Being a state featuring no shortage of bucolic rural scenery, bearing witness to mist that rises from the mountain valleys of its highlands, beholding the beauty of leaves that catch fire in a kaleidoscope of colours in the fall, and marvelling at sprawling horse pastures that span vast tracts of the state are all common experiences of visitors to Kentucky.
It’s enough to make you want to halt your wandering ways and plunk down a chunk of cash on a farm of your own so that you can spend the rest of your days living the American country-fried dream.
If these scenes don’t get you at first sight, maybe getting worked up into a state of cajoling your horse to victory at Churchill Downs, a sip of freshly-distilled bourbon at one of many stills statewide, or tucking into most sinfully delicious fried chicken you tasted in your life will.
Even if you are far too attached to your home to make this alluring state your new one, there is a good chance you’ll leave Kentucky smitten with the place. This state has a habit of casting a spell on visitors, and when you do manage to swing by for a visit, you’ll be hard pressed to resist its Southern charms.
What To Do – Culture & History
Of all the assets Kentucky possesses, the one that is best known for is its horses. It breeds some of world’s best steeds in its expansive farm country, and when the time comes for them to test their mettle on the racetrack, the best of the lot inevitably find themselves lining up at Churchill Downs, home to the world famous Kentucky Derby.
Travelers aiming to take in the event for themselves should plan their trip so that they will be in Louisville for the first Saturday in May, which is when the race goes down every year. Two weeks prior to the race, the Kentucky Derby Festival takes place in Louisville, which includes a firework competition, a marathon, the Pegasus Parade (one of the largest events of its kind in America) and much more.
If you can’t be in Kentucky at that time, normal races are scheduled on a regular basis at Churchill Downs, and the Kentucky Derby Museum, which is located on-site,will allow horse lovers and curious tourists to have an in-depth look at the history of this prestigious event.
Did you know that Muhammad Ali, one of most famous fighters in boxing history, was born and raised in Kentucky? He certainly did, as Louisville was the place where he grew up, gathering together the life experiences that inevitably led to his career as one of the most successful boxers of all time.
The Muhammad Ali Center focuses on the life and times of this luminous character, from the battles he won in the ring, to the life philosophies he has espoused and causes that he has taken up in his supremely interesting life.
The unending debate between intelligent design and evolution has been a controversial one in America for many decades, exposing the tension between secularists and religious groups in the United States. No matter your opinion on the issue, explore latter side’s position at the Creation Museum, an institution dedicated to laying out the creationist’s side of the debate through its unique exhibits.
Its claims, that dinosaurs and humans once co-existed side by side, and that the Mount St. Helen’s eruption provides support for their Young Earth theory may be a bit tenuous for some, but it nonetheless provides insight into the faith of Evangelical Christians that call this corner of the nation home.
If you feel like you need a drink at this point, learn a little about the delicious bourbon you are about to savour first by going to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in Bardstown. Its collection of hooch-related artifacts date back to pre-colonial times includes antique bottles, moonshine stills, and advertising through the ages, making it a perfect place to burn an hour or two for the drinking enthusiast.
What To Do – Modern & Natural Attractions
Consider yourself a big baseball fan? If you are, then learn about the history behind the sport’s offensive implement at the Louisville Slugger Museum. You won’t be able to miss this place, as a six storey high bat sits out front of the institution’s doors. Inside, guests can touch bats used in-game by stars such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Cal Ripken Jr., view the production of the famous brand of baseball bat, and experience the feeling of having a 90 mile per hour fastball bear down on them in Bud’s batting cage.
If cars are your passion, then don’t speed past Bowling Green without going on a factory tour at General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant. In the one hour guided tours of this famous facility, you will see how Corvettes go from a bare chassis and frame to the dream machines we all know and love.
If you want to learn more about the history of this iconic American sports car, the adjacent Corvette Museum will help you delve into its lively backstory. Featuring 70 unique models of the car that has been made since 1953, these exhibits, as well as rotating special ones, will keep auto lover’s occupied for hours at a time.
Went to Churchill Downs, but still carving more horse action? If so, then the Kentucky Horse Park makes for an excellent supplement to the former attraction. Many former championship thoroughbreds come here to live after retiring from racing, and the International Museum of the Horse, which details different horse breeds and memorabilia from around the world, is affiliated with the Smithsonian, making it a museum you can’t miss!
Outdoor lovers will find plenty to love about Kentucky’s countryside, but one attraction should be seen before departing is Mammoth Cave National Park. Home to the longest cave system in the world, it stretches into the earth with an officially measured 400 miles of passages, with a short portion at the front developed and well-lit for causal exploration.
Those looking to do deeper can take guided tours with park rangers that can last anywhere between 1-6 hours, with only your own paraffin lamps instead of spotlights to light the features that will stretch before you.