ABC’s of Staycation
By Katie Saltz
A is for Amusement Parks. Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green has roller coasters, drag racing, a campground and a recently-expanded water park. Thrill seekers can ride The Kentucky Tumbler, a top-ranked wooden roller coaster or the Cyclone Saucers at the Splash Lagoon Water Park.
B is for Bowling. Collins Bowling has a Summer Family Bowling Pass that offers kids and adults 2 games of bowling and shoe rental for a fraction of the regular cost. Kids can bowl seven days a week, on your own schedule as needed.
C is for Cincinnati Museum Center. The Duke Energy Children’s Museum has eight themed play areas and rotating exhibits that encourage kids to climb, crawl, explore and learn. The museum also has an Omnimax Theater for an immersive viewing experience.
D is for Derby Dinner Playhouse. From “Pinkalicious” to “Beauty and the Beast, this theater just outside of Louisville has shows for the whole family.
E is for EKU’s Hummel Planetarium. Take a voyage through space with kid-friendly programs and stay after the show for a star talk. The Planetarium has several summer shows for ages PreK and up.
F is for Farms. Get some fresh air and enjoy fresh produce this summer. Pick your own strawberries at Boyd Orchards in Versailles or visit one of the summer festivals at Bi-Water Farm in Georgetown.
G is for Gattitown. Want something fun that involves minimal planning? Gattitown has endless pizza, prizes and games. Drop in and let the kids eat and play as long as you like.
H is for Holiday World. This amusement park in Santa Claus, Ind. has free sunscreen and free soft drinks for all visitors, in addition to super-speed roller coasters.
I is for Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Just a three hour drive from Lexington, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum is known for interactive exhibits about dinosaurs, space, world culture and more.
J is for Jumping. Monkey Joe’s is an inflatable playground of jumps, slides and obstacle courses. Little ones can play in the 3 & under zone, while bigger kids wear themselves out on the bouncers.
K is for Kentucky Kingdom. From thrill rides to water slides, Kentucky Kingdom is only as far as Louisville and has theme park fun for all ages.
L is for Living Arts & Science Center. The newly-renovated facility downtown has hands-on art and science activities, planetarium shows, and camps and classes on everything from 3D printing to insect science.
M is for Mammoth Cave. The longest known cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave has cave tours and nature walks for all ages and experience levels.
N is for Newport Aquarium. Seahorses, sharks, otters and penguins are all part of this aquatic adventure, just a short drive from Lexington.
O is for Opryland USA. Known as “the Home of American music,” Opryland in Nashville has roller coasters, carousels and the usual park rides as well as plenty of musical shows to take in.
P is for Painting. If your kids love art but you hate a mess, Cut & Paste is the place to go. Drop-in for craft time and take home a unique art project, no clean up required.
Q is for is for Quest. Go on a ‘Family Adventure Quest’ at Kentucky State Parks. Check out parks.ky.gov to sign up and then venture out to complete the guided challenges throughout various parks and historic sites in KY.
R is for Red River Gorge. Part of the Daniel Boone Natural Forest, visitors to the Gorge can view natural stone arches, unusual rock formations and sandstone cliffs. Experienced or novice hikers can enjoy a day of hiking this outdoor wonder.
S is for Salato Wildlife Education Center. Curious kids can see black bears, bobcats, native snakes and more at Salato in Frankfort. Drop in and explore or attend one of their family-friendly events this summer.
T is for Theatre. Introduce your kids to the joy of the theatre by taking in a play, ballet performance or musical. The Lexington Children’s Theatre, Derby Dinner Playhouse and Lexington Opera House are a few options for great shows year-round.
U is for Under. Kentucky Down Under is an Australian-themed park in Horse Cave, about 2 hours from Lexington. Meet dingoes, kookaburras, kangaroos and more at this adventure zoo.
V is for Village. At Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, kids can hike the trails, visit the farm and animals, cruise the Kentucky River or check out the special exhibits like mammoth fossils.
W is for Wilderness at the Smokies. Take a weekend for a family vacation and play in the indoor and outdoor water parks, or at the family adventure forest.
X is for The Explorium. Lexington’s children’s museum allows kids to be hands-on in every exhibit, from water tables to an “animal hospital” where children can be the veterinarian.
Y is for Yummy Treats. When you don’t feel like driving out of town, pop in to Bruster’s for a quick bite of ice cream made the old-fashioned way. What kid will turn down that offer?
Z is for Zoo. The Louisville zoo has more than just amazing animal encounters. Remember to pack a bathing suit for the Papa John’s Splash Park inside the zoo, included in general admission.