Last week we decided to celebrate this little squirt’s 11th birthday with a special trip to enjoy the best of Cincinnati’s outdoor destinations.  Read on for details on Snow Mountain at the Beach Waterpark and The Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo!

FullSizeRender (11)We planned a family outing to both Beach Mountain for snow-tubing and the Cincinnati Zoo to take in the festival of lights, as they are located only about twenty minutes apart. I’d highly recommend hitting both in one day if you’re able to swing it.  Our birthday girl declared this the birthday ever!  😉

Cincinnati Family Travel Destinations

At Beach Mountain, you must be at least 3 years old and 42″ tall to ride the tubes down the large snow tubing hill. If you have younger children, they also have a smaller tubing hill for those under 42″ tall. This is part of a family-friendly area perfect for the little ones where kids can throw snowballs, sit in a sleigh, and otherwise run around and just be kids!

There is even a “Polar Pavilion” where you can relax, enjoy some hot food from the concessions stand or have a cup of hot chocolate. You can also make your own s’mores by roasting marshmallows over open fire pits, (s’mores kits are available for purchase at the concessions stand).

The installation of their moving carpet that will take you back to the top of the hill when tubing should be up & running in early December.  They do have a temporary tow rope that you can use to get to the top, or you may choose to walk back to the top of the tubing run.  We didn’t find this to be a real issue – though the kids may or may not have acted like they just ran a marathon after only 5 or 6 times up and down the hill.  Nothing a little friendly competition with the grown ups couldn’t cure  😉

Beach Mountain is open 10 am – 10 pm most days, and 4 pm – 10 pm on several Thursdays and Fridays – definitely call ahead or check the website before visiting.  Also important to know – your two hour snow tubing session must start on the hour (4:00, 5:00 6:00, etc.).

Cincinnati Beach Mountain Winter Travel DestinationCincinnati Beach Mountain Winter Travel DestinationCincinnati Beach Mountain Winter Travel Destination

The PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo was awesome – definitely a must see if you’re ever in the area!  This was our first time and we’d definitely love to go back some day!

There are over 2 million LED lights covering the zoo through January 3. It’s a great time to see the cold climate animals like the red pandas and arctic fox but there are also plenty of heated buildings where you can see a variety of animals while warming up.

There was a Madcap Black-Light Puppet Show that was super well done and fun for both adults and kids.  Our kids’ favorite part of the festival seemed to be the puppet show and looking at all the lights, especially the synchronized displays set to music. There was something new and interesting to look at around every corner!

There are  1/2 off admission coupons to PNC Festival of Lights available at participating Skyline Chili locations. Discounted General Admission tickets can also be purchased at the Customer Service counter at local Kroger stores.

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati ZooFestival of Lights at the Cincinnati ZooI think it’s so important to take time to cut loose and play in life – whether in Cincinnati or anywhere, I hope you are inspired to make time for fun with your family!  Thanks so much to Cincinnati Zoo and the Beach Waterpark for hosting our visit!  Both were great fun for all ages!