Just across the bay from the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, Kentucky Dam Village is a modern campground comprised of 210 campsites, each equipped with water and electricity hookups. There's a cluster of service buildings at the center of the campground that offer modern amenities, too, including showers, restrooms, three dump stations, and a grocery store.
The 17,000-acre recreation area near the campground is a popular spot for bird watching as well as canoeing and bass fishing at its two lakes, Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. More than 200 miles of hiking trails crisscross the peninsula, ranging from short walks to lengthier routes. You can hike shorter portions of the 58-mile North-South Trail, which spans the entire length of the Land Between the Lakes. While hiking, you may catch a glimpse of wildlife including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, foxes, and coyotes.
As the summer sun dips lazily into the horizon, the air fills with an orchestra of buzzing go-karts and humming ziplines punctuated by floods of laughter. The revelry lasts into the night only to start anew the next morning, a cycle that will continue until Labor Day’s arrival sends Kentucky Shores Family Fun Center’s attractions into hibernation. Guests of all ages romp around the park’s verdant grounds, orchestrating aquatic collisions in the bumper boats or hopping aboard a horse-drawn carriage for a trip back in time without the hassle of having to arm-wrestle your past self. The 36-hole mini golf course adds a touch of the majestic to putting outings thanks to its two waterfalls and stainless steel sculptures forged by renowned artist George Bandarra. Indoors, an arcade beckons guests to video games and rounds of skeeball, and a snack bar staves off hunger pangs with frozen treats and gooey pizzas.
The International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame entertains and informs music buffs with one of the genre's only existing video libraries, along with 16 life-size oil paintings and scores of rock relics. Tour guide Henry Harrison schools guests on rockabilly music's greatest entertainers, revealing quirky facts and long-division problems that lend insight into the lives of luminaries such as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and others. Listen as pompadoured performers tell tales of making music history through the hall of fame's video library, or view vibrant portraits of legends such as Sam Phillips and Shelby Singleton, the only owners of historic Sun Records. Peruse obscure artifacts from concerts and stage costumes, or model next year's yard display after the museum's Christmas-themed replica of Graceland. In addition to its interior exhibits, the Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame boasts vibrant exterior murals depicting Perkins and his original band, Sir Paul McCartney, and unruly mobs of teenagers trying to request the stars' e-mail addresses.
Dedicated to the legendary train engineer, Casey Jones Village features shops, attractions, and a museum rife with artifacts and anecdotes about Jackson's railroad history. Three authentic railcars are displayed prominently as mainstays from a different era, and children are encouraged to climb up on the engine and ring the train bell. A short film detailing the life of Casey Jones plays in the museum's theater, and a children's area entreats kids with wooden train sets so they can imagine they're piloting the first locomotive to shoot missiles at Saturn. After viewing the museum's offerings, guests can engage in other village attractions, such as mini golf, woodcarving demonstrations, and traditional treats at the antique-laden Brooke Shaw's Old Country Store. Before leaving, visitors can nosh on old-fashioned milk shakes and ice-cream sodas at the 1890s-inspired Ice Cream Parlor and Fudge Shoppe, voted one of the best 50 ice-cream parlors in the country by USA Today.
At Pink Galleon Billiards and Games, dozens of hot-pink pool tables make up just part of a colorful and enticing backdrop. Beach-themed decor abounds, and life-size airbrushed murals of pirates, mermaids, and nautical displays sprawl out across the walls. Since the first cue ball was hit in 1993, Pink Galleon Billiards and Games has expanded to three locations spread throughout the Saint Louis area. In addition to pool, Pink Galleon blitzes boredom with ping-pong, foosball, unlimited thumb wars, and arcade games. The family-owned business also boasts a menu of finger-friendly eats, ice-cold beers, and mixed drinks, all of which helped its South County location earn the title of Best Neighborhood Bar in South County from the Riverfront Times.
Encompassing 983 acres in the Shawnee National Forest, Camp Ondessonk has championed kids’ fun, teamwork, and confidence-building since 1959. An emphasis on the outdoors, including open-air cabins and lake- and creek-swimming, encourages campers to trade concrete mindsets for more sylvan psyches. The one-week coed session, which runs from July 31 to August 6, packs a range of arcadian activities into youthful schedules, including two horseback rides, archery and riflery practice, canoeing, and an overnight campout under smogless, star-flecked skies (with gender-specific sleeping arrangements). Tenderfeet seeking to bolster their survival skills learn knots and lashings, how to build one-match fires, and the proper method for skinning and roasting wild marshmallows.