Families have endless opportunities to experience history, culture, horses and a ton of other fun things during a visit to Lexington Kentucky.
The rolling hills of the Kentucky countryside dotted with horse farms are a nugget of Southern charm located less than a two-hour drive from Cincinnati. The pageantry of horse breeding and racing brings big hats, big money, and big fun to this area year-round.
Horses, not your thing? Don’t fret! This is only one of many attractions that Lexington offers. Here are our best bets for an enjoyable family visit to the Horse Capital of the World. This site contains affiliate links.
Fun Things To Do With Kids In Lexington Kentucky
The Kentucky Horse Park
Experience why Lexington is the horse capital of the world by visiting the Kentucky Horse Park. This sprawling park encompasses acres upon acres of pastures, stables, arenas and more.
Plan on spending a few hours discovering and learning about all things equine. A family favorite was the parade of breeds – a show offered twice daily. Make sure to check the schedule for details and times. This show does an excellent job of capturing the attention of all ages.
Be sure to check out the Kid’s Barn which is full of interactive exhibits and a few four-hoofed friends!
The International Museum of the Horse is definitely worth a stop, as well. We found their collection of antique sleds and carriages fascinating (the oldest, reportedly belonged to Louis XVI) in addition to the impressive trophy display.
Most importantly, the park offers lots of chances to get up close and personal with the horses and pet a few of these beauties. It is a horse-lovers dream come true.
For more family fun, check out the playground and opportunities for exploring the park on horseback. Don’t worry if you are not able to do everything in one day because your pass is good for two days of adventure at the Horse Park.
Parking is $5.00, so come prepared.
Kentucky Aviation Museum
Strategically situated next to the Lexington Airport, the Kentucky Aviation Museum offers families a high-flying good time. This museum not only boasts interactive exhibits, but it also has a viewing area to the tarmac of the airport.
Kids of all ages delight in seeing the planes take off, land, and taxi about. Once inside the museum climb inside and “fly” the Bell OH-58 Helicopter or be the pilot in your own simulated plane!
Be sure to grab the self-guided tour brochure and use it to navigate the museum. The history and stories behind the artifacts and planes are incredible. Be sure to check out their F-14 (Top Gun!).
The museum has a small children’s area which can entertain the littlest members of your party. Toy planes, books, and more can distract and amuse your tiny aviator.
Family-friendly events are scheduled throughout the year, including Aviation Camp, flying in biplanes and more. Check their calendar for details.
Rainy Day? Check out the Explorium Interactive Children’s Museum for a variety of hands-on exhibits. The museum will entertain all ages and includes a toddler room.
Admission is charged for all who enter, age one to 54 years-old. The exhibits are well-loved and could use some updating however, the children certainly don’t seem to mind.
Popular exhibits include the Bubble Room, Dinosaurs, and culturally themed houses from around the world.
The toddler area has a gate and a tiny tot fountain which allowed our little one to splash around.
There is no parking lot designated for the Explorium — Look for street parking or public parking located further down the road.
Fun Things To Do In Lexington For History Buffs
If your family enjoys touring historic sites and discovering hidden pockets of history, then a visit to Lexington is a must.
Lexington is a treasure trove of famous homes, grounds, and artifacts dating back centuries. We toured the Mary Todd-Lincoln home, which still houses original furniture, china, place settings and much more.
Families: this is not the best place for a small child. Inevitably, one of you will end up exploring the beautiful gardens outside, while the rest of the family tours the home.
Other historic sites include Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate, the Hunt-Morgan House, and the Waveland State Historic Site. A pass can be purchased to explore all the above, including the Mary Todd-Lincoln House at the Visit Lexington Tourism Site.
Shaker Village Of Pleasant Hill
When you visit Shaker Village you become immersed in the culture. Whether that is staying the night in one of the historic buildings or participating in one of the many cultural programs. Guests love dining at the Trustee’s table overlooking the garden that is represented on your plate.
The village comes alive as guests explore the many different areas and programs found throughout the property. With over 34 historic structures and 3000 acres, the opportunities are endless as you discover Kentucky’s Largest National Historic Landmark.
Read more about staying the night in a historic room, activities and events in at the Shaker Village.
A unique park worth visiting in Lexington is Thoroughbred Park. Located conveniently near downtown, this park is home to the seven life-size and life-like bronze horses approaching the finish line. Little ones are enthralled with the horses which won’t potentially nibble at them and the fountains are an added bonus. The only downside is that the park is located on several busy streets, therefore, keep a close eye on your little wanderers. Walking paths will guide you to over forty plaques, and more equine statues are located throughout the park.
There is no parking lot to access the park however there was plenty of street parking when we went.
Where to Eat In Lexington
Step back in time at this classic drive-in restaurant. Built-in 1951, the Parkette Drive-In has become a famous symbol of Lexington and is still in operation today. Known for their “Poor Boy” double-decker hamburger, and their fried chicken, this is a place you don’t want to miss!
This iconic gem has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and is known nationally. Be sure to capture an image with their original billboard which costs over $1000 per year to maintain. You still have the option of eating in your car or venture inside the diner for a bit of nostalgia.
The Village Idiot
I will preface this recommendation by saying that we came during non-busy hours because we were dining with a toddler. The Village Idiot is Lexington’s first Gastropub and it did not disappoint. We went for a late brunch on Sunday and the food was outstanding.
My recommendation: Eat All The Things! They do have a kids menu and high chairs available.
Where To Stay In Lexington Kentucky
We got the pleasure of staying at the Hilton located right in the heart of downtown Lexington. Convenience is key here because you are within walking distance from a variety of restaurants, parks, and attractions.
The rooms are spacious, clean, and the staff goes above and beyond for their guests. The Hilton is a great fit for families because they have a pool, breakfast options, and their location can’t be beaten.
The hotel prides itself on being family-friendly by offering cribs, pack’n’plays, high chairs, kids menus, kids video rentals and more. The hotel is very accessibly friendly and offers accessibility into most areas including the pool and hot tub.
Looking For More Fun Things To Do In Lexington, Kentucky?
Horse Farms – Several local farms and stables offer scenic guided or unguided tours and horseback rides. A few local favorites are Big Red Stables and Deer Run Stables.
Go for a hike at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary because of the beautiful scenery.
Take a factory tour of Old Kentucky Chocolates and sample pure heaven. Tours are only offered at 10:00 am Monday-Thursday.
Visit the Lexington Visitor’s Center for more information and start planning your next trip to Lexington.
We would like to thank Lexington’s Convention and Visitors Bureau for sponsoring our wonderful stay. All opinions and recommendations are our own.
Fun Things To Do In Lexington With Kids