Cincinnati Fire Museum

At some point, every kid wants to be a fire fighter. Mine regularly dress up in fire hats and coats, running through the house “fighting fires.” The Cincinnati Fire Museum is a place where kids can learn all about fire trucks, fire fighters and our city’s many contributions to U.S. fire fighting history.

It’s also a total hidden gem; one of our city’s coolest and most unique places.


Located at the 1907 Court Street Firehouse (a registered historical building), the Cincinnati Fire Museum is a well-preserved piece of history along an otherwise modern road in Cincinnati’s West End. You’ll walk on original cobblestone sidewalk to get to the entrance on the side of the building, and the Fire Museum’s facade features the original garage doors and vintage lettering. It’s a charming building that will take you back to Old Cincinnati.

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Did you know the first paid fire department was in Cincinnati? It was founded in 1853. Kids will learn all about what fire fighting was like in the mid-19th century in a highly visual and interactive way. There’s an 1808 fire drum, the oldest surviving fire engine in Cincinnati and an 1836 hand pumper. My kids loved the horse-drawn fire truck, and were excited to learn about how these old-fashioned fire houses worked: there was hay stored at each fire house to feed the company horses!

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The Museum features several full-size trucks from different eras, and my kids absolutely loved getting an up-close look at all the vintage engines.

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But every parent knows that there’s only so much looking a kid can do; luckily, there are lots of interactive activities that really allow kids to step into the role of a fire fighter. There’s a fire pole young fire fighters can slide down, a smoke house where kids can “escape” out the window, an old-fashioned water pump for kids to try their hands at; and the pièce de résistance: a full-sized E-One Pumper Cab where kids can run the lights and sirens, just like real fire fighters:

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Cincinnati is full of hidden surprises, and this is epitomized in the Cincinnati Fire Museum. This museum is a fun place to spend an afternoon, and is sure to become one of your kid’s favorite spots in the city.

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The Cincinnati Fire Museum (website) is located at 315 West Court Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. It’s open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $8/adult and free for kids 6 and under with adult admission. Be sure to check Groupon before you go, as there’s often a two-for-one deal on adult tickets! If you plan on returning, a family membership is just $40 for the year.

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