With more than 1,200 acres of Bluegrass parkland dedicated to horses, it's no surprise that the Kentucky Horse Park has been dubbed "the heart of the horse capital of the world."

With its unrivaled equine competition facilities, the Kentucky Horse Park has become a premier host of equine events and competitions, which include the annual Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and last year, the world's largest and most prestigious equestrian event, the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

What makes it more outstanding is the number of attractions, shows and events along with its proximity to downtown Lexington.

Attractions include:
 
HORSEBACK RIDING, PONY RIDES

A guided 35-minute trail ride along the scenic outskirts of the park is the perfect way to start the morning. The trail ride is enjoyable for first-time and experienced riders. Horseback riders must be at least 7 years old and 4 feet tall. Pony rides are available for children ages 2-12. Weight restrictions apply.

Ride load times: 9:45 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m., and 4 p.m. $22 horseback rides ($15 when purchased with park admission), $5 pony rides.

MARE AND FOAL SHOW

Adorable baby horses and their mothers are brought into the barn for an up-close introduction to visitors. Occasionally, visitors will be able to pet the foals in the paddocks or their stalls during park hours.
 
Runs from Memorial Day to July 31. Show begins 11:45 a.m. daily.

HORSE-DRAWN TOURS

After lunch, take a relaxing horsedrawn trolley ride around the park, where you'll learn about the park history and get a chance to see a variety of draft horses with a stop at the Draft Horse Barns. Staff members are available to answer questions about the park and the horses.

Price included with park admission. Weather permitting, trolley rides start at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

PARADE OF BREEDS

Meet some of the "stars" of the park at the Breeds Barn, where professional costumed handlers put horses through their paces. After the half-hour long show, visitors may pet the horses, take photographs and speak with the handlers. Breeds include Appaloosa, English Shire, Palomino, Gypsy Horse, Marwari, and the Welsh Cob.

April 1-Oct. 31. Daily shows 11 a.m. and 2 p.

LOCK & KEY CAFÉ BOUTIQUE

When it's time to leave the park, Lock & Key is the perfect place to stop for lunch. It offers historical architecture and outdoor patio seating and is just six miles outside the park. The restaurant serves freshly made soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and baked dishes. For a sweet finish, try the utterly delicious Peanut-Butter Cup or Almond Joy Shake.

201 E. Main St., Georgetown. (502) 867-1972 or www.lockandkeycafeboutique.com. Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m Saturday-Sunday.

OUTSIDE THE PARK

Just a 15-minute drive from the park, the Explorium of Lexington is one of the oldest children's museums in the country. Nine discovery zones feature interactive exhibits. The popular "Hold Your Horses" Zone includes life-sized horses in an interactive grooming stable, a clinic that lets the visitor be the veterinarian and a crawl-through cave to explore the topography that contributes to making the Bluegrass blue.

Victorian Square at Short Street and Broadway, downtown Lexington. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $7. (859) 258-3253 or www.explorium.com.
 

A five-minute drive from the Explorium, Ramsey's Diner is home to lowbrow southern food cooked to perfection and "the best hot brown in the city." Breakfast is served all day.

496 E. High St. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. (859) 259-2708 or www.ramseysdinners.com.

While you are in Lexington, don't miss Keeneland, which is celebrating its 75 anniversary with special races Oct. 15 and a concert featuring the Boston Pops and the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra.

4201 Versailles Road. (859) 254-3412 or www.keeneland.com
 

BED AND BREAKFAST

Bed and breakfasts have been a Bluegrass tradition since the earlier settlers arrived in the late 1700's. There are plenty of quaint options in the Lexington area, and many are centrally located with access to nearby attractions such as the Downtown Arts Center.

ESSENCE OF THE BLUEGRASS
 
The Essence of the Bluegrass Bed and Breakfast offers sophisticated comforts at a gorgeous estate home in the midst of the verdant horse farms outside Lexington, Ky. 

The Essence of the Bluegrass is a modern estate home nestled among horse farms. The entrance features a gorgeous dual staircase, player piano and a gleaming chandelier. Each of the four guest rooms has a private bath. The Kentucky Horse Park is only minutes away. Children and pets are welcome with advance notice. Horse boarding available.

Essence of the Bluegrass, 4343 Mount Horeb Pike, Lexington. (859) 255-0067. www.essenceofthebluegrass.com.

LYNDON HOUSE

Located in Lexington's historic downtown district, the Lyndon House blends the old and the new with its Victorian staircase, stylish furnishings and state-of-the-art amenities. The mansion has two suites and three bedrooms, each with their own bath, complimentary Wi-Fi and cable TV. Each room has 11-foot-high ceilings and elegant moldings. Guests will wake up each morning to the aromas of fresh, brewing coffee and a hot breakfast prepared by innkeeper Anton Giovanetto. Many of Lexington's finest restaurants and shops are within walking distance, and the Kentucky Horse Park is minutes away. Out back, there's also a luscious green garden, perfect for a relaxing end to the day. Children and pets are welcome with prior arrangement.

Lyndon House, 507 N. Broadway. (859) 420-2683 or www.lyndonhouse.com.

THE CORNER HOUSE

This B&B's southern charm and beauty is worth the 35-minute drive from the Kentucky Horse Park. Located in the downtown area of Nicholasville, The Corner House, with its hardwood floors and beautiful Victorian mantels, offers four guest rooms, each with private bath, queen-sized bed, TV and Wi-Fi. Owner Karen Pedigo cooks delicious breakfasts each morning. Guests can play pool or darts in the billiard room or try their hand at the antique organ in the parlor. Children and pets welcome with prior arrangement.

The Corner House, 228 Richmond Ave., Nicholasville. (859) 881-5229 or (877) 571-5777. www.cornerhouse.com.