72 Kentucky Facts And Weird Laws

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Other than the famous Kentucky Derby, Kentucky is the birthplace of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat.

Nicknamed the Bluegrass state, Kentucky has a rich historical culture and offers everyone a wide range of attractions.

The stunning caves and hot springs that dot this state makes it one of the top tourist destinations in the US. 

Kentucky Horse Park is a famous spot among equine enthusiasts. There is something for everyone in this state, a vacation spot to a romantic cabin in the Appalachians.

Discover the interesting facts about Kentucky today.

Best Fun Facts About Kentucky

  1. Cumberland Falls, famous as the “Niagara of the South,” produces moonbows.
  2. Kentucky is home to the world’s longest cave system–the Mammoth Cave.
  3. Louisville is home to the Kentucky Derby –the oldest continuously held sport in the US.
  4. The meaning of ” Kentucky” is claimed to be “on the prairie.”
  5. Kentucky is home to the Vent Haven Museum, which houses the world’s most extensive ventriloquist dummies.
  6. About 64 percent of the people killed in the war of 1812 were residents of Kentucky.
  7. Mildred and Patty, Kentuckian sisters, wrote the tune for the ” Happy Birthday” song.
  8. Kentucky is popular for bourbon whiskey, but its official state beverage is milk.
  9. Kentucky is home to both Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln.
Lexington, Kentucky. Credits: Unsplash

Kentucky Facts—Politics And Government 

  1. Kentucky is a reliably Republican state. Republican presidential candidates have carried the state with double-digit victory margins between 2000 and 2016.
  2. Kentucky has 8 electoral votes in the electoral college.
  3. However, the state supports Republican presidential candidates but elect Democrats to serve in different capacities within the state.
  4. Kentucky was a bellwether state from 1964 through to 2004. In the 2008 presidential election, the status ended when the state voted for John McCain, who lost the presidency to Barack Obama. Kentucky also went to Mitt Romney in 2012. 
  5. Kentucky is a pro-life state. The residents are against all forms of abortion (Pew Research Center, 2014).
  6. Voting in Kentucky is ranked 8th in difficulty in the country.
  7. About 45.71% of Kentucky voters are Democrats by registration. Registered members of the Republican Party are 44.74% of the total voters.
  8. Kentucky and three other states were the only ones to use the term Commonwealth in the US. The three states include Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Massachusetts. 
  9. Kentucky is the only state other than Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia, and New Jersey that hold elections in odd-numbered years.
  10. Kentucky’s governor is the head of the executive branch of government. The governor and lieutenant governor run on a joint ticket. 
  11. Democrats Andy Beshear and Jacqueline Coleman are Kentucky’s current governor and lieutenant governor.
  12. A 39-membered Senate and 100-membered House of Representatives comprise the Kentucky General Assembly. 
  13. The Republican Party holds a majority in both houses of the state’s General Assembly. 
  14. Kentucky Court of Justice is the state’s judicial branch. It consists of several courts with the Supreme Court as the top court.

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Kentucky Facts—History

  1. The first people inhabited Kentucky 10,000 BCE or earlier.
  2. The Mississippian culture developed in central and western Kentucky around 900 CE. At the same time, the Fort Ancient culture emerged in eastern Kentucky.
  3. Major Native American settlements in the state in the 16th century included the Sioux, Iroquoian, Algonquian, Yuchi, and Muskogean.
  4. Harrodsburg was home to the first permanent European settlement in the region. James Harrod established this settlement. Settlers began entering Kentucky by 1774.
  5. Kentucky Commonwealth state was formerly the county of Kentucky with its county seat in Harrods town.
  6. Kentucky achieved statehood in 1792 as the 15th state with a war veteran, Isaac Shelby as the state’s governor.
  7. The Bluegrass region in Central Kentucky was once home to the highest number of slave owners.
  8. Kentucky was neutral during the American Civil War. 
  9. Kentucky was home to Jefferson Davis, a Confederate leader, and Abraham Lincoln.
  10. Jefferson Davis’s birthday is Confederate Memorial Day in Kentucky. 
  11. William Goebel from Kentucky remains the only US governor assassinated while in office.

