Every year, there comes a time when students must reveal to their parents realities of
college life. However, after seeing the essentials (the cafeteria, the library and your dorm
room) there may be a few hours remaining. Xavier hosts many sporting and recreational
activities on campus in which families can partake, but there are also many exciting options
around the Cincinnati area for the more curious visitors.
If the urge to explore overwhelms some of the more adventurous visitors, Eden Park has many attractions in which to lose oneself. The Cincinnati Art Museum, which resides in the park, will be featuring an exhibit on contemporary street photography, entitled “Eyes on the Street,” by many artists that have never before displayed their work in Cincinnati. There is also a rotating exhibit of neon works by Cincinnati artist Anthony Luensman, entitled CAMPGROUND. The park also features a large playground, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Krohn Conservatory, which houses beautiful plants and butterflies. If all the excitement leaves the family wanting more, the park features beautiful trails, ponds and fountains, as well as a beautiful lookout point over the Ohio River with benches and the occasional food truck. Eden Park begins where Victory Parkway becomes Eden Park Drive.
A popular spot for Xavier students and families, the Montgomery Inn Boathouse is known for its famous homemade barbeque sauce and boasts the motto, “Rockin’ the sauce since 1951.” The Montgomery Inn Boathouse is also quite popular for its many rib entrées that feature its specialty sauce, as many of the menu items do. The restaurant is located on the Ohio River and offers beautiful sights from the many large windows. The Montgomery Inn Boathouse is located at 925 Riverside Drive, though there is also another restaurant at 9440 Montgomery Road. that is the original location of the Montgomery Inn restaurant.
When all the glitz and glamor of parents’ weekend leaves you exhausted and hungry for a hearty meal, Betta’s Italian Oven is a traditional, family-owned Italian restaurant right off of Xavier’s campus. The owner, Will DeLuca, and his family bring the recipes of his mother, Betta, and of his hometown of Pietramelara, Italy, to Cincinnati. With homemade and house specialty dishes like filo chicken, fettuccini alfredo, eggplant parmigiano and Icelandic white fish italiano, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. The Betta’s experience is a Xavier tradition among students and faculty alike, and has been recently upgraded with a new café and bar area in the addition next door. Located at the corner of Montgomery Road and Cleneay Avenue, Betta’s is an easy and scrumptious option after exploring all that Xavier and Cincinnati have to offer.
Ault Park is home to many beautiful gardens for families that enjoy scenic strolls and stopping to smell the roses. The main garden, the Garden of Old Roses, offers just the opportunity. The entire garden is replanted each season to display trees and other plants that flourish in each particular season. Another focal point of the park is the Heekin Overlook, which features a panoramic view of the Little Miami River valley as well as Lunken Airport. The park also features soccer fields in the Centennial Shelter and a children’s playground for more active options. Walking through the beautiful rose gardens of Ault Park will allow your parents to rest easy knowing that there are a number of activities avaliable for college students to take part in. The park begins at 3600 Observatory Ave.
If ever there existed a place that could entertain the whole family, it would be Newport on the Levee. During parents’ weekend, there will be Haunted Duck Tours on the Ohio River led by tour guides armed with local ghost stories. Participants will receive handheld “Wacky Quackers” to scare off any evil spirits that may be encountered during the tour. The vehicles offer a unique land and aquatic touring experience. There are also many restaurants and stores to keep everyone entertained. From the casual Five Guys Burgers and Fries to the more upscale Mitchell’s Fish Market seafood restaurant and bar, the family can sit down and break bread after exploring Newport. The area begins at the corner of 3rd Street and Levee Way. While the Newport Aquarium is another feature of Newport on the Levee, it is described as the “country’s number one aquarium,” according to USA Today.
Observe the cougars, llamas, crocodiles and white tigers from a safe yet exciting distance with the family to make this parents’ weekend memorable. The Cincinnati Zoo will also be featuring HallZOOween each weekend in October, with activities like Polar Bear Pumpkin Fun and Elephant Pumpkin Smash, as well as the normal animal exhibits. Introduce the whole family to Chewie, the spirited western lowland gorilla, or to Reggie, the sulfurcrested cockatoo. The event will also feature trick-ortreating stations and the option to come in costume, if you dare. The zoo also contains a section of botanical gardens with over 3,500 species of trees and other plants for the more sophisticated of zoo-goers. There are also many restaurants in the surrounding downtown Cincinnati area to keep the party going. The zoo is located at 3400 Vine Street.