Looking for fun things to do in Kentucky with kids? From visiting the Niagara of the South to exploring the World’s largest cave system, here are 5 great suggestions for day trips in Kentucky that the whole family will enjoy. Keep reading to learn more about planning your weekend getaway to Kentucky.
While I love to take a huge family vacation each year, that is not always possible whether it’s because of finances or busy schedules. Over the years, our family has learned that a day trip can be just as much fun as a full-fledged vacation.
On years when we can’t take a couple of weeks for a vacation, we appease our love of travel by taking several day trips. Since we live so close, we have discovered a lot of fun places to visit in Kentucky.
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5 Fun Things To Do In Kentucky With Kids
Kentucky is a scenic and beautiful state with plenty of fun places for families to explore. We live a little over an hour away from the Ohio-Kentucky line, so many of our day trips are to visit attractions throughout the state of Kentucky.
Looking for kid friendly things to do in Kentucky as the weather gets warmer? Here are our top 5 picks for family fun in Kentucky.
These are places that we have visited multiple times and really enjoyed. Any of these day trips would be fun things to do in Kentucky this weekend, with plenty to keep kids interested and engaged.
The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace – #1 pick for Fun Places to Visit in Kentucky That Are Educational
Step Back in Time To The Humble Beginnings of One of Our Greatest Presidents
I never did much enjoy history class in school. However, I love visiting historical sites as they really bring history to life. So I am starting my list of fun things to do in Kentucky with the birthplace of our nation’s 16th president, which is now a National Historic Park.
It may not be one of the biggest tourist attractions in Kentucky, but the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park in Hodgenville is a great place to spend an afternoon.
Admission to the park is free, which is always a plus when seeking out family fun in Kentucky. Park attractions include a Visitor’s Center where you can browse several Lincoln exhibits, the Memorial Building that enshrines the Symbolic Cabin, the Sinking Springs which provided water for the Lincoln family, and over a mile of hiking trails.
Be sure to take along a picnic lunch. Between viewing all the exhibits in the Visitor’s Center, checking out the sites of interest, and hiking the trails, you could easily make a day of your visit to the Lincoln birthplace.
The Newport Aquarium – #1 Pick for Kid Friendly Things to Do in Kentucky
Brave a Tank of Bloodthirsty Sharks
Just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati is the Newport Aquarium. If you are looking for fun places to visit in Kentucky, you have to add the Newport Aquarium to your must-see list. Featuring more than 70 exhibits, this aquarium is a favorite with our children.
We particularly enjoy the 85 feet of tunnels that go straight through a shark tank. It is quite a surreal experience to look up and see a shark swimming over your head!
(Ok not a shark, but isn’t this little guy adorable?)
My kids also love the Penguin Palooza exhibit that features 5 different of species of the playful birds. They have a viewing area where you can sit and watch the penguins frolic and play. Our other favorites include the Jellyfish gallery, which is breath-taking, and the Shark Show.
If you are looking for fun things to do in Kentucky this weekend, I definitely recommend the Newport Aquarium. Children will be fascinated by all the colorful sea life. You can easily spend 3-4 hours at the Newport Aquarium.
While you are there, plan on spending some time checking out the rest of Newport on the Levee. There is a movie theater and plenty of shopping and great restaurants. And just once in your life, you should try a grilled cheese doughnut at Tom + Chee 🙂 Really!
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Cumberland Falls – #1 Pick for Outdoor Family Fun in Kentucky
Be Awed by the Niagara of the South
If you are ever close to the Tennessee border off I-75 and are looking for fun things to do in Kentucky with kids, I highly recommend planning a stop at the Cumberland Falls State Park, in Corbin, KY.
Cumberland Falls has been called the “Little Niagara” or the “Niagara of the South”. This gorgeous waterfall is truly a sight to behold and well worth a visit. We usually stop at Cumberland Falls for a picnic when we are heading down to Florida.
The waterfall spans 125 feet across and the water drops 60 feet. The mist rising from the falls produces numerous rainbows on a sunny day, which make for some great photo opps. And if you visit Cumberland Falls when there is a full moon, you are in for a special treat. This is the only area in the Western Hemisphere where you can see a moonbow!
In addition to taking in the beauty of the waterfall, the park features lots of other opportunities for outdoor recreation. Kids will definitely enjoy the gemstone mining. If you enjoy hiking, there are 17 miles of hiking trails to explore. You can also explore the park by raft or horseback.
Big Bone Lick State Park – #1 Pick for fun things to do in Kentucky this weekend that are free
See a Majestic Herd of Buffalo
Big Bone Lick State Park in Union, KY is home to a herd of bison. If you have a child who loves animals, add this park to your list of kid friendly things to do in Kentucky. These massive animals are impressive to see up close. You can’t help but be in awe of their size!
While you are there, be sure to visit the trailside museum and explore the exhibits. Also be sure to check out the and their lifesize Wooly Mammoths and Mastodons in the outdoor exhibit right outside the Visitor’s Center.
Big Bone Lick State Park features 4.5 miles of hiking trails. I highly recommend the Coralberry trail, which is a 2 mile hike around a small hilltop lake. It really is a beautiful to hike and so peaceful.
Mammoth Cave – #1 Pick for Fun Things to Do In Kentucky Underground
Explore the World’s Largest Cave System
Our family loves to visit caves, so we are fortunate that the world’s largest cave system is close enough for a day trip. With over 390 miles of explored passageways, Mammoth Cave is one of our top picks for fun places to visit in Kentucky. It is located near Cave City, KY, and has been offering tours to the public since 1816!
There are currently over 10 different cave tours offered, ranging from the Frozen Niagara Tour, which can accommodate small children and the elderly, to the extreme Wild Cave Tour, which is a great for adventurers.
There truly is a tour for everyone. The last time we were there, we took the Historic Tour, which covers 2 miles in 2 hours. Our family had a blast at Mammoth Cave and can’t wait to go back.
If you are looking for fun things to do in Kentucky this weekend, there is plenty to do at Mammoth Cave National Park both below ground and above to keep you occupied for several days.
Recommended Reading for More Fun Kentucky Day Trips for Families:
Quick Links to Info on This Page
- 5 Fun Things To Do In Kentucky With Kids
- The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace – #1 pick for Fun Places to Visit in Kentucky That Are Educational
- The Newport Aquarium – #1 Pick for Kid Friendly Things to Do in Kentucky
- Cumberland Falls – #1 Pick for Outdoor Family Fun in Kentucky
- Big Bone Lick State Park – #1 Pick for fun things to do in Kentucky this weekend that are free
- Mammoth Cave – #1 Pick for Fun Things to Do In Kentucky Underground
Pin this post of kid friendly things to do in Kentucky for later:
While you are here, be sure to check out our other suggestions for fun things to see and do in Kentucky.
So there you have my top picks for fun things to do in Kentucky with kids. So tell me… do you have any other suggestions for family fun in kentucky?