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The 20 Best Things to do in Kentucky For First Timers


If you are looking for a new state in America to visit, Kentucky is a place you will want to consider adding to the list. This is a state that is so rich in history and tradition that you can't help but be amazed by what you see. The culture and tradition of the place will come at you no matter where you happen to be spending the night. It is also a state of many contrasts. You will find sections of it that are still buried in the deep southern and traditional way of life, only to enter a major urban city that may seem as contemporary as any city you would see in the west. Visit any place in America for the first time can be rather exciting. At the same time, you. might be at a loss for things to do. It is important to leave plenty of time in your schedule to just explore and find things for yourself. At the same time, it helps to know what is out there to see and do so that you can make sure to get a feel for what the state is all about. To help you with this, we have put together the following list of the 20 best things to do when you are in Kentucky for the first time.

20. Fort Knox

It seems as if everyone on earth has heard of Fort Knox, but few know that you can actually visit there. No, you probably will not be able to see the mountains of gold that are stored somewhere in its walls, but you will be able to tour the army post that comprises more than 109,000 acres of land in Kentucky. There is a museum here that will make your visit well worth it. It also includes a series of Remembrance Walls and some weapons that Leonardo da Vinci himself designed.

19. Louisville Mega Cavern

No matter how old you are, you will enjoy visiting the Louisville Mega Cavern. This is 17 miles of caves that have been man-made right beneath the actual city of Kentucky. You will learn about history, science, and magic during your visit here. If you are really in an adventurous spirit, you must try the zip line. It is the only one in the world that is fully underground.

18. Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

This is a must see museum on the mind of every baseball fan out there, young and old. This is also where the factory is that makes many of the bats used in professional baseball today. Since the museum is actually inside of the factory, you will be able to see how the bats are made and even buy a few as souvenirs to take home. Many of the bats used by the greatest players in history are still housed here.

17. Kentucky Derby Museum

The Kentucky Derby Museum first opened in 1985 and has been popular ever since. This is a place where you can learn about the history of horse racing as a sport. The Museum is a place where you will see numerous films, exhibits, and photographs from the past century of racing. There is also a 360 degree theater that allows you to see what it is like to train and jockey some of the fastest horses in the world.

16. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

You might never have heard of this place, but it should be on your list of places to see when you visit Kentucky for the first time. This is a Shaker community site that has been well preserved. It was actually active for more than a hundred years before it died out in 1910. It is one of the largest of its kind still in existence. You will be able to explore more than 2,000 acres of land to see what life was like in the community.

15. Newport Aquarium

This is a place where fun for the entire family is sure to be had. It is open year round and contains more than 14 different galleries and over sixty exhibits. Each is filled with a number of activities that are interactive. You will love going the five tunnels that are home animals from all over the world. One of the highlights is a shark ray named Sunshine. This special creature comes all the way from Taiwan. That is just the beginning of what you will see when you visit here.

14. National Corvette Museum

If you are a car enthusiast, then you probably love Corvette's. There is no better place on earth to see how this automobile has evolved over the years than to visit the National Corvette Museum. The museum itself is in Bowling Green. This also happens to be where the Corvette is made. You will be able to see more than 80 styles of Corvette's covering a wide span of America's history. There are more than a few classics housed here.

13. Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm

If you have ever wondered what happens to horses when they can no longer race, a visit to Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm will show you. This is the location that many horses get to spend their retirement. The location also houses a museum that aims to teach about horse breeding and the sport of horse racing. The overarching goal is to promote an awareness of horses and how to properly care for them.

12. Conrad-Caldwell House Museum

This is not just another museum. The Conrad-Caldwell House Museum is where you will be able to see what mansions looked like back in the late 1800s. This is a home that Arthur Loomis, a famous architect, built for Theophile Conrad. The house has since been made into a retirement home and is not a museum that teachers about old school architecture. You will also love looking at the antiques that are housed here.

