The rolling bluegrass area surrounding Lexington is known as the Horse Capital of the World and you can spend several days immersing yourself in the culture surrounding these magnificent creatures. Start your day with breakfast in the track kitchen at the legendary Keeneland Race Track and Sales Pavilion where you may rub shoulders with owners, trainers and jockeys. After breakfast, watch the morning workouts before heading out for a tour of one or more of the area’s numerous stud farms to get a behind the scenes look at the multi-million dollar thoroughbred industry. Visit Old Friends Retirement Farm, Georgetown, to see retired million dollar equine athletes enjoying the good life. And a day at the Kentucky Horse Park is a must. This expansive working horse farm showcases more than 50 breeds of horses and features two world-class museums: the American Saddlebred Museum and the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian affiliate. Horses are not all this region has to offer. While in the area explore Kentucky’s bourbon culture, pioneer history, or beautiful art and handcrafts. There’s a lot to discover and we invite you to enjoy a holiday in Kentucky.
KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL®
Kentucky Bourbon has a rich and storied history dating back more than 200 years – so you’ll want to relax, take your time and savor the experience of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. Just as fine Kentucky Bourbon takes time to reach perfection, set aside sufficient time to visit several distilleries, sample their products and savor the nuances that make them distinct. Two or three days will allow plenty of time to tour several distilleries, take in a horse farm or other unique Bluegrass attraction and enjoy classic Kentucky cuisine, cocktails and culture. While the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® has no beginning or end, it’s probably best to plan your trip based on the charming communities and cities where you’d like to spend the night. There’s something for everyone – big-city nightlife, quaint country towns, Bourbon-themed hotels and historic bed & breakfast accommodations. If you’d like someone else to do all the driving and planning, try an escorted tour offered by several operators specializing in the Bourbon Trail®. Their experienced guides lead you from iconic distillery to distillery and all the fun places and landmarks in between. Be sure to check out some of their specialty tours like barrel selections and cooperage visits as well.
MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK
Take a tour through part of the longest cave system in the world at Mammoth Cave National Park. You can book a 45-minute introductory tour right on up to the most extreme multi-hour spelunking expedition. With over 390 miles of passageways explored and mapped, this vast underground world has fascinated visitors and drawn tourists from far and wide since 1860. Due to the constant comfortable climate inside, Mammoth Cave is open year round and offers more than a dozen different tours at various times of the year. Above ground, enjoy an international biosphere preserve that features camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding, canoeing and special events. Located in south-central Kentucky, the park is an easy drive from Louisville and just northeast of Bowling Green. While in the area, visit the National Corvette Museum, which boasts a collection of more than 70 models of “America’s sports car,” and tour the GM Corvette Assembly Plant, where all Corvettes are now produced.
LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
Surrounded by Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake in western Kentucky, this region is a nature lover’s paradise. Tour the Elk and Bison Prairie to see what the area was like before it was settled in the early 1800s. Watch as the buffalo herds graze within several feet of your car and view elk foraging in the distance. With 170,000 acres, the area also includes a Nature Center, planetarium, campground and trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and off-road vehicles. Start your explorations by following The Trace (Highway 453), a designated Scenic Byway that runs down the middle of LBL, and stop at the Golden Pond Visitor Center for information to begin your visit. At the Nature Center, get up close to the native animals and plants of the area and get out on the water in a rental canoe. At Wranglers Campground, camp and trail-ride with your own horse or make use of a guided trail ride concession for those who don’t own horses. If you’re an off-roader, enjoy the Turkey Bay OHV area. The Homeplace is a historic working farm set on property originally settled in 1808. Step into a log home, view demonstrations, enjoy the farm animals and see crops from the mid-19th century.
LOUISVILLE’S MUSEUM ROW
Visit Louisville’s Museum Row and explore the fascinating life of Louisville native Muhammad Ali, see breathtaking works of art at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and tour the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory to learn more about “our national pastime,” baseball. At the Muhammad Ali Center, follow the life story of the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and Olympic gold medalist. View the multimedia presentations and get in the ring for hands-on training with “the Greatest.” Exhibits on sports, inspiration, art, exploration, interaction and history round out the experience. Proceed within easy walking distance to the landmark of the world’s biggest baseball bat outside the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Watch bats used by major leaguers being made, order your own personalized Slugger and wander through the extensive collection of baseball memorabilia. Then head down Main Street to the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, which houses one of the largest selections of handmade Kentucky arts and crafts in the region. Check out special exhibitions of visual art, a sales gallery and the permanent collection. Also within a few blocks on Main Street, you’ll find the Frazier History Museum, the Louisville Science Center and the Glassworks glass blowing center.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN BIRTHPLACE
Visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park to learn about the early years of one of the greatest presidents of the United States. You can view the symbolic cabin of Lincoln’s birth enshrined in a solid marble neoclassical monument. Be sure to see the audiovisual presentation in the Visitor Center and visit Sinking Spring, where the Lincolns drew their water. Nearby is the Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek, the farm where his family resided from 1811 to 1816 and where the young Lincoln formed his earliest childhood memories. In Hodgenville, view the extensive collection of Lincoln memorabilia at the Abraham Lincoln Museum. You also may want to explore the life and legend of the 16th president at sites along Kentucky’s Lincoln Heritage Trail as you tour historic towns and hamlets associated with Lincoln and his family. You’ll find a bounty of unique shops, restaurants, Kentucky foods and friendly locals all along the way.