I must admit, I never thought about visiting Paducah, Kentucky!
Until last year, my kids and I decided that we needed to take getaway trips and select one uncommon place that we would never think to visit for each state…OMG!! Did I just say “Each state!?”, you know a mommy is nervous about letting her 13, 12, and 4 year old kids pick locations..LOL!
Two weeks back, we were trying to decide where to go in Indiana (South to be exact) that would be:
- Safe from the spread of COVID-19
- Less than 2hr drive for me, **SINCE THEY’RE NOT GETTING BEHIND ANY WHEELS!**
- Inexpensive, since I was taking not only my 3 kids and myself, but my niece as well.
- Somewhere that had some sort of tourist attractions.
So, it was quite strange at first because the kids and I agreed to go to Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area located in Rockville, IN. Unfortunately, there were no hotels available for last weekend and my kids really wanted to play in the lake. So, I search again and stumble upon Paducah, Kentucky. It was about 4 1/2hr one-way drive, depending on how many times you stop. The website http://www.https://www.paducah.travel/about-paducah/unesco-creative-city/ talked about this small town as being a UNESCO Creative City and showed different tourist attractions that not only excited the kids and me. But, what REALLY caught my eye was the artwork and amazing historic buildings this city had.
So, we packed up and headed off!!
Now for those who are not to familiar with where exactly this small town is located. Paducah is located in the Southwestern section of the state and situated right along the Ohio River.
Due to our drive time, we ended up going straight to the hotel to get some rest; since there wasn’t any hotels available downtown that particular weekend. We ended up staying at the COUNTRY INN & SUITES by Radisson which was about 20 minutes away from the downtown area. The room was nice, honestly I wasn’t worried about the that to much as long as I could lay down..LOL! I must say, the hotel staff was very friendly and let us know ahead of time about breakfast any concerns due to the COVID-19.
The next morning we got up bright and early to plan our day and the trip back home. My kids only wanted to do three things:
- Go see the Port and see if we can ride the boat
- Go to YaYa’s Island
- Go to Bob Noble Park
Me on the other hand wanted to do way more, plus take a lot of pictures. But, due to our time restrictions we only were able to do a few things. So, our first stop was the PORT of PADUCAH!
THE PORT of PADUCAH
When we arrived, the first thing we notice was this beautiful Wall to Wall Mural that borders the Ohio River at the edge of town. My kids and I were so amazed that we didn’t even see if it costed to enter the port. The best part is one of the locals told us it was FREE!!! So, we got SUPER excited and decided to look more around until the “American Duchess” boat arrived. So, they wanted to go down near the water. Were I almost had to play the lifeguard for my daughter “Curious George” self, who nearly slipped into the water. Once, we got Shiloh taken care of and changed…LOL! We notice a sign near the wall that explain a little bit of the town’s history. The town was completed flooded out by the river in 1937, which left the U.S. Corp of Engineers to build a protective wall guarding against the river. The Wall to Wall Mural is the focal point of the town.
When my son read it, my daughter said: “Mom, that water almost took me too. Never going near that again!” A few locals heard her and started laughing with us.
Near the west end of the wall, we couldn’t help but notice this big black train that had the No. 1518 on it. The local couple that walked over there with us explained that the train was the last Mikado type steam “Iron Horse” used by the I.C.R.R (Illinois Central Railroad). The reason why it is on display in Paducah is because the IC retired it back in the 1950s. The IC was also preparing to demolish the roundhouse it was stored at. So, the IC decided to donated it and along with two other models (IC RPO car and steam era transfer caboose) to Paducah back in the 1960s.
After talking with the couple and we learned that the “American Duchess” boat no longer comes to the port, which was a disappointment. So, our second stop was Broadway still in the downtown area!
Broadway – Downtown Area
As we were walking down Broadway, I started to notice why the city received the “UNESCO Creative City” honor in 2013. Just walking down that one street, you start to feel inspired. We notice a lot of local shops were all around such as the “Hollyhock House”. The Hollyhock House is a women’s fashion and gift boutique located not to fear from the Port. The store was closed, but what caught my attention was how the owner design her boutique. It’s was beautiful!
Right next door is the “Paducah Area Painters Alliance aka Papa Gallery”. The Gallery was closed as well, but it looked as if it features original artwork from various artists. I would have passed by what caught our attention was the painting of a man sitting down.
We notice this street that was turned into an outside eating area. There were more local shops and the building right of the shops was the “William Clark Market House Museum”. A few more locals notice we were tourists and talked with us for a little bit and told us about this amazing pastry shop called the “Kirchhoff’s Deli” http://www.kirchhoffsbakery.net, the cookies were freshly baked out of the oven and when you bit into one. It just melt right in your mouth, the kids ate the entire batch before going out to sit down at one of the tables. The cookies were that tasty!!
Even though I wanted to continue venturing around the downtown area, time was of the essence for us in order to make it to YaYa’s Island, Bob Noble Park and on the road back home. So, we talked a little longer with the couple who mention Kirchhoff’s Deli to us and headed off to YaYa’s Island.
YaYa’s Island is an indoor children’s entertainment center, that will have your kids going wild! The place was fairly reasonable in price, I spent around $70 for admission fee, food, laser tag, and playing the arcade machines. The girls had a blast playing in the bounce house and big playhouse with the other kids. They rarely wanted to play on the arcade machines with the boys. The place had something for everyone to do and have fun!
The funny part about our drive to YaYa’s Island is when we got lost from direction of an local and our doggone GPS…LOL! We ended up in this area where we stumble on some beautiful homes. It took us about 10 minutes to get back on track and once we did, we realized the whole time we were not that far from Park Ave by Bob Noble Park. My kids started laughing at me saying I never should’ve listen to the person that give us the direction.
Hmm…It wasn’t my fault that the person doesn’t know their own town…LOL!!
Our Last Location Before Heading Home: Bob Noble Park
Bob Noble Park is Paducah’s largest park, featuring a wide variety of activities on it’s 135 acres land. The park is located on Park Ave and it’s FREE!!! The park is situated around lake with a bridge and gazebo. This park has so much activity from fishing, walking around, playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, trails, skatepark, and more. Boredom is not an option! My oldest son wanted to play basketball, but realized not faraway from the courts there was a skatepark. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t have his skateboard! On the other hand, the girls and Josiah had fun walking around looking at the geese and playing with the other kids on the playgrounds.
I was so blown away by this artistic little town from the number of boutiques, museums, craft and art stores, including the landscape of the downtown area in Paducah. We didn’t have enough time to explore everything the town had to offer, but I know this town is on another getaway trip list for us very soon. So, if you live less than 5 hours away, amazed by creativity, and just want to getaway from your everyday life! Try visiting Paducah, Kentucky and make memories with your love ones!
Check out highlights of our trip: