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Lexington, KY’s Kentucky Fun Mall, Home of the Bear Who Ate Cocaine

The wildest local news story in Lexington: Cocaine Bear

You’ve heard about the bear who ate cocaine, and now you can meet him at the Kentucky For Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington, KY, for the low low price of $0. We’re proud to be the home of the real Cocaine Bear, the subject of countless news pieces — and even a new movie: Cocaine Bear. But KY4KY goes way beyond just the Cocaine Bear. The Kentucky Fun Mall celebrates all of Kentucky’s greatest, not just the same old facts you already know. Let us paint you a picture of a visit to the Fun Mall: 

The Kentucky Fun Mall

Welcome to the Kentucky Fun Mall!

Housed in an old parachute factory, the Kentucky Fun Mall is a visual feast, packed to the brim with the very best of KY. The walls are covered with memorabilia of all great things from Kentucky. And we sell the weirdest, wildest Kentucky-themed stuff you can think of. Want a preserved horse turd from a Kentucky Derby runner? You can get one here. 

Forget the typical souvenir shop — this is leaps and bounds past what you’d typically imagine. In addition to items for sale, there are museum-like pieces all around the mall. These displays honor places, inventions, foods, drink, and notable people like Colonel Sanders, inventor of the famous Kentucky Fried Chicken. 

The Kentucky Fun Mall is a place that’s dedicated to celebrating the awesomeness of Kentucky. It’s a monument to the people, places, and things that make this Commonwealth unique. Think Loretta Lynn, bourbon, and the Derby, of course, but did you know we’re also the home of the high five, the Happy Birthday song…and Cocaine Bear? (More on that later.)

Everywhere you look, you’ll see Kentucky. And this place makes for the best scavenger hunt in town. Looking for a pic of Fat Elvis in the back of a flatbed pickup? We got that.

We just go beyond at the Fun Mall. For example: You can immerse yourself in fried chicken (its history, not literally) and bring home the drip to prove it: You can pick up a chicken bucket hat, a fried chicken drumstick ornaments for your holiday tree (we actually use these year ‘round), Colonel Sanders statues, heck, even a preserved fried chicken drumstick. Yup, a real drumstick, suspended in clear resin. 

As you can see, we’re obviously obsessed with all things Kentucky. And you should be, too. But let’s face it: The star of the show is the infamous Cocaine Bear. Who’s Cocaine Bear? Funny you should ask. Cocaine Bear’s story is intertwined with that of one of the Commonwealth’s greatest scandals: The Bluegrass Conspiracy.

Cocaine Bear: Arguably the best part of the Bluegrass Conspiracy

The Bluegrass Conspiracy is a tale so crazy, you’d swear that it was made for television — high-level government corruption, drug smuggling, and a parachute escape that failed miserably. Let’s start at the end. 

When Kentucky Blueblood-turned-drug-smuggler Andrew Thornton II plummeted to his death in late 1985, he was carrying thousands of dollars in cash and 150 pounds of cocaine. How did he get here?

The Bluegrass Conspiracy is an inside story of power, greed, drugs, and murder, and when it was pubished, it blew the lid off of Lexington, KY. The story follows Andrew Thornton II’s path from hardworking law student to a police officer to a career criminal with the specialized knowledge and connections to get away with some big-time drug smuggling…for a while. The heights to which the corruption reached was astounding, and it could have gone on forever if Thornton’s parachute had worked. 

A man falling without a parachute

After years of smuggling drugs on small planes, Thornton overestimated just how much cocaine he could pack onto his plane. To stay aloft, he jettisoned 40 plastic containers of cocaine into the wilderness before abandoning the plane. He jumped from his plane and became entangled in his parachute. When he was found, he was wearing body armor and night vision goggles. He was carrying cash, knives, guns…and a duffel bag with 75 pounds of cocaine in it. You know, as one does.

Now, here’s where it gets even better (yes, it gets better): Three months later, a dead bear was found in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest. A bear in the Chattahoochee National Forest right across the border had overdosed on the cocaine that Thornton had dropped from his airplane. In fact, he had eaten enough cocaine that its stomach was “packed to the brim” with it. But while Cocaine Bear had died, his legend was just beginning. 

OK, but so how did Cocaine Bear make his way to the Fun Mall?

You can read the full Cocaine Bear story in our Journal, but here’s the gist. After being released from the medical examiner’s office, the bear was stuffed and displayed at the Chattahoochee National Park’s offices. The NPS kept it family-friendly, so there was no mention of Cocaine Bear’s sordid past. After a forest fire, the bear went missing…and turned up in Vegas (of course). A few years after its sale, we did a little investigating and brought that bear home to Kentucky. We firmly believe that Cocaine Bear is the coolest (and weirdest) part of the Bluegrass Conspiracy, and we think he belongs right here in Lexington, where the whole story started. So we brought him home to Kentucky, and now you can come see him anytime you want.

The most fun you can have in Lexington, Kentucky (without taking your pants off)

Just a normal day at the Kentucky Fun Mall

At the Kentucky Fun Mall, we focus on one thing and one thing only: Kentucky. There is so much you don’t know about Kentucky, and so many weird and wonderful things to see. We think Cocaine Bear is a must-see for every visitor to Lexington (and we definitely sell the best Cocaine Bear merch on the planet, guaranteed). 

And if you’re not into Cocaine Bear? OK, that’s fine too. With our wide variety of Kentucky-centric fun, facts, and merch, there’s something for everyone, guaranteed. From the standard (ice cube trays! Pride merch! T-shirts that make fun of Yale!) to the “I don’t think I can give this to Grandma”, we’re proud to offer offbeat Kentucky souvenirs in an atmosphere that celebrates the best about our great state. Come on down, y’all

COCAINE BEAR GEAR