explore caves in bowling green ky
Kentucky Trips,  Travel,  Weekend Trips

Top Things To Do While Exploring Caves In Bowling Green KY

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Descend underground into a beautiful world of wonder and mystery while exploring caves in Bowling Green, KY. Explore the rich history of Lost River Cave or spend the day at Mammoth Cave National Park; either way, Bowling Green makes a great home base to kick-start your adventure.

Lost River Cave Boat Tour
Lost River Cave Boat Tour

We want to thank Visit Bowling Green, Kentucky, for sponsoring this article. As always, opinions are our own. This site contains affiliate links.

About Bowling Green

Home to the famous Corvette Museum, Bowling Green has a charming downtown, scenic parks, and a beautiful college campus. Western Kentucky University sits atop the rolling hills providing students with convenient access to local eateries, shops, and attractions.

Located 60 miles north of Nashville and 110 miles south of Louisville off Interstate 65, Bowling Green is the third-most populous city in Kentucky after Louisville and Lexington. Only a 30-minute drive to Mammoth Cave National Park, many visitors opt to stay in Bowling Green to be closer to an array of restaurants and hotels.

The square in downtown Bowling Green, KY
The square in downtown Bowling Green, KY

Nature trails, a historic rail park, and many historical museums are only the beginning of the fun things to do in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

In this article, we share an excellent itinerary for exploring caves in Bowling Green, KY, along with other entertaining activities to do while visiting.

Exploring Caves In Bowling Green, KY

The lure of caves entices many visitors to discover earth’s treasures below ground. Stroll through immense caverns, examine magnificent formations, and discover the creatures that call these caves home. Get our FREE Bowling Green cave itinerary below and start planning your trip:

Lost River Cave

Experience caves like never before by boarding a boat and journeying into this historic cave. Lost River Cave is full of stories and folklore as tales about outlaws, nightclubs, and the Civil War come to life.

The cave was once home to a historic cavern nite club in the 1930s, but now the club space hosts elaborate private events and weddings. A crystal chandelier hangs along with white draperies at the cave entrance, creating an enchanting backdrop to any occasion.

caves in bowling green ky
Caves in Bowling Green KY to explore.

The Underground Boat Ride

After purchasing your lost river cave tour, guests will walk along a paved path to the river’s edge. Signs will help guide guests to the meeting area. Before entering the cave, the guide will give a 20-minute tour along the Lost River, explaining the blue holes, the history of the cave, and what precisely a lost river is.

The underground cave boat tour begins with getting children into life jackets before descending a ramp to board the boat. A light jacket may be helpful as the cave temperature is in the high 50s.

Once onboard, the tour guide will share stories of how outlaw Jesse James used the cave for a hideout. They point out fun formations, take you to the dam inside the cave and discuss the ecosystem inside it.

NOTE: To get into the cave, you must duck your head for 15-20 seconds on the boat tour. This takes place at the very beginning of the tour.

Planning Tip: Depending on the water level of the cave, tours may be canceled for several days in a row. Often the cave will flood after a rainstorm, preventing the boats from entering. I recommend calling if it has recently rained to ensure tours are operating.

Nature Explore playground
Nature Explore playground

Additional Things To Do At Lost River Cave

Take advantage of these fun activities after your underground boat tour.

  • Kids will love the Nature Explore playground!
  •  Visit the gift shop for unique gems and souvenirs.
  •  A seasonal butterfly habitat.
  •  Hike the Blue Hole Trail
  •  Go Treasure Mining

Address: 2818 Nashville Rd, Bowling Green, KY 42101 | Phone: 270-393-0077

Mammoth Cave National Park

Explore the world’s largest and longest cave system by experiencing Mammoth Cave National Park. Stroll through the vast caverns of this natural wonder by participating in a variety of tours for all types of adventurers.

As you descend into one of the largest cave entrances in the United States, feel the cold breeze come up with the mouth of the cave. Jackets are recommended, as it gets chilly inside; ask my daughter, who complained about not having her jacket her entire time inside the cave.

