When most people think of Kentucky, the first two attractions that come to mind are horses and bourbon. While there is plenty of that to go around, there are other fantastic attractions which warrant some attention the next time you make a trip through the Bluegrass State.

Keeneland Racecourse

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If you are near Lexington in April or October, a visit to Keeneland Racecourse is in order. Founded in 1936, the track is internationally renowned both for its racing quality and its beauty. Keeneland, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has the world’s largest thoroughbred sales and boasts one of the world’s best horse racing reference libraries.

Kentucky Horse Park

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Before you leave Lexington, make sure to visit the Kentucky Horse Park. A working horse farm and educational theme park, the 1,224- acre park and the equestrian facility is home to horse shows from across the world. It contains museums from multiple aspects of the horse industry and is a fantastic place for those of all ages who love the horse.

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Bourbon Trail

On to the bourbon. In 2017, Kentucky boasted 7.5 million barrels of the drink. By contrast, the state has 4.4 million residents. Its no wonder most of the distilleries have a free taste testing. The Bourbon Trail consists of 14 distilleries, all of which have their own unique feel. Don’t drink? Don’t worry. The beautiful landscapes and history make the trail a great trip for anyone.

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

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Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, in Harrodsburg, consists of 3,000 acres of some of the most beautiful sights the Bluegrass State can offer. Home to the third largest Shaker community in the United States between 1805 and 1910, this National Historic Landmark offers everything from hiking to horseback riding, museum tours, and garden planning.  It’s also home to one of the best restaurants and hotels in the area.

Museums

Sports fan can get their fill in the River City – Louisville — where legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was born and raised. The Muhammad Ali Center is dedicated to his life while also working to inspire people to pursue greatness in their own lives.

Just down the street from the center is the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, which showcases baseball’s most famous bat.

A couple more miles down Main Street and you can see that bat in action with the Louisville Bats, Kentucky’s only AAA minor-league baseball team.

Also, while you’re in Louisville, take a trip to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, and visit the Kentucky Derby Museum. It highlights winners of the “fastest two minutes in sports” and is a great stop for those who love horses and horse racing.

Paducah, nestled between the Ohio River and Land Between the Lakes regions in western Kentucky, is home to the National Quilt Museum.

Entertaining tourists from across the globe, the museum not only exhibits extraordinary quilted works but also stresses the education and advocacy of quilting and the importance of introducing the art form to future generations.

Natural Bridge State Park

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For the outdoor enthusiast, Kentucky will make you feel right at home.

Natural Bridge State Park lies a little over an hour east of Lexington and is a part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, which covers 635,000 acres and over 600 miles of hiking trails.

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The natural sandstone arch spans 78 ft and is 65 ft high. The park consists of 2,250 acres and offers many trails, guided backpacking trips, and natural history educational programs.

It is buttressed by Red River Gorge which is National Natural Landmark and National Archaeological District and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The multitude of cliff lines in Red River Gorge has made it one of the world’s top rock-climbing destinations.

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

The Daniel Boone National forest also holds Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in the south-eastern portion of the state.

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The Park contains over 1,600 acres of land with a 50-site campground, a lodge, and is home to the 68-foot-tall Cumberland Falls and the 44-foot-tall Eagle Falls. But what it is internationally known for is its moonbow.

Known as the “Niagara of the South”, Cumberland Falls exhibits a phenomenon not found anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere when a white arc crosses its 125-foot wide expanse during full moons.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Near the appropriately named Cave City, is home to the longest cave system in the world, with more than 400 miles of passageways. Tours are available for spelunkers of all levels; from easy, strolling tours to the Wild Cave Tour, along with underground boat tours. Eighty-four miles of hiking trails roam the park’s almost 53,000 acres.

Surrounding the park are a variety of other attractions, from riding stables to Kentucky Down Under — which showcases animals from Australia — to Dinosaur World, which exhibits life-size models of dinosaurs.

So the next time you are planning a vacation, make sure to keep Kentucky in mind with its many charms that can entertain anyone of any age.

Author

You can connect with Jordan Strickler on Twitter @JordanS1981

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February 20, 2019 9:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

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