Wednesday, December 9, 2020

201+ Indoor Kentucky Family Destinations

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201+ Indoor Kentucky Family Destinations

This post is originally from 2018. Please understand that some of their offerings may have changed and/or may not have the same offerings during the pandemic. Check if they are open before you go or if they have changed their programming!

Across Kentucky

There are close to 200 public library branches throughout the state of Kentucky. You don't have to be a card carrier to take advantage of a library's resources and programs on any given day.

Play with the idea of owning chickens and try on new rain boots while eating free popcorn at your local Rural King. Leashed pets are allowed in the store and dog treats are FREE.

Go swimming indoors at the public Lebanon Aquatic Center, Falling Springs Indoor Pool or the Family Activity Center

Eastern Kentucky

Superhero Creamery and T-Shirt Factory | Ashland - Learn more here.

Berea College Visitor Center and Shoppe | Berea

Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky | Hazard

Kentucky Folk Art Center | Morehead

Gateway Regional Arts Center | Mt. Sterling

East Kentucky Science Center | Prestonburg

Hummel Planetarium | Richmond

Galaxy Bowling and Entertainment Center | Richmond

North Central Kentucky

Schneiders Homemade Candies | Bellevue

Behringer - Crawford Museum | Covington

Northern Kentucky Ice Center | Crescent Springs

Lazer Craze | Erlanger

Full Throttle Indoor Karting | Florence

Florence Fun Dome | Florence

Kentucky Gateway Museum Center | Maysville

Hofbrauhaus Newport | Newport

Axis Alley | Newport

Galaxie Skateshop | Newport

Open 365 days a year - take a trip to see the Newport Aquarium | Newport


Creation Museum | Petersburg

Big Bone Lick State Historic Site | Union


The Ark Encounter | Williamstown

Central Kentucky

See how the Civil War came close to home at the largest museum of its kind in Kentucky - The Civil War Museum and the Women's Museum of the Civil War | Bardstown

Participate in indoor play at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest | Clermont

All About Kids | Crestwood

Appreciate the smaller things in life at the Great American Doll House Museum | Danville - Review Here.

Danville Community Arts Center | Danville

Visit the Brown-Pusey House to follow in the footsteps of Jenny Lind, the Famous Swedish Singer showcased in the Greatest Showman | Elizabethtown

Inspire your children to be leaders by visiting the General George Patton Museum | Fort Knox - Free and will reopen August 16, 2018

Kentucky Historical Society | Frankfort

Poor Richard's Bookstore | Frankfort


Salato Wildlife Center | Frankfort

Broadway Clay | Frankfort

Grand Theatre | Frankfort

Toyota Visitor Center | Georgetown

Explore the nature center at the Creasey Mahann Nature Preserve | Goshen - Discover 5 things about Creasey here.

Malibu Jack's | Lexington

Gattitown | Lexington

Joseph-Beth Booksellers | Lexington

Explorium | Lexington

Living Arts and Science Center | Lexington

Lexington Children's Theatre | Lexington

Lexington Ice & Recreation Center | Lexington

Urban Ninja Project | Lexington

Champs Entertainment Complex | Lexington

Go ziplining or complete a ropes course inside the Louisville Mega Cavern | Louisville

Get creative in Art Sparks at the Speed Art Museum | Louisville

Create your own glass masterpiece at Kentucky's oldest operating glass studio along the Bourbon Trail - Fire Studio and Gallery | Louisville

Carmichael's Bookstores | Louisville

All About Kids | Louisville

Kentucky Science Center | Louisville

Muhammad Ali Center | Louisville

Altitude Trampoline Park | Louisville

Iceland Sports Complex | Louisville

Puzzles Fun Dome | Louisville

Idlewild Butterfly Museum | Louisville

Bluegrass Karting & Events | Louisville

The Rock Gem Climbing Center | Louisville

American Printing House for the Blind | Louisville

WaterWorks Museum | Louisville


Louisville Zoo | Louisville - There are always fascinating exhibits available indoors.

