Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Boone County, KY

  • Published 2022/10/27

Boone County was once part of Campbell County, named after Daniel Boone, a notable Kentucky pioneer and explorer.

It has an approximate population of 139,400, with a growth rate of 1.25% in the past year based on the United States’ latest census data.

Located in the northernmost part of Kentucky, the Ohio River borders the county on the north and west, playing a significant role in Boone County’s early development.

Likewise, it has an essential prehistoric heritage, where prehistoric glacial activity brought a considerable amount of gravel and limestone deposits to the Ohio River.

The glacial outwash formed natural wonders, including Split Rock and Boone Cliffs.

Plan your visit wisely so you can make the most of the best things to do in Boone County, Kentucky.

Remember Sunday School at the Creation Museum

Noah's Ark display in the Creation Museum

ChicagoPhotographer /

Brace yourself and prepare to believe when you enter the Creation Museum located on Bullittsburg Church Rd, Petersburg.

This family-friendly museum discovers creation science featuring stunning exhibits, botanical gardens, a zoo, fossils, a planetarium, dinosaur bones, and many more.

See a lifelike Garden of Eden next to Adam and Eve and the serpent coiled in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Kids and adults will enjoy exploring different species of dinosaur sculptures, including fossils.

Construction of Noah's Ark diorama in the Creation Museum

ChicagoPhotographer /

Creation Museum also features different gardens with diverse plants and flower varieties that feed bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds with their sweet nectar.

There’s a koi pond garden teeming with different colors and species of koi fish that brings relaxation as you feel the peacefulness of God’s creation surrounding you.

Don’t forget to discover the unique animals at the zoo, from creepy crawlies to the creatures of the night.

Children aged and below can enter for free; every minute you spend with the family at the Creation Museum is worth it.

Exhibit in the Creation Museum

ChicagoPhotographer /

Explore the Boone Cliffs State Nature Preserve

Boone County Cliffs State Nature Preserve features abundant flora, fauna, and exceptional geological features.

The trail has a chalky mesophytic forest comprising basswood, white ash, sugar maple, slippery elm, white oak, and beech.

Located on Middle Creek Road, Burlington, the Boone County Cliffs State Nature Preserve got its name from the projecting 20- to 40-foot conglomerate cliffs made of gravel deposited as glacial outwash.

Apart from a profusion of ferns, shrubs, and wildflowers, the preserve also serves as a refuge for the rare salamander and a variety of resident and migrating birds, such as wood thrush, American robin, woodpeckers, and wood warblers, among others.

As you follow the unpaved trails, rated as moderate to difficult, don’t forget to bring your camera or binoculars because you don’t want to miss the diverse living species you’ll find on your way.

Trails are only open for foot traffic, meaning no bikes or motorcycles.

At the same time, you shouldn’t reroute or make a shortcut in the existing trail system.

Spend the Day at Boone County Middle Creek Park

Boon County Middle Creek Park lies in the wooded hills of western Boone County, located on Burlington Pike.

The 230-acre unspoiled forest park opened in 1993, teeming with wildflowers, diverse wildlife, and unpaved moderate to challenging trails suitable for hiking and horseback riding.

The 8.49 miles of hiking will surely make you tired and hungry, and going for a snack or lunch is perfect for the picnic tables you’ll find in the park.

Bring your set of binoculars so you won’t miss the magnificent migrating birds, especially the 13 species of warblers that breed along the creek.

Other bird species worth watching include worm-eating warblers, broad-winged hawks, ovenbird, hooded and Kentucky warblers, cerulean, and Louisiana waterthrush.

You’ll find birding in Boone County Middle Creek Park remarkable, especially when you spot northern parulas, yellow-throated warblers, yellow-breasted chats, and prairie warblers.

Meet the Adorable Mayor of Rabbit Hash Historical District

Antique barn at Rabbit Hash Historical District

Michelle Weigold, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Having a dog mayor is out of this world, but it’s true.

Meet the adorable and cuddly pit bull mayor of the Rabbit Hash Historic District, called Brynneth Pawltro, or Brynn for short.

You can play fetch with the mayor but don’t feed it with people food.

Located on Lower River Rd, Union, the district is a famous hangout spot during summer afternoons, where you can grab a beer from the general store and watch ferries passing by the river.

The Rabbit Hash General Store is a working general store that started in 1831 and became the center of the historic Rabbit Hash.

These bizarre small Northern Kentucky river-town fortunes rose and fell with the Ohio River’s waters.

The Rabbit Hash Historic District got its name during the 1847 flood, driving rabbits to higher ground and becoming a favorite staple called “hash.”

