The top things to do in Kentucky with kids

by | Last updated Oct 10, 2023

We have two kiddos and have traveled around the Bluegrass state doing family fun things with our kids. There are plenty of sights to see, attractions to visit and places to eat. I’d also agree that Kentucky has some of the best and cleanest state parks in the country, offering numerous activities for family fun.

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the top things we recommend doing in Kentucky with kids.

Kentucky Down Under

Have you ever wanted to pet a Kangaroo? Kentucky Down Under is the only place in the state of Kentucky where you can pet and feed a kangaroo.

If you’ve never been to the Horse Cave or Cave City area, then you are in for a treat. One of the most unique adventures and things to do in the area is Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo.

Kentucky Down Under is an exciting and educational animal park in Horse Cave, Kentucky, where visitors can encounter a variety of exotic animals and experience interactive adventures.

You can walk through a paved path and see many different birds, reptiles and even a wolf. There’s a petting zoo where you can feed farm animals. You can even pet and feed a kangaroo. The kids will love it.

We’ve been to Kentucky Down Under on a few different occasions and it’s pretty neat. My advice is to rent the golf cart because there is a large hill to climb.

If you’re looking for an adventure zoo in Kentucky, then check out Kentucky Down Under.

Beech Bend Amusement Park

Located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Beech Bend Amusement Park is a family friendly destination that has been serving the South Central Kentucky region for over 125 years.

Beech Bend offers huge roller coasters for adults and older kids as well as a nice area for smaller rides for the young kiddos.

The water park is amazing as well if you are here in the summer months. Free tubes. Free sunscreen. Free parking.

If you are traveling or camping in an RV, there are over 160 paved sites for you. Many full time RVers stop at Beech Bend along the way.

If you’re looking for an amusement park in Kentucky that is good for kids and families, then check out Beech Bend in Bowling Green.

Ark Encounter

The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky is one incredible experience.

Let me tell you it was nothing short of amazing when we visited a couple years ago! If you are in the Williamstown area, then it’s a must see attraction.

When you step foot into this remarkable attraction, you are transported back in time to the days of Noah’s Ark. The sheer size and architecture of the life-sized replica will leave you speechless.

inside of ark encounter in williamstown kentucky

If you are wanting to see one of Kentucky’s must anticipated attractions, then the Ark Encounter is one people are talking about and come from all around the world to see.

Louisville Zoo

If you’re staying in the Louisville area and looking some some local attractions to do with the kids, then I suggest you check out the animals at the Louisville Zoo.

From huge elephants to funny penguins, the Louisville Zoo is home a wide variety of animals from around the globe.

If you have kids that love zoos, then check out the Louisville Zoo. Don’t forget your safari hat and stroller!

Cumberland Falls State Park

One of my favorite Kentucky state parks that we’ve visited is the famous Cumberland Falls. I’ve shared my review of the Cumberland Falls State Park in a recent post.

Referred to as “Niagara of the South,” the beauty of Cumberland Falls is breathtaking. I would visit every year if I had the chance.

kentucky cumberland falls

This state park has so much more to offer than the waterfall. From thrilling outdoor activities for the kids such as gem mining, nature walks and more, Cumberland Falls State Park is perfect for kids and families.

If you’re looking for a world famous waterfall, then check out the Cumberland Falls State Park.

Natural Bridge State Park

The Natural Bridge in Kentucky is a massive sandstone arch that spans 78 feet and rises 65 feet above the ground. This Kentucky natural wonder is one of the most iconic and recognizable features of the Red River Gorge Geological Area.

The arch was formed over millions of years through the erosion of sandstone rocks that left behind this cool natural rock bridge structure.

We’ve been to the Natural Bridge on one occasion to see the beautiful sandstone structure. It is a very long hike up some very strenuous and tough terrain. The stairs to the top are pretty eroded in some spots.

natural bridge in kentucky

With the long uphill hike, I’d still recommend the Natural Bridge as a place to take kids in Kentucky and experience the view. We took our 2 year old on our last trip and the only time you feel uncomfortable is when you get to the top. You have to really watch your kids as they can run off the cliff easily.

Kentucky Horse Park

If you’re looking for a kid friendly adventure that combines nature, horses and a whole lot of excitement then you’ve come to the right place.