Mammoth Cave

Take off on a Train Excursion through the Rolling Fork River Valley from the Kentucky Railway Museum | New Haven

Hopewell Museum | Paris

Find inspiration for your next family DIY project at the Awesome Flea Market | Shepherdsville

Take in a live Central Kentucky Threatre performance at the Springfield Opera House | Springfield

Blazer's Fun Zone | Radcliff

Bluegrass Scenic Railroad Museum | Versailles

Bluegrass Heritage Museum | Winchester

Western Kentucky

National Corvette Museum | Bowling Green

Kentucky Museum | Bowling Green

Vertical Excape Indoor Climbing Gym | Bowling Green

Ralphie's Fun Center | Glasgow

Circus Skate | Murray

Edge Ice Center | Owensboro

Owensboro Museum of Science and History | Owensboro

Immerse yourselves in the sounds of Bluegrass at the Bluegrass Hall of Fame | Owensboro - Opening October 18-19, 2018.

YaYa's Island | Paducah

River Discovery Center | Paducah


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Sunday, December 6, 2020

Let's Go Birding Kentucky - Christmas Bird Count

Get outside, count birds and participate in the statewide Christmas bird census.

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Why Go Birding?

It is also time for the annual early-winter statewide bird census.   On December 15, birders and bird enthusiasts across Kentucky participate in an annual statewide census that helps track the health and well being of our environment. You can participate, everyone can! 

The practice of bird watching forces us to slow down and be present with our kiddos. Explore a local trail and see how many birds you can identify together as a part of the statewide early-winter bird count. It is a fun activity that does not require a lot of planning or equipment!

How Do We Get Started?

Before considering where you even go, visit this Nature Conservancy website and print off mnemonic device cheat sheets.  Download the FREE Merlin Bird ID app to listen to their recorded calls ahead of time. You can even encourage your kids to practice their mnemonic devices to the recordings as preparation for your trip.  Take the advice of Audubon and use common birds like the Robin to practice listening for birds before you see them.

or...

Grab a pair (or even better, multiple pairs) of binoculars and head to a local trail.  Monoculars are recommended for children, but they are not necessary.  It is more fun when more than one person can look for a bird at the same time, so bring extras if you can.


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Don’t have binoculars?

Often parks like McConnell Springs in Lexington have binoculars that they will lend to guests. Helpful hint: for less stress and quicker sighting, stick to areas near water. 

Also, check with your local library.  The Jessamine County Public Library provides a birdwatching kits.  It includes a backpack, Celestron NatureDX binoculars, 2 Kidwinz binoculars, a Birds of Kentucky book and a Natural Geographic Kids Bird Guide to North America.

Where To Go Besides Your Backyard?

Eastern Kentucky

Any Day | Berea College Forestry Outreach Center | Trails behind Berea College

Any Day | Daniel Boone National Forest | Flat Woods Trail


Central Kentucky

Any Day | Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill | Heritage Trail

Any Day | Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge | Blue Bird Trail | While you are there... visit Danville


For more information about Kentucky’s Birding hotspots visit the Audubon site here. Have more suggestions for our followers or birding events you would like to promote?  Let us know in the comments below.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Let's Go Pick a Christmas Tree

You and your family have decided it is time to put up your Christmas tree, this year you are going to do it Clark Griswold style and do it yourself! Below are is a listing of the Christmas tree farms in Kentucky that can get you on your way to a good old-fashioned family Christmas.

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Locations close, change business hours and more. Call ahead to check prices and hours.


North Central Kentucky


Michels Family Farm - Glencoe


Michels Family Farm - Sparta


Pine Ridge Tree Farm - Pendleton




Louisville Metro - FOR MORE PLACES NEAR LOUISVILLE, CLICK HERE

Alpine Ridge Christmas Tree Farm - LaGrange


Sleepy Hollow Tree Farm - Prospect

Tower View Farm & Nursery - Jeffersontown

Werkmeister's Christmas Tree Farm - Shepherdsville

Wethington Nursery - Jeffersontown

Lexington Metro

Barker's Christmas Tree Farm - Lexington


Christmas Memories Tree Farm - Lexington

Nieman's Tree Farm - Lexington


Central Kentucky

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Cathole Bend Tree Farm - Lancaster

