Kentucky offers hidden hotspots
Caves, Corvettes showcase opportunities for exploration
The great state of Kentucky may be well known for its bourbon and baseball bats, but that is only scratching the surface of what the area has to offer.
Enjoy the natural wonders both above and below the surface in this quaint town. With 52,800 acres of sprawling national park you're sure to find something for everyone to enjoy. With a wide variety of activities including cave explorations, horseback riding, hiking and kayaking, it's an adventure the whole family will enjoy.
Take a trip back into the wondrous history of the caves, including its first visitors dating back 2,000 years ago. The echoes of human discovery are still heard today with daily tours that highlight its cavernous beauty and mystical prowess. Explore nature close up as you encounter animals that have adapted to living in complete darkness and learn how this geological wonder was formed. Mammoth Caves boasts the longest chain of caverns in the world and much of it is yet to be explored by modern man.
Mammoth Caves National Park is open year round with seasonal hours of operation and has a wide variety of cave tours of varying length.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum
The International Bluegrass Music Museum, located in the small town of Owensboro, celebrates one of Kentucky’s most cherished musical treasures. Boasting an extensive permanent collection including the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor, founded in 1991, this exhibit celebrates those who have made the music and those who follow in their footsteps.
The exhibit titled "Big Mon" celebrates the life and times of one of Bluegrass’s founding fathers Bill Monroe. Musical instruments are sprinkled throughout the museum, offering a look at their significance in the genre as well as the artisans that painstakingly build them.
Be sure to also check out the Café, a 1950s replica of a gig-space featuring a jukebox filled with both contemporary and traditional bluegrass music and hardwood floors excellent for clogging.
The museum also sponsors an annual festival called ROMP or the River of Music Party every fourth weekend in June. ROMP features special events for the young and old including live music and new exhibits.
The museum is closed on Mondays and all major holidays.
The Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs
One of Kentucky’s most popular sports is the good old fashioned horse race.
Often called "The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports," referring to the time it takes a horse and jockey to make it around the track, one of the most famous derbies watched around the world takes place in Louisville at Churchill Downs. But one often overlooked attraction at the famed track is its museum, dedicated to capturing the pride, excitement and tradition of the Kentucky Derby.
Visitors are immersed in the world of racing, as they take the Backside Tour to get a rare sneak peek at the life and history of people that live and work in the stable areas of Churchill Downs. Museum visitors can also dive into the "Derby Experience" and surround themselves in the sights and sounds of a typical derby week, including the ever-popular yearly hat contest exhibit.
Take a trip back into time at the Warner L. Jones Jr. time machine and meet winning jockeys and trainers and see derby clips dating as far back as 1918. The Kentucky Derby Museum has many interactive activities for the young and young at heart.
The museum is a must for any horse fanatic or anyone who has ever been awestruck by the pageantry and tradition that is Derby Day. Churchill Downs offers several tours of varying length that run seasonally according to the weather.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Taste the native fruits of labor that is known as Kentucky Bourbon, on what is actually a tour of eight different distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Learn the history of Scottish and Irish immigrants that headed west and found Kentucky’s natural resources perfect for making smooth, flavorful bourbon. More than 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky and the technique has changed little in years. Explore each individual distillery's take on the art of bourbon production and immerse the senses by the sights, scents and tastes of the bourbon trail.
Visitors are sure to be awestruck by the bourbon-filled rows of oak barrels being finely aged to perfection and can meet the professionals and ask them questions in person. Be it the home of Jim Beam or Makers Mark, bourbon connoisseurs are sure to enjoy their time surrounded by the spirits that are proud to call Kentucky home.
GM Corvette Assembly Plant
Every Corvette made is produced with all-American pride in the city of Bowling Green, Ky. Visitors can experience art in motion at the Corvette assembly plant tour.
The plant was originally an air-conditioning plant for General Motors vehicles but was later retrofitted into what is now its modern incarnation. Tour highlights include a brief history of the Corvette and windows allowing guests to view modern technology working hand in hand with good old fashioned American craftsmanship. Recent upgrades include access to the XLR production line and a memento to commemorate the tour.
Plant tours are offered daily for a minimal price and reservations are strongly advised. As this is an actual functioning assembly line certain guidelines apply on clothing.
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