Shelby County is known as the "The American Saddlebred Capital of the World," since many of the nation's saddlebred breeding and training facilities are there. This breed of horse was first developed by 18th-century plantation owners in Kentucky for its capabilities and stamina. With a population of some 14,000, the picturesque city of Shelbyville is considered "the Gateway to the Bluegrass." It is only a small city, but it and surrounding cities have some interesting recreational activities for children.
Horse Farm Tours
Shelbyville Visitors Center can arrange a tour of some of the 80 horse farms in the county. Kids can experience first-hand the work that it takes to train and breed America's finest show horses, which have been a part of Kentucky history for two centuries. Tours are available by appointment only and are available Mondays through Saturdays. Bookings can be made with one day's notice through the visitors center.
Kids can learn about local history at the Shelby County Historical Society History Museum on Main Street. Its exhibit "Shelbyville Then and Now" features fascinating photographs from the past and present. Another exhibit features information on Native Indian history in the area, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Shawnee tribes.
An hour's drive south of Shelbyville is Hodgenville, birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and home of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park. The park celebrates Lincoln’s life in Kentucky. According to the National Park's website, Lincoln's Birthplace Unit at Sinking Spring Farm features a symbolic birth cabin enshrined within a Memorial Building; Lincoln's Boyhood Home Unit at Knob Creek Farm was his home during his formative years.
Louisville is a 40-minute drive west of Shelbyville. There are plenty of activities to keep kids occupied in Louisville, including its zoo, which features more than 1,700 animals in natural and mixed animal settings. Guided tours and historical enactments are on offer at the Farmington Historic Plantation, which was a 19th-century hemp plantation. Baseball fans will enjoy a trip to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.
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