Creekside Christmas Tree Farm -  Vine Grove

Kovalic's Christmas Tree Farm - Winchester

Robinson's Christmas Trees - Stamping Ground

Roberts Family Farm - Guston

Shelby Christmas Tree Farm - Shelbyville


Werkmeister Christmas Tree Farm - Shepherdsville


Yuletide Tree Farm & Nursery - Winchester


Western Kentucky


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Althouse Family Farm - Battletown

Bare Creek Farm - Bowling Green


Hartman Tree Farm - Bowling Green


Hilltop Tree Farm - Philpot

Lee's Garden Center - Hodgensville

Twin Bridges Tree Farm - Bowling Green

Trunnell's Farm Market - Utica


Eastern Kentucky


Baldwin Farm - Richmond


Hawn Gap Tree Farm - Bimble

Hutton - Loyd Tree Farm - Wallingford



More Questions?  The Kentucky Christmas Tree Farm Association is a great resource.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Pumpkin Patches in Kentucky

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Pumpkin Picking! We have compiled a list of pumpkin patches in Kentucky, listed by county. 

If your favorite pumpkin patch isn't listed let us know and we will add it.



As always, with any review or list that we compile; give the business a call before going, especially for 2020 and 

  
Boone County: 

Bourbon County:

Bullitt County:

Calloway County:

Campbell County: 

Carter County: 
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Christian County:

Clark County:

Daviess County:

Fayette County: 
Also, check out Lex Fun 4 Kids.
They have a great listing of pumpkin patches here.

Franklin County: 

Hardin County: 
Thomas Dairy Farm & Market - Read our review here.
Our friends at Elizabethtown Family have
an amazing list of pumpkin patches and festivals
check it out here!

Henderson County:

Henry County: 

Jefferson County:
Check out the listings Louisville Family Fun
has put together for Oldham Shelby and Jefferson.
They even threw in some "beyond" choices as well.
Check it out here.


Kenton County:

Knox County: 

Laurel County: 

Laurel County:

Lawrence County:

Madison County: 

Marion County: 

McLean County:
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Meade County: 

Mercer County: 

Nelson County:
Watson's Farm 2055 Springfield Road, Bloomfield, KY 40008. Phone: 502-252-0074

Oldham County:
Check out this list here

Owen County:

Pulaski County: 

Rockcastle County:

Scott County: 

Shelby County: 
Check out this list here

Spencer County:

Trimble County:

Warren County:

Wayne County:

Woodford County:
Check out Lex Fun 4 Kids.
They have a great listing of pumpkin patches here.


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Finding Fall Fun Around Kentucky

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There are so many things to do around the state, sometimes it's difficult to narrow it down.  In my own planning, I have found some favorite resources that I think will help you explore a new area or find something you have never done before!  Fall is just a beautiful time of year so why not find a new farm, festival or town to visit.

Here are some helpful links to find fall fun in Kentucky:
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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Free Drive-In Movies

Walmart will be offering FREE drive-in movies at supercenters around Kentucky


walmart Get your free tickets to upcoming movies at one of these four Kentucky Walmart locations.


Who doesn't like free? Sign me up! Walmart is hosting free drive-in movies this fall. This is great for family fun.

Where and when?

Oak Grove - 9/18/20
Oak Grove - 9/19/20
Hopkinsville - 9/22/20
Hopkinsville - 9/23/20
Paducah - 9/25/20
Shepherdsville - 9/25/20
Paducah - 9/26/20
Shepherdsville - 9/26/20


Possible movies are:
Wonder Woman
Spy Kids
Space Jam
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Ghostbusters
The Wizard of Oz
Black Panther
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Friday Night Lights

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Let's Go Camping HomeGrown HideAways

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Looking for a few days away from it all but close to home? Love nature but don’t want to deal with packing a car full of camping gear for just a day or two getaway. Try out HomeGrown HideAways just outside of Berea, Kentucky.

 photo holler_zpsy53pztil.jpgHomeGrown HideAways is located in a beautiful valley (holler) with a small creek running through a big wide open field surrounded by lush forests and knobs. We spent an overnight here in the foothills of the Appalachian forest on our way back from the Red River Gorge.

