Cincinnati Museum Center

It was my joy and blessing to spend most of today enjoying the CIncinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal with two of my grandchildren, Miles and Mia. Originally built in 1933 as a train station, Union Terminal is a National Historic Landmark and local treasure. The building became the Cincinnati Museum Center (home to the Natural History Museum, Children's Museum, Historical Society Museum, Omnimax Theater, and more) in 1990. Its art deco beauty makes it one of the country’s most popular buildings, according to the American Institute of Architects.

We started with the Natural History Museum, which to Miles was "where they keep the bones." But he and his sister soon discovered it's a lot more than a bunch of old bones (unlike their Crappaw).

We had a BLAST exploring the multiple levels of "The Cave," walking and crawling through one space after another.

Miles especially loved the Flying Bats program, where a museum naturalist took out nine brown bats in a netted area and let them fly around for the assembled crowd. Miles said this was his favorite part of the day.

We managed to pause long enough to gulp down a quick lunch under the building's gorgeous half-dome, surrounded by the historic mosaics and sparkling decor.

Then we headed for the Children's Museum, or as Miles and Mia might be tempted to think of it, "Heaven." A large room of soft balls afforded endless delights. Mia climbed up and might have spent the whole day feeding balls into a pneumatic tube if I hadn't promised her there were OTHER fun things to do.

She soon found the infant and toddler area, where she played happily with a doll, wandered around, and spent quite a bit of time playing in a sandbox as if she'd never seen one before.

Though it took him a while to succumb to the attraction, Miles eventually became inseparable from the "WaterWorks" section of the museum, which he may never have left were it not for the promise of ice cream in the vintage ice cream shop he saw on our way out of the Natural History Museum.

Before leaving the Children's Museum, however, he and Mia HAD to collapse into a giant spider web, of course. Happily, the spider was nowhere to be found (but we did see some ginormous Hissing Cockroaches from Madagascar on our way out!).

All that fun, and there was still so much more we could have done. We didn't even SET FOOT in the gift shop, God be praised!

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