Panoramic shot of a park ranger leading a tour inside a cave at Mammoth Cave National Park

Caves, Lakes & Corvettes

Caves, Lakes & Corvettes Family Itinerary

You’ll race around above ground, then venture far below it. You’ll splash and ride at a theme park, then walk among the “dinosaurs.” When it comes to an awesome family vacation, this region of Kentucky is tough to beat.

Day 1: Race Cars, Roller Coasters & Underground Rivers

Exterior shot of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, with several Corvette models parked out frontKentucky is the proud home of a timeless American automotive icon, and you can get your vacation off to a racing start at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. More than 70 Corvettes are displayed in period settings here, including a mid-century barbershop, service station and historic racetrack! You’ll also see mint classics, one-of-a-kind prototypes, and modern-day wonders of engineering and design. Then race over to the adjacent dual-track NCM Motorsports Park to watch a race – or even take a lap behind the wheel!

A group of people take a boat tour inside the massive Lost River Cave in KentuckyAfter lunch at one of Bowling Green’s great local restaurants, take a ride on Kentucky's only underground boat tour at Lost River Cave, then venture above ground to enjoy nature trails and explore an outdoor classroom certified by the Arbor Day Foundation. During the summertime, Beech Bend Park offers more than 40 rides, like the Kentucky Rumbler, the most twisted wooden roller coaster in seven states. Relax as you float along the lazy river in Splash Lagoon, then enjoy the wave pool, water slides, interactive children's play pool and Tiki Island before relaxing at a hotel in Bowling Green

Day 2: Dinosaurs & Down Under Adventures

Travel just 30 minutes north to Dinosaur World in Cave City, where you can unearth a life-size dinosaur skeleton in the Boneyard, learn about fossils at the indoor Prehistoric Museum and walk through Mammoth Gardens, which showcase more than 150 (life-sized!) dinosaur replicas.

Spend the afternoon at Kentucky Down Under in Horse Cave, an Australian-themed amusement park that gives families the chance to pet kangaroos in the Outback and play a didgeridoo while learning about Aboriginal culture. Feed colorful Rainbow Lorikeets and Australian Budgies, help with chores at the woolshed and learn about life on an Australian sheep farm. While there you can really go “down under” and explore Kentucky Caverns. Make a reservation to overnight in Horse Cave or Cave City to rest up for a “Mammoth” day tomorrow.

Day 3: Mammoth Cave

Two people stand on stairs observing the Frozen Niagara rock formations of Mammoth Cave National ParkGo big today at Mammoth Cave National Park, the world's longest cave system and an International Biosphere Reserve. On a below-ground cave tour, marvel at famous rock formations such as Frozen Niagara (left) and Gothic Avenue, see prehistoric artifacts and venture to the underground water level to view the River Styx, which flows beneath the park.

Admission to the national park is free, but fees are charged for camping and cave tours – and cave tour reservations are strongly recommended. Your family will also love hiking, horseback riding, biking, picnicking, camping, canoeing, fishing and more, whether in the park or beyond. Overnight accommodations in the park include three campgrounds and Mammoth Cave Hotel, and reservations are required.

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