If you’re thinking of popping the question, but you don’t want to feel too stereotypical, here are unique Cincinnati proposal ideas!

Mr. Pop the Question’s Penguins

The Newport Aquarium offers the opportunity to propose … surrounded by penguins!

If you’re not sure if this is a really cool idea or not, just ask Maurey Bond and Crystal Fortenberry (soon-to-be Bond).

Courtesy of Maurey Bond and Crystal Fortenberry

Maurey mentioned that the entire staff really works with you when planning the proposal.

“Everyone was really a part of the experience,” he said.

Even though the staff is there, you can be the only two in the back with the penguins. You also have the option of bringing in friends and family, but Maurey wanted it just to be the two of them.

Crystal was completely surprised, and it was perfect for a penguin fan.

Courtesy of Maurey Bond and Crystal Fortenberry

“I like penguins,” Crystal said. “I like that they mate for life.”

Their proposal took place on Dec. 26, 2016, after being together for nearly a year. The wedding date already is set for July 30.

“You can’t find it other places,” Maurey said of the penguin experience.

Courtesy of Maurey Bond and Crystal Fortenberry


Thrills, chills and romance at Kings Island 

This engagement was not set up through Kings Island, but it still was a unique idea! Corey Sexton proposed to his then girlfriend, Christy Kristof, on top on the Eiffel Tower at Kings Island.

“Halloween Haunt was our very first date, because we’re both obsessed with Halloween and haunted houses,” Corey said.

So he decided the annual Kings Island event would be the perfect time for his proposal.

“I decided to do it on top of the Eiffel Tower at KI to get away from the crowd and the scarers — that could have been awkward!”

Courtesy of Christy Kristof and Corey Sexton

Corey decided to string together several small pendants that spelled out “Marry Me?” with some of his favorite photos of them.

“I was surprised! He did a good job trying to create diversions, such as a friend not being able to make it anymore because of work and being late because of traffic,” Christy said. “He did give it away a little by doing or saying things, such as asking if [Hallloween Haunt] was our first date a few weeks before, getting a haircut and asking me to bring his favorite shirt that he never wears unless we are doing something nice, though.”

Corey and Christy will tie the knot on December 9, 2017.

Courtesy of Christy Kristof and Corey Sexton

“To us, it was simple and romantic since it was [the same event as] our first date, but it was small and simple enough that she wasn’t expecting it,” Corey said.

Christy definitely enjoyed the proposal!

“I would recommend that experience to someone because it was special since we did go to Kings Island for our first date and we got to share that special moment with our closest friends,” she said.

So if you’re looking for something different, consider something more thrilling.

Courtesy of Christy Kristof and Corey Sexton


A wild proposal at the Cincinnati Zoo

Kathleen Wells’ fiance decided to go with a bit more exotic location for his proposal — The Cincinnati Zoo.

Before being picked up by her now-fiance, Robbie, she received a text from him that was supposed to go to a friend of theirs.

“Hey Kat! I have a favor. Katie keeps mentioning a ring for Christmas and I should have done it cuz it would have been the perfect opportunity but I missed my chance. Anyway, you’re her best friend so do you think you could help me ask her around our 8 year? Or would our anniversary be too obvious?”

The text was meant to throw Kathleen off, and she had no idea what was going to happen when she got to the zoo during the Festival of Lights.

Robbie didn’t have the ring with him, so he had to do some stealth work to get the ring from their friend, who ended up taking the pictures of the proposal.

“While we were talking, I noticed he gave someone a weird look,” Kathleen said. “I turned around and saw who I thought was an employee, turn away. Not thinking anything of it, I was like, ‘Oh, they might just be taking pictures of the lights for their website.'”

Robbie eventually got down on one knee by the lake, and Kathleen said yes!

Photo credit: Katarina Anhofer

Kathleen says they chose the zoo because it was special to them, so she can’t necessarily recommend it to everyone.

“Something that is special like proposing is meant to be placed in an area that is memorable to the couple,” she said. “The zoo, for us, is a place we love to go every year and have had several dates there throughout the past eight years that we have been together.”

Kathleen and Robbie are looking at dates for their wedding since he is attending school and her brother is in the National Guard. They are hoping for November 2018.


Flowers and romance

So this one isn’t a proposal, but it’s a really cool place to have a wedding. It also might be the perfect place for your proposal!

Krohn Conservatory is where Katie Busemeyer had her romantic wedding with her now-husband Brock.

Credit: Sarah McDermott Photography

“Both Brock and I adore Krohn Conservatory,” Katie said. “We try to see every seasonal display and attend every ‘Krohn by Candlelight’ event they offer. ‘Krohn by Candlelight’ offers a unique opportunity to experience Krohn during twilight hours, while enjoying a glass of wine or a beer. It’s quite a romantic experience, and Brock and I dreamed of giving that experience to our wedding guests.”

Their wedding was on October 11, 2015, and it was adult-only so their guests could have their own “date night.”

Credit: Sarah McDermott Photography

“Our ceremony was brief, in the main atrium of the Conservatory, with all of the stunning palms as the backdrop,” Katie said.  “The way it smells in the Conservatory is breathtaking! Experiencing the Conservatory during the ‘golden hour’ is absolutely beautiful.”

For the reception, they had their own “Krohn by Candlelight” featuring wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres.

“We greeted our guests in a receiving line in the Seasonal Room following our ceremony,” Katie said. “The song that greeted them was ‘Pure Imagination’ from ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.’ It really set the scene!”

Credit: Sarah McDermott Photography

Following the ceremony, they went to Bella Luna for a reception dinner. Katie says she definitely recommends the Krohn Conservatory and to also hire a photographer that you trust! The evening goes by in a flash.

“We are so lucky to have Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati,” Katie said. “We visited Krohn so many times during our wedding planning process, I wanted to move in. Go there often, bring your children and check out a ‘Krohn by Candlelight’ for a perfect date night.”

The proposal was a little bit different.

“Our initial proposal was very informal,” Katie said.  “I casually asked my now husband, Brock, over a couple of margaritas at El Coyote, ‘Hey, you wanna get married?’ to which he gleefully said ‘Yeah!’ About 10 months later, he formally got down on one knee and proposed. It was an intimate proposal at our home on Christmas Eve.”

Courtesy of Katie Busemeyer

If you have an amazing proposal story at a Cincinnati-area locations please let us know! We also would love to hear some wedding stories.

Lizzie K.

Author: Lizzie K.

Lizzie is the Content Specialist for Date Night Cincinnati. She handles the content for the website as well as the print edition of Date Night. When she isn't working, Lizzie explores her city finding new places to hang out. Other than a journalist, Lizzie identifies as a gamer, music enthusiast and fictional writer.