List of special holiday events at Kentucky State Parks | Arts & Culture
From Gil Lawson
Frankfort, Ky. – The Kentucky State Parks will be ready for the winter holidays this year with special meals, decorations, candlelight tours, entertainment and other special events planned.
State parks are a great place for holiday gatherings in November and December. All 17 resort parks have restaurants, meeting areas and gift shops that offer unique gift ideas. That includes Kentucky Unbridled Spirit gift cards, which are valid at Kentucky State Parks, the Kentucky Horse Park, the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Many state resort parks will also hold New Year’s Eve parties and dinners Dec. 31. For more information about these and other events, call your favorite park or visit www.parks.ky.gov
Here is a listing of holiday events during November and December at Kentucky State Parks:
Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas
Santa’s House, Dec. 6 and 8
Have you ever wondered what Santa’s house looked like? Here is your chance to take a tour of this magical villa decorated for the holiday season at Barren River Lake State Resort Park on Dec. 6 from 4:30-6:30 p.m., and Dec. 8 from 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. During your tour, visit with Santa to give him your wish list. Don’t forget to bring your camera if you would like to have your picture made with him. Ask about renting this holiday-decorated villa for your family getaway this season. For more information contact Jamie Avery at email@example.com or call 1-800-325-0057.
Breakfast with the Grinch, Dec. 8
Become a Who from Who-Ville and have green eggs and ham with the Grinch on Dec. 8, at 9 a.m. at Barren River Lake State Resort Park. Don’t worry, this Grinch won’t try to ruin your holiday, and he’s brought his favorite story for us to read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” After breakfast, make a holiday craft to remember your visit. Registration by Nov. 30, for only $5 per person; after Nov. 30, it’s $7 per person. Call 1-800-325-0057.
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, Mount Olivet
Holiday Dinner Theater, Dec. 14 and 15
It’s Christmas time in Victorian London and you are invited to attend Fred and Edwina Sawyer’s annual party. But what’s become of dear old Uncle Ebenezer Scrooge, who was magically transformed just one year ago into someone who “knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge”? Join some of Charles Dickens’ most beloved characters and help Sherlock Holmes solve the case! Fantastical Theatricals returns for a fourth consecutive year to the Blue Licks Battlefield Dinner Theater. You’re sure to enjoy their unique brand of interactive murder mystery. Based out of Lexington, Fantastical Theatricals can be seen across the Commonwealth and are entering into their 8th season of productions. Join us for an evening of excitement, laughs, and most importantly ... mystery! The evening’s entertainment will be suitable for the whole family. All are encouraged to join in, or sit back, relax and enjoy the evening. Call 1-800-443-7008.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn
Holiday in the Park, Dec. 1
Come to Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park on Saturday Dec. 1, and enjoy the annual “Holiday in the Park.” Children and adults can make holiday-themed crafts in the lobby meeting room at 3:30 p.m. Then Santa will be in the lodge from 5-7 p.m. Next gather around the cozy fireplace in the lodge lobby to enjoy a reading of the famous “The Night Before Christmas” at 8 p.m. Call 1-800-325-0058 or 1-606-398-7510 for information.
Holiday Dinner Buffet, Dec. 2
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park will have a Holiday Dinner Buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2. Entrees will include baked ham, fried catfish, fried chicken, and turkey and dressing, with sides of buttered corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and country-style green beans. A variety of desserts will be on the dessert bar. All of this will be offered for $12.99 for adults, not including beverage, tax or gratuity. (Children 5 and under eat free.) Another opportunity to see Santa will occur from 12:30–2:30 p.m. during the buffet. Call 1-800-325-0058 or 1-606-398-7510 for information.
Carter Caves State Resort Park, Olive Hill
Open House, Dec. 9
Bring the entire family out to enjoy the Carter Caves Christmas Open House! The Carter County Homemakers will decorate the lodge and many beautiful trees will be on display. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to greet the little ones. Refreshments will be served, and local entertainment has been scheduled throughout the day. Open 1-4 p.m. Call 1-800-325-0059.
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Corbin
Holiday Hayride, Dec. 15
The staff at Cumberland Falls invites you to spend part of this holiday season enjoying our beautifully decorated park. Take a ride between 6-9 p.m. on the Santa Express through the woods to Santa’s House near the falls area, where Santa’s helpers will be serving refreshments. Ride fee is $5. The gift shop will be open, featuring many Kentucky-made items. Come early to enjoy dinner in the Riverview Restaurant located in the Dupont Lodge. Call 1-800-325-0063.