11. Mammoth Cave Adventures

This is the second cave adventure that is on this list, but for a good reason. There are two zipline activities that you can take part in as you explore the outdoor area. There is also a Tarzan Swing that visitors young and old will enjoy, along with a tower drop that is certainly not for the faint at heart. If you are not looking for something so exciting, you are also able to go horseback riding as you take a look at the Mammoth Cave.

10. Mary Todd Lincoln House

If you have wondered where Abraham Lincoln's wife used to live, a visit to his house will clear up that mystery for you. This home was built back in the early 1800s. It was originally a hotel and bar, but then the Todd family purchased it as their family home in 1832. Lincoln himself visited here many times while they were married. The home has fourteen rooms and the museum now contains many artifacts to remember the LIncoln's by.

9. Creation Museum

Being in the heart of the Bible Belt, it should come as no surprise that Kentucky is home to the Creation Museum. This is a large facility that will allow visitors to interact with mountains of Biblical history and exhibits that are quite interactive in their approach. There is also a replica of the Garden of Eden along with a petting zoo and a planetarium. To add to the fun, there is also a zip line for you to enjoy

8. Muhammad Ali Center

Here is a place that every sports fan should see once in his or her lifetime. The Muhammad Ali Center is a place that is dedicated to the memory of the greatest boxer that ever lived. You will get to learn about him as a fighter and as a person. There is much to take in here, complete with a video collection that showcases many of his greatest fights along with a few art galleries to round things out.

7. Natural Bridge State Resort Park

When you are looking for a quiet break from the city and just want to enjoy a touch of nature, the Natural Bridge State Resort Park is where you should head. This is where you can see an arch bridge that is made out of natural sandstone. It is 78 feet long and 65 feet high. The bridge itself took millions of years to develop, so it is quite a spectacular place to set your eyes upon. There are more than 20 miles of different walking trails for you to get out and explore.

6. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

Here is yet another state park that you and your family will really enjoy visiting you are in Kentucky for the first time. This is a park that consists of more than 1,650 acres of land and has a campground equipped to house 50 vehicles. There is also a lodge and restaurant here that offers you spectacular sites along the river. You will be able to fish, bike, hike, go white water rafting, ride horses, and so much more during your visit here.

5. The National Quilt Museum

Here is a unique museum that you will be glad you visited. It is a place that houses many of the most famous and elegant quilts ever made. In addition to being able to see these, you will also learn about the art of quilting and learn why it is so important to continue introducing it to future generations. More than 100,000 people visit this museum every year. There are three galleries and they have regularly rotating exhibits to ensure that you always get to see something new.

4. Big Four Bridge

This is a bridge that was originally built as a railroad truss but has since been into a spectacular place to walk and ride bicycles. It is a bridge that connects Kentucky to Indiana. It is 2,525 feet in length and goes directly over the Ohio River. You will love going across this and looking at the sites below. There are many events held here throughout the year.

3. Kentucky Kingdom

There are times when you just need to take a break from sightseeing and have a bit of fun. That is what Kentucky Kingdom is designed for. This is an amusement park that first opened in 1987. It has changed ownership a few times over the years but has continued to evolve by offering better and more adventurous rides. You will find many roller coasters, a water park, and much more to see while you are here.

2. University of Kentucky Arboretum

Given its wonderful climate, you should know that you are in for a lot of green sites while you are in Kentucky. One of the best places to see this all in one visit is at the University of Kentucky Arboretum. There are a variety of different exhibits to look at here and there are regular events hosted here throughout the year.

1. My Old Kentucky Home State Park

There are many different activities that you can take part in when you visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park. That is why it is number one this list of things to do while in Kentucky for the first time. You will find a campground, amphitheater, and an 18-hole golf course just to get started.

Now that you have this list, it is time to start deciding what you would like to do during your first trip to Kentucky. As you can now see, there is plenty that you can add to the list. Take some time and talk to others who will be visiting the state with you. Decide together what you would like to see. Add those items to the list and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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