Itinerary: Northern Kentucky Biblical Wonders
Two of the top Christian attractions in America are located in Northern Kentucky: the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. With just a short drive separating them – plus combination packages offering discounted admissions – you’ll easily be able to visit both attractions with this fun three-day itinerary. What’s more, both sites are situated near Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), and roughly 1.5 hours from Louisville International Airport (SDF). Perfect for families, youth groups and spiritual seekers of all ages, the surrounding Northern Kentucky River Region offers numerous places to stay, eat, drink and take side adventures.
Day 1: Explore Newport
The vibrant city of Newport is a great home base for your spiritual vacation in Kentucky. There are many lodging options for every budget, including affordable chain hotels with amenities like free breakfast, indoor/outdoor pools and Ohio River views.
Spend your first day exploring Newport-area attractions like the Newport Aquarium, which has been ranked one of the top-rated aquariums in the country. There are thousands of animals in over a million gallons of water, as well as dive shows, feedings, touch tanks and more. The aquarium is an anchor of the Newport on the Levee complex, offering an assortment of dining, shopping, entertainment and family fun. Steps away, the pedestrian-only Purple People Bridge connects Newport to downtown Cincinnati. If you can, catch a Cincinnati Reds game!
Kentucky is known for farm tours, and there’s a great one right in Newport: Sunrock Farm. Geared toward families, this educational farm allows visitors to bottle-feed a lamb, milk a goat, brush a horse, hold a baby chick, and other hands-on activities.
For dinner, there are many culinary options in the Newport area. Have a blast at Tom & Chee, a quirky grilled cheese restaurant you may have seen on Man Vs. Food or Shark Tank; definitely save room for a Grilled Cheese Donut for dessert. Try Kentucky goetta, tomato pie and other traditional dishes from the Northern Kentucky River Region. And satisfy your sweet tooth on the Sugar & Spice Trail.
Day 2: Creation Museum
It’ll take around 30 minutes from downtown Newport to reach the Creation Museum in Petersburg. At this 75,000-square-foot museum, the pages of the Bible dramatically come to life. Explore the Garden of Eden alongside Adam and Eve, and spot the serpent coiled among the tempting fruit. Marvel at life-size dinosaurs, animatronics and visually stunning displays, plus a planetarium and Special Effects Theater. Next, soar on ziplines or challenge your skills on an aerial adventure course. Then, tour the beautiful botanical gardens as you make your way to the petting zoo and camel rides.
Combo tickets offer a two-day pass to the Creation Museum and a one-day pass to the Ark Encounter. Groups enjoy discounted rates as well as specialized assistance for check-in and ticketing. There are several dining options on-site for a meal or a snack, from Noah’s Cafe to Palm Pizza to Uncle Leroy’s Fudge.
For a unique lodging experience, consider staying at Potter’s Ranch Wilderness Retreat in Union. Sprawling across 630 acres on the Ohio River, the ranch has cabins and activities including a zipline, Frisbee golf, horseback riding, paintball and more. It’s a perfect option for youth groups, family reunions, class trips and other groups.
Day 3: Ark Encounter
From Union, it’s a short drive on I-75 to your next destination, Williamstown. Located midway between Newport and Lexington, Williamstown is the home of the Ark Encounter. The sight of this full-size replica of Noah’s Ark – built according to the dimensions given in the Bible – will take your breath away. This modern engineering marvel is the largest timber frame structure in the world, and the craftsmanship of the structure is as inspirational as the exhibits inside.
Step inside the Ark to view three decks of exhibits, see animals as they looked during the time of the Flood, and attend daily live performances. Outside, the Ararat Ridge Zoo is home to animals big and small. There is also a zipline course and an in-house restaurant, Emzara’s Kitchen. Groups can even arrange to spend the night on board the Ark!
You can end your journey here, or continue on the Kentucky’s Holy Land itinerary, which explores spiritual sites around Louisville, Bardstown and Lexington. And if you’d just like to see what else Kentucky has to offer, find great ideas on our Things to Do page.