From Butterflies to Bourbon: 11 Can’t-Miss Experiences in Oak Grove, Kentucky
By Kate McDermott
A close-knit community with small-town charm, Oak Grove is an ideal place to take your next vacation. Attend inviting annual festivals that welcome both long-term residents and weekend visitors. Tour historic museums to learn about the city’s contributions to both local and global events. And, of course, sample plenty of small-batch Kentucky Bourbon. With so much to do, Oak Grove is a delightful getaway for couples, friends, and families.
Planning a visit? Make sure your itinerary includes these events and attractions.
1. Spring into Summer Salutes Fort Campbell Festival
Each Memorial Day weekend, Oak Grove’s War Memorial Walking Trail Park transforms into a family-friendly thrill zone for the Spring into Summer Salutes Fort Campbell Festival. You’ll ooh and ahh over death-defying BMX and circus stunts, carnival rides and games, parachute jumpers, hilarious stage shows, and much more. Saturday night ends with a headlining act—in 2023, it was multi-platinum country artist Chris Janson. Entry to this award-winning festival is free!
2. Kentucky Bands, Bourbon & Wine Festival
Kentucky is bourbon country. And you can sample the best of the state’s bourbon distilleries, wineries, and breweries at the annual Kentucky Bands, Bourbon & Wine Festival. Wander the booths to explore the flavor of Kentucky, with vendors like Roland Distillery, Dueling Grounds Distilling, and Chenault Vineyards to sample from, plus food trucks like Soul Fuel and Baby A’s BBQ. It’s all accompanied by live music throughout the day. Even better – admission to this laid-back festival is free.
3. Butterfly Festival
Oak Grove’s award-winning Butterfly Festival celebrates the wonder of Mother Nature. Gather at War Memorial Walking Trail Park on the first Saturday of September for the release of 2,000 monarch butterflies as they begin their annual migration to Mexico. Catch the world-famous Wild World of Animals Stage Show with exotic animals like a sloth, alligator, python, and more. Plus, kids can enjoy hands-on events like the bubble zone, obstacle course, zip line, and nature-focused arts and crafts.
4. Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel
Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel is a grown-up playground. Try your hand at over 1,200 thrilling gaming machines on the spacious gaming floor, where joyful shouts denote lucky winners. Head out to the 13,000 sq. ft. Grandstand to watch and wager on live harness horse racing. Enjoy casual bites at the modern food court, or make a reservation at luxe Garrison Oak Steakhouse. End your visit at the outdoor Moonshine Amphitheater, which welcomes regional bands and nationally recognized talent.
5. Respawn Coffee Company
Respawn Coffee Company is more than just a coffee shop. It’s also a gaming destination with virtual reality headsets, gaming computers, and a small arcade with retro cabinet games. Order a seasonal coffee drink (made with house-roasted beans) or a boba tea, and immerse yourself in a thrilling alternate reality through Valve Index VR. When you get hungry, fuel up with tasty eats like a breakfast burrito or a classic bratwurst.
6. Flip’N Axe of Fort Campbell
At veteran-owned and operated Flip’N Axe, you’ll practice throwing axes in a safe and controlled environment. Each lane ends in a wooden target—see if you can hit the bullseye and rack up the most points. You can also make a memento to take home in the Splatter Paint Room. Suit up in a plastic poncho and booties, and swap out your axe for paintbrushes to make a unique work of art. Making a mess is encouraged.
7. Oak Grove War Memorial Walking Trail Park
The Oak Grove War Memorial Walking Trail Park is the site of many wonderful events and festivals in the city, like the Spring into Summer Festival, Kentucky Bands, Bourbon & Wine Festival, and the Butterfly Festival. But on non-event days, this lush green park is still worth a visit. The park pays tribute to the veterans of all U.S. wars, with a series of markers for each conflict along the one-mile paved trail. It’s the perfect place for a picnic, with tables and benches under shady trees. There’s also an 18-hole disc golf course!
8. MB Roland Distillery
MB Roland Distillery specializes in bourbon and whiskey made from local white corn that’s small-batch and grain-to-glass. But they also make another beloved local spirit—moonshine. Their Kentucky Pink Lemonade and Dark Cherry Shine are delightful on their own or in cocktails. Visit the distillery on the site of a former Amish dairy farm to sample them all and learn more about the distilling process. Keep an eye out for Red, the resident distillery cat and head of security.
9. Murals Around Town
Some of Oak Grove’s best art is on display for all to see, with colorful murals turning blank walls into larger-than-life canvases. Look for pieces by internationally renowned and award-winning local artist Brad DeLaTorre. His works include the hot dog in space at Top Flight Hot Dogs, the fire-breathing chicken at JP’s Hot Chicken, and the Butterflies, Horses and Kentucky State murals on the restroom building at Oak Grove War Memorial Walking Trail.
10. Don F. Pratt Museum
Since 1956, the Don F. Pratt Museum has preserved the legacy of the infamous 101st Airborne Division, also known as the “Screaming Eagles.” You’ll find personal memorabilia from legendary division commanders, including Brigadier General Don F. Pratt, the first deputy commander of the 101st and the highest-ranking Allied officer killed on D-Day. Browse over 80 years of artifacts, including captured enemy weapons from WWII and an illuminated Dutch manuscript that recognizes the 101st’s role in liberating Holland. Visit the park across the street to see some of the military aircraft used by the division.
11. 1890s Schoolhouse
Built at the turn of the 20th century, the 1890s Schoolhouse is the oldest surviving building in Oak Grove. This one-room schoolhouse is emblematic of the style—a single open space where children from first through eighth grades learned together. The school sat empty from 1952 to 2004 when it was donated to the City of Oak Grove. Relocated to the War Memorial Walking Trail Park and restored to its original appearance, the school is a mini-museum with antique desks, a coal stove, a blackboard, and historical artifacts.