Challenge the Screaming Raptor Zip Lines

Do you have the guts to brave the ride of your life?

You might want to try the Screaming Raptor Zip Line and scream from the top of your lungs.

Located on Bullittsburg Church Rd, Petersburg, it features more than two and a half miles of zip lines and sky bridges.

So far, this is the largest and best zip line course you’ll ever find in the Midwest.

Soar above the three-acre lake with the Ptero-Soar option, or you can try a more challenging course comprising two and a half to three hours of airtime with the Adventure Tour Plus.

If you can’t get enough of the zip line, you can try the 800-foot line and 1,800-foot dual racing lines, the longest zip lines in the city.

Bring your family along and have the most incredible adventure of your life.

Choose Your Adventure at England Idlewild Park

Incorporated in 2000, the England–Idlewild Park covers 290 acres of land with three fishing ponds that never run out of catfish and bluegill.

Located on Idlewild Road, Burlington, it’s a beautiful place allowing your family members or friends to choose their adventure.

There are three large shelters for prominent families or groups to use, and each has a water fountain, grill, and electricity.

You can play on the basketball court, baseball/softball diamonds, or soccer fields.

After a friendly game, you can have a quick snack or meal using the picnic tables while kids play in the playground.

The England–Idlewild Park is also a haven for bikers and hikers alike, especially the bikers, because the trail enables them to adjust the ride to the group, fitness, and period allowed.

The exceptional signage and well-marked intersections make it hard to get lost.

Learn the Interesting History of Dinsmore Homestead

Dining room in the Dinsmore Homestead

Dinsmore Homestead, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Situated on Burlington Pike, Burlington, the Dinsmore Homestead is a typical historic site encompassing 700 acres in Boone County.

The estate is an existing document of a flourishing and sophisticated Boone County farm family living in the 19th century.

In 1839, James Dinsmore and his uncle, Silas Dinsmoor, purchased the land between the Ohio River and Middle Creek.

He developed a diverse farm with sheep basket willows, orchards, and a small vineyard.

The homestead’s significant history includes numerous generations of African-American families, including the graves of these many individuals.

Even if you’re not an antique lover, you’ll appreciate the relics and historic interiors as you tour the place from the five generations of the Dinsmore family.

In 1987, the Dinsmore Homestead Foundation bought the residence and approximately 30 acres to preserve the structure.

Check Out the Flora and Fauna at the Boone County Arboretum

Also known as Central Park, the Boone County Arboretum spans 121 acres of land and became the city’s initial arboretum inside the premises of an active recreation park environment.

This beautiful botanical garden opened its doors to the public in 1994 and offered 2.35-mile-long paved trails across wooded and open areas.

Located on Camp Ernst Rd, Union, Boone County Arboretum opens from dawn till dusk to enjoy a variety of over 3,600 trees and shrubs.

Added attractions in the lovely arboretum are the Children’s Garden, two short woodland trails, and a Wildlife Viewing area in the Native Kentucky Grassland.

Your pets can also join the fun in most areas of the botanical garden, provided they are always on a leash.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Some places near Boone County, Kentucky, offer family-friendly activities.

The family should never miss the exciting recreation and amusements these nearby places offer.

Ohio is the nearest state to Kentucky, and you will also love its popular destinations.

Test Your Climbing Skills at the Red River Gorge

Cliffs at Red River Gorge

Alex lulko /

Sometimes called “The Red,” the Red River Gorge is a canyon on Ridge Road, Stanton, Powell County, Kentucky, almost two hours from Boone County.

It is well-known for its world-class climbing and hiking spot for groups or families.

The Red River intersects the gorge, carving over 150 sandstone arches in the geological area of 29,000 acres, comprising several freestanding arches.

There are also rock shelters, natural forming bridges, jagged cliffs, and waterfalls aside from the captivating views.

Waterfall at Red River Gorge

Cat28 /

The 200-foot tall countless sandstone cliffs will test your skills, endurance, and patience.

While there are a lot of activities above the ground, you can also kayak under the cave!

Some guides will lead you through the Gorge Grotto as you paddle through a dark cavern for an hour’s adventure.

Visit the Red River Gorge and accept the challenge of mountain biking to rock climbing.

Camping at Red River Gorge

Michele Korfhage /

Enter a New Realm at the Newport Aquarium

Exterior of the Newport Aquarium

Rosamar /

Discover a different world at the Newport Aquarium in Levee Way, Newport, a city in Campbell County, Kentucky, 33 minutes from Boone County.

The Newport Aquarium features 70 exhibits, 14 galleries, and five smooth acrylic tunnels reaching 200 feet long.

Cross the Shark Bridge, a rope bridge above a tankful of different species of sharks.

