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Things to Do in Kentucky

Much of the Kentucky is rural except for Lexington with its thoroughbred horses, the state capital Frankfort and Louisville, home to attractions Churchill Downs and Louisville Slugger bats. Frontiersman Daniel Boone’s footprints are everywhere. Follow the Bourbon Trail to learn about the many distilleries. Visit Newport’s aquarium and walk along the Ohio River levee. Crafts are showcased at Berea, while Paducah is famous for its quilt show and downtown murals. Land Between the Lakes is a recreation paradise with plenty of things to do.  Discover Mammoth Cave and the National Corvette Museum. Restaurants range from five star dining to those serving spoonbread. Stay at hotels, inns, campgrounds and on houseboats.
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Aviation Museum of Kentucky

4316 Hangar Drive
Lexington, Kentucky
859-231-1219
This museum features restored historic aircraft, aviation artifacts and operational planes. Its Hall of Fame recognizes native sons and friends who have made significant contributions in general, commercial and military aviation, as well as aerospace.
Hours & Admission
Thursday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Admission.
Photo Courtesy: ©The Aviation Museum of Kentucky

Headley-Whitney Museum

4435 Old Frankfurt Pike
Lexington, Kentucky
859-255-6653
The Headley-Whitney Museum, housed on the Headley family farm, is a decorative arts museum founded by famed 20th century jewelry designer George W. Headley III. It is home to his jewelry designs and eclectic collections - jewelry, bibelots, mounted semi-precious stones, dollhouses and varied natural objects. His wife was a descendant of the founder of the New York Whitney Museum of American Art.
Hours & Admission
Tuesday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Admission.

American Saddlebred Museum

4083 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, Kentucky
859-259-2746
This privately owned museum located on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park* showcases the American Saddlebred, Kentucky's native breed of horse. It houses the largest collection of artifacts, trophies, photograph and artwork relative to this four-legged steed. For those interested in horse genealogy and bloodlines, this is the place. (*see separate listing)
Hours & Admission
November to mid-March, Wednesday to Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., mid-March to late May and early September to November, daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., late May to early September 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed major winter holidays. Admission (includes access to Kentucky Horse Park).

Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate

120 Sycamore Road
Lexington, Kentucky
859-266-8581
Ashland, the estate of Henry Clay, is comprised of the 18-room mansion with family antiques, outbuildings, gardens and exhibits in the 1846 cottage.

Clay had a long political career, representing constituents in Kentucky and Washington, D.C. Clay was a horse breeder and farmer, among other interests. Six generations of his family resided here. The Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850 were just two of his accomplishments.
Hours & Admission
March to December, Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission.

Big South Fork Scenic Railway Depot

100 Henderson Street
Stearns, Kentucky
606-376-5330
The Kentucky and Tennessee Railway operates a 16-mile excursion train through the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area* and the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Depart from Stearns, traveling through the Appalachian Mountain wilderness before descending 600 feet into the Big South Fork Gorge and stopping at Blue Heron*, a former coal mining community. Once in Blue Heron explore the former company town, now operated by the National Park Service. It's even possible to ride in the...
Hours & Admission
April to October service is three to 3.5 hours in length, including time in Blue Heron, while November and December trips are 1.5 hours and do not allow time in Blue Heron.

NNational Park Service Stearns Depot Visitor Center of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area: May to October, daily 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., November to April, Friday and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed December 25. Admission.

Boone Station State Historic Site

240 Gentry Road
Lexington, Kentucky
859-263-1073
In 1779, pioneer Daniel Boone and his family moved here from Boonesborough, a more populated community. Following a dispute over ownership he and his family moved to Missouri. Within the 46-acre park, find picnic tables and a one-mile hiking trail.
Hours & Admission
Daily, dusk to dawn. Free.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

U.S. Highway 25E South
Middlesboro, Kentucky
606-248-2817
Cumberland Gap, situated in the Appalachian Mountains, served as an important access route between East Kentucky and Tenneessee for early frontiersmen. The largest National Historical Park in the United States, it offers 20,000 acres with 70 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and bicycling - ranging from a one-quarter mile loop trail to the 21-mile Ridge Trail. Picnic areas are available as well as a 160-site campground with running water, bath facilities and numerous backcountry campsites....
Hours & Admission
Visitor center: daily 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Christmas Day. Free.

Explorium of Lexington

440 West Short Street
Lexington, Kentucky
859-258-3253
This interactive museum is dedicated to educating children. Exhibits with a local slant include horses, of course, and the Kentucky River, plus one geared towards toddlers. Other learning environments feature the human brain, dinosaurs, health and sciences, as well as world cultures.
Hours & Admission
Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Admission.

Kentucky Horse Park

4089 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, Kentucky
859-233-4303
Founded in 1978, the 1,200-acre Kentucky Horse Park, a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility, is dedicated to man's relationship with the horse.

The park is a state agency that hosts 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows. Admission includes:

• a horse drawn trolley tour detailing the park's main activities...
Hours & Admission
Mid-March to October, daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., November to mid-March, Wednesday to Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Admission.

Lexington History Museum

215 West Main Street
Lexington, Kentucky
859-254-0530
Located in the former county courthouse, the museum spotlights aspects of Lexington's history. Exhibits have included life in the frontier settlement, a black and white look at African-American life from the 1860s to the 1950s, thoroughbred horse racing, Mary Todd Lincoln's hometown and antique typewriters, among others.
Hours & Admission
Friday, Sunday and Monday 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Free.
Information subject to change without notice.
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