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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Top Three Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays in Kentucky

1 - Illuminate the Sky

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In a state with some of the most striking natural beauty, there are endless possibilities and ways to explore this holiday season, including driving lights tours and shows. For more than 20 years, the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation has hosted the state’s original driving tour of three miles of holiday lights at the Southern Lights Holiday Festival. Spectators can immerse themselves in the grandeur of the horse park while also taking advantage of activities for the whole family, including a mini express train, craft fair, exotic petting zoo and more, starting Nov. 17.

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The magic of Christmas is alive in the small town of Grand Rivers, Kentucky (seen above). Experience firsthand the Grand Rivers Festival of Lights that started in early November. The festival showcases more than 700,000 lights and hosts musical productions at the Badgett Playhouse, gift shops and cozy lodging along peaceful Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

Ashland makes winter a beautiful scene with a Winter Wonderland of Lights. Watch as 850,000 holiday lights illuminate Ashland’s Central Park and downtown area starting Nov. 18.

ChristmasTime at the Ark offers a world-class animated program projected onto a life-size Noah’s Ark at the free laser projection show, “Encounter the Wonder.” The iconic 510-foot-long ship will become the screen for a groundbreaking new show that is free and open for all to enjoy.

Looking for something a little deeper? Dive into the underground this year as the Louisville MEGA Caverns hosts the only underground light show across the globe. The 17-mile man-made cavern located under the city of Louisville lights up 850 characters and 2-million points of light. Visitors can drive through all of the underground passageways to see the transformation take life.

2 - Cheers to the Holidays

Featuring authentic distilleries and the rights to claim the fame to “America’s Native Spirit,” it wouldn’t be a Kentucky holiday without bourbon. This year, Maker’s Mark Distillery is hosting self-guided after dark Candlelight Tours, Dec. 2- 9, featuring holiday d├ęcor, seasonal cocktails and sweet treats. Take advantage of the time at the distillery to preview signature bottles that make for great gifts or the smaller items to fill stockings early.

3 - Step Back in Time

In wrapping up its 225-anniversary as a state, Kentucky offers a host of historical adventures, especially during the holidays. My Old Kentucky Home, Kentucky’s most famous landmark – also the namesake for the state song – guides visitors through the Victorian mansion with docents in hoop skirts and tailcoats. Learn about the traditional, and sometimes odd, Christmas customs of the Victorian era, including the origin of the Christmas tree, the yule log, Santa Claus and Krampus, while touring each room of the mansion.

Experience firsthand how the early settlement days of Kentucky were spent celebrating the holidays. See and hear the classics at the 18th Century Christmas at Fort Boonesborough State Park with candlelight tours and decorations keeping with the traditions of the time. Lanterns, bonfires, Christmas Guns, music and dance, along with time-appropriate food and refreshments, add to the event’s atmosphere.

 photo Tea Time with Mrs. Claus - Shaker Village_zpsvfz2fzbr.jpgDiscover the simple gifts of long-ago winter days filled with wonder and laughter at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, while discovering connections to the past throughout the country’s largest private collection of original 19th century buildings. Shaker Village is home to an impressive collection of Shaker architecture, skilled craftsmanship and spirituality.

Information for this post courtesy of: kentuckytourism.com
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Discount winter admission tickets - Louisville Zoo

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The Louisville Zoo adult (12–59) general admission will be reduced to $9.95 and $6.95 for children (ages 3–11) and seniors (60+) now through Feb. 28, 2018.

The Louisville Zoo is teaming up with Kroger to help Dare to Care again support families in our community with a winter food drive during the Zoo’s Wild Winter Days presented by Kroger through Feb. 28.

What to do: Bring at least one canned food item per person or show your Kroger Plus card to receive $1 off winter adult or child’s admission. Do both and also receive one voucher per Kroger Plus card for a free carousel ride redeemable starting spring 2018 through Sept. 2018!

 photo IMG_1499_zpsudl13ebn.jpgThe offer is not valid for Santa’s Safari, other special fee-based programs, for pre-paid groups, field trips or with other discounts.

Want to know what is needed most? Canned meats (tuna included), canned fruit, beans, peanut butter, soup, rice, cereal, fruit juice, pasta and canned vegetables. Please avoid glass containers.

More details are available at www.louisvillezoo.org/wildwinterdays/

Fall/winter hours at the Louisville Zoo are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (exit by 5 p.m.) and continue through March 17, 2018. The Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A healthier Halloween for you and your children

 photo IMG_5565_zpsgpwyvvuh.jpgHalloween can be scary. Ghosts, ghouls and goblins abound, but the most frightening part of Halloween might be how many calories our children bring home in their trick-or-treat bags.

