• Moonshine Arch in Vernal, Utah

    We hiked through a hail storm to take cover in these gorgeous arches and alcoves!

  • White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

    These seemingly endless gypsum dunes are a fun playground for kids and adults alike!

  • Heart Arch in Maui, Hawaiian Islands

    A short hike down a cliff leads you to a blowhole and this cute heart arch!

  • The Wave on the Utah/Arizona Border

    You have to win the lottery to hike the 6-mile trail to The Wave in the Vermillion Cliffs!

  • Canoeing through the Bayous of Louisiana

    Getting off the beaten path and making our own trail is always a fun adventure!

  • Socializing the Next Generation of Alaskan Sled Dogs

    We wore Denali's sled dog puppies out playing with them so much!

  • Washington D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival

    Spring is a special time in our nation's Capitol, with the Japanese friendship cherry blossoms in full bloom.

  • Tagging Bears at a Wildlife Refuge

    Volunteering at a Wildlife Refuge gave us some fun opportunities to see wildlife up close!

  • New York City

    We wanted to love New York City, we really did, but we just...didn't. Sorry.

  • Wild Horses in North Carolina's Outer Banks

    North Carolina is one of our new favorite places. There's so much to do!

  • We Love San Francisco

    San Francisco is one of our favorite cities. There's something for everyone here!

  • Free Camping with a Million Dollar View

    Whoa! We found the most scenic boondocking spot ever...in Wyoming!

  • Navajo Friendship Dance

    Dancing at native pow wows in the southwest is a sacred experience.

  • Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta

    Every morning, hundreds of balloons fill the air in an enchanting display.

  • Havasupai Falls, Arizona

    A long, strenous hike rewards you with the most beautiful waterfalls on Earth.

  • Oneonta Gorge, Oregon

    A short, easy hike to a hidden waterfall...if you don't freeze first.

  • Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

    This sacred canyon has a tragic history and a magical mystery about it.

  • Mount Rainier, Washington

    Escape Seattle's metro to reconnect with nature at Mount Rainier.

  • The Life of Doc Holliday

    The man, the myth, the legend, the mystery.

  • House on Fire Ruins

    15 years of searching finally led me to this magical place.

Monday, September 5, 2016

5 Awesome Things To Do in Kentucky

What’s there to do in Kentucky? Well, there’s too much to mention! Wanna follow the Bourbon Trail? Wanna explore caverns? No problem. But, there’s still more! So much more! Here are 5 AWESOME things to do in Kentucky!
 

ARK Encounter - $40 adults/$31 seniors/$28 children/Under 5 FREE
Who would have thought you’d find Noah’s Ark in the middle of Kentucky? About halfway between Cincinnati, Ohio and Lexington, Kentucky is a replica ark that matches the exact size specifications of Noah’s Ark! Visitors are often surprised at how big it really is, and for good reason. It’s HUGE!
As the largest timber structure in the world, the Ark dominates the surrounding landscape.
  
   
The inside of the Ark is a museum with displays of animal crates containing some species that you never would have thought were on Noah’s Ark. Dinosaurs?!
   
   
   
   
   
 
Throughout the museum are signs comparing scientific beliefs verses biblical beliefs, disputing commonly-accepted scientific research and explaining why biblical beliefs are more accurate. It’s very interesting.
   
   
   
   
   
 
There are various exhibits. One contains an artistic presentation of Earth’s Creation and the Great Flood.
  
   
  
   
   
Another allows you to walk through what the living quarters on the Ark might have looked like. It looked very Moroccan to me, which I love, so I took lots of photos for inspiration in my own home one day.
  
   
   
   
My son’s favorite exhibit was where he could ask Noah questions via a computer program and a very realistic looking Noah would answer him.
 
 
The Ark itself is an architectural masterpiece.
  
  
Behind the Ark, outside, is a petting zoo with alpacas, emus, zebras, and goats. You can even ride a camel or donkey for an extra fee.
   
  
   
 

Just down the road from Ark Encounter is the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky facility, located just north of Lexington. This was a FREE tour we found on www.factorytoursusa.com, one of our favorite planning resources. You do need to call and schedule a time for your tour to ensure availability, but there is no cost. There is a small visitor center with a couple of interactive exhibits.
  
