Welcome to the first feature in our series 'Kentucky Adventures.' This week's adventure takes us to The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
When you walk through the front gate of the Kentucky Horse Park, you’re greeted by a large pond to your left, complete with swimming swans and fountains and a life size statue of Man O’ War to the right you can pose for a picture with the likeness of famed racehorse Secretariat. This time of year the smell of jasmine and lilac fill the air and the serenity is only broken by the sound of the birds living quite well at the park and that’s all before you step into the visitor’s center. There you can catch a short film about the history of the park and of course…horses.
Spokeswoman Lisa Jackson says if you love horses, want to know more about horses or are looking for that perfect slice of bluegrass for a day, The Kentucky Horse Park needs to be on your bucket list. “There’s really nowhere else you can go in Kentucky or anywhere to get close to horses and to interact with them and get to pet them and love on them and get to explore and learn about them. The Kentucky Horse Park is also a place where you can visit some wonderful museums, The International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian affiliate. You can see all different kinds of horses. Big horses, small horses, ancient breeds, newer breeds. And one of the things we started last year was next day free! So visitors can actually come in and not just enjoy of the Horse Park but two days and make it a full weekend. Make it a full family experience and enjoy all the Horse Park’s daily activities and the horse shows that go on.”
And there’s something to appeal to everyone. You can take a ride on a horse drawn wagon, watch a local Ferrier shoe a horse and head to the park’s new kids barn, which according to Jackson has been a hit with kids of all ages. “Not having kids myself I didn’t appreciate how popular it would be, but it is extremely popular.” She laughed, “…not just for the 12 and under set, but for the 12 and older set as well. Everyone can go in there and they can play with Breyer horses, they can groom a horse’s tail. It’s just really amazing and the attention it’s gotten has been pretty astounding.”
And the best way to see the park is on horseback of course. At the riding stables, Alison gave a quick lesson to all of us on how to “steer” a horse. Then we hit the tranquil trials for a 30 minute ride with Megan as our guide. My horse Star and the others in our group were pretty low key, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t have any riding experience.
If you want to get a feel for the horse world but you don’t want to get quite so up close and personal, not to worry. There are a lot of indoor activities and museums dedicated to different breeds of horses. And the park frequently features exhibits related to the equine industry.
With so many activities that can appeal to all age groups; whether you’re looking for a day trip, two day getaway or week-long vacation, we highly recommend The Kentucky Horse Park as a must visit Kentucky Adventure.