Visitors exploring the cave at the Cincinnati Museum Center (photo by Erin Amtulis)

Spend an Afternoon Together at Cincinnati Museum Center

Explore the history of the Queen City, walk through a re-created cave and get ice cream without ever leaving this landmark spot.

The Cincinnati Museum Center is the perfect place to geek out for hours with that special someone in your life. It’s home to the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Cincinnati History Museum, an Omnimax theater and a vintage ice cream parlor — all of it under the roof of the city’s Union Terminal, a National Historic Landmark that opened in 1933. 

“It is a perfect example of art deco architecture,” says Whitney Owens, Cincinnati Museum Center’s chief learning officer. “It is a great building to fall in love with.”

Kick off your day date with the recently reopened The Cave, a two-level, 500-foot-long reproduction of a limestone cave. Inside, you’ll find cascading waterfalls, stalagmites and stalactites, and nooks and crannies.

Colorful tiled booths and tables at the Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor at Union Terminal in Cincinnati (photo courtesy of Cincinnati Museum Center)

“There are tight spaces and dark corners,” says Owens. “If you’re looking for a fun place to get a little lost and explore with a friend, it’s a wonderful one.”

Once you’re done spelunking, keep the sweet vibes going at Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor. Serving Graeter’s Ice Cream (the Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip is a must-try), the art deco parlor’s walls are covered in Cincinnati-made Rookwood Pottery tilework.

The Cincinnati History Museum lets you and your date learn more about what makes the Queen City a gem. The museum is home to Public Landing, a re-creation of a historic Cincinnati streetscape; You Are Here, which explores the city’s traditions; and Made in Cincinnati, a gallery that celebrates the region’s innovative and industrious spirit.

“If you want to get lost in another landscape or environment,” Owens says, “there are lots of fun ways to do that here.” 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati 45203, 513/287-7000,