The candy in an average trick-or-treat bag can contain as much as 7,000 calories, according to Dr. Donna Arnett at the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s school of public health, and all that candy can lead to tooth decay and a lot of extra pounds for the entire family.

What’s a health-conscious parent to do without ruining one of the most kid-friendly celebrations of the year?

· Instead of candy, opt for healthier or non-food alternatives. Candy is fun, but healthy food can be as well. Making small oranges, popcorn balls or fruit cups with pumpkin faces drawn on them can encourage healthier eating while still getting into the Halloween spirit. Give trick-or-treaters dried fruit, fruit leathers, crackers or trail mix.

Or, if you want to avoid giving out candy or snack foods altogether, give small toys, stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, Halloween erasers or glow-sticks. Kids receive plenty of candy on Halloween and will enjoy being surprised with the “extras” they gather while trick-or-treating.

 photo IMG_9730_zpsu6ssaejt.jpg· Get out and exercise. Candy consumption certainly increases on and around Halloween, but so does walking. Fitbit recently analyzed its data and found the average user walked an additional 2,750 steps on Halloween. While those extra steps won’t cancel out all those candy bars you ate, the added walking and exercise can help you control your weight and improve your health.
Take family walks around the neighborhood before Halloween to plan your trick-or-treating route. The additional movement can benefit the whole family.

· Fill your little goblins’ tummies with healthy food before they hit their candy stash. Eating a healthy dinner before trick-or-treating will help ensure your kids are properly fueled and less tempted to snack their way around the neighborhood. Plus, for safety you should save your candy until you get home to screen for anything potentially hazardous.

If you return home and your family has more candy than they should eat, search online for a local dentist or other business participating in candy-donation or buy-back programs. Call first for each location’s program details.

This Halloween, have fun dressing up and eating a few treats, but balance the usual indulgence with making healthier choices.

By Dr. Julie Daftari, medical director, UnitedHealthcare of Kentucky
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Monday, October 30, 2017

The Candelight Tradition


 photo The_Candlelight_Tradition_large_zpsajlxefnl.jpgFor a few days in November, Frankfort goes above and beyond to bringing the community together. Surely, they do this all year round but nothing like The Candlelight Tradition.

From Thursday to Sunday, they do it up with festive activities, music, food, shopping and more.  In 2017, the event is November 9-12.  Each day brings an array of events so you can go each night and experience something different or pick your favorite evening and head out with the family.

The events include:
Visits with Santa
Marching bands
Sleigh rides
 photo candlelight 2_zps7zitg9wz.jpgTree lighting
Special activities and sales at local shops
A cocktail stroll - what a fun date night!
Breakfast with Santa
Polar Express party for kids
and more..........

You can find the entire schedule of events here and details about the location.

Have fun!

Stephanie



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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pikeville Kentucky Events

 photo pikeville_zpshlj0ucod.jpgThere are a bunch of things happening in Pikeville and the Tour Pikeville County website has a great calendar that keeps them listed for you. If you live in the Pikeville area or if you are planning a visit, this website is a huge help. A lot of folks forget that even in they are local, the tourism organizations are for them as well!

Concerts, theatre performances, fairs, and more.

Also, they have resources on the site to fin out about the history of the area or get an idea of all of the year-round things to do.

Here's a video from their YouTube channel that might inspire you to tour the Pikeville area!

One event to put on your calendar is their annual Hillbilly Days - it takes place in late April. Follow the Facebook page for Hillbilly Days to keep tabs on it!
Also, Hatfield Heritage Days in annually in September. This is another opportunity to have a fun weekend in Pikeville while learning about local history.  Stay up to date via the tourism Facebook page
Photo above from the Pike County Tourism Facebook page
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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

5 Unique Places to Celebrate Halloween in Kentucky

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There are so many Halloween events throughout the state - let's focus on events that are doing things a little differently.  Here are 5 awesome Kentucky events for families to enjoy the friendly BOOs and SCARES of Halloween.

The World's Largest Halloween Party takes place at the Louisville Zoo. While I am sure that many have heard of the event there are bound to be some who weren't aware of the event! The zoo starts this event in early October and it runs through Halloween. You can find more information here. Just a tip it is pretty popular so going earlier in the season works out better in terms of crowds! Tickets are required but you can grab them here!

