Very cool tour - I went on a Sunday, when there is no production (also, no noise and dust). Tour starts with a short film that fires you up for baseball season (which cannot start soon enough for me), then a hand-lathing demonstration. Then it is into the production floor where the guide walks you through the process of making the world famous Louisville Slugger bats. I was fascinated by the wall of metal signatures of every major league player since Honus Wagner. You get to pick up and touch actual bats made for the big league stars! After the tour, you get a free mini-bat as a souvenir!
There was a batting cage for the kids, and more to see. The place is undergoing renovations until April 2009, so if you go before then, admission is only $5. After that, be sure to stop at the visitor's center downtown to get discount admission coupons.
At the Louisville Glassworks, you may purchase a wide selection of glass ornaments (or anything that you can imagine really), or do what we did, and we created our own glass "bubble". We could select our own colours also, but you need to wait at least around 24 hours to pick it up to allow it to settle. All this cost $40.00.
It was extremely hot inside the area where the glass is made, so it was a relief we were there in the winter as we would stick our heads outside of the door to cool off whilst we waited for each of our turns to blow the glass.
Louisville is famous for the world renown horse racing facilty, Churchill Downs. Churchill was created in 1875 by the grandson of William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame). It was named for John and Henry Churchill, who donated the land to Clark to build the facility. Clark had been to England and watched the English Derby and thought the same idea would work here.
The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horse races are two of the oldest and most famous in the US, consecutively running since 1875. I was lucky enough to attend the 133rd festival this year, with alot of the attention being dedicated to the memory of Barbaro, the 2006 winner who was recently put down.
On the days leading up to the Oaks and Derby, admission is only $2 to the grandstands and parking is free (on the back side).
I love this stuff! To celebrate the spirit of the Kentucky Derby, and to raise money for charity, local businesses sponsor an artist to decorate a life-sized sculpture of a racehorse, which is then put on display for the public.
I found several more horses, but as I was driving, I could not get photos. The ones I did see were fabulous! Something to keep your eye out for while walking around Louisville!
If you have ever tasted bourbon and not gotten sick, you should visit this institution. The ride from Louisville is a bit complicated, but gorgeous scenery. Be sure to take the FREE tour and enjoy the FREE samplers of bourbon at the end (hint: someone needs to be the designated driver!)
The tour of the track was included in the admission price to the museum and we took it because we could not go to see races as we had at Oaklawn in Hot Springs. The tour includes the actual Finish Line pole used at Churchill Down for many years. The track site says that grave sites of three famous Kentucky Derby winners, Carry Back (1961), Swaps (1955) and Brokers Tip (1933) are located outside on the museum grounds. I don't recall that we saw the graves. There is also supposed to be a TB (Thoroughbred) and a miniature horse on the grounds, but we did not see them either.
Incidentally, Thoroughbred is a breed of horse like a poodle is a breed of dog. Thoroughbreds are purebred, but not all purebreds are thoroughbreds.
We did see the Grandstand, the Finish Line and Winner's Circle. The guide told us about the saddling enclosure, and showed us (from outside) where all the owners boxes were.
First tour 9:30 am; Last tour 4:15 pm. Obviously most of the tours are not available during Derby Week (the first week in May)
There are additional tours that you can pay for, but we didn't take any of those. This includes the INSIDERS' TOUR Museum tour guides take up to 20 guests on a one-hour behind the scenes tour of the Jockeys' Quarters, Millionaires' Row, the Press Box and other areas of Churchill Downs' newly renovated clubhouse.
$10.00 for adults, children (4 and under) FREE. W/ Museum admission only.
Starts Monday - Saturday (10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm); Sunday (1:30 pm and 3:00 pm)
Not available during the Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.
and the BACKSIDE TOURS (AVAILABLE MARCH THRU NOV)
Museum tour guides take up to 12 guests on a one-hour tour of Churchill Downs' stable area and infield. There are also two stops for picture taking, time permitting.
$6.00 for adults, children (4 and under) FREE. W/ Museum admission only.