The Kentucky Horse Park is not just any ordinary park, it’s a place where little imaginations run wild and young hearts are filled with joy.

From friendly horses and interactive exhibits to hands on activities and engaging shows, the Kentucky Horse Park offers a delightful experience for kids of all ages. There’s trollies that ride around the whole park. There’s typically a wait, but it’s one of the must do things if you’re at the park.

If you’re in the Lexington area and looking for a kid friendly horse adventure, then check out the Kentucky Horse Park.

Mammoth Cave

One of the most famous places in Kentucky and the only national park in Kentucky is Mammoth Cave. If you have never been to see the monstrous Mammoth Cave, then you and the kids should go.

One of Kentucky’s natural wonders, Mammoth Cave is full of breathtaking rock formations and fascinating history.

There are paved steps down to the historic entrance of the cave and the majority of the walkways and paths are paved throughout the cave.

mammoth cave park ranger

It’s perfect for kids and families of all ages.

Our recommendation if you have small kids is to do the Mammoth Cave Self Guided Tour. You get to enter the same large historic entrance and visit a lot of the cave without a tour guide and you get to do it at your own pace. It takes about 30-45 min to do the self guided tour.

Mammoth Cave is one of the top visited places in Kentucky and one of our favorite and most recommended places to go.

Elk & Bison Range in Land Between the Lakes

One of my favorite places in the western part of Kentucky is the Elk & Bison Prairie at Land Between the Lakes. I lived in Western Kentucky as a kid and would visit LBL frequently.

Out of all the places in LBL, the Elk & Bison Prairie Range was one of my favorites to go to.

You’ll have the opportunity to witness the sight of magnificent elk and bison grazing in their natural habitat.

The best time to go to the Elk & Bison range in LBL is early morning or late afternoon. During the heat of the day, the Elk & Bison will be hidden in the shade and cooling off from the sun.

If you’re looking for something to do in LBL or visiting the Kentucky and Lake Barkley area, then make sure to visit the Elk and Bison range for an unforgettable nature experience of up close wildlife.

Smothers Park

Nestled along the mighty Ohio River, Smothers Park is a world renowned park and one of the largest playgrounds in the United States. It is a gathering place that offers a blend of natural beauty with downtown Owensboro and creates a perfect place for kids to enjoy the park.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful escape surrounded by stunning river views or looking to indulge in exciting activities with your loved ones, this park has it all.

smothers park playground owensboro

From interactive water features to captivating playgrounds, beautifully landscaped gardens and a dazzling performance stage, Smothers Park is perfect for families, friends and visitors of all ages.

Since we live in Owensboro, we are very partial to this park. It’s hard to beat the scenes of a barge carrying grain down the river and allowing the kids time to waste some energy on the playground.

Where to stay in Kentucky?

Kentucky offers many different places to stay. There’s unique hotels, cozy cottages and campgrounds in every county of the state.

Wigwam Village

The Wigwam Village is a unique sleeping experience built in 1937 that allows you to take a step back in time and sleep in a teepee.

For those visiting Mammoth Cave, the Wigwam Village is not too far away.

Kentucky Dam Village

Kentucky Dam Village offers many different styles of lake side cottages, hotel and camping sites.

If you are wanting to enjoy the Land Between the Lakes, then Kentucky Dam Village is a good place to stay.

Home2Suites Frankfort

Are you heading to Kentucky’s capital city Frankfort? We were in the area and needed an overnight stay while visiting nearby Lexington.

The Home2Suites hotel off Versailles Road was a clean location and we felt safe with the kids.

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Trey Copeland

Trey Copeland

Founder & Editor

Hello folks! I’m Trey Copeland, founder and editor of Stay Bluegrass, along with my wife Kaci. We’ve been fortunate to travel to many countries such as Mexico and Costa Rica, but our true roots remain here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Bluegrass State.

Our goal is to help you live like a local while traveling and exploring the great state of Kentucky. We want to help you find the best places to eat, the must see and do attractions and more.

Hey! I'm Trey

Hey! I'm Trey

I live in Owensboro, Kentucky and have traveled around the Bluegrass state with my wife Kaci.

Read more about us

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