With its placement between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, it only stands to reason that the little area of Land Between the Lakes is named as such. It’s a self-explanatory name, to be sure; but its location doesn’t limit its potential for offering every kind of fun you can imagine—whether you’re an outdoorsy adventurer or a stargazer with your head in the clouds.
Land Between the Lake is just that—an expanse of land that’s full of diverse activities perfect for day tripping. This breathtaking 170,000 acres of forest and open lands is something to behold, with bison and elk roaming freely on the 700-acre drive-through prairie and endless networks of trails to hike and explore. “To put it into one word, Land Between the Lakes is an outdoor playground,” says Land Between the Lakes Communications Specialist Jennifer Wheatley.
There’s free-range for fun here for anyone, providing a unique perspective of nature that you can’t find just anywhere—and that’s one thing that keeps people coming. “It’s a fabulous place for outdoor recreation, environmental education, and making memories with friends and families,” says Public Affairs Specialist Janice Wilson. High on the list of attractions are the Elk and Bison Prairie, where you can drive through and watch these quiet beasts roaming free in their natural habitat. Want to take a walk back in time? Check out the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm and Living History Museum, where you can take a tour and meet interpreters in period attire who keep the two-generation farm going, doing everything that would have been done during the 1850s and using the same period-accurate practices. You may watch men and women at work as they feed the livestock, cook meals, bring in the harvest, create beautiful quilts, and craft wooden furniture.
If you’re curious about the sun, moon, stars, and planets, be sure to visit the Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory, where you can watch an amazing re-creation of the night sky displayed on their 40-foot domed theater ceiling using the digi-fied awesomeness of their Konica Minolta Mediaglobe II digital projection system. Shooting stars and constellations will have your jaw dropping in amazement, while over at the Observatory you can take a peek through the computerized, Meade 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope at all the wonders of the universe. Golden Pond also has a special telescope made for safely gazing at the sun, which means that any time is the perfect time for scoping out the sky. If you like getting up-close-and-personal with wildlife, visit the Woodlands Nature Station, where staff members can be your go-to guides for viewing the real locals. At their Backyard Exhibit Area, you can get face to face with a great horned owl or see how brave you are when coyotes and wolves are on the prowl. If you prefer taking the guided route, sign up for a sunset canoe trip, an afternoon nature hike, or a Sunday Safari. Kids will love participating in Cool Critters Day, story time programs, and up-close animal encounters, while nature-loving adults can take part in programs on wildlife, gardening, and nature photography. As a recreation area managed by the USDA Forest Service, Land Between the Lakes doesn’t actually have any of the shops, restaurants, or lodging that would typically be found within a town or community. Rather, it depends on its neighboring communities for that, but after a day full of activities at Land Between the Lakes, one could easily head off in any direction to take advantage of everything to be done in the surrounding areas, whether you tap into your GPS to take you North, South, East, or West. For a full list of the areas surrounding Land Between the Lakes, visit their website at www.landbetweenthelakes.us/visit/community Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is located at 238 Visitor Center Drive, Golden Pond, Kentucky, 42211. For full info on all of the attractions and camping facilities at Land Between the Lakes, call Land Between the Lakes National Recreation at (800) 525-7077 or visit www.landbetweenthelakes.us.