Cincinnati: A Grandmother's Goldmine


Wow! This is breathtaking! As the skyline of Cincinnati came into view, I thought, “This place is beautiful.” The flickering lights, the sunset behind the skyscrapers and the broad river painted a scene of beauty, warmth and welcome. The picturesque panorama provided my first view of a city I would one day call home.

Later, after living abroad for 33 years, my husband and I relocated to the U.S. to assume a new leadership role within our organization. Port of entry: Cincinnati. Along with my luggage came another prized possession – my coveted role as grandmother.

If you have resided here all of your life, you are probably accustomed to the four lovely seasons, Findlay Market and Fountain Square. But as a newcomer, like a child on a scavenger hunt, my discoveries continue to bring delight.

What is my greatest find? While Cincinnati is a marvelous place to call home, my stunning discovery is that Cincinnati is a grandmother’s goldmine.

Any grandmother longs to bring joy and excitement into the life of a child. It is a rite of passage to provide a treasure trove of life and laughter. However, like a good play needs a stage, making memories needs a place to happen.

Cincinnati sets an idyllic stage. Here, in this jewel of a place, opportunities abound for bonding in these cherished relationships. Activities, outings, events, eateries and museums are readily available to fill any size roster. Where do we go and what do we do? Find answers right here with plentiful variety.

Some of my favorite grandchild bonding activities include:

  • The Ark Encounter: chat with Mr. Noah
  • Blooms & Berries: explore the 7-acre corn maze
  • Bike Trails along the Little Miami River: feel safe and see deer
  • Cincinnati Nature Center: get dirty and gaze upon tadpoles
  • Cincinnati Zoo: feed the giraffes and marvel at the cheetahs
  • Children’s Museum: step inside a gigantic mouth
  • FC Cincinnati Soccer matches: arrive early and enjoy the family-friendly Fan Zone
  • Graeter’s: savor ice cream on Sunday afternoons and summertime nights
  • King’s Island Amusement Park: wear out Gammy and Granddaddy
  • Main Event Entertainment: break through fear barriers
  • Newport Aquarium: be cautious in Gator Alley
  • Servatii’s: hope for a Cincinnati birthday with a cake from this spectacular bakery
  • Shopping: discover cool stores like Hanna Andersson, Nordstrom and Five Below
  • Soak City Water Park: wear plenty of sunscreen
  • Wading in the river: don’t tell Mom

Thankfully, the opportunities for action do not ever pack up and go away. The ongoing fun of Cincinnati as a grandmother’s goldmine pulsates year-round. Seasonal highlights abound with fireworks at Labor Day and The Nutcracker at Christmas. I can only imagine sharing the thrill of Opening Day at Great American Ballpark or the taste of s’mores and hot chocolate at the zoo’s Festival of Lights!

Being a grandmother is one of God’s greatest gifts. I relish holding a little hand and gazing into a stream, giggling while cruising along a bike path and standing in a stadium cheering wildly for our favorite team. All these snapshots make priceless additions to the album of meaningful memories. For such opportunities and thousands more, I am so thankful that in Cincinnati my grandmothering found the perfect place to call home. 

“Boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me” (Psalm 16:6).


Debby Thompson and her husband Larry have served on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ for 42 years, with 33 years living and working in Eastern Europe. Now living in Cincinnati, Debby is a grandmother of six, a speaker, writer and mentor for women around the world. Her forthcoming book with Ambassador International is “The Leader’s Wife.” Subscribe to her blog at, Living with Eternal Intentionality and follow her on Twitter at @Debbythompson17. To contact Debby Thompson, email