Day trip to Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort
Tips for visiting Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort, a unique Kentucky space for families
Day trips are so important so families can find new ways to be together and have fun. Outdoor fun options allow you to explore with sunshine, and usually some exercise.Josephine Sculpture Park is in Frankfort and open dawn to dusk. It is free to visit and they have a donation box near one of the buildings as you drive in. Bring some cash to drop in. And, this place is very easy to get to off of I-64. It is at one of the main exits for Frankfort, making it easy to stop for the restroom or grab to-go lunch to bring with you.
We stopped for a restroom break before heading there because, although they have a portable restroom at Josephine Sculpture Park we wanted to get that out of the way before we got there. Hey, we know parents care about this sort of thing! JSP does have one restroom and one portapotty.
Before you go, take a moment to learn about the history of this park and share it with your children. When you arrive at Josephine Sculpture Park, there is a small parking area beyond the house and an open area with picnic tables. This can be home base for you because all of the mowed paths throughout the park all lead back to this area.
If you want to picnic throughout the park, sure, bring your stuff. But, if you want to leave your cooler in the car, you can easily come back and picnic right by the car in the shade! And, they have a giant canister of hand sanitizer and the portable bathroom is there as well.
Exploring Josephine Sculpture Park
Download the map of Josephine Sculpture Park to your phone and you will be able to easily find your way around. The area is expansive but in terms of mileage you will cover, it’s not overwhelming. We tallied under 2 miles exploring for the morning.
The map makes the paths look really long but they are totally doable for little kids and adults alike. The paths are sort of stroller friendly if you have a jogging type stroller, I think it would work!
We chose to enter the Native Hill area and go to the right. Then, back to the Nature Hill area and off to the sections to the left on the map. The sections of Josephine Sculpture Park do all connect back to the center and have access back close to the parking area.
We picnicked by the parking area and then visited the areas toward the front of the park, the Southeastern Ridge and Francie’s Forest. We covered Josephine Sculpture Park and had a picnic in about 2.5 hours.
Tips for visiting Josephine Sculpture Park
- Bring paint for the graffiti wall! Before going, we didn’t know there were interactive pieces throughout the park. At Graffiti Hill, you can paint on the walls. It appears most people used spray paint. But, I am sure if you have younger kiddos, you can bring standard paint (nothing washable, so it lasts) and they can splatter or put handprints on the wall. When we go back to Josephine Sculpture Park, my daughter wants to bring paint pens and she is going to do some tiny art on a single brick!
- If you want to engage with the art at Josephine Sculpture Park, bring something organic or metal to leave behind on the dome sculpture. This is another thing we didn’t know about! So, the kids improvised and picked a flower each to intertwine in the sculpture. From what we say, key chains were popular to leave behind.
- Pack a picnic! As we mentioned above, there are many spots to have a picnic. They have tables throughout the park. Also, there are just so many places to put a blanket down and enjoy lunch in a beautiful settings at Josephine Sculpture Park.
- Wear sunscreen/hats, and put on some bug spray. You are out in a meadow and there are many little critters. Also, some of the areas are open to the sun so you don’t want to leave with a burn!
- Bring a sketch pad for your kids and some colored pencils. Sit and enjoy their favorite sculpture and talk about it’s features. Everyone can draw the landscape and the sculpture in their own interpretation and compare.
- Check their events page because they do have art lessons and community events. During the pandemic, these may be limited but they still do have some opportunities to engage beyond visiting with your family.
Make a day trip and visit Frankfort in the afternoon
After you finish up at Josephine Sculpture Park, drive over 64 and head toward the Kentucky State Capital. When you are headed east on US 60, you will pass the overlook and can stop to take some cool photos.
If you want to get closer, take the short drive down to the capital and walk around. Although they are not open now for touring, you can see the gorgeous landscape and interesting markers and do the outdoor walking tour of the grounds with your family.
Then, the highlight of the trip, cross the river to downtown Frankfort and go to Hoggy’s Ice Cream. It’s an adorable corner shop full of treats from soft Dole Whip cones to Ale 8 floats. And, of course, traditional ice cream offerings. We all got something different and really loved every bite.
Next time, I am bringing my husband and sharing their Squealer Sampler which is a waffle cone full of tiny scoops of every single flavor! Or, maybe even one of their totally wild ice cream tacos.
We really did have a great day exercising outside, learning about art at the sculpture park, taking in cultural and historical sites at the capital, and treating ourselves to a weekend scoop (or three) of ice cream at a cute local spot.
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