Kentucky is home to several water parks that offer plenty of fun for the entire family during the warmer months of the year. These water parks range from city aquatic centers, like the Tie Breaker Family Aquatic Center, to full-fledge water amusement parks, such as Kentucky Kingdom. There’s a water park in Kentucky that will appeal to just about anyone, from very young children to the young at heart. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Fort Knox Water Park
3.Kentucky Splash Waterpark
5.Tie Breaker Family Aquatic Center
6.Venture River Water Park
6 Best Water Parks in Kentucky
- Fort Knox Water Park, Photo: Courtesy of Angelov - Fotolia.com
- Kentucky Kingdom, Photo: Courtesy of Alexander Gogolin - Fotolia.com
- Kentucky Splash Waterpark, Photo: Kentucky Splash Waterpark
- SomerSplash Waterpark, Photo: Courtesy of vimart - Fotolia.com
- Tie Breaker Family Aquatic Center, Photo: Tie Breaker Family Aquatic Center
- Venture River Water Park, Photo: Courtesy of producer - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Alexandra - Fotolia.com
More Ideas: The Baker Arboretum and the Downing Museum
Established by Jerry Baker in the year 1992, the Baker Arboretum in Bowling Green today spans across almost one hundred and fifteen acres. Constructed atop a ridge consisting of rolling hills, the arboretum located on the edge of Bowling Green overlooks the city and the campus of Western Kentucky University. A landscape architect by the name of Mitchel Leichhardt worked with the art and tree collections to design a tapestry that combined both the art and trees.
Among other flowering trees present at the Baker Arboretum are a variety of magnolias and dogwoods intertwined with Japanese maples and conifers. Visitors to the arboretum are able to enjoy plants on the grounds throughout the year. In addition to blooms during the spring season and summer months, guests can enjoy the many colors of fall from more than one hundred and sixty Japanese maples and beautiful conifers during the winter months.
The Downing Museum on the outskirts of Bowling Green opened its doors to the public in 2009 as a section of the Baker Arboretum. The museum exhibits a large collection of art created by the Joe Downing, along with artwork by other artists from the area, the state, the country, and other parts of the world. Joe Downing, in addition to being an alumnus of WKU, was an artist of world-renown. Joe Downing and Jerry Baker were long-time friends and collaborated together to design the museum.
The Baker Arboretum’s Downing Museum contains the most comprehensive artwork collection of the various works created by Joe Downing throughout his lifetime. Visitors can see how Downing’s work evolved over the years through changes in color and shape while exploring the art museum. Guests can view his exploration of the traditional forms of art media, as well as wonder at his vision that used found objects to create fascinatingly unique pieces of art.
Along with the collection of artwork by Downing, the art museum features works of art that represent the artwork that Baker spent his life collection. These holdings include works from the local region of south central Kentucky, from throughout America, and from artists across the globe. The collection of Jerry Baker is reflective of his decades of support of the arts in the state of Kentucky, along with traveling throughout the country and to other parts of the world.
The various exhibits within the Downing Museum and the Baker Arboretum reflect a lifetime of Joe Downing’s creative work. These exhibits provide a illustrative journey that spans from Downing’s modest beginnings in the town of Horse Cave in the state of Kentucky up through being recognized internationally as a contemporary artist. A selection of the collection held by the museum, in addition to private collections, offer visitors with a look at the celebrated art career of a small town artist that is renowned throughout the world. Guests can gain an appreciation for the artist and learn about his life during a visit to the Downing Museum, and learn more about the history of the museum itself and the Baker Arboretum.
4801 Morgantown Road, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Phone: 270-842-7415
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More Ideas: Ark Encounter
Ark Encounter is a full-sized Noah’s Ark that was created according to the dimensions as stated in the Bible. Located in Williamstown, Kentucky, it is the largest timber framed structure in the world and is a theme park with zip lines, a zoo, a museum and dining.
Ark Encounter is in Williamstown Kentucky and is a theme park featuring a full sized, all wood replica of Noah’s Ark from the Christian Bible. The Ark was built partly by Amish craftsmen, to the dimensions mentioned the Bible, 510 feet long, 85 feet across and 51 feet tall. At night, the Ark is lit up with rainbow colors to symbolize the covenant that God made with Noah’s family to never destroy the Earth with water again.
Tickets for Ark Encounter can be purchased as single day passes, 2 day passes, 7 day passes, or annual passes and are available online or in person at the Attraction. Ark Encounter also offer combo package pricing when purchasing tickets with The Creation Museum. More details are available online through The Ark Encounter website. Hours change seasonally and are update via the website.
The Ark is divided into three decks that are lined with exhibits that allow visitors to experience what life may have been like on the Ark for Noah’s family and the animals that were on board. One exhibit allows visitors to walk through the pages of a graphic novel where the faith of college students is put to the test.
Other exhibits focus on Noah’s family and lineage, what their living quarters would have looked like, what kind of clothes they wore, who cared for the animals and what they may have broad on board with them. There are also several exhibits that focus on the question of how Noah could have possibly fit all the animals in the world on board the Ark. The pre-flood and post-flood worlds are explored, and there is an exhibit that depicts the promise God made to never again flood the earth.
Ararat Ridge Zoo
Visit live animals from around the world at Ararat Zoo. Ark Encounter visitors can even take rides on camels or donkeys while they engage in biblical teaching at the zoo which is included with Ark Encounter admission. There are petting and feeding stations with farm animals such as alpacas, goats and sheep, that is fun for the whole family.
The Ark Encounter Zip Line course features 24 different lines with 10 of the lines reaching 1,000 feet and 2 of them reaching nearly 2,000 feet! Visitors soar at 50 miles per hour, 17 stories high in the sky, over beautiful landscape. Custom photography packages are available for purchase if you want to capture your adventure from a unique vantage point.