   
  
   
 
The plant is huge, like 169 football fields huge. This is the largest Toyota plant in the world! They completely assemble the Camry, Avalon, and Lexus ES 350 here, from start to finish. They even build the cars from a roll of steel. There are no cameras allowed on the tour and they’re serious. They made us all turn in our cameras and cell phones at the reception desk before allowing us on the tour. The tour lasts about an hour and is on a comfortable tram, complete with seatbelts, headphone to hear the guide, and safety goggles. They drive you all over the plant and show you nearly every aspect of the process. It was so cool! It’s amazing to see so many people putting together a line of cars. The robots are so cool, too. My boys really got into that. And, we got a kick out of seeing the robotic trains driving themselves around the plant carrying supplies. We had no idea that the Camry is the most American made vehicle on the road. It is made here with locally-sourced parts – the tires come from a tire maker in the area, the engines come from the engine facility in West Virginia, etc. Not only that, but the entire plant is a certified 0% landfill site – they recycle everything from scrap metal to cafeteria food waste. It’s amazing!

A memorial similar to the Lincoln memorial in Washington D.C. was built on the property, holding the tiny log cabin that President Lincoln was born in and lived the first 3 years of his life.
  
   
   
   
Next to the cabin memorial is a sunken natural spring, where they would get their water.
  
  
Down the road about 10 miles is the small log cabin they moved to with President Lincoln and lived until he was 7 years old.
  
Located on Fort Knox (accessible to military and guests only), is the grave of President Lincoln’s grandmother. It was interesting just walking around this cemetery, which was down a gravel road surrounded by woods. We found some headstones dating as far back as 1772! Most were in the 1800s, and many were completely weathered and too old to read.
  
 

Louisville Slugger Museum - $14 adults/$13 seniors/$8 children/Under 5 FREE
In the heart of downtown Louisville is an American Icon, the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum.
   
 
When you walk inside, it looks like you’re at a ballpark. On the left is the museum and tour, and on the right is a small Ripley’s Believe It or Not that is included in the price of admission.
 
The museum has several exhibits about the history of baseball bats and various baseball players.
Don a pair of gloves if you want to touch the game bats used by some pretty famous players.
See how fast you can pitch a baseball.
  
    
  
 
   
  
   
 
Then take a tour of the factory and watch bats being made. No photos allowed, but I grabbed this shot from outside one of the windows (totally legal).
 
At the end of the tour, they gave us a miniature souvenir bat.
  
  
Don’t forget to walk through the Ripley’s Believe It or Not exhibits.
   
   
   
   

Kentucky Derby Museum - $15 adults/$14 seniors/$7 children/Under 4 FREE
A few miles from Louisville Slugger is another American Icon, Churchill Downs horseracing track.
The museum celebrates “The Greatest Race” with a 360 degree movie and exhibits showcasing the art of horseshoeing, jockeying, even betting.
 
   
  
   
  
   
    
   
   
    
   
   
Climb aboard the electric starting gate used in 17 Kentucky Derbys and feel what it’s like to look out before a race.
 
Race a horse in a simulated Derby and try to maintain a jockey’s stance in this interactive exhibit.
Have your photo taken in the Winner’s Circle with a replica horse, updated each year to reflect the most recent Kentucky Derby winner. 
  
Just outside is a permanent stable exhibit featuring miniature horse Winston and a rotational Kentucky Derby veteran equine.
   
  
Included with your admission is the Historic Walking Tour. The guide provides a history of the race and walks you through the paddock and grandstand. Fun Fact: Did you know the Kentucky Derby is the only sporting event that has occurred consecutively since its creation, even during times of world wars!
   
   
   
  
   
  
  
We really enjoyed the Kentucky Derby Museum and especially seeing memorabilia of Mine That Bird, a 50-to-1 winner in 2009 that we had the pleasure of meeting at his ranch in Roswell in 2014, right after a movie was made about his incredible story.
  
 
There is SO much to do in Kentucky! We only had one week here and grossly underestimated it. It was one of the busiest weeks we’ve had on-the-road so far. We also explored several caves. You can check out our cavern adventures here.

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received complimentary passes to the attractions in this post in exchange for my review. All opinions are completely my own based on my experience.


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