Kentucky or Bluegrass state, as it is often called, is an ideal place for a family vacation, for sports lovers, or for a romantic weekend. Louisville, the largest city here, is also home to the famous Kentucky Derby.

The state has many parks, mineral springs, and geological landmarks. Here’s one of the favorite places for a relaxing weekend in the Appalachians. Here you will find a variety of attractions, and here are 15 of them.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of the best things to do in Kentucky. It is held annually on the first Sunday in May at Churchill Downs outside of Louisville. Horse racing is a tradition for the city, and the day of the derby is a reason for celebration and fun on the streets.

Plan your visit well here, because the event is annually attended by over 150,000 people, which makes the city and hotels quite busy during this period.

Location: Churchill Downs; Louisville, Kentucky, U.S
Address: 700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY, 40208
Website: www.kentuckyderby.com

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory


You can easily find the museum through the 120-foot-tall replica of Babe Ruth’s Louisville Slugger, located right at its entrance.

Here you will learn about the history of some of the most important copper baseball competitions, see the methods by which some of the best quality baseball bats are made and see live preserved bats that were owned by great players or participated in iconic events (e.g. bat used to hit Hank Aaron’s 700th home run).

The museum also has a pitching simulator, 17-ton limestone baseball glove, and batting cages, and on departure, you will receive a mini bat-souvenir as a souvenir of this wonderful experience.

Address: 800 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202, United States
Website: www.sluggermuseum.com

Daniel Boone National Forest


One of the best places to visit in Kentucky, especially if you are a nature lover is Daniel Boone National Forest. The huge area of the park (over 700,000 acres) is an explanation for the diverse terrain passing from sandy cliffs, through the ridges of rivers, to gorges.

Particularly impressive is the Natural Bridge, created by the erosion force of the water, which boasts 65 feet high. The longest trekking route is the Sheltowee Trace, 273 miles long.

Address: 1700 Bypass Rd, London, KY 40744, United States
Website: www.fs.usda.gov/dbnf

Newport Aquarium


Through a system of different acrylic tunnels, The Newport Aquarium shows you the diversity of the underwater world. The place completely recreates different parts of the world and the corresponding animals that inhabit it – for example the Amazon Tunnel, tunnels dedicated to coral reefs with unicorn fish, honeycomb moray eels, and cownose rays.

A separate exhibition, Surrounded by Sharks, will bring you closer to different species of sharks, and the Dangerous and Deadly exhibition will introduce you to some of the most frightening underwater inhabitants such as piranha and Gila monster.

However, you will also find more animal diversity in Gator Alley (alligator’s home), frog habitat, penguin habitat.

Address: 1 Levee Way, Newport, KY 41071, United States
Website: www.newportaquarium.com

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park


In the southeastern part of the state are the Cumberland Mountains, whose most famous transitional route is the Cumberland Gap.

The road is 760 feet long, has been used by Native Americans, and was officially discovered in the 18th century. It passes deep into the mountains and became famous after Daniel Boone (and after that another 200,000 new settlers) passed through the so-called Wilderness Trail into Kentucky in 1775.

A visitor center has been set up in Middleboro to ask your questions and learn more historical facts. The park offers guided or walking tours to the old Hensley Settlement. If you love beautiful landscapes, this is one of the best places to visit in Kentucky.

Address: 91 Bartlett Park Road, Middlesboro, KY 40965, United States
Website: www.nps.gov/cuga/

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park


This monument was created by the father of the 16th President of America and is located in Sinking Springs Farm. It houses an exact replica of the room in which Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809.

The memorial is built of pink granite in Neoclassical style. The 56 steps in it and a reference to the years in which Lincoln died.

Address: 2995 Lincoln Farm Rd, Hodgenville, KY 42748, United States
Website: www.nps.gov/abli/

Mammoth Cave National Park


The cave is located in the southwestern part of Kentucky, in the area called “Land of 10,000 Sinks” or the Caveland Corridor. With more than 400 miles of underground corridors, Mammoth Cave is one of the largest underground caves known since the 1st century.

If you are wondering what to do in Kentucky, then this is one of the favorite places for a family vacation. Some of the most popular attractions here include the Mammoth Dome, the Ruins of Karnak, and the Snowball Dining Room. The beautiful Crystal Lake will literally take your breath away, and if you want to see some of the most amazing rock formations, visit Frozen Niagara.

During your visit to the park you can have fun with sports such as swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, but if you decide to enter the underground tunnels, be prepared for lower temperatures. There are also many different entertainments for children.

Address: Mammoth Cave, KY 42259, USA

Kentucky Horse Park


The park is located north of Lexington and gives visitors the opportunity to see a functioning horse farm, ride a horse or pony and learn more about animals firsthand.

