Gorgeous French Park Has a Kid-Friendly Secret

One of Cincinnati’s most beautiful parks is also the perfect place to go creek stomping.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

Summer’s only just begun, but after more than 18 months of social distancing and outdoor parks, you may be running out of ideas. (And that, as a parent, is a dangerous situation in which to find yourself.) This is where it pays to get a little creative; to think outside the box of what’s expected. Let me explain.

One of Cincinnati’s numerous city parks, French Park is a 275-acre oasis in Amberley Village. The park is perhaps best-known for its eponymous French House, which was built in the early 1900s and is a popular venue for weddings and special events. The French House stands regally at the end of the park’s driveway, in front of perfectly manicured lawn. Behind the house are rolling hills that beg to be run down, Sound of Music style. It’s stunning. But all that’s for the grownups, so keep going.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

Behind the house, a paved path leads down to a bubbling creek that’s covered by a canopy of trees, sunshine peeking through in a dreamy way that’s Instagram-filter-level gorgeous. But you’ve unwittingly hit a kid jackpot: It’s also the perfect place to go creek stomping.

Creek stomping (or creeking, as some might call it) is a delightful Midwest tradition that involves, quite simply, trekking, splashing, and, yes, stomping in a creek. In the summertime, after a good, heavy, cooling rain, there’s really nothing better. And somehow French Park, this lush oasis known for high-brow events, has some of the most perfect creek stomping in Cincinnati.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

There are numerous entry and exit points along the creek at French Park, so you can follow the waters as long as your kids desire. But I guarantee, once your kids start splashing, they won’t want to stop! If your kids look closely, they may discover some of Ohio’s most fascinating wildlife—small snakes, lizards, frogs, tadpoles, turtles, crayfish—we’ve seen them all here, on various expeditions.

After a year spent cooped up in school—regardless of whether it was in-person or virtual—kids really just need to get outside. And Mother Nature is the best “unclassroom” around, giving our kids the lessons and experiences nothing else can.

French Park, 3012 Section Rd., Amberley Village 

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