What’s New at the Cincinnati Museum Center
By Terri Weeks

What’s New at the Cincinnati Museum Center

The beloved Cincinnati Museum Center is open again after a major restoration to its Cincinnati Union Terminal home. The first structural renovation in the National Historic Landmark’s 85-year history, the $228-million dollar, two-and-a-half-year project kept much of the building closed to the public. The primary goal was repairing and preventing water damage, but some other improvements were made.

Opened in 1933 as a railroad station, Cincinnati Union Terminal is an awe-inspiring art deco masterpiece. The experience begins when you step inside the rotunda – 180 feet across and 106 feet high, this half dome is the largest in the western hemisphere. And once you’ve seen it, you’ll understand why Cincinnatians were so passionate about saving it. Brilliant before, the Winold Reiss mosaics appear even brighter after receiving a thorough cleaning during the restoration.

A crowd favorite, the Public Landing inside the Cincinnati History Museum is back and re-imagined. The exhibit transports visitors back to Cincinnati’s 1850s riverfront and onto a paddle wheel steamboat. Additional immersive activities have been added to the storefronts, including a new Bierhalle where kids can serve a pretend beer to their friends.

If you were familiar with the Museum of Natural History and Science before the closure, you’ll notice one change immediately – the entrance gallery is now Dinosaur Hall. Here, six gigantic dinosaur skeletons from the Jurassic Period tower over visitors. The species on display are rare – five of the specimens are new to the public. Be sure to try out the video microscopes to get a closer look at the anatomy of the dinosaurs and keep an eye out for a herd of dinosaur shadows that walk through the hall every few minutes.

Holiday Junction Featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is also back, but in a new space this year. A Cincinnati tradition since 1946, this exhibit features hundreds of model trains, a LEGO wonderland and interactive exhibits visitors young and old can enjoy. Holiday Junction remains open through January 27, 2019.

While planning your visit, be sure the save time for two temporary exhibitions that are in their final weeks and close on January 6, 2019: Chocolate: The Exhibition, and GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World. Chocolate: The Exhibition gives visitors a deeper insight into the history and cultural impact of the cacao bean, while GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World explores the evolution of the instrument that has become an American icon. Over 60 instruments are displayed including pre-guitar stringed instruments and the World’s Largest Guitar.

The OMNIMAX® theater is also receiving an upgrade and is expected to reopen in late December. The entire domed screen of the five-story theater has been replaced in order to showcase the latest in digital laser projection technology. Visitors will appreciate wider seats, new carpeting, and a new sound system.

For more adventure and excitement, Find It Here. at Ohio.org.

About the Author

Terri WeeksTerri Weeks is a family travel writer in the Cincinnati area and one of the authors of the bestselling book Adventures Around Cincinnati: A Parent's Guide to Unique and Memorable Places to Explore with your Kids. She and co-author, Laura Hoevener, speak to groups all over Greater Cincinnati and are regular guests on the FOX19 Morning Xtra news program. You can find them at www.adventuresaroundcincinnati.com. Terri and her family are on a mission to visit all 50 states by the time her kids graduate from high school. She blogs about their travels at www.travel50stateswithkids.com and is the author of the ebook How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips. She’s a member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association.