Shark tank in the Newport Aquarium

Jeff Kubina from the milky way galaxy, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kids would love to hang out with the different species of penguins, including the king, Gentoo, and macaroni.

You also got to see the rare albino alligators, Snowball and Snowflake, in person at Gator Alley.

Cajuns say that looking into their eyes will bring you good luck and prosperity.

Sandbar shark in the Newport Aquarium

Jeff Kubina from Columbia, Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn Conservation at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Elephant-shaped lantern in the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Martin Wheeler III /

Located on Vine St., Cincinnati, Ohio, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is a 38-minute drive from Boone County.

This family-friendly zoo is also the home of the famous hippopotamus, Fiona, where you could also feed giraffes.

Founded in 1873, it is the sixth-oldest zoo in the US.

It officially opened in 1875 and is consistently ranked as one of the finest zoos in the National Historic Landmark.

Reptile house at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Photo by Greg Hume (Greg5030), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established as the “Greenest Zoo in America” in 2010, it spearheads sustainability and green initiatives by restoring the vitality and freshness of plants and animals and, simultaneously, lessening the carbon footprint on the environment.

The family can wander with kangaroos and have fun with the new Kanga’ Klimb high ropes course.

Kids would love a ride on the Safari Train or a whirl of fun on the Conservation Carousel before leaving the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

An animal at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Trisha Shears from Louisville, Kentucky, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Come Out and Play at the Fabulous Coney Island Park

If you want to take a dip or swim to beat the heat, Coney Island Park in Cincinnati is where to make a refreshing splash with the family.

Just a 30-minute drive from Boone County, you can already enjoy the calm waters of the park, especially the Sunlite Pool.

Swim in the vast recirculating pool while racing down over a quarter of a mile of water slides, and, at the same time, make enormous splashes in Cannonball Cove.

Also, get drenched at the Typhoon Tower’s 70 interactive spray stations or try the erupting hydro storm that releases 1,300 gallons of spilling water from a 33-foot tower.

It will be a long day for the entire family, so don’t forget to unwind at the Island Oasis and try all your favorite refreshments.

Admire the Plants at the Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory

Exterior of the Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory

Rosamar /

To love the different species of plants in this lovely conservatory, you don’t have to be a plant lover or botanist.

Their scents alone will surely capture your senses.

The Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory is just a 36-minute drive from Boone County, located on Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Pathway to the butterfly show at Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory

Rosamar /

Constructed in 1933, the Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory highlights over 3,500 plant species worldwide.

You and your kids will learn and enjoy different featured seasonal shows and exhibits, especially the Butterfly Show, where you see thousands of butterflies fly freely across the conservatory’s showroom.

There are also permanent exhibits, including the rainforest waterfall and exotic plants thriving in the Tropical, Orchid, Palm, and Desert houses.

Trail at Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory

Michael R. Johnson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Your Day with the Family at the Smale Riverfront Park

The grounds of Smale Riverfront Park

Rosamar /

Driving to the Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, from Boone County will only take 37 minutes.

Located on W Mehring Way, this fantastic park covers 45 acres of urban green space beyond the riverbank between Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium.

The park got its name from John G. and his wife, Phyllis W. Smale, who gifted Cincinnati Parks Foundation $20 million.

Labyrinth at Smale Riverfront Park

Rosamar /

It entertains the whole family, from porch swings to spectacular river views, interactive fountains, and a colossal foot piano.

There are also plenty of activities for everyone, such as water play areas, Carol Ann’s Carousel, splash grounds, and much more.

Riding your bike on the multi-use bike trail does good exercise for the body and mind while reducing air pollution.

Large keyboard at Smale Riverfront Park

Rosamar /

Bring Your Family to Washington Park

Bandstand at Washington Park

Rosamar /

Washington Park is a 39-minute drive from Boone County, located on Elm St, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Bounded by West 12th, Race, and Elm Streets in the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati, this six-acre park became Presbyterian and Episcopal cemeteries before the city’s acquisition from 1858 to 1863.

Washington Park holds events and activities all year round within walking distance of the region’s many finest restaurants and bars.

Benches along Washington Park

Rosamar /

Kids won’t be able to resist the playground consisting of a play castle, sandbox, slides, and climbing wall.

The interactive water, on the other hand, features over 130 pop-up jets, providing relief during hot days.

Your dogs will also love to visit the park since they have their fenced-in area where they can play.

Playground at Washington Park

David Brossard, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

Visiting other places enables you to learn and discover new things, especially with the family.

You’ll know the history of a particular site and learn to appreciate nature, animals, and other people’s works.

Discover the best things to do in Boone County, Kentucky!

© All rights reserved.