Last summer, my husband finished up his Master’s Degree at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green – about an hour north of Nashville. He would drive up early on Saturday mornings – attend classes all day – and then drive back at night. I did not know much about Bowling Green before he attended school in this small southern town, so one weekend we brought the girls up and stayed overnight exploring the city. We discovered many unique and kid-friendly activities and we look forward to going back for another weekend trip. Here’s what we did in Bowling Green with our kids:
Fountain Square Park
The Downtown Fountain Square Park is the small and charming center of Bowling Green. The first morning, we stumbled upon a local dog festival and parade in the center of the square. The park hosts frequent community events in the green space with a short walking trail, plenty of benches, a fountain and beautiful statues. The park is surrounded by storefronts including several restaurants, an art gallery, a candle shop and a chocolate store. Southern charm at its finest!
Western Kentucky University Campus
Located adjacent to the square is the WKU main campus. The University mascot is called a “Hilltopper” because the historic campus sits atop a hill over looking the Barren River. We drove around the historic buildings and found several places to play and explore around this beautiful campus.
Historic Railpark & Train Museum
At the Historic Railpark & Train Museum you can walk through an old, restored locomotive – a highlight for us – take a self-guided tour through the history of train travel in the U.S., view a huge model train exhibit and enjoy the train themed gift shop – complete with a train table for the kids. The girls and I spent hours here wandering through the trains and exhibits. I recently learned that they’ve also opened some train themed Escape Rooms and one winter we hope to make it back up for their holiday Polar Express Experience.
Lost River Cave
The Lost River Cave was our favorite discovery on this trip! We explored the amazing outdoor play area and treasure mining (next time we’ll bring a picnic lunch), we meandered through some hiking trails and we took a Lost River Cave boat tour which was fascinating and educational. It checked off all of our kid-friendly requirements of adventure, curiosity, education and trying something new! (Make sure to check the website for weather updates before visiting – if it’s raining, rising water could close down tours for several days.)
Chaney’s Dairy Barn & Restaurant
Chaney’s Dairy Barn is a perfect Kentucky stop to enjoy lunch or dinner and homemade ice cream made on the premise! We spent the afternoon jumping on the jumbo jumping pillow, playing on the barnyard playground, taking a hayride farm tour to meet the cows and of course, eating plenty of ice cream.
Have you been to Bowling Green Kentucky? What are your favorite places? (And yes, my kids totally asked me if we could go “bowling” on this trip – my middle even asked if she could use a “green” ball – but we didn’t. Maybe next time!)