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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Make the most of your winter break!



We encourage you to use the resources that we have provided to spend time with your most precious gifts, your friends and family.

There are a plethora of things to choose from!

For those who are more budget minded (who isn't) our list of 101 Free Things to do in Kentucky is a sure bet!

Here's a list of five inexpensive places for indoor fun around Kentucky.

If you haven't had your fill of Christmas activities yet, check out this list from Louisville Family Fun.

Here's a list of 10 fun FREE things to do around Louisville for winter break.

And, even more fun things to do around Louisville - click here.

Maybe some indoor fun in Central KY?  Here are some idea from Lex Fun 4 Kids.

Family Friendly Cincinnati is a great resource for ideas in Northern KY.

Elizabethtown Family has seasonal fun ideas too!

If you are still trying to finish up your Christmas shopping (eek!) this list of gifts that aren't toys might just come in handy!

There are special events at the Kentucky State Parks.

No matter where you find yourself this holiday we hope that it is filled with fantastic experiences and times where you took the time to enjoy your loved ones!


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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Indoor Winter Fun for Toddlers around Kentucky


Wind, rain, cold, snow! You never know with winter in Kentucky - be prepared with fun places to go to tire out the kids!

*Please note - some hours and prices may change*

In Lexington there is a place called Monkey Joe's kids 2 and under are $5.00 everyone else is $7.99 to $8.99 depending on the day.

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Radcliff has an indoor play place called Blazer's Fun Zone, they have all sorts of attractions but for little guys the bouncy houses are a sure bet! Unlimited bouncing is $8.95 and kids 2 and under at $6.95.

In Covington? Totter's Otterville offers an expansive play area and adults don't pay for admission. It is geared toward children under the age of 10.

If you are in the Owensboro area you and your little one can head to the Owensboro Rotary Playzeum it is located inside of the Owensboro Museum of Science and History. The best part? It is only for kiddos 10 and under so you can let you little one play without having the worries of the bigger kids.

In Louisville & Oldham County, All About Kids offers open gym and swim. There are inflatables and gymnastics fun.  At their Oldham facility, they also have basketball and soccer during open gym. 

The Railpark in Bowling Green has story time!  Details are on the Bowling Green visitor's website.  It's free and at 10 a.m. on certain dates so be sure to plan ahead.  What a neat place for story time. 

In Campbellsville you can head over to BOUNCE. They are an indoor bouncy house facility that can be rented for birthday parties but they are also open for free play.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Give a gift of Kentucky Experiences and Family Fun

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What do you give when you don't want to give "stuff" but you want to give something thoughtful?  Experiences! Kentucky is full of fun and maybe giving a gift that can be used all year or later next year is the way to go. Here are some ideas:

1. Louisville Zoo membership holiday offer - offer ends soon but you can always purchase a membership!

2. The Newport Aquarium is super fun. They have a special during the holidays for buy 3, get 1 free on annual passes.

3. The Explorium in Lexington is also a fun place for families to visit, especially those with young children. The membership levels vary but the price range is $70 to $125.

4. A membership to the Creation Museum might be something that your family enjoys. Their membership rate is $175 for a family and incorporated membership to the Ark Encounter.

5. Your family could become members of the Kentucky Gateway Museum. This museum is very unique, "there are a very few places in the world where visitors can enjoy a large collection of miniature buildings, rooms and artifacts: Chicago’s Art Institute, England, and now, Maysville." A family membership is a very affordable $60.

6. The Owensboro Museum of Science and History is another great place for families in Kentucky. And, membership for families is just $40, a great affordable gift. This museum is in the quaint downtown area near amazing local restaurants and what we think is the best park in Ky!

7. The Kentucky Science Center is so much fun for families of all ages. From the IMAX movies to the hands on exhibits your family will be entertained for hours. Membership starts at from $89 for families.

8. How about the gift of summer fun at Kentucky Kingdom? This is obviously is better suited for older kids because there is a height restriction. Give the gift of season passes!

