Things to do / Travel Guide
With a host of exciting adventures available in Central Kentucky and Tennessee, happy times can be had and happy memories can be made by all in the family. Check out the following vacation ideas for your trip:
Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, Central Kentucky
Whether your kids are baseball fans or not, the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory on West Main Street in Louisville will be a big hit with them. The fascination starts at the door, with the world's largest (120-foot tall, 68,000-pound) baseball bat leaning dramatically across its entrance. At the Louisville Slugger Museum children learn about the history of the official maker of Major League Baseball's bats since 1884. The family can watch interesting baseball movies, take part in fun and interactive baseball- and batting-related exhibits to learn about the history and process of bat making, and find out about the pros that preferred the Sluggers.
Take a seventh-inning stretch and then head for the afternoon's highlight; a factory tour that gives children the chance to actually watch craftsmen transform samples of ash and maple into the long slender bats. The grand finale? At the end of the half-hour tour, participants (big and small) receive a miniature souvenir bat. The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory is open year-round. Factory tours are available seven days a week from morning until afternoon, though hours are limited on weekends and bat production may or may not be available; it is best to call ahead to verify hours.
Gardens in Central Kentucky and Tennessee
An open-air excursion to a Central Kentucky and Tennessee garden will send your kids' spirits soaring. The University of Kentucky Arboretum in Lexington has a special children's garden designed to interest kids in horticulture, and Carelll Woodland Sculpture Trail in Nashville's Cheekwood Botanical Gardens winds amidst whimsical shapes, animal creations, and interesting abstract constructions that your children will enjoy discovering with you. Rock City Gardens on Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga has colorful, engaging fairy tale and nursery displays near the awe-inspiring sandstone formations that older children will love.
Caves in Central Kentucky and Tennessee
Parents who dread caving into their children's demands won't have a problem when it comes to Central Kentucky and Tennessee's elaborate cave systems. Nearly every cave expedition is child-proof. Some spectacular favorites are central Kentucky's Mammoth Cave in Mammoth Cave National Park, Diamond Cave, off the Mammoth Cave Parkway, and Crystal Onyx Cave in Cave City. Central Tennessee caves in which the kids can cavort include Cumberland Caverns, in McMinnville (the gooey mud of Bubblegum Alley will be right up their alley), and Big Bone Cave in Rock Island State Park. Adventurous and courageous children (not afraid of the dark) are even invited to accompany an adult on a Cumberland Cavern overnight adventure for 14 hours of spelunking and sleeping in the subterranean.
Animal and Fish Fun in Central Kentucky and Tennessee
When your children have tired of the wooden horses of Nashville's Tennessee Fox Trot Carousel and Chattanooga's Coolidge Park carousel that neither neigh nor nibble, take them to see some real fine equine specimens - the kind that actually swish their tails. Kentucky Horse Park, in Lexington, offers horse and pony rides for kids. For a horse of a different color, then most certainly the lions, tigers, and bears (and pygmy hippos) of the Louisville, Nashville, or Chattanooga Zoos will provide some animated amusement. Chattanooga's Tennessee Aquarium, a beautiful, $45 million freshwater aquarium, features over 9,000 creatures of every kind.
Children's Science and Hands-On Centers in Central Kentucky and Tennessee
For children with an endearing and endless list of “why's?” and for those who like to try their hand at just about everything, Central Kentucky and Tennessee has just the remedy. The Louisville Science Center, Kentucky's largest hands-on science extravaganza, turns science, math, and technology into palpable and dynamic fun. The Explorium of Lexington features nine interactive discovery zones for curious kids and little learners. In central Tennessee's Children's Discovery House, in Murfreesboro, kids get their feet off the ground with the popular flight simulator, among other interactive exhibits. Chattanooga's Creative Discovery Museum features an artist's studio, an inventor's workshop, a musician's studio, and a scientists' lab, where hands-on exhibits engage the minds of toddlers and older children alike.
Appreciating the Arts in Central Kentucky and Tennessee
For sensitive, artsy, and dramatic (or melodramatic) children, Frist Center for Visual Arts has a colorful and engaging children's discovery gallery. And nationally-acclaimed Stage One: Louisville's Children Theatre (housed in the Kentucky Center for Performing Arts) and Lexington's Children's Theatre have full rosters of beloved childhood classics.
Family Vacation Ideas in Nashville, Louisville and Lexington in Central Kentucky and Tennessee