Department of Parks
Plenty of Winter Activities At Kentucky State Parks
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Looking for something to do on a cold winter day or weekend? While the Kentucky State Parks are well known for summer vacations, there are plenty of events on the calendar during the winter months.
Wildlife tours, hikes, holiday festivities, New Year’s Eve parties – these are just a few of the events taking place at the state parks this winter.
Here’s a list of some of the offerings from Kentucky State Parks. For more information, visit www.parks.ky.gov or call 1-800-255-PARK.
Holiday and New Year’s Eve Events
Many state parks have special holiday programs during December. My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown and Waveland State Historic Site in Lexington, for example, have candlelight tours scheduled for the second weekend in December. Other parks are having light programs, special meals, visits by Santa and other festivities. Several resort parks will also have special New Year’s Eve parties and lodging packages. Visit www.parks.ky.gov and click on “Holiday Events” for a complete list.
Eagle Watch Weekends
During January and February, four state resort parks will be participating in the “Eagle Watch Weekends,” a chance to see the American Bald Eagle in the wild. The tours take place on an excursion yacht, barges, pontoon boats and by van, depending upon the location and tour. Ticket prices for the tours range from $20 to $50 a person.
The parks, phone numbers and dates for the Eagle Watch Weekends are:
Dale Hollow State Resort Park (800-325-2282): Jan. 19-21, Jan. 26-28, Feb. 16-17.
Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park (800-325-0146): Jan. 19-21.
Lake Barkley State Resort Park (800-325-1708): Jan. 26-28.
Kenlake State Resort Park (800-325-0143): Feb. 2-4.
Guests should bring warm clothes, rain gear and binoculars. These trips can take place under extreme weather conditions. These resorts offer lodges, cottages, and restaurants. Registration is required for the Eagle Watch Weekends. Call the parks for details and fee information.
In addition to the Eagle Watch Weekends, Kenlake State Resort Park on Kentucky Lake, will be offering cruises on the CQ Princess, a commercial yacht that offers indoor and outdoor viewing. These additional cruises will be offered during the week. Weekday packages include rooms, meals and a cruise. Call Kenlake at 1-800-325-0143 for details.
Elk Tours at Jenny Wiley and Buckhorn Lake State Resort Parks
Visitors to Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg this winter will have an opportunity to see the results of the elk reintroduction program with elk sighting tours.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park will offer elk tours on the following dates: December 16 and in 2007 on January 6, 13, 27, 28; February 10, 17, 24; and March 3, 10. The tours cost $12 a person and include a van ride to the viewing area at a reclaimed surface mine. Reservations are required.
The tours at Jenny Wiley leave at from the park recreation office and last four to six hours. A continental breakfast and coffee is included. Call Jenny Wiley State Resort Park for information and reservations at 1-800-325-0142. Jenny Wiley has a lodge, cottages and restaurant.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park in Perry County is also offering Winter Elk Tour packages on Jan. 12-15 and Feb. 23-25. These include dinner and lodging on night of arrival, with breakfast and a tour to the elk preserve the next day. Call 1-800-325-0058 for details.
Count birds at Natural Bridge or take a hike at Big Bone Lick
The 4th Annual Natural Bridge Midwinter Bird Count will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16, at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Powell County. The survey starts at at the Hemlock Lodge and participants can take part as long as they like. No experience is necessary. This event is free but registration is required. Contact Naturalist Noelle Theres at 800-325-1710 or 606-663-2214, extension 2104 or email her at Noelle.firstname.lastname@example.org More information is available at http://www.biology.eku.edu/KOS/mwbc.html Natural Bridge State Resort Park has a lodge, restaurant, cottages, and hiking trails.
On Dec. 12 at Big Bone Lick State Park in Boone County, a naturalist will lead a hike and discuss plants, animals and park history as part of a seasonal series. Call the park at 859-384-3522 for details.
Crawlathon and Wild Caves Day
The 26th Crawlathon will be January 26-28 at Carter Caves State Resort Park near Olive Hill. Crawlathon is a weekend packed full of wild caving trips, canoeing, pit plunging, vertical workshops, proper techniques of caving workshops, and kids trips.
Registration is $30 for adults (ages 13 and older); $15 for children 6-12. Fee includes access to all evening programs, workshops, cave tours (2 trips Saturday & 1 trip Sunday), transportation to selected caves, and a uniquely designed T-shirt. Pre-registration will begin around December 16th and end on January 16, 2007. On site registration begins at on Jan. 26. Payment must be received with the pre-registration. Call 1-800-325-0059 for information.
Barren River Lake State Resort Park near Glasgow will host Wild Cave Days on Jan. 13. This is a great way to spend a cool winter day - in a cave where the temperature remains constant. This is a wild cave tour that allows you the opportunity to explore the underworld of Kentucky. This outing is limited to ages 12 and above. Registration fee is $35. Registration deadline is January 5. Call 1-800-325-0057.
Chautauqua at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Experience the fascinating lives of Kentuckians who had an influence on our culture. The Kentucky Chautauqua program brings these unique characters to life. Enjoy a great dinner in our Riverview Restaurant before the show. The Jan. 27 show will feature Dr. Thomas Walker: “Pioneer Physician.” A lodging package is available for $105 that includes dinner and the show for two. Call 1-800-325-0063.
Native American Weekend
Celebrate the 9th annual Native American Weekend at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park in Jamestown on Jan. 26-28. Enjoy a weekend of educational and entertaining presentations and demonstrations that portray the heritage of the Native American culture. There will also be authentic Native American vendors on hand. Add a special buffalo dinner (Saturday night), Saturday and Sunday breakfast, and two nights lodging at $199 (plus tax) per couple and you’re guaranteed a memorable experience. Deadline for registration is Jan. 23. Call 1-800-325-1709 or email RobertA.Myers@ky.gov
For Those Who Like To Stay Inside
John James Audubon State Park in Henderson will host journalist and photographer Sharon Sorsenson on Jan. 13 for a free program called “On Safari in East Africa.” Lions, elephants, and giraffes will soothe your seasonal “blahs” and give you the perfect winter vacation experience. Starts at
Greenbo Lake State Resort Park will have a “Scrapbooking Weekend” on Jan. 19-20.
The weekend is designed for the novice and experienced scrap booker. All participants should bring their own materials and scrapbooks. Materials and scrapbooks can be purchased. Registration is $35 and will take place on Friday, Jan. 19 at The park is offering special lodging rates for the weekend. Two nights lodging and a continental breakfast for two is available for $120 (based on double occupancy.) For more information, call 1-800-325-0083.
Rook tournaments are scheduled at two state resort parks – Pennyrile Forest near Dawson Springs on Jan. 12-14 and at Rough River Dam State Resort Park on Jan. 19-21.
Call Pennyrile at 1-800-325-1711 or Rough River at 1-800-325-1713 for tournament and lodging information.
Fall Into Winter at Kentucky State Parks
Through Feb. 1, the Kentucky State Parks will be offering a special “Fall Into Winter” promotion. Visitors to any of the 17 resort parks can get one night in a lodge room and breakfast for two for $55.95 Sunday through Thursday.
For $99.95, guests can get one night in a lodge room (kids stay free) and a $50 gift card on Friday or Saturday night. And for $149.95, guests can spend Friday and Saturday night in a lodge room and get a $50 gift card.
Call 1-800-255-PARK for reservations. Subject to availability and park-specific black-out dates.
Many of the 17 state resort parks will be offering some kind of Valentine’s Day package in February. Call the park to find out more details.
Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Gift Cards
If you’re looking for a great gift idea, buy a Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Gift Card. They can be used at the Kentucky History Center, Kentucky Horse Park, the Kentucky Artisan Center and all the Kentucky State Parks. This offers a unique way to give the gift of great history, great champions, great arts and crafts and great getaways in the state of Kentucky. To learn more, visit www.parks.ky.gov and click on the gift card at the bottom of the page. Cards can also be purchased at state parks.
The Kentucky State Park System is composed of 52 state parks plus an interstate park shared with Virginia. The Department of Parks, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, operates 17 resort parks with lodges -- more than any other state. Each year, Kentucky parks draw 7 million visitors and contribute $317 million to the economy. For more information on Kentucky parks, visit our Web site at http://www.parks.ky.gov