Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter at Kentucky State Parks

UPDATE Jan. 11, Jan. 20

The trees are bare, revealing spectacular views seen only by winter visitors.

  • Arches and Waterfall Weekend Cumberland Falls State Resort Park is hosting its “Arches and Waterfall Weekend” Jan. 24-26. The weekend will include hikes to area natural arches and waterfalls as well as evening programs on astronomy and history.
  • Fireside Chats Fort Boonesborough State Park and the Fort Boonesborough Foundation will be holding a series of “Fireside Chats” with famous characters from Kentucky history beginning Feb. 1, 2014.
  • Old-Fashioned Rope-Making Big Bone Lick State Historic Site is offering a class that ties it all together Jan. 25 as part of its series called “Paleo-Tech.” Cordage has been one of the most useful tools throughout history, yet few people, even though cordage is used all the time, know how to make it. This class will take you step by step through the process of collecting the proper material, how to process it and finally how to actually make it into usable cordage and rope just as Native Americans did hundreds and even thousands of years ago.
  • Watercolor Workshop John James Audubon State Park in Henderson is hosting a four-day wax and watercolor art workshop March 24-27. The workshop for adults will feature nationally known artist Kathie George. These will be hands-on sessions for participants as they learn George’s watercolor batik on rice paper technique. The sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
  • Winter Adventure Weekend Carter Caves State Resort Park will present a weekend of hiking, kayaking, recreational tree climbing, cave tours, winter survival, rappelling, archeological field trips, rock climbing, a zip line and other adventures with its fifth annual Winter Adventure Weekend, Jan. 24-26, 2014.
  • Hiking and Rook Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park is getting off to a fast start in 2014 with two January events – a day of hiking and a winter Rook tournament.
  • Sandhill Crane Tours During the colder winter temperatures you may to hear the distinct cry of migrating birds overhead. You may want to take a second look at the flock soaring above you, because it just may be sandhill cranes rather than Canada geese. Barren River Lake State Resort Park is again offering two weekends in January and February to view these beautiful birds.
  • Parks Open With Events All Winter The Kentucky State Parks will be open this winter with a busy schedule of outdoor and indoor events. These events include wildlife viewing weekends for elk, eagles, and other birds, the Winter Adventure Weekend Jan. 24-26 at Carter Caves State Resort Park, and 5K races. There are more than 250 miles of hiking trails at Kentucky State Parks. For those who like to stay inside, there are special events planned for a Thanksgiving Day buffet, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, dinner theaters, and two indoor pools at Lake Cumberland and Lake Barkley State Resort Parks. The park’s historic homes will also have special Christmas tours. “We keep busy during winter months with many special events at our parks,” Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker said. “This is also a great time for groups to hold meetings and holiday gatherings at our park facilities.” All 17 resort parks will be open every weekend all winter. All resort parks will be open for Thanksgiving and the following weekend. The winter schedule will take effect the week of Nov. 17. Seven resort parks will remain open seven days a week. They are: Cumberland Falls, General Butler, Jenny Wiley, Kentucky Dam Village, Lake Barkley, Lake Cumberland and Natural Bridge.
  • Military/Veteran Discount The Kentucky State Parks are offering lodging discounts to current and former members of our nation’s armed services with the “USA Military Discount” program from Nov. 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014. The program is available to those on active military duty, retired members of the military, veterans, members of the National Guard and reservists. Proof of military service is required at check-in.
  • Eagle Watch Weekends Nature lovers should be making plans for a unique Kentucky State Park tradition – Eagle Watch Weekends in January and February 2014. The park system will sponsor this wildlife-watching opportunity as bald eagles gather around the major lakes of western Kentucky looking for food. The park tours allow you to observe and learn about these beautiful birds of prey.
  • Elk Tours Two state parks in eastern Kentucky will offer guests a unique wildlife viewing opportunity this fall and winter – elk viewing tours. Visitors to Jenny Wiley and Buckhorn Lake State Resort Parks can choose a weekend, stay at a state park lodge or cottage and arise early to enjoy one of these unique tours.
  • Healthier Options for Kids The 17 restaurants operated by the Kentucky State Parks are now offering healthier options on their kids' menus. The Kentucky State Parks have joined "Better Bites: Restaurant Edition," a project of the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition in Lexington. The coalition focuses on making healthy eating and regular physical activity popular and accessible for children ages 9-13.
  • For Horse Lovers With the opening of the Dawkins Line Rail Trail, horseback riders have another 18 miles of trails to enjoy the beautiful Kentucky scenery. The Kentucky State Parks, which will manage the Dawkins Line that runs through Johnson and Magoffin counties, have several other equine opportunities available to guests. “The Kentucky State Parks have some excellent trails, campgrounds and riding opportunities throughout the state,” First Lady Jane Beshear said. “Even if you don’t own a horse, several state parks have horses available so all visitors have the chance to enjoy a trail ride on a safe and comfortable mount.”

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