Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Let's Go Hiking Kentucky

Don't be tempted to stay indoors this year.  Get outside and explore!  Take off on foot and immerse yourselves in Kentucky's natural beauty.


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With families in mind, we have compiled a short list of recommended family hikes around Kentucky. Whether you are looking for a no-fail trail to introduce your child to hiking or just for a quick stroll with your family's best friend, this list is a good place to start.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, but they are hikes recommended by Kentuckians who are passionate about our commonwealth's natural resources.  


Family Friendly Trails: 
Listed in order of easy to strenuous.  


Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest | Rock Run Loop | Central Kentucky | Bullitt County
Always be practice safety in surface water, but as streams go the creek this trail follows is shaded and pretty safe.  You will find watering holes that children can play in.

Kingdom Come State Park | You can walk or drive up to the overlooks | Eastern Kentucky | Harlan County
All trails are under a mile long.

Cove Spring Park | Central Kentucky | Franklin County
3 miles of trails, a mile of which is accessible. 

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill | Heritage Trail | Central Kentucky | Mercer County
Take a right downhill off the Heritage Trail to view the remains of the Shaker grist and lindseed mills.  This hike will lead you to Shawnee Run Creek and when the water is low it is safe to explore.

Menifee County Park System | Broke Leg Falls | Eastern Kentucky | Menifee County Park
Don't be afraid. Go and learn where the name comes from.
A beautiful sight to behold but more so during wet seasons.

Carters Cave State Resort Park | Natural Bridge Trail | Eastern Kentucky | Carter County
A half mile trail that is easy to walk is considered to be uniquely Kentucky. 

Red River Gorge | Rock Bridge to Creation Falls | Eastern Kentucky | Wolf County
This trail is a little over a mile.  It does not meet accessibility standards but is a moderate paved walk.

Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge | Bluebird Trail to Deer Trail to Woodland Pond Trail to Brooks Hollow Trail and back | Central Kentucky | Boyle County
These trails can be explored until you and your family are ready to turn back.  However the further in your explore the more beauty you will uncover.  Make sure you wear your muck boots.

Jackson County | Flat Lick Falls | Eastern Kentucky | Jackson County
This property is under development but is a moderate half-mile trail to a unique waterfall.

John B. Stephenson Memorial Forest | Anglin Falls | Eastern Kentucky | Rockcastle County
The foot trail to the base of the falls is about a mile in length and is moderate to strenuous.

Daniel Boone National Forest | Lower Dog Slaughter Trail #414 | Eastern Kentucky | Whitley County
Dog-Friendly (I swear). Approximately 2.4-mile round trip.


Guided Hikes:

Guided Hikes at the Pinnacles | Every Tuesday, Fridays, and Saturdays at 9am
Trail difficulty decided by the group of hikers.


Special Thanks to the following contributors:

Kentucky Waterfalls, Arches and Landscapes - Facebook Group



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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Day trip to Frankfort, Kentucky - our state capitol

A Day Trip to Frankfort, Kentucky

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Over spring break, I had one day to spare from work so I told the kids we would take a day trip.  Their request: a learning trip.  We love going places to explore that have a hint of learning. Sure, there are those times for pure, giggle-full fun but more times than not, my kids want to learn. Love that!

I decided on Frankfort because it's about an hour from home so it's doable in a day without having to get up and out very early.  After breakfast, we grabbed our book about the Kentucky state capital and took to the road.

For 2021, some of these places may not be open or they may have modifications to their programming/schedule/operations. 

How to get there:
Get yourself to I64 toward Frankfort from wherever you live.  The exit I recommend is 53 onto Lawrenceburg Rd toward Frankfort.  Head into town and you can choose two ways to get to the capitol area: 1)take 60/Louisville Road east and you will arrive on the same side of the river as the capital.  2)Cross over 60/Louisville Rd and continue on Lawrenceburg Rd and you will go beyond the capital but approach it by going through the downtown area and some great historic areas. Basically, go in one way and out the other and you have it all covered!  When you take the 60/Louisville Rd route, that's when you will pass the small parking area for the scenic overlook of the capital. It's a great stop for photo opps.

photo IMG_3454_zpszw7zivyw.jpgState capitol self-guided tour:
There are two maps online that I recommend you print and take with you for each child. Click here and here. One covers the grounds and the other the interior of the capitol building.  It really helps the kids focus on what they are seeing and appreciate the details.  We liked finding the markers for time capsules and learning tidbits of history as we walked around.

