Located along the Ohio River between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark, the 45-acre John G. & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park straddles the Roebling Suspension Bridge and connects to the other riverfront parks.
One of Cincinnati’s newest riverfront parks, Smale continues to expand, with the addition of several fun features in 2015. These include a carousel, an innovative interactive play area, fountains, a playground, a garden, a banquet center and an esplanade.
Smale Riverfront Park now provides even more recreational opportunities for Cincinnati’s residents and visitors alike.
Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati — Photo courtesy of Terri Weeks
Carol Ann’s Carousel entertains children, while paying tribute to the city with custom details that tell the city’s story.
The giraffe wears a tiara that looks like the crown of the Great American Tower, while the elephant wears a hat that is a replica of the zoo’s Elephant House dome. A cheetah honors Union Terminal, and a pig represents Findlay Market.
Other unique animals include a passenger pigeon, a praying mantis and a queen bee.
P&G go VibrantScape offers unique interactive features, such as a giant foot piano produced by local Verdin Company, a bell and clock manufacturer. The six-foot keys have sensors that play chimes overhead.
Visitors can climb into and flap the wings of a giant flying pig dubbed the "Oinkithopter." Multiple fountains offer a place for kids to cool off during the day and a romantic setting at night, when they're illuminated by colored lights.
Fountains at Smale Riverfront Park — Photo courtesy of Terri Weeks
The park was designed to include features for all ages. Gardens, public art and porch swings appeal to adults, while an innovative new playground is sure to please kids. The Heekin/PNC Grow Up Great Adventure Playground offers some unusual features, including a rope bridge and climbing logs.
“The opening of these spectacular new features will be a game-changer for downtown and the entire region,” says Willie F. Carden, Jr., director of Cincinnati Parks.
Anderson Pavilion and Castellini Esplanade provide space for both private and community events.
The pavilion is an indoor banquet center located beneath the carousel. With views of the park, bridge and river, it offers a beautiful setting for parties, weddings and corporate functions.
The esplanade pays tribute to the produce industry that was formerly housed on the site by providing a setting for farmers’ markets.
“The construction of Smale Riverfront Park has transformed the downtown riverfront from a virtual wasteland into a world-class destination park,” says Otto M. Budig, Jr., president of the Cincinnati Board of Park Commissioners.
Smale Riverfront Park’s new additions make it a must-see for visitors to Cincinnati. It’s worthy as a stand-alone attraction, or you can combine it with a visit to the football stadium, ballpark, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center or one of the many nearby restaurants.
Carol Ann's Carousel — Photo courtesy of Terri Weeks