HomeGrown HideAways is a working farm and member of the National Forest Stewardship program and they have just begun offering "glamping" on airbnb in order to attract a wider audience. They offer completely kitted out options such as a treehouse and a yurt, as well as some more rustic options in a bell tent or our choice a 24 ft tipi. You may also pitch your own tent or bring an RV- they have hookups.

The Tipi was amazing- for the kids and us grownups- the idea of sleeping in a tipi was pretty exciting. The construction of the tipi itself is fascinating and the fact that you can safely build a fire inside makes us want to return in the fall to experience that on a cooler night. We brought a couple of tarps for the ground and airbeds and slept very comfortably. We kept the smoke flaps open overnight hoping to see a starry sky- unfortunately clouds had rolled in- but this gives us yet another reason to return.


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Tipi where we stayed overnight.

The kids had a blast on the grounds of HomeGrown HideAways, playing in Floyd Branch, campfires, visiting the chickens, and making friends with the dogs who call this beautiful place home. We recommend you make a B-line to the creek that runs through the valley if it gets hot.  Hang a hammock in the trees or set your favorite folding camp chair directly in the creek where the temperature is usually much cooler.

We’ve camped a lot and came completely over prepared for our weekend. Staying in any of the on-site lodgings, you have access to a full kitchen with fridge, oven, coffee maker, sink with hot and cold water and more. We didn’t need to bring out our gas camping stove, we didn’t need our cooler full of ice, or a table, or plates, or cutlery, no need for pots or pans! The fridge had fresh eggs from the farm. They also have a full and very clean bathhouse with flushable toilets and hot showers, a fire pit, cornhole boards, ultimate frisbee goals, covered picnic tables, a large playing field with swings. The farm also includes a beautiful hiking trail through the woodlands on the property. You can rent canoes for an afternoon on the nearby reservoir. Jessa and Nathan have everything you could need- all you need are your sleeping bags, pillows, and food to cook.
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Relax in Floyd Branch Creek.

Jessa and Nathan have built a new secluded Treehouse with huge windows that will give you amazing views of the landscape- definitely on our bucket list. We definitely recommend you check this place out with your kids, extended family, a great location for a family reunion, or an adult getaway- you even have the option of having your food cooked for you.

Before you go you should know that there is no cell service at HomeGrown HideAways and no pets are permitted. HomeGrown HideAways is located at 500 Branch Road in the beautiful Red Lick Valley, approximately 12 miles east of Berea. For additional information visit www.homegrownhideaways.org.


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Monday, June 29, 2020

A Day Trip to Owensboro, Kentucky

Take a day trip to Owensboro with kids, family fun!


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Owensboro has a lot to offer families and kids! We found a ton of free and inexpensive fun for everyone.

Parks opening June 29, spraygrounds July 3. 

Downtown Tips:
  • There's a Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn on either side of the modern looking convention center - great location for an overnight stay.
  • Free Trolley rides around downtown for hopping on and off!
  • Cute shops downtown- boutiques, antiques - something for everyone.

Owensboro Museum of Science and History
  • Affordable and they allow you to come and go as long as you have your ticket stub for the day
  • Free downtown on street parking 
  • A tad of an old place that needs some TLC- not everything works.
  • Good for younger kids - the upstairs play area is nice!
  • Lots of state history for elementary to middle school aged kids that are learning that topic in school
Smothers Park 
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  • Jumping water fountains all over
  • VERY clean and well-maintained - close to downtown for easy access
  • Huge/unique playground for all ages 
  • Restrooms were clean 
  • Stocked Snack bar
  • Lots of tables in the playground and surrounding park 
  • Splash pad open during warmer months

Giant Sassafrass Tree
  • We drove into the commercial and residential area searching for this tree!
  • It's not as impressive as it seemed online so, save your time. Cool idea but didn't have much of an impact or leave an impression.

