This family likes cars.
Wait… Let me rephrase that…
My husband loves cars…a lot! (It shows in everything from his career to his hobbies, his favorite shows…)
I happen to enjoy cars- but I am not car savvy or technical. I tend to admire the beauty, the paint jobs/artwork….the aesthetics….but if I have to help work on an engine or an oil change.. (things your husband makes you do..) I will whine and complain.. if you talk engines with me, I will nod my head and smile on the outside while figuring out dinner on the inside… (a V8? Isn’t that a vegetable drink…?)
My kids also enjoy cars…. because we have conditioned them to do so. (They gladly help daddy with working on our vehicles..)
The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky was at the top of our Kentucky Family Fun pile.
We had started out the day on an adventure to the Lost River Cave– which is an amazingly cool experience for the family. A boat ride through an underground cave? That is something you may want to check off your bucket list! I highly recommend it.
(You can read all about our Lost River Cave visit by clicking here)
After we said goodbye to the Cave, even though it was a Sunday, we still had time for one more activity before we drove back to Louisville.
The National Car Museum won the debate by a landslide.
(When I say landslide- I mean parental executive decision…)
The museum is located just off Interstate 65 and there is no missing it. It is a rather large building with this large, colorful cone shaped dome in the back.
As much as I am not a Corvette person (sorry…. but in the case of the sports car… my heart belongs to the Ford Mustang….) I was happy to visit and look at all the vehicles.
When you walk in the building, you will notice two things. There is a cafe located on the premises (We did not eat there, but the food smelled divine) and in the lobby of the building-they have all these fantastic new Corvettes on display. What is the story behind those cars? They are all being displayed while waiting for their new owners! Each car is roped off with a sign that tells you who the car belongs to. My husband tells me this is a neat thing that Corvette does before some customers pick up their new vehicles.
(I was quite taken by this red Corvette. It was awful tempting not to take a sharpie, erase their names and write mine… I wouldn’t… but know that if life were a cartoon… I would have been driving away with it while Elmer Fudd chased me down….and Daffy Duck sat in the front seat with me throwing anvils at him…)
We paid our entry to the museum. The staff was incredibly nice and the entry fee was reasonably priced.
– Shout-out to the lady working there from Calgary! (She knew we were Canadians…eh?!)
We started the tour by entering a small room with only a few cars on display. One Corvette in-particular, had the most incredible airbrushing job. My husband and I were quite taken by the detail. It was impressive enough in the room- however I bet that vehicle was beyond stunning in the sunlight. I won’t lie. I spent extra time looking at that car and admiring the artistry. I am kicking myself for not taking a photo.
(I have always wanted to learn to airbrush a car! Just one of my many bucket list items!)
After we were finished in that room, the staff directed us to a green screen where we had our photos taken… but why? That was the mystery as they passed us the claim ticket.
(Okay- clearly there were souvenir photos eventually… but as my mind works…I could only think one thing “Great.. are they free?”)
So we headed down this narrow hallway- and into the main museum.
I came across yet another Corvette I liked. I happen to love classic cars and I thought this one was beautiful. I could picture myself driving in it, scarf on head, large sunglasses framing my face… not a care in the world…
My kids of course- found the playroom and my six year old demanded we go in there for a bit to let her play…. (really kid? We just started exploring!) We gave in and let her play in the room- where they had all kinds of activities for the kids- including car related ones. My husband even jumped in to help the kids change the tires on the large model car.
The novelty soon faded and we were able to continue our tour.
Classic Cars, Race Cars, Trophies, Memorabilia… we saw quite a bit.
I was quite interested in a display which depicted a Corvette that had ran the Nurburgring track in Germany ultimately breaking a world record! We have actually been to the Nurburgring! In 2013 we actually toured the museum and the famous German race track; Traveling around it by car and stopping at points to see the various cars being tested on the track! (It was a really cool experience, I recommend it if you are visiting Germany-even if you aren’t huge into cars or Formula One)
The National Corvette Museum doesn’t just have cars to offer. Tourism was actually boosted after a large sinkhole opened up in the middle of the skydome in 2014, swallowing several important vehicles, including the 1 Millionth Corvette that rolled off the factory floor!!
You can watch the actual security footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IukDWhf7U9I
I remembered that happening, but I didn’t make the connection until we were driving toward Bowling Green and saw a billboard:
“Sinkhole Exhibit inside the National Corvette Museum? Whaaaa??”
My husband had to remind me.
I say good on the museum for turning such a nightmare into a neat exhibit!
The Sinkhole Exhibit is not to be missed. You see footage from the many news casts, the actual surveillance video, interactive displays (We were quite taken with the one that lets you control the live camera in the cave beneath the museum) There are displays that explain what sinkholes are, how they form….etc….
There is even a small room (that you can bypass if you want) where they give you the experience of watching a sinkhole loudly open up above you. (It was just a loud projection- some kids- like mine found it a bit disturbing- hubby and I agreed that it was just ‘okay’)
Another cool feature was that they have outlined both the Cave location and the Sinkhole. I thought that was fantastic.
The kids? Not so much…
My girls were a bit nervous about walking within either zone. I had to continuously remind them how we had just watched a video that depicted exactly how they extracted the damaged vehicles and filled the sinkhole in. The museum is safer then it was before!
All the damaged vehicles are on display.. including that 100,000 car that has thankfully been restored.
Another thing to note: There is a window in the floor, that shows a ladder that goes all the way down into the cave beneath…..neat to peer down…but my kids were not thrilled and were not eager to take a look (kids.. you were JUST on a boat inside an underground cave…and were happy about it…. but whatever..) …. my daughters were excited to have finally exited that dome (Which was also full of other Corvettes and photos on display… not just the damaged vehicles)
We finally entered the last room of the Museum, featuring some cool Corvettes that remind me of my childhood. (Lots of 80’s models) Finally my six year old was quite taken with this bright purple Corvette and demanded to have her picture with it. After all… it was purple….
Remember those photos that I mentioned that were taken at the beginning of the tour? This is where they come in. After you present your ticket, the staff show you different photos where you are posed in and around various model Corvettes. A great little souvenir if you are into that sort of thing…. (We are not…) Naturally this comes at a cost. (and we are cheap sometimes…)
Like most Museums, you are spit out into their gift shop. They had a lot of nice stuff… but again… we aren’t Corvette people so we passed on that (though they had these adorable socks that were tempting to purchase!) however, if you are a Corvette enthusiast -the shop is very large and they had an amazing amount of paraphernalia for you!
On our way out, we ran into another family that had also been on the boat tour with us at the Lost Caves. We laughed and chatted for a few minutes before continuing on our different ways.
The ‘Great Minds Think Alike’ conversation that we had with the other family just reinforced the fact that when visiting Bowling Green, fitting in the time to tour both the Lost River Cave and The National Corvette Museum in the same day is an absolute must!
For more information on The National Corvette Museum please visit their website: http://www.corvettemuseum.org/
Authors Note: With my husband working in Louisville, Kentucky for the majority of the year, we are spending a lot of time in the Bluegrass State and seeing what it has to offer. I take the kids on weekends when I can (Hubby comes home every two weeks) and we are trying our best to make the best out of a stressful situation.
I have decided to share with you some of our discoveries as tourists- so that others can visit and find reasons to explore what I have come to know as an extremely beautiful piece of America.
I will admit- These blogs will not be published in order of how we have discovered them, but they will be published when ready! I am not affiliated, paid to publish or promote any of the these places, I am just a happy tourist looking for fun things to talk about!
***Please check out my Kentucky Diary Category for more entries!***
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Hope to see you there!