Kentucky Tourism

Holiday Events

The Kentucky State Parks will be ready for the winter holidays this year with special meals, decorations, candlelight tours, entertainment and other special events planned.

State parks are a great place for Christmas and holiday gatherings. The resort parks have restaurants, meeting areas and gift shops that offer unique gift ideas. That includes Kentucky Unbridled Spirit gift cards, which are valid at Kentucky State Parks, the Kentucky Horse Park, the Kentucky Historical Society and the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

Many state resort parks will also hold New Year’s Eve parties and dinners Dec. 31. For more information about these and other events, call your favorite park.

Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas 
Breakfast and the Grinch, Dec. 9
Get in the Christmas spirit as you enjoy a breakfast of green eggs and ham, visit with the Grinch, make a fun craft, listen to a story, and check out Santa's House at Barren River Lake State Resort Park! Don't forget your camera! Limited seating each session; registration required. Spots are available for the 7:15-8:45 a.m. session. Tickets are $15 for ages 13 and older, $10 for ages 4-12 years old, 3 & under free. For more details call 270-646-2151.

Barren River Lake State Resort Park, Lucas
Santa’s House, Dec. 9
Visit Santa in this festive cottage decorated for the holiday season at Barren River Lake State Resort Park. During your visit, give Santa your wish list and tour the cottage. Don’t forget to bring your camera to take pictures with Santa! Free to the public. Open 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, Mount Olivet
Christmas Dinner and Movie, Dec. 22
Come out to Blue Licks and enjoy a family-friendly dinner buffet and a Christmas movie. Decorate cookies, enjoy some hot chocolate and watch a Christmas classic. Tickets are $10 a person. Dinner starts at 5 p.m., cookie decorating from 6-7 p.m. Movie starts at 7 p.m. Call 859-289-5507.

Carter Caves State Resort Park, Olive Hill
Breakfast With Santa, Dec. 16
Have breakfast with Santa on Dec. 16 at Carter Caves! Photos start at 9 a.m. and the breakfast begins at 9:30 a.m. Story time will follow breakfast. Cost is $13 for adults and $10 for children (includes drink, tax and gratuity). For reservations, call 606-286-4411.

Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park, Burkesville
Breakfast With Santa, Dec. 16
Santa and Mrs. Claus have made their way to Dale Hollow. Bring your camera and spend the morning participating in holiday-filled activities, including face painting. Special story time will feature Mrs. Claus reading “The Night Before Christmas.” A breakfast buffet featuring pancakes, chocolate gravy and all the trimmings will be available. Call 270-433-7431.

E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, Louisville
Caching For Claus, Dec. 16
Use your GPS unit to help find “gifts” that have fallen from Santa’s sleigh! Once you have found the gifts, return to the registration table to claim a gift of your own. Register at the park activities building from noon to 3 p.m. Entry fee is $4 a person. Ages 6 and under are free. If you don’t have a GPS, you can use a smart phone and GPS app. Call 502-429-7270.

Fort Boonesborough State Park, Richmond
18th Century Christmas, Dec. 8-9
Visit the fort to see and hear the differences in the holiday celebrations of the season during the early settlement of Kentucky. The fort will be lighted by candlelight, with decorations in keeping with the traditions of the time. There will be living history interpretations of the traditions of various ethnic groups and nationalities during the season. Candle lanterns, bonfires, the Christmas guns, food and refreshments, music and dance, will all add to the atmosphere. Refreshments are included! This is a special program sponsored by the Fort Boonesborough Foundation. Admission is $7 for adults,  $5 for children ages 6-12 and under 6 are free. Open 6-9 p.m. on Dec. 8 and 1-4 p.m. on Dec. 9. Visit: for more information.

