Saturday, November 15, 2014

Holidays in Kentucky State Parks

Indoor or outdoor, Kentucky State Parks are the place to be for the holidays.

  • Open 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, sandhill cranes, the Winter Adventure Weekend Jan. 23-25 at Carter Caves State Resort Park, a Family Adventure Weekend at Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park Jan. 16-18 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 parks’ historic homes will also have special Christmas tours.
  • Fiber Exhibit John James Audubon State Park is hosting a fiber exhibit called “Fabulous Fibers II” starting with an opening reception on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. The exhibit will fill the lower and main levels of the Audubon Museum at John James Audubon State Park. Quilts and fiber art will be on display from nine creative artists.
  • Discounts for Military and Veterans 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, 2014, to March 31, 2015. 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 A unique Kentucky State Park tradition – Eagle Watch Weekends – will be offered once again in January and February 2015. 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 guests to observe and learn about these beautiful birds of prey.
  • Thanksgiving Buffets What has 2,000 pounds of turkey, 1,500 pounds of sweet potatoes and 750 pounds of country ham? Don’t forget the 4,300 pieces of fried chicken, the 1,300 pounds of roast beef and 12,000 rolls. Answer: The Kentucky State Parks’ Thanksgiving Day buffet at the park system’s 17 resort parks across the state. The parks have hosted the buffet for more than four decades and usually serve about 10,000 customers on Thanksgiving Day. The buffet will be served starting at noon on Thursday, Nov. 27.
  • My Old Kentucky Home Gift Shop My Old Kentucky Home State Park is throwing a holiday shopping party and everyone is invited! The park’s gift shop will be holding a Holiday Open House, Nov. 21-22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. There will be special discounts and drawings for prizes that include a one-night stay at a Kentucky State Resort Park and two tickets to the “Stephen Foster Story.” The park will also be selling two tickets for the price of one for a tour of Federal Hill mansion, which will be decorated for the holidays.
  • Candlelight Tours Three Kentucky State Park historic sites will continue the holiday tradition with tours during November and December.
  • Corn Maze Green River Lake State Park and a group of volunteers are honoring the 90th anniversary of Kentucky State Parks with a unique corn maze design that opens Sept. 13. The maze, located near the park entrance, looks like the state park logo from the air. Most of the work on the maze was donated and the project is sponsored by the park and the Friends of Green River Lake.
  • Geo Tour The famous Kentucky explorer Daniel Boone was asked if he had ever gotten lost in the wilderness. Boone reportedly replied, “I can't say I was ever lost, but I was once bewildered for about three days.” The Kentucky State Parks invite you to summon your inner Daniel Boone and take part in the Kentucky State Parks GeoTour at all 49 state parks starting Sept. 27, National Public Lands Day.
  • 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 and stay at a state park lodge or cottage to enjoy one of these unique tours. New this year are evening tours at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park near Prestonsburg. Participants should bring their cameras – there should be great photography opportunities. The largest elk herds are located on privately owned lands that are normally closed to the public. This is one of the few opportunities available for the public to see the greatest number of elk. The return of elk to the region is considered to be one of Kentucky’s biggest wildlife management success stories. The animals, after being gone from the state for 150 years, were returned in 1997. They now number around 10,000. Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg Fall 2014 dates: Sept. 20, 21, 27, 28; Oct. 18, 19, 25, 26; Nov. 1, 22, 29; Dec. 6. Winter 2015 dates: Jan. 17, 24, 25; Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28; March 7 Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is sponsoring elk tours at a cost of $30 per person or $15 per child 12 and under. This fee includes your transportation via van to the viewing sites and a continental breakfast. The park also offers packages for $160 for two people that include lodging and breakfast. Because these tours fill up quickly, registration is suggested. Special group and business tours are also available. Early morning (5:30 a.m.) and evening tours (3:30 p.m.) are offered on most dates. Call 1-800-325-0142 for information and reservations. Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn Fall 2014 dates: Nov. 22, 23; Dec. 6, 7. Winter 2015 dates: Jan. 3, 4, 10, 11, 24, 25, 31; Feb. 1, 7, 8, 21, 22, 28; March 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29.
  • Civil War Exhibit "The Horse Soldier," a special Civil War cavalry exhibit featuring rarely seen personal items belonging to Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan, will be displayed at Columbus-Belmont State Park through Nov. 1. The special exhibit will tell the story of the "Horse Soldier" during the Civil War and highlight items used by Confederate cavalrymen, particularly those of Morgan and some of his fellow soldiers.

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