The inhabitants of the farm live in themed bars – the Kids Barn (for smaller animals), the Mounted Police Barn; the Breeds Barn, the Hall of Champions; y (which is home to retired horses – champions of racing), and the Big Barn.

The park also houses four distinct museums related to the history, lifestyle, and achievements of horses.

Address: 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, Kentucky 40511
Website: kyhorsepark.com

Things to do in Lexington

Muhammad Ali Center


One of the historically oriented things to do in Kentucky is to visit the center dedicated to the life and work of the famous humanitarian.

Your visit will start with an educational film about Ali’s life, his goals to make the world a better place, and his approaches. In the center, you will find many artifacts, presentations, displays, and historical films about Ali’s works.

One of the most famous attractions is the Children’s Hope and Dream wall, created from works of art by children around the world. Of course, you will also find a replica of the boxing practice hall and you can learn more about this sport.

Address: 144 N 6th St, Louisville, KY 40202, United States
Website: alicenter.org

The Kentucky Derby Museum


There’s no way one of the biggest events in Kentucky doesn’t have a museum dedicated to it. The Kentucky Derby Museum traces the history of the famous derby, dating back to 1875, and a special place is given to the most famous horses that participated in the competitions.

Be sure to take a few minutes for the short movie called The Greatest Race, which you can watch on a 360-degree screen. Among the artifacts of the museum, you will find items of some of the most famous coaches.

The museum has its own restaurant, so you can stop for a quick lunch or afternoon rest and coffee.

Address: 704 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208, United States
Website: www.derbymuseum.org

Lost River Cave


One of the fun things to do in Kentucky if you are with your family is a nature walk and a boat trip to Lost River Cave.

This walk will arouse your interest in geology, and children will have fun trying to be a Junior Tour Guide, collecting and exchanging their discoveries in Nature Trading Post, geocaching, sifting for gems. Fans of high adrenaline can join the zipline tour.

Address: 2818 Nashville Rd, Bowling Green, KY 42101, United States
Website: www.lostrivercave.org

Louisville Mega Cavern


Just below the city of Louisville, which stretches over 100 square meters, is this popular family attraction.

At the end of the Middle Ages, the cave was actively mined, and after spending some time empty, its space began to be used for storage. You can choose a tram tour, during which you will learn more about the history and engineering value of the cavern.

For those who prefer higher adrenaline, a two-hour zipline tour or an aerial rope course is offered.

attractions list:

  • Mega Zip Line Tour
  • Walking Tour
  • Mega Quest
  • Mega Bike Tour
  • Mega Tram

Address: 1841 Taylor Ave, Louisville, KY 40213, United States
Website: louisvillemegacavern.com

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park


The waterfalls at The Cumberland Falls State Resort Park are nicknamed “Niagara of the South” and this is no accident. The waterfalls from a height of 68 feet, forming the only “moonbow” in the Western Hemisphere.

In the park, you can enjoy a peaceful walk among the trees on one of the 17 hiking trails, camping, rafting, or bird-watching. To enjoy a quiet lunch and delicious food, the park has its own restaurant.

Thints to do in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

  • Birding
  • Fishing
  • Gift Shop
  • Gem Mining
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Picnicking
  • Swimming
  • Rafting
  • Moonbow

Address: 7351 Highway 90 Corbin, KY 40701
Website: https://parks.ky.gov/corbin/parks/resort/cumberland-falls-state-resort-park

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill


If you are intrigued by the history and want to learn more about the lifestyle of the Shakers, one of the best places to visit in Kentucky is Shaker Village. Here you will find 34 of Pleasant Hill’s original houses, some dating back to the early 19th century.

At the Historic Center, you can visit various daily activities or special events. Shaker Village also has a farm where you can meet the animals up close and learn more about sustainable farming methods. Last but not least, there are 3,000 acres of reserve, with 40 meters of hiking trails that you can walk.

Address: 3501 Lexington Rd, Harrodsburg, KY 40330, United States
Website: shakervillageky.org

Great American Dollhouse Museum, Danville


More than 200 Kentucky miniatures, organized in three sections, are housed in the Great American Dollhouse Museum, Danville. The largest of them is dedicated to important moments and personalities in American history.

The second exhibition is called Cooper Hollow and recreates in detail a city from 1910.

The third exhibition will take you to the world of magic and fantasy, elves and witches.

Address: 344 Swope Dr, Danville, KY 40422, United States
Website: thedollhousemuseum.com

Conclusion

There is always what to do in Kentucky, no matter if you travel with your kids, friends or you are alone. The huge variety of types of attractions will satisfy every taste – whether you are a lover of natural values, animal diversity, sports, or museums.

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