9. If Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green is closer to you, season pass holders get free sunscreen, parking and tubes for the water rides. A season pass per person is $99.99

10. Louisville City  ticket vouchers - your recipient will get to choose which game they want to go to and their seats.

11. Louisville Bats also offers a flex pack for just $69 to $89 with some promotional freebies.

12. Lexington Legends offer a holiday flex pack. You can get 10-50 tickets for the 2018 season!

13. The Bowling Green Hot Rods offer a 6 game holiday gift pack for $60!

14. How about a racing experience for a thrill-seeker?  NASCAR Racing Experience offers gift cards that can be used at Kentucky Motor Speedway!

15. How luck would your gift recipient be to get the gift of exploring Kentucky State Parks.  The state parks offer gift cards that can be used for meals and lodging, even shopping.  They have so many locations and programs - your recipient can pick their favorite place and go take a wildlife tour, learn about birds or history!

16. Have an adventurer you need a gift for? What about Go Ape - an outdoor ropes course?  This experience is a little pricy for people so that's why it might just make the best gift.....something special they have been wanting to do!

Stephanie
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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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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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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

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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Monday, August 28, 2017

Haney's Appledale Farm in Nancy near Lake Cumberland

 photo IMG_4957_zpsjknaabhl.jpgWhile on a visit to Lake Cumberland, I did my research as usually and found that Haney's Appledale Farm was mentioned numerous times.  There are few things that I like better than farm fun (and pie) so we ventured there one afternoon for a treat -  I was sold at 'bakery'!

 photo IMG_4968_zpsmyzhiqpf.jpgLocated on Highway 80, it was really easy to find. It was very close to Pulaski County Park - which we also enjoyed on our visit.  The farm store is inviting with rockers out front and a large opening to the farm store on the right side of the building. The kids immediately noticed the play area in the back. Of course, the folks there were just as welcoming. We actually found that some of the owner's grand-kids go to school with mine, we recognized them in a photo!

 photo IMG_4982_zpstmpeecfa.jpgAfter browsing for a bit, we decided to let the kids work up an appetite and play.  They have a barn-shaped play structure in the back that was just enough for our pit-stop.  It had swings, slides and climbing features but mostly, since it was set up like and upstairs and downstairs barn, it lent itself to imaginative play. I liked the view of the orchards from the upstairs part of the play area - yes, I got up there! When we went, it was quite hot so we didn't spend as much time outside as we would have liked. I can definitely see that during the milder weather, families can hang out by the play area more or take their snacks outside for a picnic.


We shopped the market to find local products and lots of their produce - peaches since it was summer. They also grow apples (25 varieties), pumpkins, and pears seasonally.  Fall is definitely popular. We took home some peaches before we left our vacation spot.  They don't always offer u-pick so check ahead before you go.

 photo IMG_4977_zpshtgyghk4.jpgThe bakery is known for their pies - which are small pocket pies. They make different flavors seasonally and you can order large batches if you need to!  They also had muffins, cookies and select lunch items like pulled pork sandwiches. We enjoyed their peach slushies and baked goods - the pies are just the right size to not feel guilty......well, too guilty.

Haney's is open seven days a week, with shorter hours on Sundays. We recommend you follow them on Facebook for farm updates so you know when certain varieties of fruit are ready. 
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Visiting Fort Boonesborough in Richmond

 photo 070_zpsaatvytdj.jpgI love Kentucky. As the saying goes, I wasn’t born here, but I got here as quickly as I could. And along with my love for all things Kentucky, our state parks are tops on my list. This particular Saturday’s adventure led us to Fort Boonesborough in Richmond.

 photo 071_zpsppfo86uh.jpgFort Boonesborough has been reconstructed as a working fort complete with cabins, blockhouses and furnishings. Resident artisans perform craft demonstrations and give modern-day visitors a true sense of what life was like for pioneers in Kentucky.