E.P. ‘Tom’ Sawyer State Park, Louisville
Caching for Claus Geocaching Event, Dec. 15
This is the last geocaching event of the year, and you will be recruited by Santa himself to help locate the gifts that fell off the sleigh while Santa tried to avoid traffic. The gifts will be located all around the park – see how many you can find. Return to the activities building for a gift drawing and hot chocolate for 50 cents a cup. The cost is $5 per person; children under 5 are free. Call 1-502-429-3280.
Fort Boonesborough State Park, Richmond
Winter Trade Days at the Fort, Nov. 24-25
Eighteenth century merchants and traders in period clothing set up shops in the cabins and blockhouses at the fort. All items for sale are typical of items available in the 18th century. Fort opens at 9 a.m. each day. This is a great opportunity to do shop for unique holiday gifts. There is no admission charge for this event. Call 1-859-527-3131.
18th Century Christmas at the Fort, Dec. 7-8
Visit Fort Boonesborough State Park to see and hear the differences in the holiday celebrations of the season during the early settlement of Kentucky. The fort will be lighted by candlelight, with decorations in keeping with the traditions of time. There will be living history interpretations of the traditions of various ethnic groups and nationalities during the season. Candle lanterns, bonfires, the Christmas Guns (celebratory rifle salute), food and refreshments, music and dance, will all add to the atmosphere. Refreshments are included. Open 6-8 p.m. This is a special program sponsored by the Fort Boonesborough Foundation. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12, and under 6 are free. Call 1-859-527-3131.
General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton
Festival of Trees, opens Dec. 1
Holiday trees decorated by local schools, churches, organizations and businesses will adorn the Butler Lodge, to help ring in the season. The trees are on display through December. The official kickoff day is Saturday, Dec. 1, and is highlighted with Breakfast with Santa from 8-10:30 a.m. Morning activities take place 9-11:30 a.m. in the Lodge Mezzanine. An evening holiday concert features David Stahl and Freddy Helm. Call 1-866-462-8853.
Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, Greenup
Holiday Open House, Dec. 1-2
Experience the joys and happiness of the holiday season with our Greenbo Lake State Resort Park Holiday Open House. There will be caroling, holiday bazaar and many beautiful seasonal trees and decorations, all provided by the Greenup County Homemakers. Visit Greenbo Lake for a festive time and joyous occasion for the entire family with lots of holiday treats to sample. Open noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 2. Call 1-800-325-0083.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg
Breakfast with Santa and Frosty, Dec. 15-16
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park invites you to come celebrate the Christmas season with a breakfast buffet to remember. While you enjoy your breakfast, your children can visit with Santa Claus and Frosty during a special trip from the North Pole to visit everyone at Jenny Wiley. You can have your picture made with both of our wintry friends. Santa will have a special treat for each child. The event will be from 8-10 a.m. Adult buffet is $7.99 plus tax, and children 6-12 years old are $5.49 plus tax; children age 5 and under eat free! Contact Trinity Shepherd at 1-800-325-0142 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
John James Audubon State Park, Henderson
Christmas Open House, Nov. 17
Get in the holiday spirit with the Audubon Museum’s kickoff to Christmas, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See our new holiday decor, shop our wide variety of unique Christmas gifts, enjoy cider, hot chocolate and homemade holiday treats, and free museum tours. New holiday items include Kentucky Crafted cedar Christmas trees, Audubon bird ornaments, cardinal Christmas cards, Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Candy gift boxes and a variety of children’s toys. Door prizes and special discounts will take place throughout the day. Meanwhile, a few of Santa’s favorite elves will be in attendance, for photos with kids and to use their “elf-expertise” to wrap your purchases – for free! Call 270-826-2247.
Grandpa Jones: Country Musician and Comic, Nov. 17
John James Audubon State Park will host a Chautauqua program presented by the Kentucky Humanities Council, featuring David Hurt as Grandpa Jones, at 1 p.m. Louis Marshall Jones, better known as Grandpa, was the son of Henderson County sharecroppers. Hard times drove the family north to Akron, Ohio, in the late 1920s. Jones, who had a repertoire of songs learned from his parents and the radio, won a talent contest that led to regular work on an Akron radio station. That launched a career that lasted more than 60 years. It was during tours with country music star (and fellow Kentuckian) Bradley Kincaid in the 1930s that Jones developed the Grandpa persona he used the rest of his life. Beginning in 1969, television brought Jones fame as a member of the original cast of “Hee Haw,” which showcased his skills as a vaudeville comic. Grandpa Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1978, and continued his career until he died after a performance at the Grand Ole Opry in 1998. Contact: Julie McDonald at 270-826-2247 or email@example.com
Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Gilbertsville
Breakfast with Santa and Frosty, Dec. 8
Kids of all ages are invited to visit Santa and Frosty as they stop by for breakfast at the Harbor Lights Restaurant, from 8-11 a.m. Have your picture made with Santa and Frosty and let Santa know what you would like under the tree on Christmas morning. All children will
receive a small gift from Santa and a Christmas sugar cookie to decorate. Adult breakfast is $7.99, and children ages 6-12 are $4.99. Ages 5 and under are free. Beverage and tax are not included. Call 1-800-325-0146.