Mammoth Cave Self Guided Discovery Tour
Mammoth Cave Self Guided Discovery Tour

The Discovery Tour (Self-Guided)

The most popular tours are often sold out weeks in advance, but guests do not need a guided tour to see the cave. A Discovery (Self-Guided) Tour is available in selected months, allowing guests to enter the cave through the historic entrance.

The Discovery Tour is offered daily between 10:00 and 2:00 for the months of June and July only. Unlimited First Come, First Serve tickets are sold at the Visitor Center on the day of the tour.

  • When tickets are sold, the time on the tickets will be the last time you can enter the cave.
  •  This tour has designated multiple hours to enter the cave between when you bought the ticket and the last time displayed on your ticket.
  •  The cave is dim but lit enough that you shouldn’t need a flashlight.
  •  A light jacket may be helpful as the cave is chilly.
Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave

The Discovery Tour is the ideal way to see the cave quickly. While you won’t see any remarkable formations, you can appreciate the cave’s grandeur. We spent a little less than an hour doing the whole experience. Next time we hope to take one of their longer, guided cave tours.

Diamond Caverns

Only minutes from Mammoth Cave are the magnificent Diamond Caverns. Known as Kentucky’s most beautiful cave, Diamond Caverns offers tours to see the thousands of formations that decorate the cathedral-like chambers of the cave.

Know Before You Go

  • Diamond Caverns is open for tours year-round.
  •  Guided one-hour-long tours are offered daily at set tour times in the Fall and Winter. Call for availability.
  •  April through Labor Day tours run approximately every 30 – 45 minutes.
  •  All tours are first come, first serve.
  •  Plan to wear comfortable, supportive walking shoes for the ½ mile cave tour.

Address: 1900 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Park City, KY 42160

Fun Things To Do In Bowling Green

Take a break from cave exploration by checking out these top things to do in Bowling Green, KY.

Beech Bend Amusement Park

Experience thrills this summer at Beech Bend Amusement Park. Since its opening in 1898, Beech Bend has provided excellent entertainment for the entire family creating lasting memories. Feel the wind in your face as your take on the wooden roller coaster, Rumbler, or cool off by floating down the lazy river in the Splash Lagoon.

Beech Bend Amusement Park : Fun things to do in bowling green ky with kids
Beech Bend Amusement Park

We rope-dropped the park and could ride all the attractions without waiting on a Saturday morning. There are plenty of rides for kids; my daughter’s favorite was the Wild Mouse, which we rode multiple times before heading to the waterpark.

Top things to do with kids in bowling green ky
Splash Lagoon at Beech Bend Amusement Park

Know Before You Go: 

  • Your park ticket includes admission into the amusement park and Splash Lagoon, but racing fans won’t want to miss the dragstrip next to the park and campground. Check out the racing schedule to see what events are happening.
  •  Parking is FREE!
  •  The park does NOT accept American Express or Apple Pay.
  •  Don’t miss Friday Night Lights, when the park transforms into a light show ending with fireworks at 9:00 pm.

Chaney’s Dairy Barn

Visiting Chaney’s Dairy Barn has been a longtime tradition for many locals looking for homemade ice cream and family fun. From bouncing on their jumping pillow and exploring the playground to enjoying one of their many specialty sandwiches, Chaney’s Dairy Barn has it all.

Playground at Chaney's Dairy Barn
Playground at Chaney’s Dairy Barn

The farm offers self-guided farm tours where guests can go behind the scenes to see how milking takes place and learn about the day-to-day operations of a dairy farm. Tours operate during normal business hours, and reservations are not required.

Moovie night at  Chaney's Dairy Barn
Moovie night at Chaney’s Dairy Barn

Have you ever heard of ice cream and a Moovie? Throughout the summer, Chaney’s Dairy Farm offers Saturday Night Moovies, where families can bring their lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy a movie after dusk on the farm. Grab dinner, a scoop of ice cream, or one of their famous Moo Pies!