Open daily from 9-5 April through October, the admission fees to the fort are well worth the cost (Ages 6 to 12: $5, 13 & up: $8). The Fort Boonesborough Foundation has events all through the year. Cool History on Hot Days runs every Saturday through August, and my family was treated to a narrative about life in Daniel Boone’s day by a woman dressed in period clothing. We were all enthralled as the speaker brought up so many historic events and began thought provoking discussions well after she was finished.

 photo 099_zpsyaj7clm6.jpgWe strolled around the grounds of the fort at our leisure. We did pause while my oldest son tried to throw a tomahawk at a log – which was actually much more difficult than the resident artisan made it appear! In different cabins we learned about candles, soap making, the weapons and tools of the day, medicinal herbs, and got glimpses of how the settlers may have lived so long ago. There was also a gift shop on site with fort souvenirs as well as cold sodas and snacks.

 photo 104_zpsfsem1bzk.jpgThe campground, pool and picnic area are just down the road, or you can take a trail which is about half a mile. We ate our picnic lunch and my youngest son enjoyed the playground afterwards. Then we made our way down to the Kentucky River so my kids could fish (make sure you have a license). It was very peaceful and quiet on the river bank. After everyone had had enough of the river, we decided to check out pool. The fees were minimal (Ages 3 to 12: $4, 13 & up: $5, Campers: $4, Seniors: $4) and it was a great way to unwind and cool down after a long day of exploring.
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We all really enjoyed the experience and the people at the fort were very nice and eager to answer questions. Beyond the beautiful setting, having the past come to life before your eyes will leave a lasting impression!

By guest contributor:
Dana
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Solar Eclipse Events in Kentucky

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Chances are you've heard about the solar eclipse that will occur on Monday, August 21st. This is a huge event for Kentucky, because parts of the state are in the path of totality, meaning the moon will completely block out the sun as it passes between the sun and the earth. Optimal total solar eclipse viewing will be slightly northwest of Hopkinsville, Ky. It's a once in a lifetime viewing opportunity for many, so thousands of people from around the world will be traveling to see it. A map of totality can be found here. For those living in Louisville, a partial solar eclipse will be seen. NASA has a great website explaining everything! And, an interactive map for locations and times.

Below are events that will be taking place all across the Kentucky.

Please note: regardless of the degree of totality, you WILL NEED solar eclipse glasses for viewing! Some venues will have a limited number of pairs available. Play it safe and buy a pair before the 21st. We've seen them for sale ($1 - $2) at local Kroger, Lowes, Walmart and Heine Bros. locations-- to name a few! 

Louisville/Jefferson County, KY
Big Four Bridge Lawn

E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park

Kentucky Derby Musuem

Kentucky State Fairgrounds

Mint Julep Tours- Solar Eclipse and Bourbon Sips Experience* Tour departs Louisville and travels to Hopkinsville.

PNC Achievement Center in Beckley Creek Park

Spalding University

Ballard County, KY
Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site

Barron County, KY
Barron River Lake State Park

Boone County, KY
Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

Bullitt County, KY
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

Christian County, KY
Burdoc Farms

Christian Way Farm

Jefferson Davis Monument

Kelly Little Green Men Festival

Daviess County, KY
Owensboro Museum of Science and History

Western Kentucky Botanical Garden

Fayette County, KY
The Living Arts and Science Center

Floyd County, KY
Jenny-Wiley State Resort Park

Henderson County, KY
John James Audubon State Park

Hickman County, KY
Columbus-Belmont State Park

Hopkins County, KY
American Legion in Madisonville

Downtown Dawson Springs

Elks BPOE #738 in Madisonville
Madisonville City Park

Madisonville Community College

Mahr Park at Hidden Hills Farm

Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park

Marshall County, KY
Kenlake State Resort Park

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park

McCracken County, KY
Art Guild of Paducah

Brooks Field

Carson Center

McCracken County Library

Silent Brigade Distillery

West Kentucky Community and Technical College

Muhlenberg County, KY
Greenville Summerhouse

Oldham County
City Place Lawn *Pre-register for this networking event.

Spencer County, KY
Solar Eclipse Paddle at Taylorsville Lake

Todd County, KY
Jefferson Davis Historic Site

Trigg County, KY
Lake Barkley State Resort Park

Union County, KY
Caseyville Recreation Area & Boat Dock

Warren County, KY
The A-Frame

Aviation Heritage Park

Bowling Green Ballpark

Chaney's Dairy Farm

Historic Railpark and Train Musuem

Reid's Livery Winery

Rockn B Horse and Carriage Farm


Looking for a fun way to teach your child about the solar eclipse? Check out this short animated video by McGraw-Hill Education:




Know of another eclipse viewing party in Kentucky? Email a link to brandy@louisvillefamilyfun.net.

