Treetops sway gently as birds flutter over their branches, breezes waft around their trunks, and humans careen between them at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Mammoth Cave Adventures' series of seven ziplines across two courses trail from tree to tree, each line standing slightly higher than the last as visitors decked out in helmets and harnesses speed across the cables, teeter over two skybridges, and perch on platforms between each lofty tier. Seasoned guides lead the 90-minute excursions as they spout environmental and historical trivia about the rolling hills and dense forest of the 60-acre course, which is located just outside of Mammoth Cave National Park.
The company also puts cables to exhilarating use with a Giant Super Swing, which plummets strapped-in visitors from the top of two towering hickory trees into a free-falling arc that swings 40 feet above the ground. Its new Drop Tower allows guests to experience the scenic view of Mammoth Cave National Park while dangling 70 death-defying feet above the ground. For slower-paced adventures, a stable of gentle equines ferries guests along serene trails and countryside vistas during hour-long horseback rides, which are designed for all equestrians regardless of their skill level or the number of sugar cubes in their pockets.
Set up along verdant forests, mountains, and valleys, Kentucky Action Park's outdoor attractions bring elements of the old-timey Wild West to the modern-day sense of adventure. The winding turns of an alpine slide send sleds on exhilarating quarter-mile trips down the mountain, and putters propel colorful orbs across 18 western-themed mini-golf holes. Chair lifts and a 24-foot rock wall tower overhead, the top of which grant scenic views typically seen only by birds and children holding many balloons. Elsewhere, horses trot out of the Jesse James Riding Stables, which has been in operation for more than 30 years. At Outlaw Cave, guided tours travel below ground to view stalactites and rock formations sculpted by the patience of water over the past millennia.
Dinosaur World lets modern-day adventurers see what the world was like when dinosaurs ruled the earth. More than 150 life-size dinosaurs peer imposingly from the hillsides, crane their necks up through native trees, and stomp through prairie fields at the theme parks that stretch out over 20-plus acres of land in Texas, Florida, and Kentucky. The fiberglass, steel, and concrete dinosaurs reach up to 80 feet in length, and are built according to the latest scientific discoveries about what dinosaurs looked like.
Visitors who want to experience what it's like to be a paleontologist can dig for fossils at the Fossil Dig and uncover a life-size stegosaurus skeleton from under the sand in the Boneyard. Before leaving, visitors can play on the dinosaur-themed playground and check out the Prehistoric Museum to see a variety of cast and real fossils. The Tampa location showcases an animatronic dinosaur exhibit where guests get to see dinosaurs come to life.
After spending millions of years out of sight, wiling away the time by boring a cave deep into the earth, the Hidden River powered the town above with hydroelectricity before pollution forced it to close off from human eyes again. 50 years later, a recovery project restored Hidden River Cave, and today its depths play host to tours of the generator's remains and the underground river still flowing more than 100 feet below the ground.
Hidden River is one of the largest privately operated caves in the Mammoth Cave area, and along with hands-on exploration, American Cave Museum & Hidden River Cave spreads knowledge and awareness with two stories of educational exhibits. There, visitors explore topics such as prehistoric explorers, the history of saltpeter mining, and how to discern stalactites from walruses stuck in the cavern's ceiling.
Kentucky Down Under provides a taste of the land of Aus with a platter of authentic Australian animals, culture, and a gift shop, plus a Kentucky cave. Upon arrival, a staff member can help you plan your adventure with stops at an aviary to gawk at Australian finches; Camp Corroboree for a 45-minute presentation on Aboriginal culture, including the soothing hum of the didgeridoo; a guided tour through the kangaroo-, wallaby-, and emu-infested Outback; and more. In addition to the Aussieness, Kentucky Down Under shows off a local treasure with the Kentucky Caverns. During the 45-minute tour of the earth-hole, explorers can witness the ever-changing formations of stalactites, stalagmites, and life-size Dennis Franz rock statues. Between animal petting and stalactite hugging, KDU-goers can grab a salad, sandwich, or bison burger at the Outback Café. The park is open year-round.
Since 1962, the motor mavens at Big O Tires have been treating tin lizzies to a slew of services, including their specialty 30-minute express oil changes. The tireless techs speedily slurp out old oil with anteater-esque precision, replacing worn out filters, and rewarding loyal dip sticks with up to 5 quarts of new crude. Following a chassis lubrication, wheel wranglers remove each tire, before moving them and their entire DVD collection to a new home in an adjacent wheel well, helping to guarantee even wear and tear. After a thorough fluid check and preventative maintenance analysis, revamped rides are happily reunited with the owners to depart together into the sunset. Upgrades are available for diesel oil (price based on vehicle and location), high-mileage oil ($10–$15 extra), and synthetic oil ($20–$30 extra).