Wonder Whip
  • Walk up burger joint with small selection of ice cream but delicious shakes
  • Recommend fried apple slices with vanilla ice cream
  • Great location for stopping on your way out of town (depending on your direction, of course)

Yellow Creek Park
  • AWESOME park!!!! Not just any park, it's a destination - really.
  • Multiple playgrounds, covered picnic spots, disc golf, fishing, fields and more.
  • Pioneer Village and hiking trail were our favorite - we spent significant time there
  • Bathrooms near the pioneer village for convenience
  • Cool suspension bridge and covered bridge on the walking trail

Other things to note about Owensboro:
  • We noticed a couple of orchards for fruit picking during the season
  • Walk-up pizza placer called Fetta by playground - easy lunch spot
  • There's wifi at playground and Bee Bop, but not museum
  • Many of the area hotels have pools - kids love hotels with pools! 
  • Camping, RV, cottage, and motel room rentals at Diamond Lake Resort - theater, go-karts, bumper boats, pedal boats, mini golf, disc golf, fishing, pizza and ice cream parlor, grill, grocery and laundry on site.
  • The city also has a tennis complex, ice center and a skate park and lots of festivals and shows throughout the year

Stephanie & Caryn
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Review of Big Bone Lick State Park

 photo 20160630_151838_zpsuoled0se.jpgWhen they were younger, my kids were totally OBSESSED with dinosaurs and fossils and paleontology. The older two (9 and 8) may act like they’ve outgrown the whole dino craze, but the fact is you never outgrow skulls as big as your whole body! When I saw Big Bone Lick State Historic Site with pictures of bison and a mastodon skull, I knew we had to go.

Located in Union, Kentucky, BBL is about 1.5 hours northeast of Louisville, just over an hour north of Lexington, and about 35 minutes southwest of Cincinnati. BBL is very easy to find once you get off the main interstate but check your GPS for your exit because there’s no interstate signage.

My kids got excited as soon as they saw the big entrance sign with picture of bison and mammoths. We went straight back to the outdoor diorama and the museum. While you aren’t able to touch or access them directly, the life sized replicas are really cool and the walkway above serves as a place for photo ops and also has several educational plaques.

 photo 20160630_120436_zpsnnmatg77.jpgThe museum has a large (air conditioned!!!) room with a mastodon skull as the focal point. There are several other fossils, historical references, restrooms, and a gift shop. Typically I cringe when I hear “gift shop” because I hate being asked to buy a $25 stuffed animal that I’ve seen at the dollar store – just without a logo. However, this gift shop is very reasonably priced and if your kids like getting souvenirs, you won’t break the bank.

 photo 20160630_125307_zpsawkmshba.jpgFrom the museum/gift shop we headed across the parking lot to a trail to see the bison. The trail to go see the bison is less than a quarter of a mile and if you have little legs with you or even a sturdy stroller, it’s an easy walk. The trails in the woods are more difficult for toddler legs and impassable for a stroller. The first trail we started with was called Cedar Run. Five minutes in and were totally surrounded by untouched nature in all her splendor. Due to the narrow width, single file walking is a must – so pick a line leader.
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We took the longer trail around the woods instead of heading straight back to the museum and ended up hiking around two miles. We did have to stop and take some water breaks after some steep inclines and I had to keep reminding my kids to watch their footing on the sharp descents, but minus some huffing and puffing, we all made it just find – including my active five year old. After a quick bathroom stop in the museum, we drove to the lake parking lot (which only has around 8 parking spaces) then hiked up some terrain steps to the lake at the top - another beautiful nature view with plenty of benches to relax. There is another two mile trail looped around the lake, but my folks were done with trails at that point! We also drove up to the campsite, which has mini-golf, a small camp store, and a pool for the campers.

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All in all, we had a very fun and full day. When we stopped at the museum/ visitor center, there were several fliers about upcoming events – most of which were free. There are also educational scavenger hunts to make things even more interesting for older kids. Big Bone Lick State Historic Site has 813 acres with 40 acres of picnic grounds, a pavilion with more restrooms, 2 playgrounds and a 62-site campground with electricity, water, grills, bathhouse, and a pool.

Just one word of caution, there is NO cell service at the park – at least my AT&T phone didn’t pick up service until we were back towards the highway.

