I’m sure you’ve heard of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky fried chicken (KFC, anyone?), but did you know that Kentucky is also known for its wide, green pastures, bluegrass music, and beautiful caves? Well, before I set out to explore the diverse state, neither did I!

Hot Air Balloon

Surprisingly enough, Kentucky has a Great Balloon Race that takes place in Louisville and is a well-loved family tradition of the locals. The viewers get to experience an array of colors floating in the sky, while those riding the balloons have the opportunity to see both the green pastures from all sides and the beauty of city life as well. In these races, the balloons attempt to drop a marker on a giant X on the ground, whoever places their marker closest to the X wins.

Bluegrass Music

Music is something that brings people together, regardless of where you come from or what you believe in, we can often find commonality with other people through music. Bluegrass is a perfect example of this: did you know this genre has a mix of Scottish, English, and Irish roots, which was later influenced by African Americans as well when they introduced different jazz dynamics to the music? No wonder bluegrass is so fun! It combines a variety of ethnicities and cultures to give it depth and soul. Next time you hear bluegrass music, give in to that toe-tappin’ urge and imagine the beautiful green pastures in Kentucky.

Caves

Apparently, Kentucky is pretty big on caves. There’s even an entire park dedicated to them: Mammoth Cave National Park! This is where the Mammoth Cave lives, which is the longest cave system of “chambers and subterranean passageways.” More than 390 miles! Pretty incredible, right? What’s crazier is that several miles are added on to the cave each year as more cave connections are discovered. On top of the caves, there are beautiful hikes and trails to explore!

Dinosaur World

If you have young children, Dinosaur world is an attraction you don’t want to miss! You will find hundreds of gigantic (or small!) life-sized dinosaurs to explore out in the open. Your kids can let their imaginations build as they observe the replicas of the ancient creatures. Their playgrounds are dinosaur-themed with fun slides and swings. And hey – they’re dog-friendly, can’t get much better than that!

The Zoo

Kentucky’s zoo isn’t just any ol’ zoo, this one is unique with a name that fits: Kentucky Down Under. It is known for its Australia-themed animals such as kangaroos, along with others from Africa and Asia. There is also a fun activity called the wool-shed program “where guests are invited to observe the trained herding dogs at work.” What is especially fun about their exhibit is that some kangaroos can be pet or fed a treat, accompanied by a guide, of course.