Department of Parks
Variety of Winter Events Offered At Kentucky State Parks
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky State Parks stay busy – even in the winter. The parks offer a variety of wildlife viewing events, special weekends, entertainment opportunities and other events even when the temperature drops.
Here is a listing for some top events at Kentucky State Parks during the winter of 2010. Guests can make online reservations for overnight accommodations at www.parks.ky.gov
It’s a good idea to check in advance by phone on special events. Weather conditions could force the cancellation or change the hours of some events.
Eagle Watch Weekends
American Bald Eagles will be gathering around the major lakes of western Kentucky and south central Kentucky as they look for food during the winter. Four state resort parks offer Eagle Watch Weekends in January and February.
The tours take place on an excursion yacht, barges, pontoon boats and by van, depending upon the location and tour. They are led by state park naturalists and Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists.
Ticket prices for the tours range from $20 to $55 a person. Most tours last between two to three-and-a half hours. The weekends also include an evening program on birds of prey. The parks, phone numbers and dates for the 2010 Eagle Watch Weekends are:
- Dale Hollow State Resort Park (800-325-2282): Jan. 22-23; Feb. 5-6;
- Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park (800-325-0146): Jan. 15-17;
- Lake Barkley State Resort Park (800-325-1708): Jan. 29-31; and
- Kenlake State Resort Park (800-325-0143): Feb. 5-7.
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 registration, details and fee information or visit: www.parks.ky.gov and look for “Eagle Watch Weekends.”
The Kentucky State Parks are offering elk viewing tours at three Eastern Kentucky resort parks this winter – Jenny Wiley, Buckhorn Lake and Pine Mountain.
Guests can choose a weekend, stay at a state park lodge or cottage and rise early to enjoy one of these unique tours. Participants should bring their cameras – there should be great photography opportunities. The largest elk herds are located on privately owned lands that are normally closed to the public. This is one of the few opportunities available for the public to see the greatest number of elk.
The return of elk to the region is considered to be one of Kentucky’s biggest wildlife management success stories. The animals, after being gone from the state for 150 years, were returned in 1997. They now number about 11,000.
- Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg, 1-800-325-0142, Jan. 16, 23, 24, 30; Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27; March 6, 13;
- Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn, 1-800-325-0058, Feb. 20, 21, 27, 28, March 13, 14, 20, 21; and
- Pine Mountain State Resort Park, Pineville, 1-800-325-1712, Jan. 16, 23, Feb. 6, 20, 27.
Carter Caves Winter Adventure, Jan. 29-31
Carter Caves State Resort Park will present a weekend of hiking, canoeing, cave tours, winter survival and other adventures with its first Winter Adventure Weekend Jan. 29-31. Guests will be able to select from a list of trips they want to take – for beginners and advanced winter adventurers alike. All of the trips and events are led by guides.
Each trip is placed in a level based on the difficulty and skills that are required. The higher the level, the more skills and special equipment required. Guests will be responsible for appropriate dress, water and snacks and other items.
A list of the trips, along with registration information and other details about the weekend, is available at www.winteradventureweekend.com. All participants must register online at this site beginning Jan. 9. The nonrefundable fee for adults (13 years old and older) is $25 and the nonrefundable fee for children ages 6-12 is $20. (You must be at least 6 years old to participate. Some trips have age requirements.)
Other trip topics include wildlife crafts, prehistoric peoples, technical tree climbing, rappelling, zip lining and exploring natural bridges. For more information, call the park at 1-800-325-0059.
Valentine Packages, Feb. 13-14
All state resort parks will be offering special Valentine’s Day packages the weekend of Feb.13-14. Many include overnight lodging, a meal and entertainment. Call your favorite park for details and reservations or visit www.parks.ky.gov
Stay At a Cottage or Cabin
Most state resort parks have cottages and cabins. They are fully equipped with kitchens, utensils, bathrooms, televisions and one to three bedrooms. Some have fireplaces. Hiking trails are usually nearby so you can take a walk any time of day.
Sandhill Crane Weekends at Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas, Weekends of Jan. 29-30 and Feb. 19-20
Learn more about the thousands of Sandhill Cranes that migrate through the area. A wildlife biologist from the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources along with the park naturalist will be on hand to provide you information on these unique birds with a unique sound. Morning and afternoon trips are offered. Registration is required. Call 1-800-325-0057.
Winter Photography Weekend at Pine Mountain State Resort Park, Pineville,
Our Winter Photo Weekend is offered during the serenity of winter in the Cumberland Mountains! With both amateur and accomplished photographers in mind, the event offers inspirational/instructional evening shows and a digital photo competition. Take a weekend away from it all for a fun photo frolic in the crisp winter air! Evening shows/presentations will feature the work of John Snell of Lexington. Photographers must be registered before competition. Advanced registration is recommended. Official registration and sign in will be conducted from 12 noon – 9 p.m. (EST) on Jan. 29. Competition guidelines will be made available at sign in. You’ll need to bring your own laptop computer with appropriate image evaluation and adjustment software to prepare your images for entry into the competition and copy them to CD before submission. The park will not provide computers for participant use. Call 1-800-325-1712.