Dana
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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Free Fishing Weekend - Kentucky

Thanks to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, you can fish for free (no license) this weekend. It's always the first weekend of June.

 photo IMG_2635_zpsuk01rei3.jpgYou can fin fishing spots all over Kentucky.! During Family Fishing Days, no license is required to fish. 

The FINS program (fishing in neighborhoods) showcases lakes all over the state that are great for fishing.  See information here.

You can also search for fishing spots here and the FINS locations are noted.

LexFun4Kids has a great list of special events that are taking place around town for free fishing weekend.......fishing derbies are popular.

We encourage you to try out fishing this weekend! You can tie it together with a hike and picnic while you check out a new lake and park. 
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Sunday, April 26, 2020

12 Things to Know when Visiting Lost River Cave

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1.  Touring the grounds at Lost River Cave, hiking and the nature play area - FREE. Come and go all day. We did!

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2.  Plan to buy something at the gift shop - it's NICE. Like, you walk in and stop and look around and wonder - am I in the right place?

3.  It's an independent non-profit so your dollars support their educational and preservation efforts.

 photo IMG_0714_zpsu8xcmsm6.jpg4. The boat tour is worth the money.  The tour guides were funny, knowledgeable and totally in love with this place which made for a great experience.  Tip them, see #3 - they can likely use the money.

 photo IMG_0744_zpsychupsgh.jpg5. Get the junior tour guide books for the kids.  Request them in the gift shop, this activity is free and my kids love it.  They get a nice activity book to go through and are rewarded when they complete it!

6. If you live nearby, they have camps!  There were kids there having a blast over spring break.

7.  Butterfly habitat May-Sept, it's back along the trails and from the looks of it - it's worth the short hike back there to check it out when it's open.

 photo IMG_0771_zpspeugyz5b.jpg8. Hiking trails are not too treacherous which makes visiting more open to everyone!

9. They have a Nature Trading post that is open the 2nd & 4th Sat April - Oct.  It back along the trails like the butterfly habitat.  Check it out for additional experiences.

10. You can have an event there, even a wedding in the cave!  Seriously - it use the be a nightclub. I kid you not.

11. There are many places to eat nearby if you don't bring a picnic.  We grabbed frostys at Wendy's because the kids got them free after completing their junior tour guide books, there are other fast-food options between Lost River Cave and the highway but also if you head into town on Nashville Rd, there are tons of options - I noticed Lost River Pizza Co and Home Cafe which both get great reviews online.

 photo IMG_0790_zpsn7hig5um.jpg12. You will LEARN while having fun. The best kind of fun is when you take away knowledge! Like these blue holes - I know what they are and you will too - after you visit Lost River Cave!

~Stephanie
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Five FREE Family Attractions in Bowling Green, Kentucky

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Lost River Cave
Thought you have to pay to tour the cave, you can walk the trails and enjoy the nature play area at no cost.  It is a very interesting hiking area in terms of the different things you see (bird watching area, bridges and more) and it's manageable  - you don't need to be an intense hiker to handle it!

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Basil Griffin Park
This park has a lot of offer!  The playground is very large and has such a variety of equipment so I always recommend it since it appeals to families with kids of all ages. They also have a lake, disc golf and plenty of space for picnicking.

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Aviation Heritage Park
This area is very close to Basil Griffin Park so if you visit one, definitely visit the other.  It is small but the planes are very cool for the kids to get up close and touch, look at and learn.

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Chaney's Dairy Barn
If you can resist buying ice cream (yeah right.......), it's technically free to visit Chaney's Dairy Barn and it's an interesting spot to visit.  The shop inside is colorful and full of antiques and other items to look at and there's a play area in the back that the kids will love - particularly the young ones.  But....you really DO have to get some ice cream.....I think it's the best EVER.

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Historic Downtown Bowling Green
In the center of downtown Bowling Green, there is a lovely park with statues, fountains and beautiful landscaping.  In addition to shopping and taking in the architecture, this park is a perfect place to take a break, get some nice family photos or enjoy a snack.

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Stephanie
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