First off I have to admit that when planning our trip, I did not allow enough time at Kentucky Down Under. I didn’t realize just how much they have to offer! The brochure says “Spend the WHOLE DAY in Our Piece of Australia. ” You most certainly can. I’m going to tell you about our adventure, but not too much. You need to check out this Kentucky gem for yourself.
When we arrived yesterday, I was glad to see the parking lot less than half full. It was a HOT day and a lot of kids are still in school, making this Monday not so busy for them. We were happily greeted by Carol at the front desk. She pointed out exhibits on the map and asked us if we wanted to do the cave tour. I had no idea they had a cave. We signed up, toddlers and all. There are many things to do and your paid admission includes it all.
Most of the park is paved, making it smooth sailing for strollers, but there are a few areas that are mulch covered. We made it through there alright too. I will advise that you take lots of water and snacks, although both are available for purchase on property. They also have the “Outback Café” where you can have lunch. Since it was a slower business day it was not open. KDU has picnic areas and invites you to bring a lunch. Two gift shops are located there as well with lots of Australian goods and fun things for the kids.
We began our journey in the Terra Rosella. The kids loved the reptiles and birds there, you can feed the birds. After that we toured Kentucky Caverns. This cave was discovered in 1799 and is easily accessible. The tour takes about 45 minutes and includes stalagmites, stalactites, some steps and a some water. It was a beautiful cave, well preserved. We all enjoyed it and my three toddlers did just fine, even when they turned the lights out for a short time.
We stopped to visit the Dingo, he was just hanging out, it was hot you know. There is a nice Exotic Bird garden and the Land of the Lories, where two birds took perch on my head for a while. They were either friendly or just happy to have more nectar.
Now, if you’ve ever wanted to see a kangaroo up close the Outback Walkabout is the place to go. We were followed around by a joey and got to pet several of them. I believe we saw about ten. They also have an emu and wallabies. This is a 30-minute guided tour with lots of photo opportunities.
Seeing kangaroos was the big draw for us, but going to the Woolshed and participating in that presentation was the highlight of the day for my kids. We met a border collie named “Cat” whose job is to herd sheep. We saw four sheep, but this is also a working farm with more than 300 sheep. They have a “parade of rams” to showcase nine different kinds of rams. My daughter was excited to be chosen to feed one of the sheep and my son got to help bring the cow inside the barn. Near the end of the presentation anyone who wants to see what it’s like can milk the cow. My kids did and really liked that too.
There are a couple of other things that we didn’t do, “Camp Corroboree” is a gathering kind of like a Native American pow-wow. This looked like a fun and educational presentation. You can also go “Mining” with a kit purchased at the gift shop. I took a lot of pictures, not only of my family and the animals, but also of the beautiful nature.
We spent four hours there, left and had lunch at another location. But, with better planning, on another trip I would pack a lunch and plan to spend the whole day. Kentucky Down Under is located at exit 58/Horse Cave, off I-65. *They are in the Central Time Zone. Admission is good for two consecutive days so you can go back the next day for more and plan to stay in an area hotel or campground and visit other attractions as well. Adults are $22.00, Seniors (62 and over) are $19.30, Children (age 5-14) are $13.00 and children four and under are free. Season passes and group rates are also available.
Kentucky Down Under also has an education program. You can bring your class for a unique hands-on experience or bring Australia to YOUR classroom. Call 800-762-2869 for more information on that.
For more information on Kentucky Down Under go to: www.kdu.com
Photo source: Roxane Haynes