12 days of Kentucky Experiences 

(inspired by the classic Christmas Carol)

Enjoy the 12 days of Kentucky experiences, or design your own, plan a visit and start making a new tradition with family and friends. 

2nd grade girl standing on Giants arm
Mary Ann Seeman

First day

On the 1st day  explore one of Kentucky’s lush forests or arboretums each showing off it’s winter beauty.  If you choose Bernheim Forest and Arboretum visit one or more of the forest giants.  Wherever you go keep a close eye out you may just spot a partridge or other forms of wildlife.

multi race kids at parakeet landing at Louisville Zoo
Mary Seeman

Second day

On the 2nd day visit doves, turtles, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my) and many other animals as you spend the day at the Louisville Zoo.  Nearby visit Lights Under Louisville featuring over 6 million points of light and 900 displays.  

Farmer and frenchman dining area

Third day

On the third day we can’t guarantee three French hens, but you can enjoy a unique blend of wine tasting, local food, and peaceful setting at the Farmer & Frenchman Winery.

couple on walkable warf in John James Audubon State Park

Fourth day

On the 4th day visit John James Audubon State Park and Museum.  In winter the park plays host to seven woodpecker species, waterfowl, sparrows, and mixed flocks. Occasionally owls can be seen or heard.  Chances are good that you will hear more than 4 calling birds.

man putting bourbon barrel together at cooperage

Fifth day

On the 5th day the rings you will see are not golden but play an important role in Kentucky’s bourbon industry.  Reserve a tour at one of the cooperages to watch craftsman form the bourbon barrels which are held together by rings.

outline of Kentucky with text on sign Kentucky Fried Chicken it all started in Corbin

Sixth day

On the 6th day there is a lot of laying going on which brings up the age-old question which came first, the chicken or the egg?  In Kentucky it’s the chicken…Kentucky Fried Chicken…. visit the Sanders Café and Museum in Corbin to see where Col. Sanders began his empire and perfected the recipe. 

Two people rowing a kayak in underground cavern

Seventh day

On the 7th day a visit to the Gorge Underground in the breathtaking Red River Gorge will allow you glide atop the water like a swan a swimming.  Kayak the crystal-clear waters in this underground 100-year-old Limestone mine.  

family checking out a dairy cow at Chaney's dairy barn tour

Eighth day

On the 8th day a farm tour of Chaney’s Dairy Farm, near Bowling Green, will show you how a robotic milker has taken the place of the eight maids.  The milk and cream are then turned into homemade ice cream ice cream.  Looking for an overnight adventure Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, about an hour away near Glasgow, is now offering overnight stays on their Mattingly Farm through Airbnb.  

male and female dancers Christmas ballet scene
Louisville Ballet

Ninth day

On the 9th day reserve your tickets for a performance at one of Kentucky’s ballet companies.  Performances are scheduled throughout the year for Louisville Ballet and Lexington Ballet Company.

interior of lobby decorated for holidays at Kentucky Castle
Kentucky Castle

Tenth day

On the 10th day it’s easy to imagine lords a leaping on the grounds of the Kentucky Castle. The 100-acre estate features tours of the farm and castle, full-service dining, luxurious accommodations, and special events.  Book an experience that will become a series of memories.   Nearby visit Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park. 

large group of orchestra players standing facing camera for portrait
Louisville Orchestra

Eleventh day

On the 11th day settle in to enjoy beautiful music as played by the pipers(woodwinds) and a symphony of instruments by attending a performance of one of the orchestras in several cities scattered throughout the Commonwealth.

Horses walking during Christmas parade in Henderson, KY
Instagram: @jmremi

Twelfth day

For the 12th day where to find drummers drumming?  In a marching band of course and towns throughout the state embrace this time-honored tradition of heralding Santa’s arrival.   Can’t make it on the day of the parade still plan a visit to stroll the historic main streets and check off names on your Christmas list.