Visitor information can be found here. There's plenty of parking around the building and on adjacent streets. The hours are Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m year round. Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (April through October). It's always closed on Sunday. You just walk on in and check in with security. You can arrange for a guided tour if you prefer.

photo IMG_7018_zpslndjiupy.jpgCliffside Diner:
This diner is right around the corner and literally on a cliff. It's a tiny place full of locals - they spotted our "out of town-ness" immediately.  We sat at the diner counter and shared burgers, fries, and chicken tenders. They had specials to try and the prices were reasonable.  We love finding these local spots. They do not serve breakfast all day.......

photo IMG_3536_zpsep64pzvl.jpgDowntown Frankfort:
We crossed back over the river to find the main street in Frankfort.  It was quiet but we could tell that it's a wonderful place for festivals and such. Luckily, we spotted B's Bakery right before it closed.  It is the most adorable spot!  If I did this trip again, I'd go there first for coffee and pastries.  The decor was unique and the treats were not only attractive, but delicious.  We snagged a brownie, cookie and donut holes to go....for way less money than I thought at such a nice place. We sat at one of the picnic tables downtown for our snack before heading up the street to the original state capitol building and another awesome strip of shops featuring a coffee shop and local all-things-Kentucky shop.  We also were too late to explore the free Capital City Museum, so we'll have to do that next time. And, on the next trip, we are totally using the Frankfort Public Art Tour map to have a little scavenger hunt to find everything - the kids would love that.  We also drove by Liberty Hall and noticed they have tours and events.  That will go on my "next time" list.  As you can see, you can spend your day in downtown if you like!

photo IMG_3516_zpsddrrw9uu.jpgSalato Wildlife Center:
If you go back out to 60/Louisville Rd and head west, you will get to the Salato Wildlife Center.  When we went, there were quite a few animals off exhibit so if you are planning a day, give them a call and check on the animals that are out and about their areas.  It's just $5 for adults and $3 for kids (children 4 and under receive free admission) so we didn't mind exploring when the place wasn't totally active.  We were there for about two hours and saw it all, my kids moved fast.  There are times when they have educational experiences with the staff both indoors and outdoors so ask for those times when you go in.  There's an indoor area with some hands-on educational fun, turtles, snakes and more. Outside, there is a paved path for navigating the center and the kids will love the black bear, wildcat and the play area among other exhibits. It's worth a stop if you are in Frankfort.

photo IMG_3545_zpsds7sq7hd.jpgJuniper Hills Park:
This park is known for it's relatively new aquatic center. But, it has a nice playground area as well. We love finding a playground everywhere we go......to burn off our sugar consumption.  This playground sits up on a hill so it's a great view for relaxing while your children plan.  It was suitable for a variety of ages and way clean. This would be a perfect spot for a picnic or like we did, a short 30 minute stop to get the wiggles out before heading back home in the car. Since we were there in early spring, the restrooms were not open but they did have a clean port-a-potty nearby.

Stephanie
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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Let's Go to the Louisville Zoo - Winter Family Fun

Wintertime at our popular Kentucky destinations often means fewer people, more time to linger and discounts.


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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 February 28, 2021.

What to do: Bring at least one canned food item per person to receive $2 off winter adult or child’s admission on a future visit. 
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Want to know what is needed most? Canned meats (tuna included), canned fruit, fruit juice, beans, peanut butter, soup, rice, cereal, fruit juice, pasta, and canned vegetables. Please avoid glass containers.


More details are available here.
Fall/winter hours at the Louisville Zoo are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (exit by 5 p.m.) and continue through March 20, 2021. 


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Friday, January 1, 2021

101 FREE things to do with your kids in Kentucky!

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There are so many free things to do with kids in Kentucky! We are lucky to live close to historical sites, many parks, cities with rich culture, and natural sites for outdoor adventures.

During the pandemic, some of these places may not be open or they may have different programming. Please check with them before you go to make sure they are open! Most events have not been taking place and in 2021, still many are being canceled. 


