Tag Archives: Kentucky

The Great American Eclipse: Coming August 2017

My little girl loves science. Over the years various teachers encouraged the obsession. She enjoys reading non-fiction books about animals, plants, and solar systems. Her favorite activities involve the word- “experiment.” We’re constantly Continue reading The Great American Eclipse: Coming August 2017

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Kentucky Derby Day

Happy Kentucky Derby Day!

In honor of the Kentucky Derby, I wanted to post a throwback to my daughter’s first time on a horse. During a trip to Galena, Illinois we attended a rodeo and they were offering rides for the kids. Such fun memories from that evening! We love trying new experiences when we travel!

Enjoy watching the Derby today!

Which horse are you betting on?

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Best Places To See Fall Foliage

Best Places For Fall Foliage

As much as I hate to admit it, fall is officially in full swing. Even in the south, leaves are changing and the calendar keeps moving deeper into September.

Though I dislike the cooler weather, even I will admit there’s nothing more beautiful than fall foliage. And nothing cuter than kids with leaves!

I love photographing my kids with leaves!
I love photographing my kids with leaves!

Although I won’t even pretend to understand the complexities behind this weather phenomenon, rumor has it that this year’s fall foliage is expected to be the best in decades.

If you’re looking for some great spots to leaf-view this season, here are 18 places I recommend:

  1. Skyline Drive (Blue Ridge Parkway), Virginia
  2. Napa Valley, California
  3. Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
  4. Great Smokey Mountain National Park, Tennessee
  5. Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico
  6. Adirondacks, New York
  7. The Berkshires, Massachusetts
  8. Aspen, Colorado
  9. Acadia National Park, Maine
  10. Lost Maple State Natural Area, Texas
  11. Upper Peninsula, Michigan
  12. The Ozarks, Missouri
  13. Lake Champlain Islands, Vermont
  14. Fayetteville, West Virginia
  15. Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia
  16. Glacier National Park, Montana
  17. Bardstown, Kentucky
  18. Leavenworth, Washington

I know, 18 is an odd number of places to recommend. 10 wasn’t quite enough. Then I ambitiously decided I’d do  50 before realizing there are some states that don’t even deserve honorable mention when it comes to fall foliage (hello, Florida!)  Also, I decided not to duplicate any state. Although, I could have easily listed Vermont locations for all 18 places on the list!

Road trips are my favorite way to view fall foliage. We always try to plan travel during peak leaf changing season even if the foliage itself isn’t our destination. Taking scenic routes on the way to your destination will provide beautiful backdrops.

Always pull your car over at an overlook to snap pictures and capture all the fall colors! And, of course, get a few pictures of your kids with the falling leaves!

Kids + Leaves
Kids + Leaves

Where is your favorite place to view fall foliage?

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5 Reasons To Visit Lexington, Kentucky

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Lexington, Kentucky is easily one of the most overlooked cities in the United States. I say that only because I don’t really think it’s on anyone’s radar as a “must visit” place. Unfortunately, if you miss visiting Lexington, you really miss out! It’s easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world (in all 4 seasons!) and it’s loaded with terrific things for families to do.

In Monday’s post I mentioned Keeneland, the horse track in Lexington, that is open every April and October. If you have no other reason to visit, I highly recommend planning a trip during the Keeneland racing season!

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Although you don’t need more reasons, here are 5 more to visit Lexington:

  1. The Arboretum: If you could only do one thing in Lexington (besides Keeneland), the University of Kentucky Arboretum is your place. It’s beautifully unique, educational and a great place to picnic and take pictures. Inside the Arboretum there is also a Children’s Garden that I highly recommend. The Garden has an admission fee of $3 per person or $10 per family, but it will be the best money you spend! In the garden, kids are able to get hands on with nature. They are encouraged to explore in a safe environment. They learn and get dirty at the same time- it’s awesome! (Tip: Remember to pack a towel and change of clothes in your car!) Lexington8
  2. Kentucky Horse Park: No matter what time of year you visit, the Kentucky Horse Park has something fun going on. Check the calendar to see what is going on during your visit- you will be in for a real treat if you get to watch a horse competition or show! They even fill the park with Christmas lights during the month of December. No matter when you visit, the Park always offers barn tours, horseback riding and museum tours. The Kentucky Horse Park showcases the best of the best when it comes to horses and a visit will give you a great feel for why Lexington is known as “the horse capital of the world.”
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  3. Sports: Besides all things “horse,” Lexington has a lot to offer when it comes to sports! The University of Kentucky is known as being the best in several sports (as hard as it is for me- a University of Tennessee fan- to admit that!) Viewing a UK basketball game at Rupp Arena is considered one of the premier events in college basketball (good luck getting tickets!) UK also has a phenomenal cheerleading and gymnastics program. My kids loved going to watch some of those events. In addition to all of the college sporting events, Lexington has a minor league baseball team. The Legends have a beautiful ballpark right outside of downtown. Lexington6
  4. Downtown: Speaking of downtown, it’s awesome. No one will ever accuse Lexington of being ‘big city,’ but it has just enough tall buildings to give it that feel. It’s cute, fun and safe. There are several parks with big water fountains, and lots of great restaurants. In the winter there is an outdoor ice skating rink. There also always seems to be a festival going on, or a farmers market to enjoy. There is also a cute children’s museum (The Explorium.) Don’t miss spending a few minutes downtown during your visit! Lexington15
  5. Orchards: Lexington has two of the best orchards I’ve ever been to- Boyd’s Orchard and Evan’s Orchard. It’s really unfair that they are both located in the same city! Both places are full of fun almost year round. When you visit the orchards, you aren’t just there to pick pumpkins or fruit. You are there for the day! From tasty food, to play grounds, and slides, both Orchards offer a complete family experience. Lexington9

 

I realized as I began this list that there are WAY more awesome places in Lexington to visit while you are in town! Here are a few more suggestions:

  • Shaker Village: Located about 30 minutes outside of the city, this quaint little stop is a trip back in time. Shaker Village offers an array of family activities and accommodations.
  • Aviation Museum of Kentucky: Located right next to the Bluegrass Airport, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky is a great place for your family to get up close and personal with a variety of aircrafts. You also have front row seats next to the runway to watch planes take off and land (a favorite activity for my kids.) Lexington14
  • Old Kentucky Chocolates: I’m sure, based on the name, I don’t even need to tell you why you MUST stop at Old Kentucky Chocolates . Be sure to tour the factory and buy the chocolate covered potato chips (trust me.) Lexington11
  • Joseph-Beth: So it’s a bookstore. Super random destination, but seriously Joseph-Beth is unlike anywhere you’ve been. Besides the most incredible collection of books, and a fabulous children’s area, they have an awesome restaurant and a beautiful duck pond.

Bourbon Tours: I put this on the list because it’s very Lexington and very fun. But it’s not very family oriented. If you have babysitting options, you’ll definitely want to do some tours!                                                           Lexington

Any other tips for visiting Lexington?

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Keeneland Horse Races

Horses1

Every April and October, Keeneland Race Track comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of horse racing. Located in the beautiful city of Lexington, Kentucky, Keeneland is one of the most prestigious and beautiful race tracks in the world.

Several years ago we had the opportunity to visit Keeneland. I have to admit, I wasn’t 100% sure it was going to be a good family environment. Obviously, a large part of horse racing (well, the whole point, really) is gambling on the outcome. Of course, my kids can’t actually participate in that aspect. However, they do enjoy picking their own winners and rooting for their favorites.

Horses

I was very surprised at the number of children at the track. While there are still an overwhelming number of adults, the kids were very welcomed. Keeneland has many places for spectators to watch the races. From the grandstands, to the clubhouse, to the sloped concrete area in front of the fences (think of almost a large tailgate area), you can move about throughout the day. Additionally, you can walk around the paddocks to watch the horses. Our children really enjoyed being as close as possible for the races, but liked walking around during the time in between.

Although you can certainly visit Keeneland any day with kids, I would personally recommend Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday. These not only tend to be the least crowded days, but they also are a bit more laid back than Friday and Saturday.

Horses

During racing season at Keeneland, the track does a very special Saturday morning sunrise trackside event. Breakfast With The Works allows you to watch the horses work out on the track (which is an AMAZING sight as the sun rises!), eat a breakfast buffet and participate in some kid’s activities. Breakfast With The Works is an awesome family activity and a memorable experience.

The track is open most Wednesdays – Sundays in April and October. Lexington, Kentucky is a wonderful city to visit with many fun, family things to do. I will be posting more about Lexington later this week!  I highly recommend planning a trip to Lexington during Keeneland!

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