Kentucky Horse Park

Press Release Date:  Monday, February 13, 2012  
Contact Information:  Cindy Rullman, 859-259-4209,  

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 14, 2012)  The Kentucky Horse Park will open something akin to a school in a barn, to engage school-age children in discovering the wonder of horses. The new attraction is a joint project between the public and private sectors and it will be the first attraction at the park that is dedicated solely to children.  The Kids’ Barn will feature interactive exhibits, while the park’s education department staff will host daily hands-on activities with the park’s resident horses.

"Children have a tremendous curiosity and natural affinity for horses, and since one of the most important missions of the Kentucky Horse Park is to raise awareness of - and interest in – horses, our new Kids’ Barn will be a wonderful expression of our dedication to that goal," said John Nicholson, executive director of the park. "It will expand their knowledge and appreciation of horses and the horse industry in a fun and memorable way, through lots of hands-on interactions and other learning experiences."
Housed in the park’s former Draft Horse Barn, located next to the International Museum of the Horse, the new Kids’ Barn will offer a plethora of things to do throughout each day for children ages 13 and under.  For example, the Mare and Foal Show will allow visitors the chance to learn about a mare’s gestation and the early life of a foal. Pony Tales for children under the age of 10 will be a guided reading adventure through favorite horse books. Groom and Shine will allow children the chance to have hands-on experience learning about grooming horses – including bathing them. Jump a Course in the Champion’s Arena will be a place where children can expend some energy by jumping over a miniature-scale show jumping course. A scavenger hunt throughout the park will start at the Kids’ Barn, and different breeds of horses will also take turns being featured in the barn.

Funded largely by the private sector, the Kids’ Barn has been made possible by a number of national and regional equine organizations, universities and businesses, which constructed and donated hands-on and informational exhibits in each of the barn’s 20 standing stalls. Among them are Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, University of Kentucky Equine Initiative, Humane Society of the United States, Purina, United States Pony Clubs, Inc., American Farrier’s Association, Morehead State University, Young Rider magazine, Carriage Association of America, Kentucky Horse Council, Saddle up Safely, and others.

The Kids’ Barn has been designed to complement the park’s very successful Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program (KHPLP), which has donated horse-themed books to thousands of classrooms in Kentucky’s grade schools.  One of the schools participating in KHPLP this year is Russell Cave Elementary in Lexington.  Its third-graders will be the first to explore and experience the Kids’ Barn during a private opening March 7.  The Kids’ Barn will then open to the public beginning March 8, and is included with park admission. 

"It is imperative that the next generation understands and develops a deep appreciation for horses and the horse industry so that they too will reap the rewards that only horses are able to bestow on our economy, on our landscape and on our souls," Nicholson said. "Our new Kids’ Barn will move hundreds of thousands of children a little closer to that very pleasant and vital objective."

For more information, contact the Kentucky Horse Park Education Department’s Laurie Mays at 859-233-4305.

The Kentucky Horse Park is open Wednesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm through March 14. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children ages 7-12, and children 6 and under are admitted free of charge.  From March 15 to November 4, the park will be open seven days a week, 9am to 5pm.  Admission will be $16 for adults, $8 for children ages 7-12, and children 6 and under will be admitted free of charge.  Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse - a Smithsonian Affiliate, and the American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop.