Kentucky has many destinations that fit the bill even better during winter months, so you can save all those spring and summer breaks to get outside.
The internationally known Speed Art Museum, on the University of Louisville campus, is a great place to start. It offers activities that involve even the youngest visitors. The interactive gallery Art Sparks encourages kids to build, time travel, and play with light and color. Info: www.speedmuseum.org.
In downtown Louisville near the riverfront is “museum row,” where kids’ imaginations will transport them to distant times and places, all within a short walk on Main Street. The Frazier International History Museum, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the Louisville Science Center, and Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft are all have eye-catching displays. And the Muhammad Ali Center also is located within a stone’s throw.
The Frazier Museum brings history to life daily with costumed interpreters, including live sword fighting, multimedia and hands-on learning. The museum covers 1,000 years of Kentucky history. Info: www.fraziermuseum.org.
At the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, visitors learn the story behind the famous baseball bat used by major league players. Leaning against the factory outside is the world’s largest baseball bat. Inside, the people and machinery that manufacture the bats are visible. Trace baseball’s emergence as the national pastime over 125 years through memorabilia of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron and others who have batted themselves into history books. Info: www.sluggermuseum.org.
Up river, the Newport Aquarium keeps wowing kids with what’s swimming around in a million gallons of water. Thousands of varieties of marine life reside here, including sharks ready for petting, if you dare. The aquarium is at Newport on the Levee on the banks of the Ohio River. Info: www.newportaquarium.com.
Lexington Children's Theatre performances are geared for the young and young at heart. Usher your imagination away and watch the kids get pulled into the world of make-believe. The theatre is located at 418 West Short St. (Short Street is one way headed east). For performance titles and dates, visit www.lctonstage.org.
Productions at Stage One: The Louisville Children’s Theatre are geared to a certain age group. Stage One includes pre- and post-show discussions between audience and cast and crew. Performances are held at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on W. Main St. Info: www.stageone.org.
Kids get their motors running at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. It’s the largest and most comprehensive nonprofit museum dedicated to one car -- America’s very own sports car. Fifty Corvettes and concept cars produced over the half-century since the ‘Vette hit the showrooms are included in the 68,000-square-foot museum. Photos, videos, ads, models and other memorabilia generate the horsepower for fun.
Museum visitors can also watch the ‘Vette manufacturing process on a tour of the Corvette Assembly Plant, located across the street. The museum is right off of Interstate 65 at exit 28. Info: www.corvettemuseum.com.
If you haven’t been to Kentucky’s top tourist attraction, now’s the time. Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world and has been a destination to see since the early 1800s. Stephen Bishop, a slave to the landowner, explored these caves at a time before electricity and other power equipment. Like other caves in the area, Mammoth Caves’ near constant temperature is mid-50s, so there’s no need for a heavy coat.
Other caves nearby offer underground explorations for all ages: Lost River Cave & Valley (http://lostrivercave.com), Diamond Caverns (http://diamondcaverns.com), Hidden River Cave (http://cavern.org/hrc/hrchome.php).
Take the day and plan to stop at Dinosaur World (www.dinoworld.net) to meet 100 life-size dinosaur models and view the interactive boneyard exhibit.
As you can see, winter is no excuse to stay home or stay inside, especially in Kentucky.