General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton
Frozen Wonderland and Festival of Trees, Dec. 2
Spend your morning at General Butler State Resort Park on Dec. 2! Your favorite Frozen & Holiday characters Elsa, Anna, Krisoff, Olaf, Grinch, Buddy Elf, Cat in the Hat, Ralphie, and of course, Santa Claus, will all be available for photos during breakfast. Breakfast buffet hours are 8-10:30 a.m. inside Butler Lodge Two Rivers Restaurant (regular pricing applies +tax). After breakfast, make your way to the Lodge Mezzanine from 9 a.m.-Noon and take-in the holiday season with Festival of Trees. The trees and wreaths are decorated by local businesses, civic organizations, schools and churches. Entertainers will ring in the season with Hands-on-Pottery, Balloon Twisting, Face Painting, and Caricature Artist.  The event is free to park guests with purchase of breakfast buffet. Call 502-732-4384.

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg
Breakfast With Santa and Frosty, Dec. 9-10, 16-17
Visit Santa at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park as he stops by to have breakfast with all the boys and girls in the May Lodge. Frosty, Rudolph, and Mrs. Claus will also be joining us in the fun! Bring your cameras so you can have your picture made with Santa and his friends! Serving time is 8-10 a.m. Adult price is $9, kids ages 6-12 are $6, and kids 5 and under are free! (beverage & tax not included) Call 606-889-1790.

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg
Appalachian Handmade Craft Fair, Dec. 9
Make plans to visit Jenny Wiley State Resort Park for its first Appalachian Handmade Craft Fair! Start your holiday shopping by purchasing hand crafted wares from local artisans. The fair will include unique gifts, handmade quilts, wood crafts, stained glass,  Kentucky Proud vendors and more. Admission for adults is $1. Children 12 & under are free. Call 606-889-1790.

John James Audubon State Park, Henderson
Holiday Open House, Nov. 25
Plan to do your shopping at John James Audubon State Park Museum "Holiday Open House" on Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You will find unique gifts made by Kentucky crafters, hand-painted ornaments, selections of books, pottery, jewelry, nature-inspired gifts, children's games and toys, stocking stuffers, bourbon candy and cakes, and more. Enjoy free gift wrapping and museum tours, cider, hot chocolate, and holiday treats. Santa's elves will be available for pictures. Call 270-827-1893.

John James Audubon State Park, Henderson
Little Rembrandts-Reindeer on Canvas Dec. 1
Personalize your reindeer on canvas using your child’s hand and footprints. A memory to cherish for years. Children ages 3-8, along with a parent or adult, are invited to attend. Fee of $8 includes the canvas and all materials. Advance registration is required. All materials are included. Limited space in both classes, (10:30-11:45 a.m. and 4-5:15 p.m.) Contact: Kim McGrew at the Audubon Museum 270-827-1893 or [email protected]

John James Audubon State Park, Henderson
Holiday Ornaments, Dec. 9
Sign up today for the annual “Holiday Ornaments” at the Audubon Museum. Design your ornament just in time for your tree. For ages 3-12; students ages 3-8 must be accompanied by a parent or adult. Advance registration is required. Cost is $7. All Materials included.  From 10:30-11:45 a.m. Contact: Kim McGrew at the Audubon Museum (270) 827-1893 or [email protected]v

Kenlake State Resort Park, Aurora
Breakfast With Santa, Dec. 9
Santa will be making a stop at Kenlake State Resort Park on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 8-11 a.m. This year, Santa will be stopping in for breakfast in the Aurora Landing Restaurant. Get a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus! The breakfast buffet will be open 8-11 a.m. Adults are $9.99, children ages 6-12 are $6.99 and 5 and under are free.  Donations for a food drive will also be accepted. Call 270-474-2211.

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Calvert City
Breakfast With Santa, Dec. 2
Gather up the kids and join us for a festive morning with Santa and his friends in the Kentucky Dam Village Conference Center. What better way to spend a winter morning than visiting with Santa, enjoying a yummy (and child-friendly) breakfast buffet, decorating your own cookie to take home? Bring a camera to take these priceless photos! You'll even go home with your own gift from Santa (while supplies last). $9 per adult; $6 per child ages 6-12; children 5 and under eat free. Call 270-362-9205.

Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Calvert City
Make Christmas Memories Dinner, Dec. 2, 9, 16
Let Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park help you avoid the trouble of trying to do a special Christmas meal for your family.  Visit Kentucky Dam Village on a Saturday evening at Harbor Lights Restaurant for a delicious meal.  Included will be carved prime rib, catfish, fried chicken, peel and eat shrimp plus much more!  Only $25.99 per person for adults, $9.50 for children ages 6-12 and free for those 5 and under.  Serving Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 2, 9, and 16.  For more information, call 270-362-4271.

Kingdom Come State Park, Cumberland
Run Santa Run 5K Reindeer Trot, Dec. 16
Sign up for this fun 5K run or walk at Kingdom Come State Park! The race starts at noon. Registration from 11-11:45 a.m. at the park gift shop on race day. (Entry fee is $20) You can also register in advance for $15 by visiting  Special awards for top finishers. Discount of $5 if you wear your Santa suit. Creative costumes are encouraged! Call 606-589-4138.

Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Cadiz
Dinner With Santa, Dec. 1
Enjoy a meal with Santa at Lake Barkley State Resort Park from 5-7 p.m. on Dec. 1. Fried chicken, ham, lasagna, vegetables and dessert. Get your child’s photo with Santa, too! The adult price is $8.50 and children are $5.50. Call 270-924-1131.

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, Jamestown
WinterFest, Dec. 8-9
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park invites you to get into the holiday spirit with us at our 2017 WinterFest! Festivities include a good old-fashioned holiday party (Friday evening), miniature golf, a holiday movie double feature, dinner with Santa and more! Special lodging rates (two-night minimum required) for lodge rooms start at $49.95 + tax per night. Cottage offer starts at $69.95 + tax per night. For more information call: 270.343.3111

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, Jamestown
Reindeer Run, Dec. 9
Sign up for Lake Cumberland State Resort Park's Reindeer Run 5k! The race is at 8 a.m. The entry fee is $20 if you register by Dec. 1. It’s $25 for race day registration that starts at 7 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to overall male and female & top three male and female finishers in each age division. Shirts will be guaranteed for all registered participants by Dec. 1, extra shirts will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, call 270.343.3111.

My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown
A Christmas Carol, Dec. 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17
My Old Kentucky Home State Park and its musical cast will perform the Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” on six evenings in December. Federal Hill will be decorated for Christmas and guests will meet Charles Dickens, who will set the stage for the holiday classic. Visitors will move from room to room and encounter the world of Ebenezer Scrooge, the ghost of Marley and the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. “A Christmas Carol” will be presented 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for children ages 2-12. Call 502-348-3502 or visit

My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown
The Gifts of Attention, Dec. 8 and 15
My Old Kentucky Home State Park and Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest will host Wren Smith and “The Gifts of Attention.” Smith, the interpretive programs manager at Bernheim and an artist, creates miniature figures from natural products. She will tell stories about these figures between 6-9 p.m. in the Magnolia Room across from the visitor center. This event is free.

My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown
Merry and Bright Tours Nov. 12-Jan. 6
My Old Kentucky Home State Park is hosting daily “Merry and Bright” tours for the holidays. (Closed Thanksgiving and Dec. 24-29). The mansion will be decorated with beautiful 12′ tall Christmas trees, each with a unique Kentucky theme in every room, including the Commonwealth Tree, Meadows in the Bloom, Birds Make Music All the Day, & more! Garlands, mistletoe, stockings full of toys, the annual gingerbread model of the historic mansion made by our pastry chef, and nutcrackers stand guard over the mansion’s many rooms! Call 502-348-3502.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Slade
Breakfast With Santa, Dec. 9
The Hemlock Lodge and Sandstone Arches Restaurant will be decorated for the holiday season!  Bring out your children and enjoy a holiday-themed breakfast at the Sandstone Arches Restaurant. Children will have the opportunity to sit with Santa and parents will be able to take pictures, so don’t forget your camera!  Call 606-663-2214.

Old Fort Harrod State Park, Harrodsburg
Holiday Open House, Nov. 18
Old Fort Harrod State Park’s annual Holiday Open House will be Nov. 18 from 6-8 p.m.  Everyone is invited to tour the fort decorated with candle lanterns.  Bring children and grandchildren to visit Santa next to the fire place in the corner blockhouse.  Shop at the unique gift shop where everything is 10 percent off or just sit around the fire and visit with our Friends of Fort Harrod. This event is free, including cider and cookies. Call 859-734-3314.

Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs
Santa Visit and Gift Shop Open House, Dec. 2
When Santa visits Pennyrile Forest he spreads holiday cheer everywhere! Come enjoy the festivities.  Free pictures with Santa in the lodge lobby!  Items in our park gift shop will be discounted all day long for the Gift Shop Open House. Santa visit is 5-7 p.m. The park’s golf shop is also having a special holiday sale Dec. 13-24. Call 270-797-3421.

Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs
Christmas Eve Buffet, Dec. 24
Pennyrile Forest State Resort park will host a Christmas Eve lunch buffet 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Turkey and dressing will be on the menu along with other classic holiday fare. Adult price is $14.50, children ages 6-12 are $7.50 and children 5 and under are free. Call 270-797-3421.

Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough
Supper With Santa, Dec. 2
Kick off your Holiday Season with a trip to see Santa at Rough River Dam State Resort Park.  While you are there, treat your family to a kid-friendly buffet at the restaurant.  The Jolly Fellow should arrive around 5:30 p.m.  There will be activities and crafts for the kids. Call 800-325-1713.

Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington
A Christmas Carol, Dec. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16
Relive Christmas of the past with scenes from the Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol” at Waveland State Historic Site. Since this Christmas classic was written in 1843, it only seems fitting to celebrate Christmas of the past in a historic home that was built in the same period. Follow from room–to-room as the drama plays out in front of you. Santa will be in the barn for each Saturday and Sunday performance an hour before the first scheduled performance. He will be providing photo opportunities for our youngest  guests. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children. Tours at 6 and 8 p.m. each date; also at 4 p.m. on Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16. Reservations are required. Call 859-272-3611 for reservations. 

Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington
Christmas Tea Tuesday, Nov. 14, 28, Dec. 5, 12 
Are you looking for something fun, unique and different to do with a friend or a group for Christmas? Christmas Tea Tuesday at Waveland starts at 2 p.m. in the mansion on fine china. All teas include a program, savory food, and the delicious tea served by period- dressed interpreters. Once you are finished with the tea, enjoy a tour of the Waveland Mansion. Reservations are required. Tickets are $30 a person. Credit card is needed to secure your reservation.  Any changes will need to be made by the Friday before your scheduled event. Gluten free options available.  Must be requested at time of registration. Call 859-272-3611.

Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington
Evening Christmas Tea Tuesday, Nov. 21, Dec. 19
Evening Christmas tea is served at 6:30 p.m. with the same delicious tea and food offered at our low tea.  Both are served by period dressed interpreters on fine china. Once you are finished with the tea, enjoy a tour of the Waveland Mansion. A unique one-of-a-kind Christmas experience! Reservations are required. Tickets are $30 per person.  A credit card is needed to secure your reservation.  Any changes will need to be made by the Friday before your scheduled event. Gluten free options available. Must be requested at time of registration.  Call 859-272-3611 or 859-619-8189.  Seats are limited!

White Hall State Historic Site, Richmond
A Victorian Christmas, Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16
The holidays are off to a festive start with “A Victorian Christmas” at White Hall.  Costumed interpreters are on hand as you stroll through the holiday bedecked mansion and learn about Christmas customs of the Victorian era that people still celebrate today. The perfect photo opportunity awaits your group on the 3rd floor.  Bring your camera to take a picture for your Christmas card!  Cookies and hot apple cider complete this wonderful family event. Tickets are $10 per person; children aged 5 and under are free.  Child and group rates are available, call the park at 859-623-9178 for more information.  

White Hall State Historic Site, Richmond
Christmas Teas, Dec. 5, 12
Step back in time as you experience a special Christmas tea and tour inside the historic mansion.  Enjoy delectable refreshments with friends while learning about Victorian Christmas customs in the decorated house.  In addition to our regular Second Tuesday Tea offerings, guests will receive something a little extra. Tickets are $40 per person. Reservations are required and must be made no later than the Friday before the tea.  No cancellations or add-ons after this date. Call the park at 859-623-9178.