By Guest Contributor: Brandy
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Review of Cave Run Lake

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We’re a family that LOVES the beach – and water in general. However, with the nearest ocean a few hours away, my kids (ages 10, 9, and 6) and I set out to find what a Kentucky beach had in store and were not disappointed.

After some research, I found Cave Run Lake, which is part of the Daniel Boone National Forrest. Cave Run, about an hour and half east of Lexington and just south of Morehead, is an 8,270 acre lake that was built for flood protection by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

There are two main beaches – Zilpo and Twin Knobs. Twin Knobs is larger and somewhat easier to get to. It has a boat ramp, summer amphitheater programs and scheduled campground activities. The campground also has volleyball courts, basketball hoops and horseshoe pits as well as many other amenities.

Zilpo sits on a peninsula in the middle portion of Cave Run Lake at an elevation of 800 feet deep in the forest with the nearest community 12 miles away. We chose the path less traveled and went to Zilpo.

Since the two beaches are on opposing sides of the lake, the routes are totally different. The road to Zilpo is about 17 miles once you enter the park. There are a couple turns but they are well marked so no worries about getting misplaced. However, with curvy roads and speeds topping out around 45 mph, it does seem to take FOREVER to get back to the beach.

We did pass a couple different picnic areas – and after a long ride in the car – stopped at the Clear Creek area which we were thankful had restroom. We even stumbled upon what we referred to as a Kentucky pyramid, but was actually the remains of an iron furnace – and a history lesson opportunity!

As we continued to drive, there was a clearing which gave us an amazing view of the lake. It was breathtaking and spurred us on to continue the rest of drive through the forest! After we stopped at the guard shack further down the road and paid our $10 vehicle fee (pretty sure it’s cash only so be prepared), we continued through the campgrounds to the beach parking lot. As soon as we parked and the kids saw the beach, they deemed our over two hour drive totally worth it and we got busy having fun!

 photo 093_zpsdyt6ewmf.jpgWe had basic things for a day at the beach – floaties, goggles, snacks, a beach mat and towels. My older son also insisted on having his fishing poles to do some shore fishing (make sure you have your license). We found the beach itself to be really rocky instead of sandy so make sure everyone has water shoes or sandals that can get wet. We charged ahead to the water, which was just about room temperature. It was incredible! There was no adjustment time needed – we all just got straight in! The beach is well defined with buoys and a sea wall to keep everyone well contained and aware of the boundaries. My kids are good swimmers, and we had life jackets on hand just in case, but at no point was I concerned for their safety in the water.

The beach area also had a volleyball court, some park benches, a bathroom facility, and a small general store with cold soft drinks, snacks, goggles, etc.

We were only prepared to spend the afternoon, but it’s a place I’d like to go back and spend at least the weekend. There are campsites, rental cabins, boat launches, boat rentals at the marina, hiking trails, hunting, and so many more activities to explore with family or friends. My kids and I were in total awe of the surrounding beauty and how much fun lake swimming was. They couldn’t stop talking about it. When we go back, we’ll plan on plotting out much more than just an afternoon.

Make sure as you’re planning your trip, you decide on what kind of experience you want, how much time you want to spend and check the surrounding areas for events you can tie in to your trip. Cave Run Lake is a place where you could go back just about every weekend and find something new to explore!


By guest contributor:
Dana
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Visiting Pulaski County Park - a beach swimming location on Lake Cumberland

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Pulaski County Park is conveniently located off of Rte. 80 in Nancy, Kentucky. This park is on Lake Cumberland in the Somerset area. The park offers an array of options for people who are looking for a day visit or for folks looking to camp or have a gathering. See aerial photos here.

What attracted us to visit Pulaski County Park is we were told that there was a beach area and when traveling with kids ages 2 to 10, that's a perfect option.  The beach was added in 2017. The beach area is easy to find in the park if you keep going right as you enter the park. There is ample parking but it's important to notice, there are no bathroom facilities at the beach area. You must cross the parking area and go up a hill to portable bathrooms at the top of the hill. It wasn't too much of a hike but with little kids, that's important to know. And, the portable bathrooms there were very clean.


