Are you planning a trip through Bowling Green, Kentucky?
I had never visited Kentucky, so I jumped at the chance when I was invited by the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau. I don't pursue or accept many press trips, but this one was too good to pass up. This thriving college town met my expectations, and then some.
Whether you have teens, toddlers or will be traveling without kids, Bowling Green is a fun destination for a weekend getaway or road trip. It has a several interesting attractions that you won't find elsewhere.
The city of Bowling Green is booming, with lots of new hotels and restaurants. However, you don't need to drive far to reach the rolling green hills and tranquil forests that make this area so lovely.
Here are my favorite things to do in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave was my top priority on my trip to Bowling Green. Did you know that it's the longest cave in the world? Explorers haven't found the end of it yet!
This well-known national park is a short and scenic drive from Bowling Green and offers a variety of activities for families. The most popular activity is of course, a cave tour. We took the Frozen Niagara Tour, which is the shortest and easiest of the cave tours at Mammoth Cave. It has a lot of impressive features, including Frozen Niagara. See a photo of it at the end of this post.
Get more ideas for Mammoth Cave National Park in my post Tips for Visiting Mammoth Cave National Park.
Lost River Cave
I had no idea how many caves and sink holes there are in this part of Kentucky. Lost River Cave is a cave tour and nature park located right in Bowling Green. The main attraction is an underground boat tour. Unfortunately the water was unusually high due to recent rain and we didn't get to take the tour. Nevertheless, Lost River Cave was still a worthwhile stop.
Lost River Cave has 2 miles of beautiful hiking trails and fun activities for families. There is an all-natural playground right by the parking lot. Trails lead to butterfly gardens and a trading post where kids can trade fun things they've found, like rocks and pinecones, for similar items that other kids have traded in.
Admission to the playground and trails is free. Check the website for current information on cave tours and special events for families.
National Corvette Museum
The Corvette is America's favorite sports car, and even the most casual fan will get excited about these sleek roadsters at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. I found the museum interesting, but kept wishing that my dad could have been there with me because he loves cars and I think he would have really enjoyed the whole thing.
You'll get the chance to sit inside a Corvette and see vintage Corvettes from the 1950's and '60s. You may recall that a sinkhole swallowed a section of the Corvette Museum in 2014. A new exhibit shows where it was and how it happened. Some of the damaged cars are on display and others have been carefully restored.
Interactive exhibits can be found throughout the museum and there is a Corvette-themed play room especially for young children.
Chaney's Dairy Barn
Chaney's Dairy Barn sells the best ice cream in Bowling Green, and that's not the only reason to visit. This working dairy farm is a delightful stop for families – especially those with younger children.
We started with lunch in the cafe and then rode a converted hay wagon behind a tractor to the barn where state-of-the-art robots milk and massage cows on demand. It's pretty impressive.
Chaney's Dairy Barn has a new playground and it hosts Ice Cream and a Moovie Nights through the summer. It's a popular destination for local families and visitors.
Beech Bend Amusement Park
Beech Bend has been a gathering place for Bowling Green locals for decades. It's an amusement park and water park located in the rolling hills a few miles outside of town. It's a lot smaller than the amusement parks I'm used to, but it has a couple of notable rides that set it apart.
The Kentucky Rumbler is Beech Bend's one-of-a-kind wooden coaster. It goes up and down, but also offers lots of exciting twists and turns I haven't experienced on a wooden coaster before.
The other ride you'll want to know about is the Sea Dragon. You may have seen this rocking boat ride at other parks, but this one is special. This ride was purchased from Michael Jackson's NEVERLAND. How often do you get to sit in the same seat as the Prince of Pop?
Disclosure: I visited Bowling Green, Kentucky as part of a press trip hosted by the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau. I received travel assistance and complimentary admission to these and other activities. I received no other compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.
How else can I help?
Wondering where to eat? Sampling local restaurants was one of the best parts of this trip. Bowling Green has a lot of good local places. Lost River Pizza, White Squirrel Brewery, and Chaney's Dairy Barn were my favorites.
Need a place to stay? I stayed at Fairfield Inn and Suites in Bowling Green. It's a new hotel with an indoor pool and complimentary breakfast buffet. Check prices and availability for this and other local hotels at TripAdvisor.
Flying in? The nearest major airport is Nashville International Airport in Tennessee. It's about an hour's drive from Bowling Green. We like AirfareWatchdog to compare fares from major airlines. Then book directly with the airline, rather than a 3rd party site. Find out why HERE.