Department of Travel and Tourism
Kids Warm up to Cold Weather Fun in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Waiting for warmer weather to plan weekend getaways with family and kids? Just because winter’s here doesn’t mean you and yours can’t strike out on a weekend getaway or snow day vacation and ward off cabin fever. Kentucky has so many destinations that fit the bill even better during winter months so you can save all those spring and summer breaks to get outside! Roads are cleared so unplug the TV or computer and get on the road to plenty of indoor fun and entertainment for the whole gang.
The internationally known Speed Art Museum in Louisville is a great place to start with activities that involve even the youngest visitors. The interactive gallery Art Sparks is geared toward kids. They can build, time travel, play with light and color and other things in the gallery that has 30 activities for dabbling. They don’t need to know they are learning unless you tell them and no mess from hands-on fun to clean up. The Speed hosts the Madcap Family Fun Weekend on Jan. 30-31, when local artists will team up with visitors to design snow people among other fun stuff with an artistic flair. For more information about the museum on the University of Louisville campus, visit www.speedmuseum.org or call 502-634-2700.
In downtown Louisville near the riverfront is “museum row” where kids’ imaginations will transport them to distant times and places all within a short walk on Main Street. The Frazier International History Museum, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the Louisville Science Center, Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft are all waiting for their exhibits and displays to make eyes pop. The Muhammad Ali Center is only a block north within a stone’s throw. The Frazier brings history to life daily with costumed interpreters, including live sword fighting, multi-media and hands-on learning. The museum covers 1,000 years of history right here in Kentucky. For information about admission, school groups and special programs, go to www.fraziermuseum.org or call 502-753-5663.
Batter’s up at the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory where the story behind the famous baseball bat used by major league players is created. Leaning against the factory outside is the world’s largest baseball bat and inside the people and machinery that manufacture the bats are visible. Trace baseball’s emergence as the national pastime over 125 years through memorabilia of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron and others who have batted themselves into history books. Visit www.sluggermuseum.org or call 1-877-7-SLUGGER (877-775-8443).
Up river, the Newport Aquarium keeps wowing kids with what’s swimming around in a million gallons of water. Thousands of varieties of marine life reside here including sharks ready for petting if you dare. Winter Family Days let up to two kids in free with each adult paying full price through Feb. 28. The aquarium is at Newport on the Levee on the banks of the Ohio. Visit www.newportaquarium.com or call 859-261-7444.
Usher your imagination away and watch your kids get pulled into the make believe performed by actors at theater productions geared for the young and young at heart. Louisville and Lexington boast companies that specialize in children’s theater. Find out what happens when a wish-granting fish turns a fisherman’s life upside down at the Lexington Children’s Theater (LCT) Jan. 24, 30 and 31. Next up is Holes, the story of a young boy’s discovery of a curse, love and legend. Performances are February 14, 16-21 and 23-26. LCT is on W. Short Street downtown. Visit www.lctonstage.org or call 1-800-928-4545.
There’s a rollicking answer to what happens If You Give a Pig a Party at Stage One: The Louisville Children’s Theatre. Performances run from Feb. 2-March 19. For teens there is the thought-provoking drama John Lennon and Me from Feb. 23 to March 12. Productions are geared to a certain age group and Stage One includes pre and post-show discussions between audience and cast and crew. Performances are held at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on W. Main St. For tickets and other information, check the Web site at www.stageone.org or call 502-584-7777. For student matinee reservations call 502-498-2436.
Kids get their motors running at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. It’s the largest and most comprehensive nonprofit museum dedicated to one car—America’s very own sports car. Fifty Corvettes and concept cars produced over the half-century since the ‘Vette hit the showrooms are included in the 68,000-square-foot museum. Photos, videos, ads, models and other memorabilia generate the horsepower for fun. Museum visitors can also watch the ‘Vette manufacturing process on a tour of the Corvette Assembly Plant, located across the street. The museum is right off of I-65 at exit 28, in Bowling Green. Go to www.corvettemuseum.com or call 1-800-53-VETTE for tour times, which are on central time.
If you’ve not been to Kentucky’s number one tourist attraction, now’s the time. Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world and has been a destination to see since the early 1800s. No need for a heavy coat when exploring the caverns that Stephen Bishop, a slave to the landowner, explored at a time before electricity and other power equipment, because like other caves in the area, near constant temperature is mid-50s. The Web site is www.nps.gov/maca. Nearby is Lost River Cave & Valley http://lostrivercave.com; Diamond Caverns (http://diamondcaverns.com), Hidden River Cave (http://cavern.org/hrc/hrchome.php) and other underground explorations for kids young and old. Take the day and plan to stop at Dinosaur World to meet 100 life-size dinosaur models and interactive boneyard exhibit (www.dinoworld.net).
Get back outside in eastern Kentucky at Carter Caves State Resort Park’s weekend of hiking, canoeing, cave tours, winter survival and other adventures. The park is hosting its first Winter Adventure Weekend on Jan. 29-31. Select from trips for beginners to advanced winter adventurers alike. All of the trips and events are led by guides. Choose from the list of trips, check out the details and register at www.winteradventureweekend.com. Registrations must be completed online and the minimum age to participate is six years old. Select trips have other age requirements. What kid doesn’t want to technical tree climb, rappel rock formations and zip line? The park is located off I-64 in Olive Hill, Ky. The phone number is 1-800-325-0059.
A weekend at any one of 17 state resort parks may be just the ticket to ward off cabin fever. For more information about state parks activities visit the Kentucky Department of Parks web site at www.parks.ky.gov.
Winter provides no excuse to stay home or stay inside. There are many more ideas where these came from at www.KentuckyTourism.com for new horizons and great adventures for the entire family.
The Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism is an agency within the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet, which promotes the Commonwealth as a travel destination. Tourism in Kentucky has an economic impact of $11 billion, employs more than 176,000 people and generates $1 billion in taxes.