Dinosaur World

Dinosaur enthusiasts, we have the spot for you!! Only six minutes from Mammoth Cave National Park is Dinosaur World, Kentucky!

Step back into prehistoric times with an educational Dino walk, dig for fossils, and even go gem mining. Kids will love playing on the dinosaur-themed playground, touring the museum, and playing a round of mini-golf!

Dinosaur World in Kentucky
Dinosaur World in Kentucky

All of your dinosaur needs can be met at the gift shop. With tons of unique dinosaur toys, collectibles, clothing, and more, it will be hard to leave without bringing home a memorable souvenir.

Planning Tip: This attraction is aimed at a younger crowd, with most patrons being ten and under. The dinosaurs on the dino walk do not move but are lifesize dioramas with educational plaques about the different dinosaurs.

The National Corvette Museum

Did you know that every Corvette made since 1981 has been made in Bowling Green, Kentucky? Discover the history, the thrills, and the adrenaline behind this beloved sports car at the National Corvette Museum.

National Corvette Museum
National Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum offers various temporary & permanent exhibits throughout the year. See exotic and unique Corvettes throughout history, step into a Corvette Simulator, and dine at the String Ray Grill.

Tour The Corvette Plant

See how these remarkable sports cars are made by taking a tour of the Corvette Plant. Tours scheduling will occur at the time of purchase, with tickets being sold online.

The Corvette Plant is located just across the street from the Museum at 600 Corvette Drive, making it the perfect addition to any visit to the National Corvette Museum.

Explore The Square Downtown Bowling Green

Before a day of exploration, spend your morning grabbing a cup of artisan coffee and strolling the scenic downtown square. ​​From cappuccinos to Americanos or the simply perfect piping hot cup o’ joe, Spencer’s Coffee offers plenty of top-notch local options for coffee fiends.

Iced Coffee from Spencer's in Bowling Green, KY
Iced Coffee from Spencer’s in Bowling Green, KY

Take your joe to go, by walking around the historic square, peeking into local boutiques, or savor your chai alongside the peaceful fountain.

Grab Dinner At Montana Grille

Eat where the locals eat is one of our mantras while we travel. When you see a line out the door, you know it has to be good, and Montana Grille was no exception. Stepping into the inviting rustic dining room, the smells circling the room will instantly have your belly rumbling.

Montana Grille in Bowling Green, KY
Montana Grille in Bowling Green, KY

Decisions will be difficult with options such as Bourbon Tenderloin Filet, Mac’s Smothered Chops, Grilled Salmon, and Fire-Roasted Rotisserie Chicken. However, almost everyone can agree that the complimentary warm jalapeno cornbread with butter is heavenly.

Prime Rib dinner at Montana Grille
Prime Rib dinner at Montana Grille

Planning Tip: Montana Grille takes reservations, and I highly recommend making one.

Address: 1740 Scottsville Road, Bowling Green, KY 42103

Where To Stay In Bowling Green, KY

Bowling Green offers various lodging accommodations. As a family, we like to have room to spread out, a fridge, a complimentary breakfast, and an indoor pool. That is why we found the TownePlace Suites by Marriott a perfect home base for our weekend getaway.

Towneplace suites in Bowling Green, KY
Towneplace Suites in Bowling Green, KY

TownePlace Suites offer full kitchens in their units which is a great find for families on a budget looking to make meals. We found the staff helpful and friendly, and the hotel was in a great central location near restaurants and attractions.

I found a few lodging options while looking for lodging near Mammoth Cave. Venture into town for the best options for seeing the caves in Bowling Green, Ky.

Address: 1818 Cave Mill Road, Bowling Green, KY 42104

Are you looking for more Kentucky Adventures? Check out these related articles:

How To Create The Bourbon Trail Itinerary 

5 Reasons To Visit Kentucky Down Under 

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things to do while exploring caves in bowling green ky