Things to do in Bowling Green, Kentucky (with kids!): A Weekend Itinerary

Bowling Green, Kentucky is best known for a few things: Caves, a charming downtown, Corvettes, and its resident white squirrels! It’s also a great destination for families, with many unique things to do.

In the heart of the state, Bowling Green offers plenty of outdoor adventures (or relaxing activities) for adult travelers, as well as young families. 

After a visit here as a weekend trip, here is my itinerary of the best things to do in Bowling Green (KY) with kids, ensuring you make the most of your time in this southern town!

Bowling Green Kentucky things to do with kids can include visiting Lost River Cave and its murals

I’d like to thank Visit Bowling Green, Kentucky, for sponsoring this article. As always, all opinions are my own. Some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through these, I may earn a commission.

Bowling Green General Info:

Home to the memorable Lost River Cave, Corvette Museum, and Western Kentucky University, the city also has a charming downtown, and plenty of scenic parks.
We were impressed with the amount of local restaurants (that aren’t chains!), boutique shops, and stand-out attractions.
The third-most populated city in Kentucky (after Louisville and Lexington), Bowling Green is also close by Mammoth Cave National Park. It’s a 3.5 hour drive from the Cincinnati area, 2 hours from Louisville, and only 1 hour from Nashville.

See the full Bowling Green city event calendar !

Bowling Green Kentucky sign

Our Itinerary:

Day 1- Arrival, Dinner, Hotel

Once you check in to your hotel (we stayed at the Towne Place Suites -the perfect location!), it’s time to choose where to go for dinner. We opted for tapas and Latin-inspired fare at Toro. Their patatas bravas, tostadas, and street corn fritters were delicious!
♦Great American Donut Shop “GADS”: For dessert, we went to this locally-owned, family run donut spot🍩(especially popular with college students, as it’s open 24/7!). Surprisingly affordable, these donuts are top tier. We ended up liking them so much we came back the next two days as well!

Day 2- Caves, Corvettes, & Planes

Today was jam-packed, but that’s what we love! There is so much to do, and we like to squeeze in as much as we can. Here was our lineup:
Providence Coffee House & Marketplace: Start your day with pastries, smoothies, and coffee. ☕ They have books and games for kids in their main lounging area too.
My favorite part is that they sell items from 25 different local small businesses. They had farm fresh eggs, pottery, crafts, and more!

Lost River Cave: We headed here for their “cave boat tour”, and this was my favorite activity of the trip! Order your tickets in advance, and pick them up at the gift shop.
To get to the cave, you walk down a hill from the parking lot and are met with a view of it cut into the cliffside.
Once in the cave (children get mandatory life jackets), you step aboard a flat bottom boat. You have a guide who will fill you in on the history, while taking you around its waters. 🦇
Tales of the cave have a blend of folklore and reality, and it has witnessed various roles over the years. It was once a hunting ground for native tribes, later a campsite for soldiers of the Civil War, a sanctuary for outlaw Jesse James, and an underground hotspot during the 1930s.
lost river cave. things to do in bowling green kentucky with kids.
When we visited, they had dyed the river green for St. Patrick’s Day- but the water is typically still a bright color. During the boat tour, we went further back into the cave than I anticipated! Parts of the water are illuminated, and they shine flashlights allowing you to see the rock formations.
I was “baby wearing” my 6 month old, and even though there is a portion of the cave where you have to sit on the boat floor (due to low hanging rock), it was totally fine.
After the tour, there are a few more things to do (especially for kids):
  • Browse the gift shop 🛍️
  • Try a gem mining activity 💎
  • Take fun photos with the outdoor murals 🖼️
  • Play on the playground 🛝
  • Hike the trails 🥾

Lost River Pizza Co.: Just down the road, this is the perfect location for lunch after the cave. This mom-and-pop pizza joint serves award-winning artisan pizzas and craft beers. 🍕 They also have plenty of screens (so you can keep up with big sports games!).lost river pizza. bowling green kentucky

Aviation Heritage Park: After lunch, we came here so our toddler could admire the “big airplanes”. ✈️
The aviation history of Bowling Green involves significant contributions from its residents. Their connectionsare honored at this free park dedicated to their achievements.
You can peruse the indoor museum, and spend time outside getting up close to the giant war planes. This is fun for kids, but actually super interesting for the adults as well!
aviation heritage museum. things to do in bowling green kentucky. family friendly.

Fountain Square Park: Downtown Bowling Green is definitely picturesque, and this square (from the 19th century) is lined with renovated historic buildings. The square has many unique stores and food options, including:
fountain square park. bowling green kentucky.

National Corvette Museum: Easily a highlight for my husband and 3 year old, this is a “must see” for any car lover!
The museum allows you to explore the story of American sports cars. It is very kid friendly, and the employees even gave my son a little Corvette Hot Wheel toy! 🚗
It has a range of engaging experiences, including interactive kiosks, the Corvette Hall of Fame, and the immersive Driven by Design exhibit. They also have an area dedicated to the sinkhole incident (The “Corvette Cave In“) of 2014!

Montana Grille: We ended the night with dinner at this rustic spot.
This restaurant has a hand-hewn log interior, stone wood-burning fireplaces, and Western-style decor. It is best known for its hearty filet entrees and “fire bread”, served hot in a cast iron skillet. 🥩

Day 3- Coffee, Trains, & Brews

For our final day of family vacation, here is our lineup:
Spencer’s Coffee: This place was recommended to me by a few local friends, and it didn’t disappoint! With world-class coffee and espresso, it serves up handmade breakfast and lunch fare, as well as tasty pastries. 🍵

Historic Rail Park & Train Museum:  I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t overly hyped at the concept of going to a train museum, but I figured- hey, I’m doing this for my son. However, this ended up being one of my favorite stops! 😊
You enter into a gift shop (with a model train display and a train table play area for kids), and then are able to see the exhibits and displays on the first and second floor. The highlight for us though was the included guided tour of real (former) working railcars.historic rail park and train museum in bowling green kentucky. picture of an old train that you can tour there.
The tours run every hour, and you follow your guide outside to the train tracks and climb aboard. You start at the front of the train, and work your way back through several cars. 🚂
It is so fascinating to see how old time train mail delivery worked! Also how and where kitchen staff prepared meals, and how the passengers slept.

I have traveled by train a lot during my travels in Europe, but this is the first time I’d seen sleeper cars or chairs that convert into beds, etc. It definitely makes me nostalgic for a bygone era.
Playing at the Rail Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Things to do with kids and families.
Playing in the Rail Museum

White Squirrel Brewery: The final stop of the trip was to this family-friendly local brewery. Offering up craft beer and fine cocktails, this was a nice way to toast to a successful family vacation! 🍺

More Bowling Green Attractions (family/kid friendly): 

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