities’ below). This is a temporary holiday exhibit that you don’t want to miss!
SuperPower Dogs at the Omnimax:
One of the newest movies at CMC that will begin playing for the public on November 23 is SuperPower Dogs! I saw this movie at the Great Lakes Science Center earlier this year and it was awesome! So great for families and children of all ages. Check out my review of Superpower Dogs here!
AND if you are around on Saturday, November 23 at 10:30am – head down to the museum center! One the star dogs from the movie, Henry, will be making his arrival to meet guests on a helicopter (weather permitting)!
Other movies available over the holidays include:
- Apollo 11: First Steps Edition
- Cuba: Journey to the Heart of the Caribbean
- Classic: Rocky Mountain Express.
This is a new permanent exhibit that transforms guests back into the summer of 1969 excitement of the first man stepping foot on the moon. It contains 4 unique artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission.
Per the CMC website, the unique items are the “…inflight jacket worn under Armstrong’s spacesuit and the communications cap – or Snoopy cap – worn under his helmet are both included in the gallery, on loan from the National Air and Space Museum. An exact replica of his Apollo 11 spacesuit has been part of the Museum of Natural History & Science for years and returns with the gallery opening. And of course, the moon rock collected at Tranquility Base where Armstrong took his first small steps is also on display.”
I am personally very excited to take my space loving child to see this exhibit as well as the Special Exhibit on Apollo 11 (see below).
As a child, I remember exploring the cave! I can’t wait for my children to do the same! It was so fun to play and discover what a real cave might be like. The cave is modeled like ones that would be found around the greater Cincinnati tri-state area with cascading waterfalls and various rock formations.
There are also various scientific interactive areas that look incredibly fun for families to discover!
This exhibit is quite literally ‘Cincinnati in motion’ in the 1940s. It shows the hustle and bustle happening around the city at around the time. And their website states that there are more ways to interact and get glimpses into the mechanics of the models.
If you aren’t in to Cincinnati History and you’re trying to reduce the scope of your visit (CMC is HUGE!), I’d recommend holding off to see the Cincinnati History Museum until more exhibits and galleries are opened up next year. The public landing is a really fun area for younger children, but if you need to cut back on time, I’d prioritize this one last.
There are currently four special exhibits at the CMC that are open through the holidays: Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission, Holiday Junction (described above), In the Audubon Tradition and Junior League of Cincinnati: Making a Difference for 100 Years.
Destination Moon contains several rare artifacts from that journey including “Buzz Aldrin’s gold-plated extravehicular helmet visor, thermal insulated gloves and a star chart that helped Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins navigate the journey,” according to the CMC’s social media pages.
The CMC is the final stop to view many of the rare artifacts from that journey which are on loan from the National Air and Space Museum.
Duke Energy Children’s Museum:
ALWAYS my children’s favorite place to visit at the museum! This place offers so much fun, exploration and hands on learning for kids.
I am extremely interested in discovering this area of the museum. Since becoming an adult, I’ve grown a much bigger and better appreciation for both world and US history. I am especially interested the World Wars. My children are still too young to see this area of the museum. But I would love to explore this area on my own or with my children when they get older.
If you have older children, check out the website link above so you can plan your visit. They have a Holocaust Speaker Series where either survivors of the holocaust or their descendants tell stories about life before, during and after the Holocaust. They also have guided tours available. Check their website for more information.
Other Activities at the Museum – YES, THERE’S MORE!
Tower A is open for Tours:
The CMC used to be the old Train Station in Cincinnati. You’ll see many of the remnants from that time all around the building (check out my blog post from my prior visit for more information on its history and photos). Tower A is the buildings original control tower and overlooks the current Queensgate train yard. The tour is FREE and open noon to 4 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the holidays.
On Friday, November 29 at 11am, festivities will begin for Santa’s arrival at 11:45am! You can gather around the fountain outside to welcome him! He will be available at the museum from November 29 through Christmas Eve, when he has to return to North Pole!
Does your child love science and discovery? Check out the A-MAZING camps that are available at the museum over the holidays for your children! I wish I was still a kid so I could do some of these!
Winter Solstice Celebration:
Mark your calendars for December 21 from noon to 3pm! Check back at the CMC website and social media sites for more details to be posted soon!
International New Year’s Eve Celebration:
Pop in on December 31 from 11-5pm where they will highlight a different country every hour and do a New Year’s countdown!
Planning a Trip:
Are you ready to plan your trip yet?? If so, be sure to check out the CMC website for more information:
And follow CMC’s Social Media Pages for updated information: