LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Horse Park begins its winter season with new hours of operation and family events for the holiday season. From Nov. 2 until March 16, the park will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Over the winter some of the park’s resident horses will take a few months off for some much-deserved R&R in the fields, while others will continue to work and train in the Breeds Barn, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes view of this important park activity, weather permitting. Each horse’s breed information and biography will be posted outside of its stall, to allow visitors the opportunity to learn detailed information about the breeds in a self-guided tour. In addition, the champion horses in the Hall of Champions are available to meet and greet, as well as the “gentle giant” draft horses stabled in the historic Big Barn.
The International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is open throughout the winter season as is the “Showplace for Saddlebreds,” the American Saddlebred Museum, which is also featuring the special exhibition “Bits & Pieces of Saddlebred History: Recent Donations & Special Selections” through April 1. Both the Kentucky Horse Park Gift Shop and the American Saddlebred Museum Gift Shop are open for holiday shopping and throughout the season with the new winter hours.
The Southern Lights holiday festival returns to the Kentucky Horse Park for its 22nd year. This festival is a fundraiser for the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, and a holiday tradition for families from throughout the Bluegrass and beyond. Presented by Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky, Southern Lights is a drive through brilliant light displays, featuring a variety of holiday and Kentucky themes, followed by the Holiday Festival attractions located on the park’s main campus that include Santa, a petting zoo, model train displays, holiday and craft vendors and more.
The lights are on 5:30-10 p.m. nightly Nov. 20-Dec. 31, with the Holiday Festival open each night with the exception of Nov. 26 and Dec. 24 to 31.
Families will get a preview of this year’s Southern Lights on Thursday, Nov. 19, with the Southern Lights Stroll. Participants may walk, run or stroll their way through a portion of the light displays by registering online. New this year, the competitive 5K race will feature chip timing. Strollers, wagons and dogs on leash are permitted in the stroll portion of the evening, and all participants are asked to bring nonperishable food items to donate to God’s Pantry Food Bank or to a local animal shelter.
Breyer Nights, with giveaways by Breyer Model Horses, will be Monday-Thursday, Nov. 30-Dec. 3; Toyota Night at Southern Lights will be Wednesday, Dec. 9; Military Night will be Wednesday, Dec. 16, allowing all active and retired military and their families one free car admission by showing a military I.D. at the gate; and Thirsty Thursdays, with giveaways from the Coca Cola Bottling Company, will be every Thursday night during Southern Lights.
Southern Lights admission per personal vehicle (up to 7 passengers) is $25 for Friday through Sunday nights, and $15 for Monday through Thursday nights. An extended van, RV or limousine (up to 15 passengers) is $35; a mini-bus (up to 25 passengers) is $60; a school bus is $75; and, a motorcoach is $150. Companies and organizations may pre-purchase discounted admission tickets to Southern Lights by contacting the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation.
The Kentucky Horse Park will continue to host many horse shows and special events throughout the winter season beginning with the nationally recognized US Dressage Finals, Nov. 5-8 in the Alltech Arena, KHSAA state cross country, cheerleading and wrestling championships, rodeos, equine mounted games, home and trade shows, and more. A complete schedule of events is available on the park’s website.
For information on Southern Lights or the Southern Lights Stroll call 859-255-5727 or visit www.SouthernLightsKy.org. For information on the Kentucky Horse Park, contact the park at 859-233-4303 or 800-678-8813 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.KyHorsePark.com.
The Kentucky Horse Park is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through Nov. 1. Admission is $16 for adults and $8 for children, and includes the Next Day Free. Beginning Nov. 2, the park will be open Wednesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with winter admission at $12 for adults and $6 for children, and will also include the Next Day Free. Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate; and the “Showplace for Saddlebreds” – The American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop.