Kentucky is known for its horses, and Lexington has a variety of horse-centric activities geared toward children. But, the offerings aren’t just limited to horses — there are numerous options, from museums to play centers to nature sanctuaries. This guide highlights some of the best ideas when it comes to kid-friendly things to do in Lexington.
Lexington is home to several museums that kids would enjoy. Exploratorium of Lexington has more than 100 hands-on exhibits designed to promote learning, including an veterinary exhibit that shows kids what it’s like to be an animal doctor and an interactive wall that allows you to control a game through your body motions. The Living Arts and Science Center allows kids to explore the relationship between science and the arts through a variety of interactive exhibits, and it also hosts art shows, workshops, and puppet shows. Kids can get a feel for what it’s like to fly an airplane using flight simulators at The Aviation Museum of Kentucky, located at the Blue Grass Airport. Children can also attend summer aviation camp at the museum.
The Kentucky Horsepark houses the International Museum of the Horse — an affiliate of the Smithsonian — and the American Saddlebred Museum. More than 35 different types of breeds are on display here, and twice a day, horses from around the world parade in traditional costume. Children will have the opportunity to pet some of the horses, ride ponies, and have fun on the park’s playground.
Kids can become acquainted with nature at several spots in town created for just that. At the 1.85-acre Kentucky Children’s Garden, kids can learn about how plants grow through a number of hands-on activity stations and try a little gardening themselves. Raven Run Nature Sanctuary has more than 10 miles of trails, giving visitors access to streams, meadows, and forest areas, where you might catch a glimpse of some of the wildlife that calls the sanctuary home. Stop in the visitor’s center before your hike and try out some of the child-friendly, educational exhibits. Children can zip around the Creative Playground at the 216-acre Jacobson Park, which has a multi-level wooden structure with ramps, tunnels, and slides. Paddleboats are also available for rent.
Kids will likely be delighted by the 12 life-sized bronze horse sculptures at Thoroughbred Park. Throughout this 2.75-acre park in downtown Lexington, visitors can learn about the horses, including the 19th century champion thoroughbred stallion, Lexington. They can even climb aboard the sculptures and try to imagine what it feels like to be a jockey in a race.
For some faster-paced fun, turn to one of these play centers. Malibu Jack’s Family Fun Center has a go-kart track as well as a 4D movie theater, miniature golf course, an eatery, and one of the largest arcades in the state. Children can whip off their shoes and run around in their socks at Kids Place, an indoor playground with an air bounce, ball baths, climbing features, and slides. An arcade is under the same roof with amusements like skee ball, air hockey, and video games.
Feel what it’s like to fly at Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park, where you can literally bounce off the walls. Kids can participate in ultimate dodgeball, plunge into a pit of soft foam cubes in the Foam Zone, or do their own thing and just freestyle jump until they’re ready for a nap. Dining and fun is combined at Gattitown, which offers a large buffet and a midway with amusement park-style games where you can win prizes.