Kentucky Facts—Geography

Cumberland River. Credits: Unsplash
  1. Kentucky is the 37th most extensive state in the United States, with an area of 40,408 square miles.
  2. The state lies in the southeast region of the United States. Kentucky borders seven states, namely Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Illinois, Virginia, Tennessee, and Missouri.
  3. The Mississippi River forms the western border of Kentucky, while the Ohio River forms Kentucky’s northern border.
  4. Kentucky Bend is a non-contiguous region in Kentucky.
  5. Kentucky has five distinct geographical regions: the Cumberland Plateau, Pennyroyal Plateau, Western Coal Fields, Jackson Purchase, and Bluegrass Region.
  6. Black Mountain is the state’s highest point at 4,145 feet above the ground.
  7. A large portion of the Bluegrass region occurs in the Eden Shale hills region characterized by narrow hills.
  8. Much of Kentucky has a humid subtropical climate, while higher areas experience oceanic climates.
  9. In July 1930, Greensburg experienced the state’s highest recorded temperature of 46°C (114°F). The lowest (-38°C) was in 1994 at Shelbyville.
  10. Only Alaska has the higher miles of navigable rivers than Kentucky.
  11. Kentucky has rivers on its north, west, and east borders, making it the only state with three continuous river borders –Ohio River (north), Mississippi River (west), Tug Fork (east), and Big Sandy River (east).
  12. Kentucky waterways consists of rivers and lakes.
  13. Kentucky is home to Lake Cumberland (the largest artificial lake by water volume in the eastern United States) and Kentucky Lake (the largest artificial lake east of Mississippi River by surface area).
  14. Kentucky has a national park, 2 National Recreation Areas, two national forests, two National Historic Parks, 2 National Wildlife Refuges,  45 state parks, and state forests.

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Kentucky Facts—Animals And Plants

  1. Kentucky is home to the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi River.
  2. The thoroughbred horse is the state’s official mammal of Kentucky.
  3. The most common mammals in this state include coyotes, skunks, white-tailed deer, and foxes.
  4. The official state bird of Kentucky is the Northern Cardinal.
  5. Kentucky Spotted Bass is the official fish of Kentucky.
  6. Did you know that a female Kentucky Spotted Bass can lay 47,000 eggs at once?
  7. The state’s rivers are home to walleye, white bass, flathead catfish, etc.
  8. Elk, beavers, black bears, weasels, and white-tailed deer inhabit the state’s mountains.
  9. The black bears, black widow spiders, cottonmouth snakes, and copperhead snakes are the most dangerous animals in Kentucky. 
  10. The rare and endangered species of animals in the Bluegrass state include the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, Blackside Dace, Indiana Bat, Gray Bat, Whooping Crane, Cumberland Darter.
  11. The Bluegrass State is home to many plants, including Maidenhair fern, sugar maple, red maple, white baneberry,  lady’s leek, white snakeroot, and giant yellow hyssop.
  12. State symbols for plants include state tree (tulip poplar) and state flower (goldenrod).

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Kentucky Facts—Demographics

  1. Kentucky’s population is the 26th largest in the country. The state has over 4,505,836 people.
  2. Louisville is the largest and most populated of all Kentucky cities. 
  3. Frankfort is the state’s capital city of Kentucky state. Frankfort is the home to the Capitol building of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
  4. Other major cities include Lexington, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Covington, Richmond, Georgetown, and Florence.
  5. The median age is around 38 years in Kentucky.
  6. About 76% of Kentuckians are Christians.
  7. Over 80% of the state’s population are whites. Native Americans only make up 0.2% of the total population.
  8. Over 90% of Kentuckians speak English. Five percent of residents speak Spanish.
  9. Around 14% of Asians in the Commonwealth of Kentucky live below the poverty line.
  10. Only 68.94% of Kentuckians were born in Kentucky.

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Kentucky Facts—Economy

  1. Kentucky ranked 13th in Crime & Corrections and 18th in Infrastructure in the country in 2019.
  2. Fort Knox has the largest stored gold–worth $6 billion.
  3. Kentucky is home to the US’s first commercial winery.
  4. Kentucky is one of the top US producers of goats, corn, and beef cattle. 
Credits: Unsplash
  1.  Kentucky is home to automobile assembly plants, including Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. 
  2. Kentucky is home to the nation’s only low-grade uranium plant, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
  3. Kentucky produces more barrels of bourbon whiskey than its population -over 5.6 million).
  4. Kentucky has two US penitentiaries: USP McCreary and USP Big Sandy. 
  5. Kentucky was once the most comfortable place to live in.
  6. Business and Tobacco farming is important to the state’s economy.

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Credits: Unsplash
  1. Tourism is key to Kentucky’s economy. The Bluegrass State attractions include the Red River Gorge, parks, Kentucky Derby, Keeneland falls, caves, and museums.
Credits: Unsplash

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Famous Location in Kentucky

  1. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory houses a collection of baseball items. 
  2. Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky is home to ravines, sandstone cliffs, and gorges.
  3. In southern Kentucky, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is a historic Native American route you’d love to visit.
  4. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park in Hodgenville is a neoclassical Abraham Lincoln Memorial Building.
  5. The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is a popular horse racing event. Kentucky Derby Museum allows you to learn the history of Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby.
Credits: Unsplash
  1. Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington houses the active horse farm.
  2. Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville is a nice place to learn about the life of Muhammad Ali.
  3. Lost River Cave in Bowling Green.
  4. Louisville Mega Cavern is an underground place in the city of Louisville. 
  5. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Corbin. 