My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown
Nov. 23-24, 30; Dec. 1, 7-8
Christmas Candlelight Tours
Sample the elegant past during “My Old Kentucky Home” annual Christmas candlelight tours, 5:30-8:30 p.m. EST. The glow of candlelight will adorn the mansion in splendid 1800s fashion. Elaborate period holiday costumes, music and traditional refreshments available nightly. The park’s gift shop offers unique Kentucky handmade crafts, foods and holiday gifts. After the tour, guests are invited to stop inside the kitchen for some hot apple cider made with spice packets available in our gift shop and cake, also available in our gift shop. Adults are $7, seniors are $5, and children ages 6-12 are $3.50. Children under 6 are free. Call 502-348-3502.
Breakfast with Santa, Dec. 15
Children will have breakfast at My Old Kentucky Home State Park with a surprise visit from Santa. Cutouts of Mr. and Mrs. Claus and Mr. and Mrs. Snowman will be available for a fun photo op. The gift shop will offer a fun area where children can shop for gifts at a minimal cost for the parents. Elves will assist younger children so that the gift is a special surprise. Breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m. The price is $7.50 for adults and $5 for children ages 1-12. Call 502-348-3502.
Old Fort Harrod State Park, Harrodsburg
Larry Sanders and Borderline’s Christmas Concert, Dec. 2
Larry Sanders and his large band returns to Old Fort Harrod State Park for this high-energy country Christmas show at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 a person. Call 859-734-3314.
Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs
Santa Visits Dec. 1
Take free pictures with Santa in the lodge lobby from 5-7 p.m. Bring your own camera, or we can email you the photos. The park’s restaurant will host a holiday buffet from 4-8 p.m. Buffet price is $13.99 for adults, $6.99 for ages 6-12, and free for ages 5 and under. Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park will be decorated for the holiday season, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. The Friends of Pennyrile decorating committee, with the help of The Peach Tree Florist of Dawson Springs and Teresa’s Florist of Crofton, will decorate the lodge interior and exterior. Snowflakes will light the park through the winter months. The festive atmosphere makes a great place for holiday parties. For more information call 1-800-325-1711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough
All Wrapped Up Open House, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1
Santa's workshop is now open to the public. Come see the crafty creations his elves have been working on all year, created by Kentucky's finest artisan elves just for you. Hours are 1-6 p.m. on Nov. 30 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 1. Local craftsmen and artists will have displays of hand-woven baskets, fashion and home accessories, homemade goodies, art, literature, and much more! Contact Monica Frank, 270-257-2311.
Supper With Santa, Dec. 1
Now is your chance to meet with Santa and let him know what’s on your wish list this year! Grayson’s Landing Restaurant at Rough River Dam State Resort Park will feature a child-friendly buffet and visits with Santa can be made before or after your meal, 4:30-8 p.m. Price for adults is $10.99 plus tax and children ages 6-12 are $4.99 plus tax. Ages 5 and under are free. Holiday-themed crafts will also be available in the lodge lobby. Call 1-800-325-1713.
Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington
Candlelight Tour, Dec. 8-9
Waveland State Historic Site will have its traditional candlelight tour Dec. 8-9 from 6-9 p.m. The Waveland mansion will be decorated for Christmas in the style of the 1840s and 50s. Singers in antebellum costume will perform Christmas carols from the period. Refreshments will be served in the cabin. Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and $4 for students of any age. Children below student age are free. For further information, call (859) 272-3611.
White Hall State Historic Site, Richmond
A Victorian Christmas, Dec. 7-8, 14-15
What sort of holiday traditions and memories do you hold near and dear to your heart? Why don’t you kick-start your holidays with a trip to the past, and walk through a brightly decorated historical mansion. So much of what we do today began in the 1800s with the Victorians. Even in the 19th century, businesses were catering to the Christmas rush. A newspaper editor of the time wrote, “One-half the populace seems possessed with the desire to purchase all the things the other half has to sell.” Come see what else started with the Victorians. A Victorian Christmas is open 6-8 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-12. Please bring a nonperishable food item to donate to a local food bank. Join us for light refreshments following the self-guided tour. Call 859-623-9178.