Dulcibrrr 2010 at Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, Feb. 5-7
Visit Rough River for a celebration of great American dulcimer music! Enjoy dulcimer workshops, jam sessions and concerts when you join us for this event! Contact Sheila Jones at 270-257-2311 or toll free 1-800-325-1713 for more information.
Fort Boonesborough State Park Fireside Chats, Richmond, Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27
Fort Boonesborough State Park and the Fort Boonesborough Foundation will be holding a series of “Fireside Chats” with famous characters from Kentucky history each Saturday evening in February. There will be a “Taste of Frontier Fare” from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. The program begins at 7 p.m. at the block house. Tickets are $15 for adults or $25 for a couple. Children 12 and under are $5 each. Reservations are required due to limited seating. For reservations or information, call 859-527-3131 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds benefit the Fort Boonesborough Foundation. The schedule for 2010 is Feb. 6, Daniel Boone; Feb. 13, Maggie Delaney, an 18th Century indentured servant; Feb. 20, William Whitley; and Feb. 27, Isaac Shelby.
Native American Weekend at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, Jan. 29-31
A special weekend event keeping alive the Native American traditions in today’s time through lectures and demonstrations. Package per couple includes two night’s stay, Friday and Saturday activities and Saturday night’s special Buffalo Dinner. Package price is $199 per couple. The Buffalo Buffet Dinner is $18.95 per person. Call 1-800-325-1709.
All 17 state resort parks have full-service restaurants. Throughout the year, they offer special meals and buffets. Here are a few for the upcoming months.
- Carter Caves, Jan. 16, Buffalo buffet followed by a free Kentucky Chautauqua performance. 1-800-325-0059.
- Natural Bridge, Jan. 16, Appalachian Heritage Buffalo Night (buffet). Live music. 1-800-325-1710.
- Jenny Wiley, Jan. 23, Buffalo Night (buffet), 1-800-325-0142.
- Barren River Lake, Feb. 6, Buffalo Night, 1-800-325-0057.
- Rough River Dam, March 13, Buffalo Wild Game Dinner, 1-800-325-1713.
- Blue Licks Battlefield, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day Buffet at Hidden Waters Restaurant. The park will serve traditional Irish foods to celebrate this holiday. 1-800-443-7008.
- Kentucky Dam Village, March 27, Buffalo Dinner. Native American demonstrations and performances during the day, 1-800-325-0146.
Two resort parks – Lake Cumberland and Lake Barkley – have indoor pools that are open during the winter months. Get the kids out for a swim while it’s freezing outside!
Kentucky State Parks have more than 250 miles of hiking trails. The trails are open year round (unless closed by inclement weather) and offer some great scenery and wildlife viewing in the winter. Hiking is also a great way to start the New Year off with an exercise program. Many parks offer special hikes led by park staff.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park will offer its “Exploring Arch Country Guided Hike” on Jan. 23. Enjoy a day of hiking throughout Kentucky’s Land of the Arches! On this guided hike you will get a good look at the area’s rugged cliff lines, rock shelters, rhododendron and natural arches. Each trip is different. Total distances vary from six to 10 miles. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Registration fee is $15/person. Adults and children ages 12 and up are welcome. Contact Tyler Morgan at email@example.com for more information. An overnight backpacking trip is scheduled for March 27-28. Call 1-800-325-1710.
A winter hike is also planned at Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park at Dawson Springs on Feb. 20. Registration is $12 a person. Call 1-800-325-1711.
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park near Mount Olivet will take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 12-15. Bird watchers of all ages take part in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun and easy—and it helps the birds. Be sure to dress properly for weather conditions. You may also want to bring binoculars and a camera. If you have Internet access, we recommend you submit your bird count via http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/ , but if you do not have Internet access, a copy of the species form, checklists and other bird watching tips are available at the front desk in the Worthington Lodge. Call 1-800-443-7008.
Kenlake State Resort Park has an indoor tennis center with four courts open in the winter. Call 1-800-325-0143.
Greenbo Lake State Resort Park has a Scrapbooking Weekend scheduled for Jan. 15-16.
This weekend is designed for the experienced and novice scrapbooker. All participants must bring their own scrapbook and supplies. Supplies may be purchased during the weekend for an additional fee. Registration is $45 a person. The park is offering an overnight package. Call 1-800-325-0083.
Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park also has a Scrapbooking Weekend set for March 5-7. The registration fee is $35. Call 1-800-325-1711.
Star Party at Cumberland Falls, Jan. 29, Feb. 20, March 20
Enjoy an evening of astronomy. Learn to read a star map and view the moon, planets and other astronomical features through telescopes. Call 1-800-325-0063.