Kentucky Reptile Zoo Ssssspooktacular takes place on October 14th from 11am - 6pm. Enjoy a tour filled with games, prizes, crafts, and spend some time with snakes and other reptiles from all over the world! Click here for info.

In downtown Bardstown you and your littles can hit the square and collect candy from the local businesses. This event takes place on October 27th and lasts from 4pm until 9pm. Visit http://www.bardstownmainstreet.com for more information or via the Facebook event.

Fort Boonesborough State Park, Richmond - They host a Halloween Lights Drive Thru October 6-28th.  They are sights, sounds and scares of over 1½ miles of Halloween lights and displays - enjoy it all from the comfort of your car. They do it up at the campground also! A $5 donation for the tour will go to the Fort Boonesborough Foundation. For more information call 859-527-3454

Halloween Walk with the Animals at Salato Wildlife Center is October 28th from 1-5pm. It's a family-friendly Trick-or-Treat event so folks are encouraged to dress up. The kids will receive a treat bag to collect candy and a passport which they will take to each of the indoor and outdoor animal booths to receive a treat (or trick!) - fun while learning about the animals. Hay maze, face painting, photo booth and a fishing booth.


**Bonus idea:  (We couldn't stop at five!) Bowling Green Hot Rods is hosting at SPOOKTACULAR event on October 29th from 2-4pm.  It's free. It will feature a haunted clubhouse tour, ride on the carousel, and trick or treating throughout the concourse. They'll also have a costume contest and great prizes.


Click here to see more events in Oldham County
Click here to see more events around the Louisville area
Click here to see more events for the Shelby County area
Click here for Halloween fun around Lexington
Click here for fall fun around Elizabethtown
Click here for fall fun around Bowling Green

Check out our Pumpkin Patch list!

Stephanie
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Fall Farm Fun at Trunnell's Family Fun Acre & Farm Market

 photo trunnel_zpsv3ddtbyn.jpgNear Owensboro, you can find Trunnell's Family Fun Acre and spend hours having fun this fall and enjoying delicious food. We visited this summer and from what I can tell, it is definitely a destination to put on your trip list for the fall.  This family-run farm looks like a quaint farm market from the road but just over the hill behind their store lies a field of fun - seriously.

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 photo IMG_1737_zpsn1zcwrju.jpg photo IMG_1770_zpsyi7hivst.jpgThere is an admission fee for the family fun acre (prices vary based on when you go, age etc) but you should get them online because you can save some money. Every fall, they have a corn maze (and mini corn maze), hay rides, pumpkin patch, a hay bale jump, the korny korn crib and bonfire pits. These attractions are in addition to their jumping pillow, animal interactions, giant slide, tractor tricycles and more. They have gem mining too!  There's tons to do. 
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Their calendar is packed with special events each weekend. 
2017 brings movies every Saturday night in October....and fireworks!

They also have a fantastic farm market and FRESH FUDGE in so many different flavors.  You will be able to find something to eat there and treats to take home, the place was packed with really high quality items.

Here's what our writers had to say about Trunnell's:

The pit with the slide. In the fall is filled with corn and kids can slide into it and play. The rock mining was also a lot of fun! ~Lauren

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We loved this farm and can't say enough about how much fun we had. My youngest really liked feeding the pig and cow. My oldest enjoyed jumping on the jump pillow and riding the pedal tractors. My youngest (5 years old) tried the tractors but had a difficult time being successful because his legs weren't quite long enough. The mining activity was neat and they enjoyed looking at the identification sheet to match up what they had. And of course we stopped at the market on the way home and got some tomatoes, peaches, and bbq sauce. I would drive back just for the peaches, yum! I liked that you could sample some of the items as well. We had a great time and plan to go back.  ~Kelly
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My kids said "I liked the mining because I got to bring home all my gems!! The tractors were too hard for me, but daddy helped so I could make it around. My favorite part was that big giant pillow in the ground! And, I liked feeding the animals with baby bottles."and "the petting farm with the babies was cool"  We have already looked into returning for their fall events, which looks to be pretty awesome! I believe our pumpkins are going to come from Trunnel's this year! ~Karen

 photo trunnell cars_zpspcg0b5zz.jpgWe loved Trunnels! My kids loved feeding the animals - especially the pig! The big pillow was awesome and I can see us going back for another jumping session. I really liked how many things the farm had for kiddos to do - big tractor tricycles, the sand bag where the kids mined for gems, the petting area, and the big slide - just to name a few - making it fun for my five year old AND my almost ten year old. The folks were really friendly and I can't wait to go back for their Peanut's "Great Pumpkin" theme in October!  ~Dana

We had a great time at Tunnels! My girls loved the petting zoo and being able to feed the animals with the baby bottle. They also enjoyed mining for gems. My 5 year old loved the giant slide! ~Kimberly 



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Monday, September 18, 2017

Free Museums in Kentucky!




