While the federal government shutdown has temporarily closed several national parks in Kentucky, all Kentucky state parks and private attractions remain open for travelers’ and vacationers’ enjoyment.
The national sites in Kentucky closed by the shutdown are Mammoth Cave National Park, Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park, and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Portions of Daniel Boone National Forest are also affected.
“Despite the closure of certain facilities, Kentucky is still a great place to visit and travel in,” said Michael Mangeot, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism. “We’re open for business with lots of family fun.”
Although the Lincoln Birthplace is closed, Lincoln admirers can still experience his life and times at the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville, which is open and contains an exceptional collection of the 16th president’s memorabilia.
Mammoth Cave’s closure hasn’t affected the many private show caves in south central Kentucky, which are open and offer many tours for those interested in the underground experience. These include Hidden River Cave, Outlaw Cave, Onyx Cave, Lost River Cave, Mammoth Onyx Cave, Diamond Caverns and Cub Run Cave.
There are many other attractions to keep visiting and local families busy in south central Kentucky, including a pit stop at the National Corvette Museum, a step back in time at the Historic Railpark & Train Museum, and seasonal fun at Jackson’s Orchard and Chaney’s Dairy Barn. All these attractions are in the Bowling Green area.
Southeastern Kentucky still has an abundance of activities. Natural Bridge State Resort Park in the Red River Gorge area is open. The Big South Fork Scenic Railway is still in operation, although the coal tipple at the Blue Heron Mining Community is closed. Pine Mountain State Resort Park is open with an award-winning golf course.
At southeastern Kentucky’s Lake Cumberland, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park and other state, county and private marinas, campgrounds and boat ramps are open. However, campgrounds and launching ramps operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be closed at noon Friday Oct. 4. For more information, consult www.lakecumberlandtourism.com.
In western Kentucky, the Land Between The Lakes region is still an exceptional vacation spot with three state resort parks, golf, marinas, camping, hiking and fishing. The state resort parks, which feature lodges, marinas and many activities, are Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Kenlake State Resort Park and Lake Barkley State Resort Park.
For a list of Kentucky state parks, visit www.parks.ky.gov. To find all types of family fun activities, check www.kentuckytourism.com.