There is one large tree on the beach so we were able to grab that spot for the day to have some shade. There are a few picnic tables and a grill in a shady are closer to the parking lot. We brought in chairs, floats and our picnic items and spent hours at this beach.  There are rocky spots close to the shady area but as you go toward the middle of the beach, it's more sandy.  The kids loved collecting rocks and then at the end of the day, swam them back into the lake to sink to the bottom.

Also at the park, there are camping options (less that $80 per night) for any level of camping and there are also cabins. We drove around and found a wonderful trail if you are interested in hiking or biking that trail, many picnic shelters that would be great for groups, a playground, basketball and more activities. The park has quite a bit to offer and we did notice a lot of people camping, fishing and kayaking. The kayaking looked great because of where the park is situated, folks can go in and out of coves in Lake Cumberland.

The park is open dawn to dusk for visitors. They have a small store at the entrance in case you need some fishing supplies, snack or a drink. The folks in the store were also helpful for fishing tips and other information about the park. That store is open normal business hours, not the entire time the park it open. We noticed that the park utilizes an inmate program to clean the park. We had no problems at all but we did notice that they work on the beach in the morning so if you arrive later in the morning and stay for the afternoon, they will likely be finished with their work.

The park is so close to many things to do. If you stay at Pulaski County Park, you won't be bored! Also, it was just down the road from Haney's Appledale Farm which we really loved for treats. 


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Saturday, July 29, 2017

A review of SomerSplash Water Park in Somerset

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 photo IMG_8601_zps2gmmrlfr.jpgSomerSplash is a water park run by the City of Somerset which is located near Lake Cumberland. This water park can be a day trip itself or can be tied in with a trip to Lake Cumberland. If you are visiting the Lake Cumberland area, you may know it's a large lake so it spans a wide area. This water park is located on the northeast side of the lake.

 photo IMG_8588_zpsk3uw1sck.jpgThe water park is open late-May through Labor Day.  You can visit their website to see variations in hours and prices for admission. Admission depends on when you arrive and how tall you are, which determines your level of participation in some of the rides. Also, there's a poolside charge of just $3 if you are not swimming - that's a nice option when you have a grandparent that wants to join and you don't want to pay the full price.  We chose to arrive after 4pm to save money and enjoy shorter lines - three hours of fun was enough for us since we were traveling with a two-year-old.

We explored and tried most of the water features. I found the place to be very clean and noticed the abundance of lifeguards.  I also likes that there were so many options for a variety of ages. For example, even in the wave pool area, there were little kids playing because the pool was zero entry and had spray features.

The water park has the following:
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  • Shallow water playground area with small slides and dumping bucket
  • Kiddie area exclusively for the little ones
  • Some covered seating
  • One steep body slide
  • A lazy river
  • Two tube slides the enter into the lazy river - one with a big bowl
  • Three body slides, some tunnel, some open. Less steep.
  • A wave pool
  • Multiple spray features
  • A shop and locker rooms
Tips: Arrive early to get covered seating if you plan to be there all day! Bring in your picnic to save money. Check their Facebook page for weather closings. They have special events throughout the summer.

The kids loved the wave pool the best. The tube slide that has the bowl was a close second!


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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Splash 'n' Dash 5K Run/Walk - Louisville

This post was made in support of this event as a media partnership.

Make a big splash to help kids at Norton Children’s Hospital during the Splash ‘n’ Dash 5k Walk/Run, presented by Texas Roadhouse.

The Splash ‘n’ Dash is a family-friendly fundraising event supporting the life-saving care available through the three Norton Children’s facilities which treated more than 177,000 children last year.

Runners and walkers can choose to splash their way through a 5k course or a 1k family fun run filled with fun and refreshing ways to cool off in splash zones.

Participants will be able to designate their funds raised to the area of their choice within Norton Children’s Hospital. Designate a specific illness such as cancer or heart, or support your favorite group such as Brave Hearts or Type 1 Club.

After the race, enjoy family-friendly activities in the “Just for Kids” Zone, presented by Hwang’s Martial Arts:
o Water balloon toss
o Rock climbing wall
o Face painting
o Water slides
o Music and more!

