Note to Editors: The following is the first installment in a four-part series of day trips to Kentucky state attractions. In this installment, we highlight attractions in Kentucky’s North Central region. These one-tank trips are prepackaged travel ideas for families, couples or friends who are looking for an economical, yet fun, spring or summer vacation or weekend getaway. Each one-tank trip release will showcase one of the four regions of Kentucky and include a variety of attractions suited to appeal to the tastes of everyone in the group.
Frankfort, KY.- Rising gas prices shouldn’t prevent travelers from hitting the road this spring and summer. According to Bill Hardman of the STS, “A gasoline price increase of 10 cents a gallon adds $4 dollars to a trip. An increase of 25 cents adds $10 dollars.”
And because it’s Spring Break time, doesn’t mean families have to go as far as Disneyland to enjoy a vacation. “Our many state parks and historical sites will convince tourists to make Kentucky their destination,” said Billy Reed, Commerce Cabinet Executive Director for Communications. Kentucky has a variety of attractions and places worth visiting that most Kentuckians are not even aware of. Rather than head to the beach, consider discovering what Kentucky has to offer.
North Central Region
Begin in Louisville on the Ohio River, right off I65, I64 and I71. It’s an ideal location. Drive to Churchill Downs, home to the world famous Kentucky Derby, raced every 1st Saturday in May. Sitting next door to it is the Kentucky Derby Museum “where every day is Derby Day.” The museum offers backside tours of the race track, a 360-degree high-definition video show about the Derby called “The Greatest Race” and several interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience “the greatest two minutes in sports.”
Drive a few miles and you’re downtown. The Louisville Slugger Museum is easy to locate. Just look for the world’s biggest baseball bat. Baseball fans can see the exhibits and take a tour of the baseball bat factory where they can have their own personalized bat made. A block or two away is the Louisville Science Museum with three floors of fun and educational activities. The center’s spring feature exhibit is “When Crocodile’s Ruled.” Visitors can also view a movie at the Center’s IMAX Theatre. Currently showing at the theatre are NASCAR: The IMAX Experience, Space Center and Bugs: A Rainforest Adventure.
Located just a couple of blocks away is a new attraction to the area, Frazier Historical Arms Museum. The Museum is internationally acclaimed. It houses priceless artifacts such as the family bible of Daniel Boone and the ivory-handled pistols of General George Armstrong Custer. Art lovers will enjoy the Speed Art Museum. Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum offers art collections spanning 6,000 years. Capturing Western Legends: Russell and Remington’s Canadian Frontier is the feature exhibit this spring.
If there are kids in the bunch take them to the Louisville Zoo or spend a day of thrills at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. If you plan to stay overnight, Louisville has several options for lodging, including the newly renovated legendary Galt House.
The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau offers two Family Adventure Packages that include admission to most of the attractions mentioned above as well as additional hotel accommodations. These packages are affordable and a great deal. For more information on Family Adventure Packages contact the Greater Louisville CVB or go to www.gotolouisville.com or call 888-568-4784.
Lexington / Frankfort
Located 80 miles east of Louisville on Interstate 64, is the city of Lexington. Before heading into the “horse capital of the world,” take exit 53B to US127 to Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. Take a tour of the distillery and taste some of the best straight bourbon Kentucky has to offer. A trip to Frankfort would not be complete without a visit to the Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory, the birthplace of Kentucky bourbon chocolates.
Take a quick detour on Interstate 75N to the Kentucky Horse Park. The Horse Park features two outstanding museums, twin theaters and nearly 50 different breeds of horses. Calumet Farm, located in Lexington, is famous for its history of Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown Winners. Private tours of the farm are given to visitors who make reservations in advance. About six miles west of the city is Keeneland, a thoroughbred race track and sales company. Keeneland provides superior year-round training facilities for horses and annually conducts race meetings of the highest caliber in April and October. Their spring race meet started April 8 and runs through April 29; no races on Mondays or Tuesdays.
If you’re traveling through Lexington on a Monday, be sure to attend Woodsongs Old-time Radio Hour, a live radio show located in the heart of downtown Lexington. This live radio broadcast show features the music of folksinger/songwriter Michael Johnathan and guests. Ashland, the historic home of Henry Clay from 1806 to 1952, sits just off Richmond Road in Lexington. Visitors can tour the estate and see an array of Clay family antiques.
Downtown Berea is known as the “Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky.” At the Berea Artisan Center, located south of Richmond on interstate 75, you can shop for Kentucky made products and explore Kentucky crafts & history.
The Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau offers business, holiday, family and signature packages that include lodging and tickets to attractions in the area. For more information on these attractions contact the Lexington CVB by calling 800-845-3959 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nestled right on the Ohio River, about 90 miles north of Lexington, is Covington. Off I75, the Newport Aquarium, sits at the edge of the river. Come and experience this underwater discovery zone with 7,000 marine animals full of tunnels, see-through floors and an interactive pool where visitors can have an up-close and personal experience with a few of the aquarium’s creatures. Newport on the Levee is a short walk away. Stroll through the shops, watch a movie at the theatre or grab a bite to eat on the Levee overlooking the river.
Mainstrasse Village is designated as a national historic district preserves the German heritage of the area. Mainstrasse offers a collection of exclusive shops and restaurants. The village is set in Victorian and Classic Italianate homes of the mid to late 1800's. Come celebrate Maifest May 13 to 15, a traditional German festival welcoming the first spring wines. Maifest was voted as one of the top twenty events in the southeastern United States. With tons of street vendors, a variety of booths with food to tease your taste buds, arts and crafts and so much more. You don’t want to miss it!
Stop by the breathtaking Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption modeled after Notre Dame.
Book a dinner cruise with BB Riverboats! While cruising down the Ohio, catch an incredible view from the river while enjoying entertainment and casual dining.
The Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau promotes several hotel and ticket packages. For more information on Northern Kentucky events and attractions or to make reservations call 1-800-STAY-NKY or email the bureau at email@example.com.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky’s economy. www.kentuckyunbridledspirit.com