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    Back to school: it's making its way back to Kentuckiana. Some Southern Indiana area schools start back on July 29! Ouch, that hurts! Take the kids and family on a last minute adventure through Louisville and our surrounding areas. These are some great staycation ideas and places to visit that won't break the bank or have you traveling too far. Try to get to one or two in the next two to four weeks!


    1. Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
    Take a step into a world of beauty at this botanical garden in Crestwood. The gardens in this beautiful hidden gem just outside the Louisville city limits are breathtaking and worth a drive here for half a day. Pack a picnic to enjoy with your family for the ultimate experience. This spot is on the cultural pass program so be sure to use that to allow free admission for your children and one adult in your party.
    Located at
    6220 Old LaGrange Road
    Crestwood, KY 40014
    502-241-4788

    Hours: Closed Mondays

    Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

    Thur 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

    Sun 12 p.m.-4 p.m.

    2. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
    At this national park, your family can step back in time and engage in a history lesson about our sixteenth president. Note: the Boyhood Home Unit is closed due to construction but the birthplace unit is open. Check out the first Lincoln Memorial just miles down the road from Louisville in Hodgenville. Take a drive through some of the most beautiful scenic byways around the state. Post your pictures to Drive Kentucky on Facebook or Instagram and you may be featured!
    Located at:
    2995 Lincoln Farm Road
    Hodgenville, Kentucky 42748
     

    3. Natural Bridge State Park
    At Natural Bridge, there is lodging and camping awaiting you on your trek to the Red River Gorge area. Home to a natural sandstone arch that stands 78 feet long and 66 feet high in the Daniel Boone National Forest, this natural structure is a must see mountain hideaway.  If your family is not up for camping or an overnight stay, there is still plenty to do and see in a day's trip and drive to this natural beauty. Hike and walk numerous trails ranging from .3 miles to 3.75 miles and varying degrees of difficulty. You can also dine at the Sandstone Arches Restaurant for spectacular views.
    Located at:
    2135 Natural Bridge Rd.
    Slade, KY 40376
    606-663-2214 
     

    4. Holiday World and Splashin' Safari

    Holiday World is synonymous with staycation ideas if you're from around here. Almost everyone I know visits Holiday World and Splashin' Safari every summer. Surprisingly, I have never been there before! I hope to change that soon and have my family experience it in full before school starts back up in August for us. Everything you could possibly want to know about the theme park and its adjacent water park can be found here. Trip Advisor just recently announced Holiday World and Splashin' Safari as the #3 park in the nation and #10 in the entire world; it followed only Disney parks in rankings for the United States. Bring your smiles and be prepared to make memories and have a ton of fun!

    Located at:

    452 East Christmas Boulevard

    Santa Claus, IN 47579
    812-937-4401

    5. Mammoth Cave National Park
    Mammoth Cave's website describes this remarkable Kentucky gem as "a grand, gloomy and peculiar place." Sounds like an adventure waiting to happen for you and your family! Discovering all there is to see at Mammoth Cave is not all there is to do in this area of Kentucky. Cave City is home to many attractions and sightseeing stops along your way. Make a plan to visit one of the seven natural wonders of the world soon! Also check out this map of a driveable route across the U.S., stopping in every state to see a major attraction in each one. Mammoth Cave is listed as the starting point for Kentucky.
    Located at:
    1 Mammoth Cave Parkway
    Mammoth Cave, KY 42259

    6. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
    At Cumberland Falls, hiking and hitting the trails are a must. Seeing the moonbow is also a must! This is a great resort park to take your family to for a last minute weekend getaway. Stay at the lodge, play in and around the water of Lake Cumberland and more. It's another natural Kentucky oasis waiting for your memories to be made.
    Located at:
    7351 Hwy. 90
    Corbin, KY 40701
    606-528-4121
     

    7. Falls of the Ohio State Park
    This Indiana state park is filled with activity to keep your whole family busy for a wonderful afternoon. Walking along the fossil beds on the Ohio River will immerse you and your kids into a world of archaeological imagination! Check it out this summer before the hustle and bustle of school begins.
    Located at:
    201 West Riverside Dr.
    Clarksville, IN 47129
    812-280-9970
    The State Park is open seven days a week, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
     

    8. Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay
    For all the roller coaster thrill seekers out there: T3 is now open! There's plenty of time left to visit Kentucky Kingdom this summer if you haven't already. Bask in the sun at Hurricane Bay and make every summer day that's left last a little bit longer.
    Located at:
    937 Phillips Lane
    Louisville, KY 40209
    502-813-8200
     

    9. My Old Kentucky Home State Park
    My Old Kentucky Home is the home of the Rowan Family, and helped inspire songwriter Stephen Foster who wrote the state song "My Old Kentucky Home." The grounds are remarkable and this home is one of the most cherished historical sites in the state of Kentucky.
    Located at:
    501 E. Stephen Foster Ave.
    Bardstown, KY 40004
    502-348-3502
     

    10. Awesome Lazy River
    Spend these last hot and humid days winding down a lazy river in an inner tube. Awesome Lazy River is a water attraction located in Shepherdsville and is sure to make a lazy afternoon even lazier.
    Located at:
    165 Dawson Dr
    Shepherdsville, Kentucky
    502-551-9925
     

    11. Fort Boonesborough State Park
    For the history lovers in the family, plan a visit to Fort Boonesborough and see a fort that Daniel Boone actually occupied for some time in his life. Kentucky's history is richly associated with frontiersman and free spirited Daniel Boone, and this stop in eastern Kentucky will give you an impressive history lesson.
    Located at:
    4375 Boonesboro Rd.
    Richmond, KY 40475
    859-527-3131

    12. Kentucky Horse Park
    And for all the horse lovers out there, Kentucky Horse Park is a wonderful place to spend a day. It is touted as "the" place in the state to get close to horses, and there are tons of activities and events going on here throughout the year. Admission includes a tour of the International Museum of the Horse, a horse-drawn tour, a visit to the American Saddlebred Museum, and more.
    Located at:
    4089 Iron Works Parkway
    Lexington, KY 40511
    859-233-4303 
    800-678-8813
     

    Cover photo courtesy of www.yewdellgardens.org; others by the Facebook pages of Kentucky Horse Park, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, and A. Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park

    Erin Nevitt's picture

    About Erin Nevitt

    Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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