Starts Monday - Saturday (7:00 am, 8:30 am, 10:00 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm); Sunday (12:30 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm)
Right across the river, follow signs for Falls of the Ohio Visitors Center. The waterfalls on the Ohio River, over a century ago, when Louisville was founded forced travelers to get out and portage around. Louisville was founded to support this activity. Years later, a dam was constructed. Today, you can go visit, when the dam is closed, the Falls of the Ohio, and walk around below the dam. It is really cool and kids will love it. The visitors center has much more information on the history of the area. Also, along with the falls, a little ways down river, are the McAlpin Locks. These are also old, yet still functional pieces of Louisville history.
Exhibit runs from March 9 - August 29, 2010
Admission $5 adults, $3 students/seniors over 65, $3 advance group tickets (10+)
This was a wonderful presentation of ~ 125 faithful reproductions of the treasures found in King Tut's tomb. For only $5 admission fee, it got us excited about our upcoming trip to Egypt, and anxious to see the real thing. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, and so a private guided tour, as you are accompanied by a docent who was a wealth of information about the Egyptians, pharaoh's, and their gods.
Art-o-Mat machines are refurbished cigarette vending machines, reconfigured to dispense artwork. For $5 each, you select the artist/artwork you want by pulling the knob linked to them. It is fun, and affordable.
At the Kentucky Center Art-o-Mat, I got a mixed media color block, and a block containing one piece of a 117 piece painting - kinda looks like an eye. I'll upload photos soon!
This was a fun place to visit. We went in for the current "Pirates!" exhibition, which was a very cool interactive exhibit. Geared toward a younger audience, we still had fun - get a treasure map as you enter and collect the stamps at various stations. Redeem the completed map in the gift shop for a free chocolate coin! Climb under the pirate ship, ring the bells, read the hidden messages on the pirate flags - it was informative, interesting and fun! Pirates! runs thru September 7, 2010.
Also in the museum are three floors worth of exhibits; armaments - suits of armour, swords, guns, bow-&-arrow; a section devoted to the American Old West (Annie Oakley, Jesse James), George Washington's rifle, and other interesting exhibits.
Admission is $9 for Adults, $7 for children. Be sure to pick up a flyer in the entrance to the museum which will save you $2 per admission!
Downtown Louisville did a great job marketing its main entertainment district by renaming it Fourth Street Live! Essentially it is a blocked off street between Liberty and Muhammed Ali Blvd in the heart of downtown. There are several restaurants and clubs, as well as a smaller food court and shopping.
I was there on a Tuesday night, which was not nearly as full as I assume it gets on weekends, but the following night I was watching the news and they had a full crowd there to watch the official draw for positions at the Kentucky Derby!
Gaslight Festival. This festival, located in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, is great for families and younger kids. There are rides, games, arts and crafts, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It is pretty cool for kids and teens, especially as a place to hang out, and meet other teens.
This is an excellent place to do further research on Kentucky. It's also an interesting building. The old part dates back to 1902, while the newer one was completed in 1969. It has some interesting sculpture as well--statues of Benjamin Franklin in front of the new part and of Abraham Lincoln in front of the older one.
I was only mildly impressed by the Louisville Zoo. Many of the exhibits were small and a tad unkempt, and there wasn't a sign at the front gate telling us which animal exhitibs were closed for the day. Most of the day felt like an elongated nature walk rather than visiting a zoo, but there did seem to be an abundance of picnic tables and park-like areas for lunching and lounging, if that's what you're interested in. The highlight of the trip was getting to see the feeding of a baby elephant, only one month old (so cute!). As a side note, we went on a Monday, and though the weather was gorgeous, there were few crowds, which allowed us to not have to struggle to see any of the animals.
There is a lot to do in the city. Great college basketball and football during the seasons and a minor league baseball team the Riverbats who play at home in Slugger field. Excellent art museum (speed museum), Kentucky Derby Museum, louisville Slugger museum, several older restored landmark houses downtown which offer tours, and lots of antique shops in the bardstown road area which is the arts and crafts..soho equivalent
Louisville is home to the Kentucky Derby which runs the first Saturday in May. At the track (Churchill downs) there is a great inter active museum that is worthy of a visit. if you are here when the track is open for the regular meets, I recommend at least a visit. We do have a nice zoo and an IMAX theater which changes programs often.
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