This past July my dearest friend, Laurie, called and mentioned that her twin daughters, Faith and Grace, would like to come spend some time with me in Kentucky, what else could I say but, “HECK YEAH!”
Laurie and I talked back and forth several times arranging the dates for Faith and Grace to visit and some of the possible activities Aaron, my daughter, and I had planned to do with the girls while they were visiting. Faith is in Color Guard at her highschool and Grace is on the Volleyball Team, both are in-coming freshman and they both were already practicing. With the twins schedules this left us with three full days of being able to discover some new adventures together in Kentucky.
I drove to Missouri on a Friday, Aubrey , the oldest sibling, who is beautiful, smart , musically talented and gifted, plus a college student at Missouri State University where she is in the marching band and since last year-engaged! Aubrey was going to be at home and I wanted to spend some time with her too before she headed back to college and this was a perfect opportunity with all our schedules. On Saturday, we spent the afternoon preparing strawberry preserves the good old-fashioned way-canning-to freeze and put back for Aubrey’s upcoming wedding next May. We made a lot of perserves! It took us all morning and most of the afternoon, but what a great way to spend time together!
On Sunday Faith, Grace, and I headed out for Kentucky!
Day 1 Adventure: The Climb-Russellville, KY
On Monday Aaron, Faith, Grace and I headed to The Climb. I don’t know how Aaron found this place but it is indeed a huge swimming area complete with zip lines, water slides, paddle boards and more. It was cool. The girls loved zip-lining and did it several times.
The Climb is a rustic area out in Russellville, KY. I am assuming at one time the area was mined and then flooded. The Climb cannot charge admissions, as sanctioned by the city of Russellville, so instead they ask for donations.
Day 2 Adventure: Holiday World-Santa Claus, IN
The twins had never visited Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana and this was something they were wanting to do. Aaron and I had already had this day planned beforehand. Holiday World is a lot of fun and entertaining for all ages and if you have kids with you-especially teenagers- the rides are a priority. Of course we lucked out and had the usual hot and humid weather of Kentucky in July where everything sticks to you. The great thing about Holiday World is the Water Park-it is awesome and on a hot day it’s perfect to go and cool off at. I know Faith, Grace and Aaron would agree with me on that. We had planned our day around the heat with riding some of the rides in the morning, having some lunch, hitting the water park all afternoon and in the evening riding anything left that they wanted to do again or didn’t get to do in the morning. This plan worked well except I was ready for the water park by 11:00 from the heat, other than that, the girls were off to ride the roller coasters and other rides in the amusement side of the park. Holiday World Ride areas are broken up into four lands; Halloween, Thanksgiving, 4th of July and Christmas, there are shows to see in these areas, plenty of souvenir shops and places to eat, but with the age group Faith and Grace fall in, there is no stopping for shows or anything else-it is Ride Time!
Over on the Water Park side of Holiday World Faith, Aaron and Grace hit the water coasters slides first. They loved them! All three of them got me onto the water coaster and sure enough just one spin and a loop-de-loop and I was queasy. Give me the Lazy River and I will float all day! The wave pool and kid water areas are all fun, even big people enjoy being over in the kid areas. Even though the park was crowded due to everyone in the park deciding to be at the water side during the afternoon there were still plenty of chairs, lounge chairs and tables available, which was very nice.
What I love about Holiday World is parking is free, tickets are reasonable, food is reasonable and while you are in the parks there is free drinks of soda, tea, water, and lemonade available at the many drink huts throughout the park. The drink huts are great and if you think what you spend on drinks at other amusement parks with your family you have probably spent more on the drinks than the actual ticket, so this is a great big plus. The other freebie is sunscreen stationed throughout the water park and when it is a hot day the free drinks comes in handy. The parks are very well maintained and clean, and what I found to be quite nice is the training the Holiday World staff receives in constant greeting and talking to park goers making sure everyone is having a great time and quick to assist if needed.
By 9:00 pm all four of us were worn out and ready to head back to Bowling Green, KY and get some sleep because we had another planned full day coming up.
