When we travel, I like to find the right balance between cultural learning opportunities and purely recreational activities. After a day and half of visiting museums and historic sites, I knew my kids were looking forward to spending the rest of the day at an amusement park. However, we live less than a half hour from a major amusement park and I wasn’t sure how impressed they would be with a smaller park. I shouldn’t have worried. My kids and I had a great time at Beech Bend Park & Splash Lagoon in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Admission to this family friendly park includes both the rides and the water park. Since we arrived during the heat of the day, we decided to hit the water park first. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Beech Bend offers free sunscreen to its guests.
The first attraction my kids wanted to try was the wave pool.
Tubes are free at Splash Lagoon, which I appreciated. It was a pretty typical wave pool with a few exceptions: The deep end is only 5 feet deep. When the waves turn on, you are not required to have a tube; you can swim with or without one. The pool also has some water features in the shallow end, like this palm tree.
Another feature of this pool is that the lazy river starts and ends in the pool.
As you can see in the picture above, the park has water slides. Mats were available for use on the slides, but my daughter lost hers halfway down.
There are also small slides at Tiki Island.
And, as you’d expect, there’s a large bucket of water that periodically tips over.
If the giant bucket of water is too scary for your little ones, you’ll probably want to head to Lotta Watta Island which has tamer water features, perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
The Leisure Pool has a deep end, but no diving boards.
My kids loved crossing the pool on lily pads.
Then it was time for us to check out the rides. We found that Beech Bend has a nice mix of kiddie rides, carnival-type family rides, and high thrill rides. One thing that I noticed about Beech Bend’s layout was that the kiddie rides were not clustered in one section. That could be either helpful or inconvenient depending on the ages of your kids. If all your kids are little, you’d probably appreciate everything close together. But if you have both older and younger kids, I think it would be very nice to have a kiddie ride located right next to something your older kids want to ride. I also noted that some of the kiddie rides are very similar to some of the most popular kiddie rides at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Check out Jumping Jumbo.
And here is the Tea Party.
The carnival-type rides include the Flying Bobs and Tornado.
In the high-thrill category is a wooden roller coaster named the Kentucky Rumbler that I though was very fun. If you look close, you’ll see me in the second row.
There are also a couple thrill rides that are smaller versions of rides at the large park near me. The Zero G lifts you high in the air and then drops you into a freefall.
The newest ride is the Vortex, which also looks like a smaller version of a ride at larger parks.
Beech Bend also has a Petting Farm. Having been to many petting zoos and farms before, I didn’t think we’d stay in there very long. I was wrong. Those baby goats were just adorable!
Goat food costs 25 cents for a cup. If you buy some, watch out. These goats are greedy!
And they aren’t picky. If you don’t give them food, they might decide to start munching on your clothes.
We had a wonderful time at Beech Bend, but we didn’t have time to ride or see everything, even though we stayed until the park closed. We didn’t get a chance to see any of the shows, play miniature golf, or ride the go carts. You could easily spend the entire day at Beech Bend Park and Splash Lagoon and not run out of things to do.
Ready to Visit?
Beech Bend Park & Splash Lagoon
798 Beech Bend Road
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Check website for schedule, prices, and height requirements.
Splash Lagoon is currently closed for the season, but the rides are still open a few more dates in September.
Disclosure: My kids and I received complimentary admission to Beech Bend Park & Splash Lagoon so that I could research and write this article. Many thanks to the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for coordinating our trip.
You might also be interested in
The Historic Railpark & Train Museum
Bowling Green’s Historic Fountain Square