Learning is fantastic any way that you can squeeze it in to your day. When you can do it for free it is even better!

Below is a list of FREE museums Museums in Kentucky!

Annually on ONE DAY in September - you can get free admission to certain museums thanks to Museum Day Live! You go to this website to find locations near you and get your (2) tickets. There are usually about 10 in Kentucky that participate like the Kentucky Science Center, Slugger Museum or if you want to take a trip to Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Museum Center usually participates.

Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace 

The General George Patton Museum

Capital City Museum

The Art Museum at The University of Kentucky 

Kentucky Folk Art Center - Morehead State University 

Bittersweet Cabin Village 

Old Fort Harrod

The Brown - Pusey House

Kentucky Artisan Center

Jeffersontown Historical Museum

Speed Museum has free admission on Sundays 

KMAC Museum


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LEGO® Ninjago at Target


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Attention LEGO® fans! Target is hosting scavenger hunts across all of their local stores. THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE™ scavenger hunts will take place on September 30th from 10am - 1p.
The fun is free and will get the kids all excited for the upcoming movie.

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Images from Target.com
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Shelby Trails Park in Simpsonville

 photo Shelby Trails 2_zpss7qrceng.jpgShelby Trails Park in Simpsonville is one of the few places in the Louisville area that provides guided horseback trail rides. Hour-long rides are $40 per person, and run most days as long as the weather is good (call ahead for appointments). There is a minimum age of 8 and a maximum weight of 200 pounds, and the horses are very gentle so that even beginners can ride.

The ride itself covers a variety of terrains. In addition to somewhat steep up- and downhills, your trip will take you through mown grass, down a more meadow-y lane, over a small stretch of loose rocks, and even across a small creek. The horses on the ride walk in a single file, with guides at the front and end of the line to ensure that no one gets lost.

The weather for our trip was perfect – much nicer than expected for August when we went! You will need to wear long pants for your ride, so consider riding during a cooler month. Additionally, we were about a week-and-a-half into horsefly season, which lasts about a month, so take that into account when making plans.

 photo Shelby Trails 1_zpsln1sve17.jpg We had to keep a sharp eye out for the horseflies, which pestered us for most of the ride. Our guide, Justine, urged us to smack any that landed on our horses, because of their very painful stings (painful to both horses and humans). Fortunately for us, only Justine was stung on our ride.

We saw a rabbit on our ride, but evidently it’s not uncommon to come across other wildlife, such as deer, a fox, or a crane. The scenery is beautiful, and would be especially striking when the leaves turn in the fall. Cell phones/cameras are not allowed on the ride (or any other loose objects), but your guide will take a couple of pictures of you with her own phone, and text them to you afterwards.

My eight-year-old niece, who had previously only ridden around rings, very much enjoyed our trail ride. The only thing she didn’t like were the horseflies!

 By guest contributor: Erika
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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fort Knox Oktoberfest is September 22

This is a sponsored post
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Join Fort Knox for the annual Oktoberfest on Fort Knox's Brooks Field Friday evening, September 22 beginning at 5 pm. This popular event is a great time for the whole family.

 photo volksmarch_zpsubgnkvyt.jpgAlso, join us for the Volksmarch 5K run/walk at 6 PM!
Ft. Knox Oktoberfest will feature delicious German food, beer, live music, and a kids’ zone with activities and inflatables. Connect with the Fort Knox community while listening to Tony and the Tan lines Band along with the Schnickelfritz Band. Win cash prizes at the Corn Hole tournament.

Mark the Fort Knox Oktoberfest on your calendar today! 

The Fort Knox Oktoberfest and the Oktoberfest Volksmarch is sponsored by USAA and Harshaw Trane.


U.S. Army Garrison Fort Knox is open to the public for this great event.  If you are a non-military affiliated guest, please access Fort Knox through the Chaffee Gate and visit the Visitor's Control Center to receive your pass for gate access. You will need a valid form of ID such as a driver's license.  If this is your first time to visit Fort Knox, allow a few extra minutes at the Visitor's Control Center  to get your gate pass.
 