Note: Aaron, myself or the twins took any pictures while we were in the water park. Unless you have someone who is going to stay with all the bags as everyone moves from one water park ride or water area you really don’t want to pack phones or cameras around. Too much fun in the water! There are great locker systems you can rent when you get into either park area and we rented a locker at the beginning of our day so we didn’t have to drag swimming bags and purses around with us.
Day 3 Adventure: Mammoth Cave National Park and Diamond Caverns
Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest cave system and is really something everyone should try to see. There are so many cave tours offered throughout each day, as well as the many hikes throughout the park grounds and just being in the great outdoors. On our adventure we didn’t preorder tickets for a tour before we left and when we got to the park the tours were all sold out. In all the years I have lived in Kentucky and the many trips I have taken with my family to the cave I have never had this experience of all tours being sold out. As always the 1/2 mile self guided tour was available, price for self guided tour is very cheap, and Aaron and I felt since Faith and Grace were in the cave area they still should have a chance to see inside this historic cave. The self guided tour really is not worth it if you have been on any of the other tours, you will find it is nothing but going into the cave and seeing just a glimpse of what is up ahead-but if you have never experienced Mammoth Cave and all the other tours are sold out, it is worth going because you do get to enter the cave in the original historic entrance.
Since we couldn’t do a Mammoth Cave Tour we decided to go over to Diamond Caverns which is about two miles from Mammoth Cave National Park. I am so glad we made this decision, it has been quite a few years since I had been over to Diamond Caverns and down in the cave, and it is beautiful!
The lodge is rustic, comfort-beauty, and the gift shop and history of Diamond Caverns can be found in the lodge area. The guide takes you down into the cave and you immediately have a breathtaking view of the caves stalagmites and stalactites. (Note: Mammoth Cave Tours does have one section where you will see stalagmites. Mammoth Cave is still a limestone cave and that is mostly what you see is limestone.) The Diamond Caverns tour guide immediately begins to educate you on the stalagmites and stalactites and how they have formed plus guides you to why we cannot touch them in order to preserve them. The tour itself is fantastic not only do you learn the history of the cave and how it was found over a 150 years ago, the tours that have been taken inside the cave over this time span but you also hear humorous tales from the cave war times and other stories that are fun and fascinating. The whole experience was a lot of fun and Faith and Grace were able to learn about the history of Kentucky Cave Systems and see first hand the natural beauty Kentucky’s caves.
Day 4: The Conundrum-Bowling Green, KY
Aaron had discovered The Conundrum and she asked Faith and Grace if they would like to do something like this place offered. When the twins found out it was a place that hosted locked room puzzle mysteries they were both game and couldn’t wait to go. This turned out to be such a fun experience for all of us. We chose ‘The Bank Robbery” mystery, which was one of the hardest puzzles and levels to solve. The girls, Aaron and I had one hour to figure out who robbed the bank and how they had accomplished the bank heist. Our host took us into the room and gave us the back story of the robbery and we were locked in and time was set on the huge timer on the wall. I don’t want to give away any of the secrets because it is extremely fun to figure out all the many codes to unlock hidden places in the room so we would get pieces to solve the puzzle. If we got stuck we were able to place up to five phone calls for a clue. The puzzles and clues were quite difficult and it took all four of us to work as a team to find them and figure them out. We managed to solve the puzzle and unlocked our door within seconds of our time being up. Faith and Grace absolutely loved this activity and both stated that this was by far their favorite out of all the others we had done in the past few days.
One of the last things Aaron, Faith, and Grace did was head over to a sunflower field close by and they took some really cute pictures.
Alas, on the fifth day of Faith and Grace’s visit it was time for the three of us to head back to Missouri, they both had to be back for school related practices. We made the trip back safely and as soon as we got to their house the twins were full of energy and couldn’t wait to share with their parents everything they had done during their visit to Kentucky. Faith and Grace had a great mini-vacation and I was thrilled they had enjoyed themselves. Both girls have already said they want to come back next summer and that’s fine with me!