If you like to spend the day wandering through the halls of a museum, Kentucky won’t disappoint. This state is packed with museums that cover everything from history to government, nature, commercialism, geology and much more. Here are our top picks for the best museums in Kentucky!
River Discovery Center
Location: 117 S. Water St., Paducah, KY 42001
This museum is dedicated to all things water and helps to explain the importance of rivers to Kentucky, both in the past and today. Use a watercraft simulator to “drive” several types of boats through various conditions, watch a flood and water show, and view traffic on the Ohio River. You’ll also get a detailed history of the Four Rivers Region. There’s something here for all ages, but little ones will love it, especially the watercraft simulator.
Location: 2800 Bullittsburg Road, Petersburg, KY 41080
Rates: $15-$25, two-day admission available, children under 5 are free
This museum draws visitors from all over the country. Walk through the pages of the Bible brought to life at the Creation Museum. Learn about dinosaurs and natural selection as they relate to the Bible, and visit a Noah’s Ark construction site. There are always new and changing exhibits, so if you like this place, come at least twice a year.
Hidden River Cave and American Cave Museum
Location: 119 E. Main St., Horse Cave, KY 42794
Rates: $6 for museum tour only, $7-$15 for museum and historic tour
Kentucky is filled with caves, and this is your chance to learn a little bit (or a lot!) about them. Visit the museum where the exhibits will teach you how they form, why they’re important, how they’re explored and the history of some of the most popular caves in the state. For an extra charge, get a tour of the Hidden River Cave, located on the same site. The information you’ll get on the tour pairs well with what you learn in the museum, so if you have the time and money for both, go for it. The cave isn’t well lit, so bring your own flashlight to get a better look at things.
The Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum
Location: 205 N. Walker St., Marion, KY 42065
Rates: $3-$5, children under 5 are free
Mining is an important job in Kentucky. Visit the Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum to see the fruits of the miners’ labors. This museum houses the largest collection of fluorite crystal, as well as several other minerals from the area. The museum is only open a few days a week, so call ahead or check the website before you go. They offer digs once a month from April through October, something both adults and children will love!
Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History
Location: 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601
Rates: $2-$4, children under 5 are free
Learn all you ever wanted to know about the history of Kentucky. Their signature exhibit is “A Kentucky Journey,” and it takes you from the first prehistoric inhabitants to today. That exhibit has over 3,000 pieces and usually takes about an hour to complete. There are lots of special and changing exhibits, so check the website before you go to see what’s in store.
Highlands Museum and Discovery Center
Location: 1620 Winchester Ave., Ashland, KY 41101
Rates: $4-$6, children under 2 are free
There’s something for everyone at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center. This museum immerses you in the past by recreating scenes that you can interact with instead of just showing you pictures behind glass. There’s a classroom from the 1870s and an old doctor’s office, as well a karaoke stage and a special place just for toddlers to play.