What to do in Bowling Green, Kentucky

Continuing on the theme of spring break in Bowling Green, Kentucky, spend any time in the region and you will soon realize Cave Country has a whole lot going for it above the ground. Between Western Kentucky University and the General Motors Corvette assembly plant, the region is home to nearly 60,000 people—making it the third largest city in Kentucky, behind Louisville and Lexington.

An ideal mid-way spot for travelers on their way north or south, here are some family-friendly reasons to pull off the highway and experience Bowling Green on your next road trip:

National Corvette Museum

Corvette, Museum

Corvette, Museum

Spread out over 115,000 square feet, the National Corvette Museum is a tribute the influence of Corvette in Bowling Green and the greater automobile industry. Highlighting the evolution of the brand, the museum is a “must see” for the automobile enthusiast in your family. With 70 Corvettes on display, a wide variety of artifacts and exhibits will keep you engaged for quite some time. Families with young children will want to find the driving simulators an the more interactive KidZone. Families looking for a unique dining venue may also want to plan to enjoy a meal in the Corvette Cafe.

Kentucky Museum

Kentucky Museum Kids

Located on the Western Kentucky University campus, the Kentucky Museum is a three-story tribute to Kentucky’s history, art, and culture. Key exhibits include the Civil War, Duncan Hines, and the Snell-Franklin Decorative Arts. If visiting with elementary-age children, be sure and pick up a Family Guide for each kid. Placed in a clear backpack for hands-free carrying, the guide is designed to help kids navigate the museum as they complete worksheet pages for each floor. Perhaps our favorite exhibit at the museum is the newly opened Instruments of American Excellence, showcasing innovation and excellence in the tools and talents used by some of America’s finest citizens.

Historic Railpark & Train Museum

L&N Train

A museum for kids of all ages, the Historic Railpark & Train Museum is a tribute to the golden era of the Louisville & Nashville (L&N) Railroad. In a modern re-model of the original L&N depot, your experience will include a peek at one of the areas largest model railroad displays (complete with buttons for kids to push). Tour the two-stories of exhibits that highlight life on the rails, working for the railroad, and the influence of rail travel in America. Kids can de-code a telegraph message or learn the meaning of hobo symbols. Truly the highlight of the experience is a guided train tour on the various cars of a L&N train that once traveled through Kentucky carrying mail, passengers, and historical dignitaries. If you geocache, make sure and complete the Earth Cache and find the traditional container hidden on the red caboose.

Chaney’s Dairy Barn

Cheneys Playground

A treat for any family is a road trip ice cream break at Chaney’s Dairy Barn located south of downtown Bowling Green. With homemade ice cream and a country-themed dining room complete with gift shop stocked with regional foods and handmade items,    the highlight of the visit is in the form of a farm-themed playground behind the building. Perfect for kids with energy to burn, the playground has giant slides, swings, sand lots, and other ways to collect Kentucky mud on their shoes and clothing.

Mariah’s 1818

Mariah's Dining Room

Conveniently located in downtown Bowling Green a short walk from Fountain Square Park and shopping on the square, Mariah’s 1818 has been a favorite local dining spot for over a quarter decade. Featuring a reasonably priced kids meals ($2.99, add $0.59 for a drink) and a $6.99 lunch menu worth bragging about, Mariah’s does not skimp on food quality or ambiance. Located inside Bowling Green’s oldest brick home, the now-restaurant features a brightly colored mural of downtown.

Montanna Grille

Montana Grille

A fantastic way to re-fuel after a long day of travel, the Montanna Grille is known for its ambiance, service, and sophisticated menu. Close to many of the lodging options on the edge of downtown, Montanna Grille plays on a Western theme with names like the Watering Hole, Big Sky Sandwiches, and a mid-day menu called the Lunch Pail. Known for the rotisserie chicken and pork chops, we can recommend anything glazed with Kentucky bourbon. Unique kids’ menu items include a smaller portion of the rotisserie chicken or the option to split a sirloin steak meal, like ours did.Bowling GreenHappy Trails!

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. In March 2018 Julie Henning published the book "100 Things to Do in Eugene Before You Die" (Reedy Press). She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. She has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, Travel Wisconsin, Travel Oregon, Hometown News Group, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine (DNR publication), Experience Michigan Magazine, the Official Oregon Wine Touring Guide, Metro Parent Milwaukee Magazine, Eugene Cascades & Coast Official Visitors Guide, Trivago, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, Amtrak.com, Eugene Magazine, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio. She has produced episodes for Journey of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. Julie has also produced travel apps with Sutro Media and Bindu Media. She works full time in marketing. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.

2 Comments on "What to do in Bowling Green, Kentucky"

  1. Tricia @ www.roadtriptheworld.com | April 9, 2013 at 9:14 pm |

    Thanks for the great post. We just went to Mammoth Cave over spring break but did not make it all the way to Bowling Green. Too bad- It looks like we missed out!

  2. Thanks for your kind words Tricia. We really did enjoy Bowling Green. Maybe we were on the same Mammoth Cave tour? 🙂

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