Explore Bowling Green, Ky. - Site of the 2018 USA Softball Girls' Fast Pitch Class A 14-Under National Championship

By Maddie Heaps (mheaps@usasoftball.com) | June 18, 2018, 2:22 p.m. (ET)
What can you expect when your team travels to Bowling Green, Ky. for the Girls' 14-Under Class A National Championship? Find out below. 

Top 10 Things to Do in Bowling Green … Besides Play Softball

1. Visit the Beech Bend Amusement Park and Splash Lagoon if you’re looking to throw some thrills into your trip! Head over to this family-owned park, where you can ride the award-winning Kentucky Rumbler. One of the Top 5 Friendliest Parks according to Amusement Today magazine, Beech Bend has rides for all ages, including Michael Jackson’s Sea Dragon from Neverland Ranch.  The adjacent Splash Lagoon is included with your admission price when you’re ready to cool off.

2. The National Corvette Museum is fun for all, even though the athletes are a few years from having their drivers’ licenses. The whole family will enjoy this cool museum featuring every generation of America’s sports car — the Chevrolet Corvette. Check out the museum’s sinkhole exhibit and learn about the geological event that opened up beneath the museum taking eight Corvettes valued at more than $1 million several feet underground. For an additional charge, try the Corvette simulator and get a feel for what it’s like to drive a race car.

3. Tour the Historic Railpark and Train Museum to learn about the history of travel on this Louisville and Nashville railroad line. Exhibits in the station explore many items used in train cars as well as tell the stories of the people who kept them on schedule. The tour continues outside where visitors board several restored vintage train cars like a 1911 L&N Presidential Office Car, a 1949 Pullman Dining Car, and a 1921 Post Office Car. If you want to exercise your mind a little, then do the Historic Railpark’s Escape Game on a Train. Available Thursdays-Sundays, make a reservation to play these games that are part brain teaser and part interactive theater.

4. Adventure down to the Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University, which is dedicated to the history, art, and culture of Kentucky’s past and present. From the Civil War to Duncan Hines — the man behind the cake mix is a Bowling Green native — this fascinating museum offers exhibits that will interest visitors of all ages.

5. Experience some natural air conditioning when you tour Lost River Cave, featuring the only cave boat tour in Kentucky. This guided tour begins at the river’s edge. You’ll learn about the history and lore of the cave before you drift into the cool and mysterious cavern by boat.

6. Take a break from the hot sun on the softball diamond when you visit the Baker Arboretum. The collection features more than 600 species and 1,200 varieties of cultivars, exploring the vast palate of plants and trees that grow in western Kentucky. Then, tour the Downing Museum, located at the arboretum and featuring the works of world-renowned artist Joe Downing. Downing, a native of nearby Horse Cave, spent most of his life creating his art in France. The museum typically offers curated exhibits by other artists as well.

7. Come taste the best ice cream in Kentucky, according to USA Today at Chaney’s Dairy Barn. Chaney's Dairy Barnis so much more than an ice cream parlor.  Located across the street from Buchanon Park, Chaney’s features a variety of ice creams, shakes, and sundaes. You can also grab a burger, sandwich or salad for lunch or dinner.

8. If you have some extra time between games — or want to spend a bit more time in south-central Kentucky before or after the tournament — then Mammoth Cave National Park might be the perfect stop for you. Located about 30 minutes north of Bowling Green, Mammoth Cave is the home of the world’s longest cave system. Book reservations in advance for one of their many tour options. Or, if you’d rather stay above ground, there are plenty of trails to hike and you can even kayak on the Green River that flows through the park.

9. Visit one of the most elegant homes in Bowling Green as you step back in time at the Riverview of Hobson Grove, a stop on the Kentucky Civil War Trail. Learn how this family was truly divided like many others on this docent-led tour. Construction of Riverview at Hobson Grove began just before the Civil War, and it wasn’t completed until after the war ended. Riverview is an elegant interpretation of a prosperous Victorian Home of the 1860-1890 period. Take a walk through Riverview’s gardens while you’re there! 

10. Bowling Green has some of the best softball facilities around, including Michael O. Buchanon Park and Western Kentucky University’s Hattie L. Preston Intramural Sports Complex. With the great facilities and the incredible competition, this is sure to be an unforgettable weekend! 

To find out how your team can qualify for the 2018 USA Softball Girls' Class A 14-Under National Championships, click here.