There are adventure courses and free fall tower jumps that are available as well, but not all courses are suitable for children.
The zip lines are closed from January through mid-March annually.
Emzara’s Kitchen is a two-story casual dining restaurant that is just outside of The Ark. Diners will enjoy an American style cuisine served in a buffet with some specialty dishes and diet conscious food options available. The Buffet menu changes daily; however, there is always a fully stocked salad bar, and dessert bar. Emzara’s also offers pizza ordering by the slice for those who do not wish to eat the buffet.
Inside the Ark, there is a snack stand on the first floor with a variety of snack options and drinks.
The Ark Encounter Gift Shop carries a wide array of educational gifts, accessories, books, DVDs, and toys centered around the Bible and Noah’s Ark. There is also a large assortment of apparel, handmade items, stuffed animals, an expresso café, fudge, and much more. An assortment of Noah’s Ark gifts are also available online through the website as well.
There are special events that happen throughout the year at Ark Encounter that are meant to enhance visitor experiences.
Maker’s Market- This 3-day shopping event held in the early fall is a global event featuring handmade, artisanal wares, that celebrates, creative God given ability and artistry.
Dia Latino- Latin Day is a day where all exhibits and teachings at The Ark with be in Spanish so that Spanish Speaking guests can enjoy a day at Ark Encounter without needing translation.
Deaf Day- Deaf guests and their immediate family members will receive special admission pricing on this day where ASL interpreters will be available and exhibits will be outfitted with video captions.
Back to: Best Places to Visit in Kentucky
1 Ark Encounter Driver, Williamstown, Kentucky, 41097, Phone: 855-284-3275
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More Ideas: The National Quilt Museum
The National Quilt Museum is located in the historic town of Paducah, Kentucky. The 27-year old facility is home to three galleries that display quilts and fiber arts through exhibits that rotate up to eight times per year. Additionally, the museum provides touring exhibits that travel the nation. The museum’s mission is to advance the art of quilting and support quilters through the display of quilts, quilting workshops, and educational programming.
The museum’s permanent collection includes over 500 works of art. The permanent collection is rotated throughout the annual exhibits, along with visiting pieces on loan from other institutions. At any given time, up to 60 quilts from the museum’s own collection are on display in the main gallery. Quilts in the collection include award winners from national and regional quilting contests, as well as rare or historically relevant quilts from all over the world. The entire collection is indexed online, and also available as a book at the museum’s gift shop.
History: Bill and Meredith Schroeder of Paducah, Kentucky were the impetus behind the National Quilt Museum. The couple donated 85 quilts to begin the core of the museum’s collection, and initiated the build of the $2.2 million facility on the shores of the Ohio River in 1991. In 2008, the museum was awarded with a congressional designation as the official National Quilt Museum of the United States. The museum was recognized in 2011 with a Kentucky Governor's Award in the Arts, and has been named by USA Today as one of the world’s best quilt displays. Today, the museum is funded primarily through the gift shop, admissions and workshop fees, and donations. Approximately 115,000 visitors from all 50 states, view the Quilt Museum’s exhibits each year.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The museum’s educational programs reach over 4,000 youth each year, from kindergarten through high school. The School Block Challenge is one of the museum’s best known programs for children. The Challenge, now in its 25th year, asks school children to assemble a 16-foot square block quilt using a packet of three different fabrics. Recently, over 500 students from 20 states have participated. Many of the museum’s programs, such as Junior Quilters, Kidz Day and Quilt Camp, teach valuable skills through crafting and creative projects in school districts where arts education has been severely cut or altogether dropped from the curriculum.
Workshops for adults include sessions with some of the world’s most recognized quilters. Recent workshops have included a 3-day workshop with quilter Melinda Bula on flower appliqués. Quilter Kris Vierra will present a 2018 workshop on using sewing machines to rplicate the look of traditional English paper piecing. The Goose is Loose is a popular workshop led by artist Gail Garber. Ms. Garber teaches students to begin designing using free-form shapes. Hand quilting demonstrations take place once weekly thanks to the local YoYo Club.
Past and Future Exhibits: Current exhibits at the museum include Quilts of the Lakota, on display through January 2018. Each of the quilts in the exhibit is made by the Lakota Sioux, and demonstrates the change in tradition from hand-painting designs on buffalo hides, to hand-sewing star-design quilts that reflect each tribe’s identity. ‘Twisted’ will be on display through March 2018. The exhibit will show contemporary quilts that incorporate a vintage twist, whether through use of antique fabrics, abandoned blocks, or repurposed antique quilts.
‘A Walk in the Woods’ was a solo exhibit of the quilts of artist Pat Durbin. Durbin uses fabric and thread to create quilted landscapes that resemble paintings. ‘Neighborhoods Coming Together: Quilts Around Oakland’ displayed the work of Oakland, California’s African American Quilt Guild in honor of 2017’s Black History Month. 2017’s ‘H2Oh!’ displayed quilts made by members of the Studio Art Quilt Associates that explored the imagery and theme of water.
What’s Nearby: Paducah, Kentucky, home of the National Quilt Museum, features a historic downtown area that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The city was first settled in the early 1800’s. Paducha’s colloquial name of “Quilt City” points to the influence of the National Quilt Museum as the areas largest tourist attraction. QuiltWeek Paducah is the largest quilt show in North America, and takes place annually in both the fall and spring. Paducah was named the world’s seventh City of Crafts and Folk Art by UNESCO in 2013.
215 Jefferson, Paducah, KY 42001, Phone: 270-442-8856
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