History, Culture & the Outdoors

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Glenwood Hot Springs
Rating: 8.5ratingStar
City: Glenwood Springs
NatureHot Springs
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Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area
The park has lakes on both sides. There are decent views in places too. 8.00 Kentucky ratingStar
Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area guyonthego

The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area is 170,000 acres and was established in 1963. Primary visitor facilities are Homeplace - a 19th century farm and related museum, the Woodlands Nature Station - a small zoo and live animal shows, the elk and bison prairie - a 700 acre driveable wildlife enclosure, and the Golden Pond Visitor Center and Planetarium - a historical museum, planetarium shows, and seasonal star gazing. Recreational activities include hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding, boating and fishing.

Dams were built on rivers here in the 1940s and 1960s creating Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkely, respectively. Although the region was sparsely settled, the dam flooding and park's creation forced people off their land and generated some discord. Park attractions were added thereafter, but the land also had a few historical sites such as 19 century iron furnaces.

Attractions from most to least interesting were: Homeplace, the elk and bison prairie, Woodlands Nature Station and the Golden Pond Visitor Center and Planetarium. Homeplace offered a good perspective of a traditional farm including both farm animals as well as volunteers dressed in period attire. The elk and bison enclosure had a small fee but turned out to be great as bison walked all around the car. The elk were MIA but are most active in the morning or late afternoon. Animals at the nature station were somewhat hard to see or were not as interesting to view, such as deer and coyotes, but the live raptor show was not bad. The Golden Pond historical museum was small but informative. However, the planetarium laser program with Led Zeppelin music was dizzying and dull. Had there been more time, short lake hikes near Woodlands Nature Station looked interesting. Civil War fans will want to check out the mostly flooded Civil War Fort Henry at Piney Campground. Overall, the park was enjoyable and will have wide appeal for a range of activities, especially in summer. Given the park's size and diverse options, plan for a day visit or even longer for camping or for extended hikes.

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July 2016
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