By Laurie Evans
We’ve still got nine weekends left in Summer 2014, plenty of time to explore the Bluegrass and beyond. Check out our list of must-sees for summer weekends.
July 4-6: It’s the Fourth of July and that means festivals. You can visit Lexington’s 4th festival and enjoy an apple pie contest and ice cream social in addition to the parade and street festival all before the fireworks.
Also, visit Berea for the Whippoorwill Festival, July 10-13, to learn about traditional Appalachian living or Winchester for the Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival, Aug. 29-21, for arts & crafts, music and food.
July 11-13: This is a great weekend to explore Lexington – Watch the Legends take on the Hagerstown Suns, explore the Explorium or hit the Legacy Trail.
Horse lovers can head out to the Kentucky Horse Park for Breyerfest. Kids can paint their own Breyer model in miniature, enjoy pony rides, petting zoos and piggy races, get their faces painted and see loads of horse-y demonstrations.
July 18-20: In little more than an hour, you can be in Louisville where Big, Big Bugs are invading the Louisville Zoo (animatronic, that is), plus the Papa John’s Splash Park is open to cool you off.
The Kentucky Science Center offers your kids the coolest, funniest, grossest and wackiest science experience around.
The four-story digital theater will be showing “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Back to the Future” and “Jurassic Park 3-D.”
July 25-27: The Lexington Children’s Theatre will present “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” this weekend and next. Also this weekend, the Jenny Wiley Theatre in Prestonsburg will present “The Little Mermaid, Jr.,” “Peter Pan” and “South Pacific.”
And My Old Kentucky Home theatre in Bardstown will stage “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
August 1-3: If you’re tired of the heat, take a drive to Mammoth Caves in Park City (about 2 hours southwest of Lexington). The caves are always nice and cool – and totally cool!
There are cave tours for every age and every activity level. Visit Diamond Caverns while you’re down that way and go just a little farther to Bowling Green for the Lost River
Cave boat tour and gem mining.
August 8-10: Oh no! School is about to start. Quick, go out and have some big fun. How about a roller coaster?
There are so many options within just a couple hours drive from Lexington.
Kings Island is just north of Cincinnati, and the newly reopened Kentucky Kingdom is in Louisville.
For a smaller, slightly less crazy park, visit Coney Island in Cincinnati or Beech Bend and Splash Lagoon in Bowling Green.
August 15-17: Get your kids in the learning groove by exploring some local history. This weekend is Pioneer Days at Fort Boonesborough and features live music, historical demonstrations, great food and more than 100 vendors.
For train enthusiasts, plan a trip on the Bluegrass Scenic Railway or the Kentucky Railroad Museum trains.
August 22-24: Fayette County public schools are closed on Friday, Aug. 22, which means you have a three-day weekend to explore Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Zoo is offering Visitor Appreciation Days where all admission tickets are half price.
Hit up the Newport Aquarium in the afternoons for Summer Family Hours (Sun.-Fri., 4-7 p.m. only) when you’ll get two free kids’ admission for every paid adult admission.
August 29-September 1: Labor Day Weekend. Uh oh, summer is almost over! Last chance to hit the water parks. Close to home you can visit Adventure Falls in Richmond, The Pavilion in Georgetown, and Falling Springs in Versailles.
A little longer drive and you’ll get to the Kentucky Splash Waterpark in Williamsburg, the Big Splash Adventure in French Lick, Indiana, Coco Key Water Resort in Cincinnati,
Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio or Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tenn.
Mark your calendars now to make the most of your family’s summer.