1. Visit Abraham Lincoln's birthplace. Link here  - there's a heritage trail!
2. Take a deep breath at the Patriot Peace Memorial.
3. See folk art in Kentucky's Folk Art Center.
4. Tour the State Capitol Building in Frankfort.
5. Pay your respects to Daniel Boone at his gravesite.
6. Take a ride on the Valley View Ferry.
7. Take in the breathtaking views at Kingdom Come State Park
8. Eat a picnic lunch at the edge of Nolin Lake.
9. Plan a trip to see a moonbow at Cumberland Falls State Park.
10. Travel back to re-enact a battle at Perryville Battlefield - see our review here.
11. Get some energy out by hiking to the top of Natural Bridge.  See LouFamFun post.
12. Pay your respects to Thoroughbred Greats at Claiborne Farm.
13. Visit Boone Station in Lexington.
14. Marvel at the Flood Wall Murals in Paducah
15. Visit the Kentucky Dam and let the kids burn off some steam in the open areas.
16. Check out the Historic Apple Valley Roadside Attraction.
17. Get up close and personal with the planes at Aviation Heritage Park.
18. Bask in the beauty of Blanton Forest State Nature Preserve.
19. Take the dogs (and kids!) to romp at Pioneer Park.
20. Walk (or run!) across the Purple People Bridge.
21. Play on the playground at Old Fort Harrod.
22. Hike one of the trails at Bernheim Forest. Here's a LouFamFun post.
23. Explore one of the many covered bridges of Fleming County.
24. Marvel at the beauty of Tioga Falls.
25. Go on a free guided Big Blue Traditions tour on the UK campus.
26. Go see how candy is made at Old Kentucky Chocolates and get a taste too!
27. Splash in Yahoo Falls, Kentucky's tallest waterfall.
28. Go see the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
29. Tour the Ale 8 One Plant.
30. Stop for a picture opp at Weisenberger Mill.
31. Tour the 21C Museum Art Gallery.
32. Tour the Louisville Nature Center.
33. Get locked up in the historic Scott County Jail.
34. Check out Toyota's Manufacturing Plant.
35. Hike through the Arboretum in Lexington.
36. Check out the Daniel Boone National Forest.
37. Go back in time and visit the Dr. Thomas Walker Historic Site.
38. In April, check out the Kite Festival in Lexington.
39. Stretch your legs on the Big Four Bridge.  Read this LouFamFun post.
40. In October, take a look at the trains at the Railroad & Bluegrass Festival  
41. Hike and make memories, then stop at the playground at The Parklands.
42. Take in the beauty of Kentucky at the Raven Run Nature Sanctuary.
43. Brush up on your history at the Lexington History Museum.
44. Leave the rat race behind at Jacobson Park.
45. Pay your respects to the fallen men and women at Camp Nelson National Cemetery.
46. Stroll through the art galleries in Paducah.
47. Get in touch with your inner Daniel Boone at Fort Boonesborough State Park.
48. Camp at Red River Gorge.
49. Get closer to the clouds at Natural Bridge State Park.
50. Visit the Bluegrass Scenic Railroad and Museum. Tour the museum!
51. Go for a hike at the Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park.
52. Walk the scenic loop at Cherokee Park.
53. Explore the Freeman Lake Park.
54. Go for a drive along the country roads in Meade County and look at the quilts painted on barns.
55. Visit Anglin Falls.
56. Cool off in the Torrent Falls.
57.Tour the governors mansion in Frankfort.
58. Count the love locks on the bridge at the RiverWalk in Bowling Green.
59. See the waterfall Cumberland Falls State Park is named for.
60. Hang out at Thoroughbred Park, get in the race and an awesome picture!
61. Find the hidden waterfalls of McCreary County
62. Explore EP Tom Sawyer Park.
63. Hang out in Basil Griffin Park.
64. Be a skateboard pro at Roland Bland Park.
64. Picnic at Reservoir Hill Park.
65. Strike a pose in front of the fountains at Fountain Square Park.
66. Pull over and check out the monuments on the side of the road.
67. Learn a little bit about Whiskey at the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey.
68. If you like gardening you'll love the Hillbilly Garden!
69. Peek in at all of the treasures at Jerry's Junk.
70. Try out the slides at Legion Park.
71. Pay your respects to the king of fried chicken, at Colonel Sanders Grave.
72. If it doesn't creep you out go visit the Vent Haven: Ventriloquist Museum.
73. Stop for pictures in front of the worlds largest bat.
74. Check out the 30 ft statue of David.
75. Visit the beautiful grounds of Gethsemani.
76. Check out the Bardstown Art Gallery and Thomas Merton Books Collection.
77. Play the day away in the Bardstown Community Park.
78. Go in to the Why Louisville Store and check out Colonel Sanders!
79. Write on the Before I die...wall in NuLu.
80. Go see the world peace bell.
81. Check out Big South Fork National River.
82. Get in the trenches at Camp Wildcat Civil War Battlefield.
83. Immerse yourself in culture at the Godbey Appalachian Cultural and Fine Arts Center.
84. Go on the Hatfield - McCoy Family Feud driving tour.
85. Play around at the John James Audubon Park.
86. Relax in the butterfly garden at Panther Creek Park.
87. Play at the super awesome playground at Smothers Park.
88.Visit the Jesus swingset sculpture.
89. Hike at Berea Pinnacles.
90. Watch the barges go by at the Newport Levee.
91. Tour the Kentucky Artisan Center.
92. Take a peek inside the Cane Ridge Meeting House.
93. Tour the historic Duncan Tavern.
94. Learn something new at Wrather West Kentucky Museum.
95. Pull over and take your family's Christmas card photo in front of Mother Goose.
96. See the sights while hiking the Osborne Bend Trail.
97. Brush up on your Native American History on the Trail of Tears.
98. Hike to the top of Carrington Rock.
99. Tour a working farm set in the 1850's.
100. Explore the Big Bone Lick discovery trail.
101. Learn some local history at Fitchburg Furnace.


In Louisville?  See this list from LouisvilleFamilyFun.net about 50 FREE things to do in Louisville with kids!

In Shelby County?  See ShelbyFamilyFun.net for fun ideas!
In Oldham County?  See OldhamFamilyFun.net for fun ideas!
We also recommend this article: 50 Free Fun Things to Do in Central Kentucky


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