ABOUT THE EVENT:
Saturday, August 5
9 a.m. (1k Family Fun Run begins at 10 a.m.)
Louisville Waterfront Park, Big Four Lawn

REGISTRATION:
Register at SplashNDash5K.org
5k registration: $30 for adults and $15 for children age 17 and under
1k registration: $20 for adults and $15 for children age 17 and under

Visit SplashNDash5k.org to register or for more information
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hats Off Day at the Kentucky Horse Park

Free day of family fun Event is July 29 at 
the Kentucky Horse Park

Enjoy free, family-friendly events designed to celebrate the horse on Saturday, July 29, from 4 to 10 p.m. at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The 2017  Hats Off Day theme is “Memories of Man O' War” celebrating what would be his 100th birthday!

Hats Off Day is the only day of the year that admission to 
the Horse Park is free. 


Free admission to the Horse Park is offered all day, with Hats Off Day festivities (all free) starting at 4 p.m. Activities include:
  • Horse rides for adults and pony rides for children
  • Face painting
  • Inflatables
  • Educational booths
  • Interactive equine stations including mechanical race horses
There's even a chance to receive free horse farm hats, provided by area horse farms and businesses, if you are among the first attendees!

The featured entertainment of the event is the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix show jumping competition at 7:30 p.m.

Hats Off Day is also a fundraiser for the Kentucky Equine Humane Center and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, so it's a great way to support these causes and have fun at the same time!

Visit www.hatsoffky.com for a full schedule of events!
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A day trip to Fort Knox

We were hosted for the purposed of review.

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The Fort Knox MWR staff invited us for a visit to showcase all that Fort Knox has to offer to the public. It's really like it's own city but unique in its rich history and active military base status.  There's a lot of hustle and bustle around the base so it makes for an interesting visit because not only can you eat there and find entertainment, but you also witness the work that's taking place on the base.  Let me tell you a little more about our visit and highlight some tips for you.


Access
 photo IMG_7991_zpsoldknbut.jpgWe were able to access Fort Knox with no problem.  When we arrived at the Chaffee Gate, you simply pull into the Visitor's Center building that's on the left before the main gates.  This will allow you to get a pass to go in and out of the gates. You can get a day pass or an annual pass. The passes are free.  We gave our drivers licenses to check in and there was no line.  Anyone 16 years old or older has to check in with a proper ID.  Younger children check in with the adults.  Once we had our passes, we drove to the gate and showed the passes to enter. And, with the passes, we can now enter through any gate, not just the Chaffee Gate.

Tip: Get an annual pass. You never know when the moment hits that you want to go for a special event or to swim and if you already have the annual pass, it makes entry even that much easier.

Playgrounds
 photo IMG_3942_zpsy6bpunll.jpgThere are playgrounds all around Fort Knox. Our favorite was by the Starbucks because they had a covered seating area that's great for enjoying a latte while the kids play.  They also have a fantastic playground near the amphitheater that sits atop a hill for great views and it's near a bathroom.  This playground is also near the aquatics center so when that reopens soon, combine the playground and picnic with some swimming. All of the playgrounds are open to the public, they were clean and updates.......so take a tour around Fort Knox for playground fun.

Tip: The playground by the amphitheater has a wonderful covered picnic area.  Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy!

Special Events
I was amazed to learn that there is such extensive programming on Fort Knox that is open to the public. I made the assumption that it is all just for military families but that is not the case.  They have a wide array of community events from outdoor movies to large festivals.  Just take a look at their community events page to keep tabs on events and on some of the program pages, they list the special events taking place at those locations like at the water park.

Tip: Follow their Facebook page because they will keep everyone updates about special events via social media.

