Tourism increases in Bowling Green following solar eclipse

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- From near and far, license plates from around the country lined the parking lot of Lost River Cave's welcome center on Tuesday.

Several visitors are staying in town following Monday's total solar eclipse.

"We saw the solar eclipse and we went to the Lost River and the Corvette Museum. We went to a lot of new things this year, than I think we've -- this is the most special year that we've had so far," says the Vanwieren family from Michigan.

Some say they've had this trip planned for a while, including all the stops in Bowling Green before heading back home.

"For about a year. He's been talking about it for the last two years," says Chris Fedriko, pointing to her husband John. They drove from Massachusetts.

"We have the whole week, from Friday to Friday. We've already been to Mammoth Cave, which was wonderful, tonight we're going to The Grand Ole Opry," she adds.

Others decided to make the road-trip last minute, finding spots where they could to view the eclipse.

"We were in -- " Sandy Bryson from Pennsylvania pauses to think about where she's been, "Gallatin, Tennessee -- I don't know where I'm at," she laughs.

"We originally were just going to drive down, see [the eclipse], and go back. And, after being here, and like I said, it was just go life changing, I'm like, it's just time to relax. So we were like, let's just take in some sights," she adds, while touring Lost River Cave.

With some phone calls to friends back home, she's extending her stay in Kentucky.

"I only had arrangements for the animals -- it's five cats and two dogs -- and so I've got a neighbor for tonight and tomorrow and we don't even want to go home tomorrow depending on what all we get in today so we're going to spend another night, so I'm just trying to get everybody lined up to take care of the dogs."

As the parking lot filled up, feet hit the trails, and cave tours began, everyone still seemed to be talking about their experiences with the eclipse.

"You gotta make plans right now for 2024," adds Bryson.

Rho Lansden, the executive director of Lost River Cave, says this weekend, the business has extended its hours with so many people wanting to come visit. She says every day since Friday Lost River has seen 11 or 12-hundred people sign up for boat tours.

Vicki Fitch, the executive director of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, adds that this increase in tourism comes at a great time for our area, as trips tend to slow down this time of year with schools starting back, the increase in visitors coming for the eclipse will be beneficial to our local economy.



 
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