The economy may be keeping many people close to home this summer. Just because summer vacation may mean a vacation at home, there is no reason why families still cannot have fun and see a variety of sites and attractions. Most cities and towns, large and small, have free attractions that are often overlooked.
Here are ten free attractions located in Lexington, Kentucky and the surrounding areas.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc.
Take a tour of this Toyota automobile plant where they make the Camry, Avalon and Solara. The plant is located in Georgetown. The Visitors Center is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday. Tours are available Monday through Friday at 10:00am and 12:00pm. Children must be at least first grade level in order to take the tour. Large groups must make reservations for the tour by calling 1-800-TMM-4485.
Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey Bourbon Distilleries
Besides horse-racing, Kentucky is famous for its bourbon. Take a tour of Buffalo Trace Distillery near Frankfort, where Ancient Age is made; or the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg. The Wild Turkey Visitor Center and Gift Shop is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 4:30pm. The Wild Turkey Distillery tours are available Monday through Saturday at 9:00am, 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm. Maintenance occurs at the distillery from July through September. Distillery tours are still available, but may be shortened. Tours at Buffalo Trace occur on the hour, Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 3:00pm; and Saturdays from 10:00am to 2:00pm. All persons must be 21 in order to tour either distillery.
Old Kentucky Candies Inc.
Old Kentucky Candies is the home of Old Kentucky Derby Mints, Old Kentucky Bourbon Chocolates, and other Kentucky candy specialties. See how these chocolates and other candies are made at this chocolate factory. Free tours are available for groups of 8 to 50 by appointment only. Call 800-786-0579.
Kentucky Capitol Building and Governor’s Mansion
Take a tour of the Capitol building in Frankfort, built in 1810. There are murals of famous figures in Kentucky history; and a display of inaugural gowns worn by the former First Ladies of Kentucky. The Capitol is open to the public Monday through Friday 8:30am to 3:30pm; Saturdays 10:00am to 2:00pm and Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00pm. The nearby Governor’s Mansion is also open for tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:00 to 11:00am. Groups can call 502-564-3449 to schedule tours of both buildings.
Relive the Civil War
Take a drive-through tour of two nearby Civil War battle sites. Driving maps of the Battle of Richmond are available at the Richmond Visitors Center. Driving guides of the Battle of Cynthiana are available at 203 West Pike Street in Cynthiana. Pay tribute to soldiers of the Civil War and other wars at the Camp Nelson National Cemetery and Civil War Site in Nicholasville.
Kentucky Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial
Located in Frankfort, this memorial is a giant sundial dedicated to Kentuckians who were killed in Vietnam. On the anniversary of each veteran’s death, the tip of the shadow created by the sundial touches their name.
The Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum
This four acre arboretum in Paris, KY is loaded with landscaping and garden exhibits, including native flowering trees and plants, a rose garden and a reflecting pool. The arboretum is also the headquarters of the Kentucky Garden Club. It is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm and Sunday 12:00 to 6:00pm.
Kentucky Horse Farms
Not all of the area horse farms allow visitors but many of them are open to the public. The Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau can provide visitors with a list of the horse farms that welcome visitors.
The Museum of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky
Located on the Lexington campus, visitors can view early artifacts from prehistoric days. The museum is open from 8:00am to 4:00pm (7:45am to 3:45pm in summer), Monday through Friday.
Ale-8-One Bottling Plant
Located in Winchester, the Ale-8-One Bottling Plant bottles the only soft drink native to Kentucky. Ale-8-One was developed in 1926 by G. L. Wainscott. Starting in1902, the plant bottled several flavored soft drinks and soda water. In 1906, a local cola, Roxa-Kola, was developed and sold locally. Roxa-Kola was discontinued in 1968, and the other flavored soft drinks were discontinued in 1974. Since then, the plant has concentrated solely on Ale-8-One. Plant tours are given on Fridays only at 10:50am.