Summer Fun
 photo IMG_3995_zpsbu892bvr.jpgSummer is definitely the time when most families are on the move to find fun. The Fort Knox water park is great for families with kids of all ages.  It is very affordable at just $8 per person (civilian rate) and you can purchase a combo card for access to the water park and mini golf to save some money if you plan to do both (they are very close to each other).  The water park features areas for changing and showering, lockers, a snack bar, a playground, a zero-entry area with a spraying water feature, a standard pool, two slides (one tube, one open), a floating obstacle course and a covered (yes, covered!!) and gated child's pool for little ones. There were amble chairs around and even some in the shade.  My children said that they enjoyed the obstacle course the best and I loved the zero-entry area for getting just a little wet to stay cool myself......without the full commitment of jumping in! Also, it is big enough to not feel crowded but at the same time, I could sit anywhere and see my kids all over the park - that's nice and more relaxed than huge water parks.

 photo IMG_3997_zpszb8rgtnr.jpgFalls Landing Mini-golf is just across the street from the water park and if you area going to spend the day, I do recommend it because it's so close. By the way, the all day golf and swim package is $8 so it's a no-brainer since it's basically free with the water park. Just be sure to mention that when you check in. The mini-golf was not an over-the-top experience like you would see at a beach destination, it was a simple course that allowed for a fun experience and you can't beat the deal.

Aquatics Center
The Anderson Aquatics Center is currently under renovation but let me tell you, when it opens, you have to go. It has a GIGANTIC indoor pool......seriously, it's HUGE. There's also an indoor splashpad.  During the summer months, there is an outdoor sprayground and snack shack as well.  It will likely all reopen in October 2017 and day passes are less than $5, you can even rent the place out for large groups for just $225 for 2 hours.

Golf
If you have family members that like to golf.............real golf..........the Lindsey Golf Course on Fort Knox is open to the public.  It's a full 18-hole course with a grill, golf shop and driving range. It's open seven days a week and the most expensive it gets for a round of golf is $25. I don't know much about golf beyond the fact that golf carts are mighty fun but I think $25 is quite reasonable. So, even if you aren't very good, at least you had a fun day riding around in the cart and you can say you golfed near the gold.

Indoor Fun
 photo IMG_3979_zpsvozmlix2.jpgThe Houston Bowling Center on Fort Knox is a clean, retro-style bowling alley that's really affordable.  It is a large center so availability is plentyful.  They also have a cafe that is very popular. It was under renovation there but everyone we spoke to raved about this cafe. That's a hidden gem you need to remember when you visit and you are looking to eat!

Tip: If you pick up one of the Fort Knox MWR magazines around Fort Knox, there will be a coupon in there for bowling.

Movies
They have a movie theater on base and they host a free movie once a month on a Sunday. Keep tabs on the calendar of events to coordinate your visit and catch one of these movies.  Otherwise, most of the time, this theatre is not open to the public.

Dining
We ate at two different locations during our day trip.  First, the golf course cafe - the Lindsey Grill.  This cafe is quick service and has everything you would want from a grill menu and I thought the prices were quite reasonable. The portions were generous!  At the golf course cafe, there's a covered patio for dining outside in the shade, which we really enjoyed. Or, for more action, you can take a seat right at the grill counter - kids always love that.

 photo IMG_8040_zpsgwfgq3ww.jpgFor dinner, we ate at Sam Adams Brewhouse. This restaurant is a family-friendly bar and grill that features an all-American style menu, a spacious dining area, a full bar and lots of TVs. Most of us had sandwich baskets that were filling and delicious but one of our hosts had the wings and he said that everyone goes there for the wings!  I was very surprised at the prices since the venue seemed higher-end at first glance but the sandwich baskets were all priced under $8 and the kids meals under $3. I definitely recommend a visit to this restaurant when you are on Fort Knox.

Also, there's a grill at the bowling alley that gets rave reviews. I noticed that there were some chain fast-food restaurants around the base for convenience and remember, there are great picnic areas near the playgrounds so you are welcome to bring your own food in to enjoy.  You can find other restaurants here.

Accommodations
Fort Knox does have a hotel on the base - a Holiday Inn - so if you are looking for a getaway, you can stay there because there's plenty to do over the course of a few days!
Fort Knox is not far from Radcliff, Elizabethtown or Brandenburg so you can also consider staying in hotels in these areas if you are planning a day trip or longer to visit Fort Knox. Then, you can also enjoy what these other areas have to offer. Check out Comfort Suites, it's usually where we stay for great space and breakfast included.

Here are more photos:


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