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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review of Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course in Jefferson Memorial Forest

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Go Ape is an aerial adventure course with sixteen locations in the US, one of which is in Jefferson Memorial Forest. Their Louisville course consists of five stations that take about 2-3 hours to complete. Reservations should be made in advance and are limited in number for each time slot.

 photo GoApe5_zps7tshptk6.jpg The minimum age for Go Ape’s Treetop Adventure courses is 10, but children age 10-15 must be supervised (from the obstacles, not from the ground) by an adult. Kids who are 16-17 don’t need adult supervision, but will need a signed waiver. Additionally, there is a minimum height of 4’11” and a maximum weight limit of 285 pounds.

Everyone (kids and adults) wears the same size harness, which is professionally adjusted by Go Ape instructors. The maximum waist size for the harness is 43”, and the maximum thigh size is 28”, but our instructor had no problem adjusting down a harness for my eleven-year-old nephew, who is lean and wiry. The harness has a number of attachments for safety, including two color-coded carabiners, a pulley, and a D-ring.

 photo GoApe3_zpsapymxi5p.jpgBefore you start the course, there is a mock-up of a cable and a swing and your instructor will show you how to safely connect and disconnect from them. The instructor will also go through the first station with you, to ensure everyone understands how to move safely through the obstacles, but after that you are on your own and the instructors supervise from the ground.

Each station starts with a rope ladder up to a platform and ends with a zipline from a platform back down to the ground, with several platforms and crossings in between. The first station, that you move through with the instructor, is very simple and low to the ground; after that, the rope ladders that start each new station are inside a locked paddock. The paddocks also include a bench, drinking water, and a sign with facts about different types of primates (to go with the Go Ape theme).

 photo GoApe2_zpsdwkymozn.jpgEach of the obstacles has a rating (easy, moderate, difficult, or extreme). Once you climb the rope ladder, there’s no going back – you can’t skip an obstacle. However, in several places there will be a choice of two paths: one easier and one harder.

There are many types of crossings between the platforms. Some involve walking along a thin steel cable, or a net. Some have moving platforms to cross. There are also two Tarzan Swings, where you swing from one platform into a cargo net that catches you, then climb from the net up to the nearest platform and continue on.

The course was a lot more strenuous than I expected. At one point I slipped off a difficult crossing, and even though my harness kept me perfectly safe, I had difficulty getting back up on a platform, due to a lack of leverage and upper body strength. Also, because the forest is so hilly, the terrain between the stations was uneven and quite steep in places. Spectators are allowed to watch from the ground, but if you have family members with mobility issues, they might have a difficult time. I wouldn’t recommend the aerial course itself for anyone who is not at least moderately fit.

Go Ape is not a cheap experience. “Baboons” (ages 10-15) are $38, and "Orangutans" (16-17) and “Gorillas” (18+) are $58. However, at the completion of our experience, we were given a certificate that included a 25% off discount on the back. My nephew said it was the most exciting day he’d ever had, so I’m glad we were able to do it, but I do think that 25% off the price would have been more reasonable. Discounts are offered periodically on Groupon.

Tips:
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You must supervise your children (maximum two children per adult) from the obstacles. If you have two 10-15 year old children that have different abilities or comfort levels with heights, consider taking another adult with you so that each child can have one-on-one supervision and go at his/her own pace.

Trust the difficulty ratings on the signs. Even if a crossing doesn’t look like it will be that hard, it will feel different once you get out there. Don’t be surprised if your child has an easier time than you – they’re probably shorter and lighter, and with a lower center of gravity, the obstacles won’t move as much for them.

Consider wearing (or buying at Go Ape) gloves that will protect your hands. If you hold onto the steel cables for balance, they can hurt your hands – mine were still sore hours later.

If you can, leave everything but your keys in your car/trunk, and give the Go Ape staff your keys to hold. Anything that gets dropped from the course may break and/or may not be able to be found. The Go Ape staff have first aid kits (including Epipens) in case of emergency.

Don’t worry about wearing sunglasses – you’re under the trees and it’s fairly shady. However, if you wear prescription lenses, consider putting them on some sort of strap. My face got pretty sweaty due to my exertions, and there were several times when my glasses started to slip off my face.

Go Ape Treetop Adventure course in Jefferson Memorial Forest is generally open from March - December. For more information or to make a reservation visit their website. To learn more about Jefferson Memorial Forest, see our review

By Guest Contributor: Erika
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