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Cumberland Falls. Credits: Unsplash
  1. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill In Harrodsburg.
  2. Newport Aquarium allows you to learn about the state’s aquatic life.
  3. Great American Dollhouse Museum in Danville.
  4. Mammoth Cave.
  5. Old Kentucky Dinner Train in Bardstown. 

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Famous People From Kentucky 

  • Muhammad Ali (dead), the legendary heavyweight boxer, was born in Louisville. 
  • Abraham Lincoln (dead), the 16th US President, was born in Larue county.
  • Jennifer Lawrence, the actress, was born in Indian Hills, Kentucky.
  • Loretta Lynn, singer-songwriter, was born in Kentucky.
  • Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederates States, was born in Kentucky.

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Common Misconceptions About Kentucky

Here are the common misconceptions most non-natives have about Kentucky.

Kentuckians are not well educated.

No, there is a good number of educated people in Kentucky.

The grass in Kentucky is blue.

The state’s nickname “Bluegrass State” doesn’t mean the grass is blue. The grass is green in this state, just like everywhere else.

All Kentuckians are drunks.

The state makes a lot of bourbon whiskey but not everywhere drinks.

Top 10 Weird Kentucky Laws

Read the Craziest Laws in the United States, if you want more.

  1. It’s illegal to throw flowers, tomatoes, or rotten eggs at a public speaker.
  2. You risk a fine of up to $100 if you carry a reptile into a church service.
  3. You have to stop your scooter, car, or helicopter before hunting.
  4. You can do whatever you like on Sunday. Working on Sunday is now not illegal.
  5. By an Old drinking law, you only stop being sober when you cannot stand.
  6. It’s illegal for a woman to marry one man more than three times.
  7. You should shower at least once a year while in Kentucky.
  8. It’s illegal to put ice cream in your back pocket.
  9. If you are wearing a bikini and are between 90 to 199 pounds, you need police protection to walk along any Kentucky highway.
  10. You need your husband’s permission before buying a hat in Owensboro. 
Image: Unsplash

Final Thoughts

Kentucky is a wonderful place filled with natural wonders, cultural attractions, and inviting sceneries.

We hope you liked our list of interesting facts about Kentucky.

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Kentucky Facts And Stats

Population2020 (4,505,836)
GovernorAndy Beshear (Democratic Party)
Date Of AdmissionJune 1, 1792
U.S. SenatorsMitch McConnell(R)
Rand Paul(R)
US House of Representatives6(of 435 Seats) 
State NicknameBluegrass State
State MottoUnited We Stand, Divided We Fall
State Song“My Old Kentucky Home” by Stephen Collins Foster
State FlowerGiant Goldenrod
State FishSpotted Bass
State BirdNorthern Cardinal
State TreeTulip Tree
State MammalGray Squirrel 
State DrinkMilk
State MineralCoal
State GemWater Pearl
State FossilBrachiopod
Neighbor StatesIllinois Indiana Missouri Ohio Tennessee Virginia West Virginia

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kentucky known for?

  • Kentucky Bourbon whiskey.
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  • Louisville Slugger baseball bats.
  • Kentucky River.
  • Ohio River Valley.
  • Tennessee river.
  • Kentucky Derby.
  • World Peace Bell- the world’s largest free-swinging bell.

What are 12 interesting facts about Kentucky?

  1. The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown.
  2. Louisville is home to the first electric light bulb made by Thomas Edison.
  3. The world’s largest Toyota manufacturing plant is in Georgetown.
  4. Kentucky is home to Mammoth Cave–the world’s longest cave.
  5. Only one US President, Franklin Roosevelt, has entered the Fort Knox Vault.
  6. Washington, Kentucky, was the first city named after George Washington.
  7. Henderson is the birthplace of mother’s day.
  8. Kaelin’s restaurant served the first cheeseburgers.
  9. Transylvania University is the oldest university west of the Allegheny Mountains.
  10. Kentucky is the birthplace of Bluegrass music.
  11. Patty and Mildred Hill wrote the Happy Birthday tune.
  12.  Kentucky is home to Alben Barkey, the oldest person to serve as the US Vice President.
  13. Kentucky is home to Daniel Boone National Forest.
  14. The state’s nickname the “Bluegrass State ” is due to the presence of Kentucky blue grass in the state.
  15. Kentucky is home to the Kentucky wild river.

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[1] https://www.britannica.com/place/Kentucky

[2] https://www.infoplease.com/us/census/kentucky/demographic-statistics

[3] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/kentucky#state-rankings

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Sabrina is a former campaign manager who has decided to focus her effort to help people contact senators and get help. She leads our Editorial Team with Ronald and Lawrence to curate content and resources that help us navigate the system.

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