Bluegrass & Coal Mines
The Kentucky Music Hall Of Fame and Museum (tel. 606/256-1000; www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com), in Renfro Valley (south of Lexington, along I-75), honors the rich history of Kentucky performers. The log-cabin-like venue showcases home-state natives from Rosemary Clooney and Ricky Skaggs to the Backstreet Boys. Hours are 10am to 6pm Tuesday through Saturday, and 9am to 5pm Sunday. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $4.50 for children.
Down-home music and variety shows are offered March through December at the nearby Renfro Valley Entertainment Center (tel. 800/765-7464; www.renfrovalley.com). Gospel, bluegrass, country, and comedy acts take the stage at the 1,500-seat New Barn Theater (open since 1990) and the weathered 500-seat Old Barn Theater, where the barn dances began in 1939. (Ticket prices vary.) The area has an RV park, restaurant, and gift shop, as well as several motels.
In the breathtaking highlands of southeastern Kentucky, along the Kingdom Come Scenic Parkway in the tiny town of Benham, lies the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, 221 Main St. (tel. 606/848-1530; www.kingdomcome.org). Antiques and exhibits pack four levels in this historic commissary, offering a somber glimpse of life in this coal-mining town around the 1940s. Kids can don lighted helmets to explore a simulated mine. Country music fans will lap up all the Loretta ("Coal Miner's Daughter") Lynn memorabilia, including a replica of Butcher Holler, the log cabin where she was raised. Hours are 10am to 5pm Monday through Saturday, and 1 to 4pm Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $2 for students and children.
In the northwestern Kentucky river town of Owensboro, the state-of-the-art International Bluegrass Music Museum, 207 E. Second St. (tel. 270/926-7891; www.bluegrass-museum.org), is a must-see for fans of the genre. Bill Monroe and other pioneers are honored through educational, interactive exhibits and artifacts. Hours are 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Friday, and 1 to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for youths, and free to children 6 and under. For more information, contact the Owensboro Tourist Commission, 215 E. Second St. (tel. 800/489-1131 or 270/926-1100; www.visitowensboro.com).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.