Love horses? Then gallop to Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Marvel at this thoroughbred mecca that delivers on its tagline as “the place to get close to horses.” Our family shares our 8 favorite things to do at this horse heaven.
The Bluegrass State is synonymous with horses. It’s home to the Kentucky Derby, countless stables and barns, and generations of horse breeding and training. But one can’t miss destination is the Kentucky Horse Park. Lexington, Kentucky boasts the Kentucky Horse Park. Nestled in the rolling hills on 1,229 acres, this internationally renowned location lives up to its billing as “THE place to get close to horses.” As the mom of an equestrian, our family sought out this horse hotspot and boy was it educational and entertaining! Here’s our list of 8 things we experienced at the Kentucky Horse Park one glorious summer afternoon. Disclosure: My family and I were hosted by the Kentucky Horse Park. As always, my opinions are honest.
8 Things to Do at the Kentucky Horse Park
Horse Sculptures Galore
With statues of Secretariat, Man o’ War, Supreme Sultan and Misty of Chincoteague, this equestrian art is a photo opportunity for sure. Considering we had the movie Secretariat on a loop at our house a few years back, it was only fitting that we get to see his statue.
Horse-Drawn Trolley Tour
Climb aboard the trolley tour of the Horse Park to hear a 10- to 12-minute narration of the main activities area. Pulled by a team of Draft Horses, kids and grownups alike flocked to this tour, which is included with paid admission. Horse-drawn trolley tours typically depart at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.
International Museum of the Horse
Not surprisingly, the International Museum of the Horse (IMH) is a Smithsonian Affiliate. It had the Smithsonian feel in its quality and the exhibiting. This museum examines the role of horses throughout world history, from ancient times to today’s most popular sporting events. In addition to permanent and featured exhibits, the IMH has an extensive collection of equine art. We could touch and feel many of the interactive exhibits like trying on jockey’s riding gear or using the computers to learn about different breeds.
The Al-Marah Arabian Horse Galleries are an 8,000 square foot museum addition which focuses on Arabian horses and caters to younger visitors with an interactive multimedia experience. This museum gives visitors a look at writings, films and art that explore the timeline of the Arabian breed in world history.
Breeds Barn Show
From the rare Marwari to the iconic American Quarter Horse, breed representatives perform in hand and under saddle. During the summer season, breed representatives perform in colorful attire that evokes the culture, time period, and customs of their native land. During the spring and fall seasons, the demonstration is likely to be more casual in nature.
Every Breeds Barn show includes an opportunity for guests to take photos, pet the horses, and chat with the talented riders.
If my daughter had laid eyes on the Kids’ Barn when she was 6 or 7, I am convinced we would have spent ALL day in this one attraction of the Kentucky Horse Farm. From quizzing young riders about cleaning stalls to what is the best way to groom a horse, the Kids’ Barn is where it’s at for education. We even got to pet some of the ponies and learn about their breeds.
The Showplace for Saddlebreds
This museum highlights the role Saddlebred horses have played in American history and culture. As the last stop before we left for the day, it was also the one that surprised me the most. We had a blast with the interactive exhibits. Our favorite? The “Picture Yourself on a Saddlebred” where you could sit on a saddle and a blue screen projected your image on a saddlebred horse. We played with that one for almost a half hour, taking turns and making fun poses.
Tour the Hall of Champions
Thoroughbred legends like Da Hoss, Funny Cide, and Go for Gin, as well as American Quarter Horse Be A Bono, Standardbred Trotter Mr. Muscleman, and Standardbred Pacers Staying Together, Western Dreamer, and Won The West are shown in daily presentations, typically 10:45 am & 3:15 pm.
Our trip would never have been complete without stopping at the Rolex Stadium. We watched in awe as riders and their horses warmed up. Since it was a Saturday, there were several events taking place on the property with riders young and seasoned. My teen’s dream is to someday attend the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. so being able to see the stadium was a royal treat.
Tip: Plan ahead for weather. We went in the height of the summer and it was easy to get overheated. Intersperse your visit with some of the indoor museums and exhibits and be sure to drink plenty of water.
Hours and Pricing:
March 16, 2016 – November 6, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
November 7, 2016 – March 14, 2017
Open Wed – Sun, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
Closed Thanksgiving Eve & Day; Christmas Eve & Day; and New Year’s Eve & Day
FALL SEASON (INCLUDES NEXT DAY FREE)
September 6, 2016 – November 6, 2016, 9 am to 5 pm
Children (6-12) $8.00
Children (5 & under) Free
WINTER SEASON (INCLUDES NEXT DAY FREE)
November 7, 2016 – March 14, 2017, 9 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, Thanksgiving Eve & Day, Christmas Eve & Day, New Year’s Eve & Day).
Children (6-12) $6.00
Children (5 & under) Free
SUMMER SEASON (INCLUDES NEXT DAY FREE)
March 15, 2017 – September 4, 2017, 9 am to 5 pm (April 27 – April 30, 2017 – a Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event ticket required, which includes park admission, www.rk3de.org)
Children (6-12) $9.00
Children (5 & under) Free
The Kentucky Horse Park offers special discounted rates for groups and tours of 15 or more paid park admissions.
- Regular/Daily – $5.00
- Weekly Rate – $15.00 (vehicle may leave and reenter freely during this period)
Disclosure: My family and I were hosted by the Kentucky Horse Park. As always, my opinions are honest.
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