With the arrival of spring, the Kentucky Horse Park also celebrates a new tourism season beginning. The park will entertain visitors with special events and horse shows throughout the year, with more opportunities to get close to amazing horses. Named a TripAdvisor Top 25 Travelers’ Choice award winner for attractions in 2013, the park offers a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly entertainment choice not to be missed.
The Bluegrass State has a long and rich history, and the horse has played a part since our earliest days. To that end, the Kentucky Horse Park’s International Museum of the Horse presents a new concept in special exhibitions this year with “Equine Treasures of the Bluegrass” April 4 through Nov. 9. Utilizing the museum’s permanent exhibits and collections as its framework, as well as art and artifacts from some of the Commonwealth’s leading museums, libraries and private collectors, the exhibit is the most comprehensive exhibition ever produced telling the fascinating story of the mystical bond between Kentuckians and their horses.
Visitors come to Kentucky to see the horses and the Kentucky Horse Park is THE place to get close to them. There are horses of all types and sizes showing in the twice-daily Horses of the World Show, and there will be a special nod to Kentucky-bred horses this season in honor of the museum’s “Equine Treasures of the Bluegrass” exhibition. In addition, there are many unique and rare breeds that will be exhibited in an entertaining presentation–Akhal-Teke, Luistano, Fjord, Fell Pony, Icelandic, Friesian, Paso Fino, and Kiger Mustang–along with breeds of horse that may be more familiar to the American public.
Daily equine presentations at the park also include the Hall of Champions Presentation, where visitors can meet racing legends like Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin, who celebrates the 20th anniversary of that win this year, among other champions from the worlds of Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horse racing.
A returning highlight of this season will include one of the park’s newest and most popular attractions, the Kids Barn, which features interactive exhibits that are both entertaining and educational. Geared to the 12 and under set, the Kids Barn has proven to be a hot spot with the young-at-heart set as well. Park staff will host daily hands-on activities with the park’s resident horses in the Kids Barn each day, and the perennial favorite Mare and Foal Show will be held at the barn from Memorial Day to July 31 when foals return to park grounds.
“Oak Hill Farm – A Jewel of the Bluegrass” will be on view through January 2015 in the “Showplace for Saddlebreds” at the American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop at the park. American Saddlebred Museum admission is included in park admission and its hours are the same as the park, while they offer extended hours–to 6 p.m. daily–from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The Kentucky Horse Park will also host a packed schedule of horse shows, dog shows, music festivals, sport championships and community events, most of which are included with park admission. Additionally, a number of events in the Kentucky Horse Park Campground are open to registered campers, culminating with the hugely popular Halloween Camp-Out weekends.
The annual Southern Lights holiday festival, organized by the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, concludes the park’s event year, Nov. 21-Dec. 31. A family tradition known throughout Kentucky, Southern Lights has been selected as a Top 100 event for both 2013 and 2014 by the American Bus Association (ABA), which annually selects the best events for group travel in the United States and Canada. Winners are chosen from hundreds of celebrations, festivals, fairs, commemorative events, and more that have been nominated by ABA members.
Events are scheduled every weekend at the park, and a full listing of these events and their dates is available at www.KyHorsePark.com. A printed brochure with the 2014 event calendar is available by request by calling the park at 859-233-4303 or by emailing [email protected]. A jpg file of the printed brochure is also available on the website. Information about the International Museum of the Horse is available at www.IMH.org.
For the summer tourism season, March 12-Nov. 2, the park is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $16 for adults and $8 for children 7-12. Children 6 and under are always admitted free of charge when accompanied by a paying adult. Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate; and the “Showplace for Saddlebreds,” The American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop.