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Northern Kentucky River

"Fun family things to do in Northern Kentucky"

Northern Kentucky is often referred to the “South Side of Cincinnati” and that is a good geographic definition; but, the “Family Fun Side of Cincinnati” may be a much more accurate description when you are making your family travel plans. Penguins, sharks, jellyfish, buffalo, ducks and dinosaurs - Oh My! - and that’s just the beginning. With a world-class aquarium, international dining, shopping to match any budget and cities that take you back to another time and place, the plethora of attractions and things to do in Northern Kentucky’s River Region makes it the perfect spot for your family fun adventure. Follow this guide to fun family adventures in the area.

DAY 1 of your Family Fun Adventure

Newport  AquariumThe first destination on your trip is one that the entire family will be sure to enjoy, the Newport Aquarium located at Newport on the Levee. This state-of-the-art facility, named the No. 1 aquarium in the Midwest by the Zagat Survey, showcases thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of fresh and saltwater through 70 exhibits and 14 galleries, including five seamless acrylic tunnels totaling over 20 feet in length. Themed galleries include: Frog Bog, 'Gator Bayou, Jellyfish Gallery, Coral Reef, Shark Central, Dangerous and Deadly, Kingdom of Penguins and more. For dates/times of operation, admission and special alternative activities such as Behind the Scenes Tour etc. visit their website or call (800) 406-3474.

Estimated walk time between the Newport Aquarium and Ride the Duck is 4 minutes.

Ready for a “quack-tastic” adventure? Then experience sight-seeing from a duck's eye view on the only Duck tour in the area and one of the most unique travel experiences as you tour Newport and Cincinnati streets and SPLASH into the Ohio River. The Duck crew will entertain you with stories and jokes or by playing just the right song for the moment. Ride the Duck Newport departs from Newport on the Levee and located within easy walking distance of the Newport Aquarium. For ride dates/hours of operation, tickets and departure times visit their website or call (859) 815-1439.

Estimated drive time between Newport Aquarium/Ride the Duck and World Peace Bell and Exhibit Center is 2 minutes.

Your next destination is the World Peace Bell and Exhibit Center in Newport. The world’s largestfree- swinging bell “The World Peace Bell” was created by the Verdin Company and installed at the Millennium Monument site. For dates/times of operation and admission visit their website or call (859) 655-7700.

Ready for a unique dinner experience….If you are in the mood for authentic Italian cuisine surrounded by Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise memorabilia, visit the restaurant where “Rainman” was filmed. Visit Pompillio’s located at 600 Washington in Newport. Or if you are in the mood for truly authentic German cuisine, HofBrauhaus located at 200 East Third Street in Newport is the first authentic Hofbrauhaus in America modeled after the legendary one in Munich, Germany. It features authentic Bavarian dining and entertainment experiences. Both restaurants are located in Newport, and only a few blocks from the Newport Aquarium, Ride the Duck and World Peace Bell.

Estimated driving time between Newport restaurants and St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is 10 minutes.

After dinner you will want to be sure to drive by Kentucky’s Only One St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption located at 1140 Madison Avenue in Covington. The 100-year-old cathedral, the principal church in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, attracts 70,000 worshipers a year. This example of French-Gothic architecture resembles Notre Dame in Paris and it has the World’s Largest Hand-Blown Stained Glass Window. For additional information on this amazing piece of architecture visit their website or call (859) 431-2060.

Make your lodging reservations at the hotel of your choice in Covington, Newport or Bellevue area.

DAY 2 of your Family Fun Adventure

Creation MuseumYou may wake up in the Eastern Time zone however; you will feel transported back in time as you visit the Dinosaur Den at Kentucky’s Only One Creation Museum. This 70,000 square foot museum provides a biblical walk through history. Complete with state-of-the-art special effects theatre and planetarium which is sure to impress the entire family. For dates/hours of operation, ticket and special exhibits information visit their website or call (888) 582-4253.

Estimated drive time between the Creation Museum and Gap Outlet Clearance Center is 10 minutes.

Ready for a little retail therapy then make plans to visit a truly unique family shopping destination – Gap Outlet Clearance Center in Hebron. This is not your typical outlet center; it’s an outlet clearance center– they carry Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic with prices ranging from .25 cents to $50. For additional information, go to

Estimated drive time between the Gap Outlet Clearance Center and Kincaid Lake is 80 minutes.

Kincaid Lake State ParkReady for some Unbridled KY Adventure? It’s time to head to Kincaid Lake State Park located in the town of Falmouth for some free fun. Kincaid Lake, like many state parks, has a lake full of fish waiting to be caught. There is a marina with pontoon, paddle, row and motor boats all available for rental. This park offers a wide variety of sports and recreational opportunities for your entire family including two walking trails, a nine-hole golf course, miniature golf and volleyball and basketball courts. For more information, call 859-654-3531 or visit their website

Estimated drive time between Kincaid Lake and Maysville lodging is 60 minutes.

Make lodging reservations at the hotel of your choice in Maysville

DAY 3 of your Family Fun Adventure

Kentucky Gateway Museum CenterIf you are travelling with toddler and tikes, you may want to start your day off at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in beautiful downtown Maysville. This museum includes one of the most impressive Miniatures Collections in the country. For dates/hours of operation, admission and children’s activities visit their website or call (606) 564-5865.

Your estimated drive time between the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center and National Underground Railroad Museum is 2 minutes.

National Underground Railroad MuseumIf you are travelling with tweens and teens, this next destination is a truly fascinating piece of U.S. history – the National Underground Railroad Museum in downtown Maysville. In honor of the Civil War Sequicentennial, this is the perfect location to view the artifacts that chronicles the life on the Underground Railroad. This also provides your family with the true understanding how something as simple as the Ohio River was the obstacle to freedom.

Your estimated drive time between the National Underground Railroad Museum and the paradise Breeze Family Entertainment Complex is 30 minutes.

Your final Family Fun destination is the Paradise Breeze Family Entertainment Complex in Maysville. Your entire family will have plenty of summer fun in this 6,000 square foot kiddy activity pool on Tad Pole Island which also includes age appropriate water rides and spray/splash features. Their interactive play toys have valves and wheels so the kids control the water, rocking water cannons and water gassers. Your kids will love the approximately 300-gallon rain curtain. Since this pool is zero depth, it is a great place for kids 54 inches or smaller to play. If you are travelling with Tweens and Teens and there is a little sibling rivalry to work out before the drive home – check out the Double Dare slides which stands 50 foot tall and includes one tube slide and one body slide. The Aqua Adrenaline body slide is totally enclosed and can take you from top to bottom in 10 seconds or less. For seasonal dates/hours of operation and admission information visit their website at or call (606) 759-9416.

Come enjoy all the fun family things to do in Northern Kentucky!