Posted in: Living Posted on: Sep 24th, 2015

Walk, Swim, or Cycle at These Lexington Area Parks

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For some people, living in Lexington, Kentucky is synonymous with living in the great outdoors. The Horse Capital of the World has plenty of outdoorsy things to do, from miles of bike trails to nature centers that preserve the natural beauty of the area. Whether you're looking for a way to relax and enjoy some quality time with family and friends or want to get to know the area around you a bit better, you'll find plenty of outdoor recreation in Lexington.

Enjoying Nature

Raven Run nature sanctuary is meant to preserve the beauty of the river valley and to preserve the history of the early settlement of Kentucky. The sanctuary is comprised of 734 acres that contain more than 10 miles of trails. When visiting Raven Run, you might stumble upon more than 600 varieties of plants or see one of 200 species of birds. To maintain and protect the sanctuary, visitors are required to stick to the trails and not wander off into the wooded areas. Before your visit, you should stop into the nature center to sign in and learn more about the birds, plants, and other wildlife who call the nature sanctuary home.

Enjoying a Swim

The city's parks and recreation department operates seven pools, which are open during the summer months. Although a few pools close in early August, several are open through Labor Day weekend. Seasonal pool passes are available and cost $40 for individuals or $100 per family. You can also pay a day rate, around $3 or $4, depending on the pool. The city also offers swimming lessons for children and adults. Adult lessons are $25 per session.

Enjoying a Bike Ride

The back roads through Lexington are perfect for enjoying a bike ride at almost any time of year. While you are welcome to set out on your own, you might find riding with a group to be more enjoyable, especially if you are just getting started. The Bluegrass Cycling Club sponsors a number of rides each year. Its two major rides are the Red River Rally and the Horsey Hundred. The Red River Rally was first held in 1970, making it the oldest organized bike ride in the area. The rally is open to riders of various skill levels, as there are rides during it ranging from 34 and 50 miles. The shorter rides tend to be on easier terrain while the longer rides often have steeper climbs.

You can also set out on your own on a bicycle tour of Historic Lexington. The bike tour is 11 miles long. It starts at the Hunt-Morgan House, which was built in 1840 for the first millionaire on the western side of the Alleghenies. The ride takes you along 2nd street, through the Northside Historic District and into the Western Suburb. Along the ride, you'll be able to stop at the Mary Todd Lincoln House museum, the Opera House, and several historic churches. You'll also be able to visit a number of local parks along the route, which concludes at Gratz Park.