We recently took a trip down to Horse Cave, KY - originally to go to a production of "Jack and the Magic Beans". Since the play was on Sunday, we wanted to go down Saturday and see what else was in the area. Well thanks to a little research on-line, we found we were just down the road from Kentucky Down Under. http://www.kdu.com/ if you would like to check out their site. They are a bit like a zoo, but not so big. They have all kinds of birds, some reptiles, dingos, kangaroos, and wallabies. They also have a cave you are able to take a tour through.
So we decided to leave early Saturday morning. It was about 3 1/2 hours to drive down there, and since it is only open until 4pm, we wanted to get there as early as we could. We got a later start than we originally planned, but since they are an hour behind us, we still got there at a decent time - around 10:30 their time.
The first thing we came to was the reptiles. They were all in glass enclosures, but they did have "shows" at various times throughout the day. We did not get to see a show because we were too busy doing all the other fun stuff. The cave tour started at noon, so that gave us time to check out a few of the other sites before we went into the caves.
We went into the tourist trap - I mean store - and looked around for a little while with the kids. Of course they wanted a bunch of stuff from in there. But while I didn't mind them getting a souvenir, I did not want to carry it around all day. So I told them to wait until we were on our way out.
We went along the map and visited the birds. There were a bunch of them, in cages, on a pathway of sorts, in the trees. There were some very strange looking ones that gave off strange sounds. Some sounded like laughter. Some looked like and were named like frogs. Most had signs on the cages that said "Do not feed your fingers to the birds" - I guess that was their way of saying don't put your fingers in the cage because they will bite them off! There was one that was really pretty, that we were apparently allowed to pet because there wasn't a warning sign. It was a big, white, pretty bird that had yellow color under it's wings and in it's head feathers. It hung out near the cage allowing us to pet it's back feathers. It did not try even once to bite us, it seemed to enjoy the attention. At the end of the pathway we could see a HUGE cage - the kind you walk into - filled with beautiful colored birds. There were all kinds of people in there already, and some waiting to get in. The girls got really excited, but it was almost time for the cave tour, so we told them we would do it after the cave.
We walked back to the cave entrance and sat. It was a stone housing with steps that lead down to a door. We sat outside on the rocks and waited for the tour guide. When he arrived, he first took us into this small building across from the door. That was where they had a big hole down into the cave. He said years ago, when the cave was first used for tourists, they used to have the tourists climb down a rope ladder into the cave. Apparently that did not entice many to go, so they dug out another entrance - thus the stone covered door! I certainly would not have climbed down a rope ladder to see a cave! :)
Once inside, we were lead to various spots throughout the cave where we would stop and get a little history lesson, or a cave facts lesson. There were some very steep steps going up and down, as well as some holes in a few places, so I was a nervous WRECK. Imagining Conor slipping and falling into one, or just falling down the steps. Because Mr. Independent did not want to hold any hands. He has no fear! Jeff noticed that I was having a hard time enjoying any of the cave and he took over with Conor. That did help a little, but then being the control freak that I am, I still stayed close to them. And it still made me very nervous. As beautiful as it was in the cave, and as much as I have always loved exploring caves, I couldn't wait until it was over. I will not be doing that again until he is at least 6 or 7 and can listen a little.
We finally exited the cave and were off to see the birds. There are 2 doors to get into the bird cage - they cannot be opened at the same time because the birds may fly off. Once you enter the first door, you are given a small white paper cup with some sort of bird juice in it. When they handed Conor his, he immediately took a drink before I could stop him. He spit it out and said he didn't like it and handed it to me. I took his and mine and we went inside. All of those birds know what is in those little cups, and they immediately fly onto your head, shoulder, wrist, or where ever they can find a place to perch. They will knock other birds off to get to the little cup. Once Conor figured this out, he wanted his cup back. We all got to have birds flock around us and feed, until the next group came in with their cups, then they flew off for the new people. I was able to take some really good pictures of the birds with the kids. One of my favorite is of Allie and Ceara laughing because the birds are landing on them.
After the bird cage, we went to the "walk-a-bout" where you are able to go into an area and walk around with the kangaroos. There was an emu, kangaroos, and wallabies in this area. We got a guided tour through the area, with the guide telling tales about the animals. Each female had a Joey in her pouch, so we were warned not to try to touch their bellies. And to touch a Kangaroo on the head meant that you were challenging it to a fight. So we were warned not to do that, either. They had several different kinds there, the "red" ones were very soft, petting their backs was like touching a soft stuffed animal. We each got to pet them, but we had to go up one by one as not to scare them. There was only one red male and a bunch of females, and the male was very "arrogant" looking. You will see what I mean by the picture I posted below.
The gray ones felt like petting a cat. There were also some white ones, but we were unable to go near them. At the end of the tour there was a 13 month old red Joey sleeping near the fence that we were able to also pet. Conor was getting very tired by this time and was not interested in petting him.
After exiting the kangaroos, we went to the "Outback Cafe" and ate a bit of food. After sitting and re-charging a bit, we decided we should head on out. We walked back towards the entrance and gave the girls some money to go into the shop and get something. Some of the walk was up-hill and Conor was dragging. He even told me "Mommy, I am wore out!" It was cute.
The girls decided to buy and share a bag of sand to "mine" in the mining troft. They also got some fudge to share. Conor got a whistle, some magnetic rocks, a boomerang, and a cork gun. Although he is not aware of the last 2 because I got them for him and haven't shown him yet. :) I also got an extra whistle because they were only $1 and I figured his might not last long...
We then went outside where the girls "mined" their gems and Conor even got to do some mining, too! Jeff and I sat in the grass on the hill and watched for a while. They found several "gems" in their sand. After that we all left.
We went back to our "castle" (as Conor thought it was) and got checked in and everyone into the room. Conor was exhausted and laid down on his own and said he wanted to go to sleep. There was an indoor pool, so the girls wanted to go swimming for a little bit, and Jeff and I just wanted to relax for a while. Jeff ended up asleep with Conor on one bed and I watched TV from the other bed. The girls came back within about 20 minutes (I guess it wasn't as fun as they thought) and we watched a movie. So I wasn't able to get a nap in, but I survived.
The rest I may or may not write another blog about, but since this one is so long already, I will leave it at that. See below for some of the pictures I took while we were at Kentucky Down Under. I am really glad we all got to go there, it was really fun. Everyone had a good time and it was a beautiful day.