Family Fun in Kentucky

By Lola Méndez

 

Grab the kids and hit the road for a memorable adventure across Kentucky. Your children will love immersing in everything the Bluegrass State has to offer from caves, horseback riding, rollercoasters, delicious food and more. Here’s where to go for family fun in Kentucky.

 

The Great Outdoors

 

Kentucky cave country is home to Mammoth Cave, the world’s longest-known cave system. Just northeast of Bowling Green, go for educational adventures at Mammoth Cave National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. The park features hundreds of miles of passageways, 80 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding and river access for canoeing or kayaking.

Take the kids underground (where there’s no cellphone reception) at Bowling Green’s Lost River Cave. Try spelunking or go on the state’s only underground boat tour along a river. The cave also offers nature walking trails, zip lines and a guided history of the cave. For a family thrill, walk across the world’s longest-swinging underground bridge at the Hidden River Cave in Horse Cave. 

Green space can be found in the state’s capital of Frankfort at Kentucky’s only sculpture park, Josephine Sculpture Park. Louisville (dubbed the “city of parks”) has around 50 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horse riding along the Ohio River and Floyds Fork, as well as 35 miles of scenic woodland in the Jefferson Memorial Forest. You’ll discover horseback riding trails around the state. Consider a ride at Lexington’s family-friendly Kentucky Horse Park and Jesse James Riding Stables in Cave City. 

 

Amusement Parks

 

Visit the Beech Bend Amusement Park in Bowling Green for rollercoasters, a drop tower and a splash lagoon. Louisville’s Kentucky Kingdom & Hurricane Bay has a Ferris wheel, river raft ride, "5-D" Cinema, spinning rides and a family-friendly wooden rollercoaster. If your kids are dinosaur obsessed, head to Dinosaur World in Cave City where 150 life-size replica dinosaurs are on display. Dig for fossils at The Fossil Dig and look for the life-size stegosaurus skeleton in the Boneyard. 

 

Kid-Friendly Museums

 

Kentucky has a storied history that’s told through the state's many museums. Kids will love visiting the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where they can try to hit a home run like Babe Ruth and visit the factory where the iconic baseball bats used by Major League Baseball players are made. You can also snap a photo with the World's Biggest Baseball Bat and create personalized bats. 

 

At the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, join a professional driver for laps in Corvettes at the Motorsports Park and see over 80 unique Corvettes, including mint classics, prototypes, rare finds and racing champions. In Louisville, take the kids to the Muhammed Ali Center to learn about the legendary athlete’s life, including his craft as an artist and poet.

 

Food Kids Will Love

 

No visit to Kentucky would be complete without the star of home-style Southern cooking — fried chicken. Take the family to the first KFC at Colonel Harland Sanders' original (which is on the National Register of Historic Places) restaurant in Corbin, Harland Sanders Café and Museum. Another historical place for perfectly fried chicken is the Merrick Inn in Lexington. For family-style fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, coleslaw and biscuits, head to Greyhound Tavern in Fort Mitchell.

 

Grab old-school candies at the 100-year-old Ruth Hunt Candy Factory in Mt. Sterling and award-winning pies from the 150-year-old Boyce General Store in Alvaton. Enjoy agritourism with a meal at Chaney's Dairy Barn in Bowling Green for hayrides, farm tours, milking demonstrations and a scoop of fresh ice cream. Or visit the organic Hermitage Farm for a truly farm-to-table meal at Barn8.