I really don’t know how we did much before Groupons. We bought one several months ago for Kentucky Down Under. It’s sort of two rather unrelated things put together. It’s got a very nice cave tour and then many Australian exhibits and tours, with animals to pet, feed and milk. I took the kids to check it out today and we all had a fun time. It’s almost exactly 2 hours north on I-65 from Nashville. For those of you in the area, it’s the same exit as Mammoth Cave–just past Bowling Green. We pulled in to the small parking lot around 10:30 and hopped out.
The first building is a small gift shop with a very nice lady to explain the map and tell you about the exhibits. She signed us right up for the 11:00 cave tour and showed us how to get to the cave. It was a short walk up a nice, paved path through the woods to a couple of buildings. There was a larger gift shop with free fudge samples, bathrooms and a water fountain. As we walked up, we saw several areas with picnic tables that would be nice to use for a picnic lunch. We got our free fudge samples, took a potty break then waited for just a few minutes for the cave tour. There was a small water “tower” built with water flowing down a wooden trough. You could buy a bag of rocks to wash in provided mesh baskets and pick out small gem stones. There were posters and samples of the rocks in the gift store for identification. We didn’t do this, but watched another family do it and they seemed to enjoy it. There was a school group there, but Kentucky Down Under schedules their cave tours separately from the non school groups, so we didn’t get swept up with them.
The cave tour was very interesting. None of my kids had ever been in a cave and they were all very interested to learn about them and look at all the different kinds of formations. The guide was very knowledgeable and told us about the history and how they work to preserve the cave. After experiencing this cave I’d love to take a trip to Mammoth Cave too!
We took a quick lunch break then spent some time looking at the dingoes and some very interesting birds. We even got the kookaburra to laugh:) The kids all thought that was very funny.
One very interesting part was learning about the emus and kangaroos and getting to pet them. Kangaroos are very soft. This one was SO laid back. We all got to pet him while he napped in the sun. There were lots of kangaroos, including a mom with a 6 month old joey. Cute!
Sheep are not native to Australia, but there are lots of them, so we got to watch a border collie herd some sheep, then meet several different breeds. The employee showed us how to “set” a sheep to shear. Amazingly, the sheep fell asleep almost instantly–really. I mean, 5 seconds. It was crazy. I wish I could get my kids to sleep that fast:)
After the sheep, she brought in a cow (if you live on a sheep farm in Australia, it may be 6 hours to the closest store, so you keep your own milk and bacon on the premises in the form of cows and pigs. Fortunately there was NOT a bacon making demonstration.:) The kids got to milk the cow and thought that was quite fun as well.
The last thing we did was feed the parakeets. We missed feeding the lorikeets, but since we have a very large, very nice lorikeet exhibit at the Nashville Zoo, I didn’t mind too much. The parakeets are smaller with smaller claws. For some reason they LOVED feeding the birds. Just getting to see them so close was fun for them.