Bowling Green, Ky., is home to a whole ‘lotta horsepower—but unlike its bluegrass counterparts, this beast runs on four wheels, rather than legs. Right off Interstate 65, the National Corvette Museum is hard to miss. The fun and flamboyant museum, hall of fame, and tourist attraction is a logical pit stop for car enthusiasts and Kentucky visitors alike.
Patti Nickell describes it best in her Horse Lover’s Guide to Kentucky:
"The vivid red and yellow structure visible from Interstate 65 in Bowling Green in the west central part of the state could be mistaken for a large yellow mushroom impaled on a red toothpick, or even a psychedelic spaceship come to roost. But the flamboyant architecture is only a warm-up for the flamboyant product on display inside.
If a generation of Americans fell in love with the country’s lost highways and the freedom to explore them after reading Jack Kerouac’s iconic book On the Road, they fell in love with the vehicle that would allow them to do so in style when the first Corvette rolled off the General Motors assembly line in 1953. If ever a car defined the romance and freedom of the open road, it was the Corvette.
The sporty little roadster, with its fish-like fins and rainbowhued colors, was the 20th-century version of the elegant carriage, only with more horsepower. The Corvette was America’s original sports car, the mechanized “King of the Road,” and since its opening in 1994 the National Corvette Museum has been its palace.
Within the museum’s 68,000 square feet are more than 70 Corvette models — including one of the first off the assembly line (sticker price: a whopping — at that time — $3,498), and the historic one millionth ‘Vette, the latter donated by Chevrolet, the car’s manufacturer.
Located only a quarter of a mile from the assembly plant where all Corvettes have been manufactured since 1981, the museum is a monument to kinder, gentler times when you could fill up your tank for $5, and the back roads of America offered a “Huck Finn on wheels” kind of adventure. The Corvette as a motorized “charger” (white or otherwise) may always have been something of an urban myth, as financially out of reach for most motoring “knights” as a Mercedes or a Rolls is to today’s driver, but as a myth it was a lot of fun. The museum, with its vast collection of Corvette-related photos, movies and videos, advertisements, and memorabilia, enhances both the mythology and the fun."
350 Corvette Dr., Bowling Green, off I-65. (270) 781-7973. www.corvettemuseum.com.
Upcoming Horse Lover’s Events
A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse, International Museum of the Horse, Lexington: May 29-Oct 15
Ellis Park Race Meet, Henderson: July 10 – Labor Day
Breyerfest, Lexington: July 23 /
BLM Wild Horse Adoption, Lakeside Arena, Frankfort: July 23-24
Trail Ride in Hunt Country, Long Run Kennel, Simpsonville: July 24, Aug. 7
Mercer County Fair and Horse Show, Harrodsburg: July 26-31
Hall of Fame Reining Show, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington: July 28
Kentucky Summer Horse Show & North American Junior & Young Riders Championship, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington: July 28-Aug. 1
Equine Reproductive Symposium, University of Kentucky, Lexington: July 31
USEF Pony Finals, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington: Aug. 10-15
Large Animal Emergency Rescue Class, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington: Aug 19