1. Churchill Downs
700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208 · 502-636-4400
Home of the world famous "Kentucky Derby," with thoroughbred horse racing from end of April to early July. Also features guided walking tours, as well as "the world's largest equine museum." The interactive museum allows the viewer to experience the race from the jockey's perspective. Find thoroughbred memorabilia and historical books at the museum gift shop.
2. Kentucky Derby Museum
704 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208 · 502-637-7097
Climb onto a model horse and pretend to be a jockey in the starting gate; watch lifesized videos of what it's like to be in front of the riders. Located at Churchill Downs.
3. Louisville Science Center
727 West Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 · 502-561-6100
The Louisville Science Center strives to bring out the scientist in you via exhibits, programs and IMAX® films that are both educational and entertaining. This phenomenal hands-on facility has something for everyone!
4. Louisville Slugger Museum
800 West Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 · 502-588-7228
A fascinating glimpse at an American classic. The company's 114-year history parallels the history of America’s national pastime, and this museum provides an outstanding commentary on the development of the game of baseball. Behind the scenes tour takes you through the entire manufacturing process. Impressive collection of bats from famous sluggers whose careers show why Louisville Slugger is the Official Bat of Major League Baseball.
5. Old Louisville
Louisvile, KY 40208
The country's third largest historic preservation district is billed as "America's Victorian Treasure". This amazing outdoor exhibit of Victorian architecture consists of churches, museums, bed and breakfast inns, schools and universities, parks and, of course, thousands of grand homes. Developed between the 1870s and the early 1900's, Louisville's first "suburb" has played a prominent role in local history. Particularly striking in the spring.
6. Thomas Edison House
729-31 East Washington St, Louisville, KY 40202 · 502-585-5247
Built around 1850, this was Edison's home in 1866-67. Fantastic glimpse at his impact on history, science, and communication as much of the work that earned his 1,093 patents is on display. Many hands-on exhibits include rare artifacts related to his inventions of the light bulb, movie projector, phonograph, as well as his enhancement of the telegraph and telephone. ADMISSION: Adult $4, Senior $3, Student $2
7. Colonel Sanders Museum
1441 Gardiner Ln, Kentucky Fried Chicken Headquarters, Louisville, KY 40213 · 502-874-8353
Fascinating museum chronicles the story of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Harland Sanders. Many photographs, personal items and memorabilia take you through a true American success story. Among the many items featured is Sanders' first pressure cooker - the one that changed his business overnight. Prior to utilizing the pressure cooker, it took Sanders 30 minutes to adequately cook his now legendary secret recipe!
8. Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center
201 West Riverside Dr, P.O. Box 1327, Jeffersonville, IN 47131-1327 · 812-280-9970
Situated more than 40 feet above the river, the Falls overlook some of the world's largest and oldest Devonian fossils, offering a spectacular view via the observation room's eighteen-foot tall windows. Additional exhibits and spectacular multi-media give further insight into the history of the Falls, while wall-sized viewing window and concealed, exterior microphone allow visitors to observe wildlife up close. Enjoy fishing, hiking, and picnicking. Year-round group tours are available. Gift shop, two educational classrooms and research library. Located on the banks of the Ohio River in Clarksville, Indiana at I-65 exit 0.
9. Jim Beam American Outpost and Museum
Hwy 245, Clermont, KY 40110 · 502-543-9877
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this museum chronicles the history of the company's origins from the beginning to the present. The business began in 1795 and celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1995. A Family History Room displays rare family photos and heirloom memorabilia; the restored tasting parlor is included in the tour. Visitors to the gift shop can sample their world-famous bourbon candy.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. Kentucky Derby
Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
The Kentucky Derby features top-rated, three year-old thoroughbred racehorses competing in "the run for the roses;" a race that many regard as the most exciting two minutes in sports. This event dates back to 1875, takes place on the first Saturday in May, and is the culmination of a ten-day festival of picnics, entertainment events, and balloon, bicycle and steamboat races. Although the Kentucky Derby is the first jewel in the triple crown of horse racing, it is also famous for the mint juleps and hats of the spectators. Even the men have gotten into the act now with crazy hats!
2. Thunder Over Louisville
On the Riverfront, Louisville, KY
This local favorite kicks off the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival and is attended by an estimated 650,000 viewers who line both sides of the Ohio River to enjoy food, hot air balloons and the country's largest fireworks show. Entire day of thrilling entertainment for families and people of all ages. More than 70 events for all ages to choose from. The powerful soundtrack and twin floating barge-launching platforms, along with 44 tons of fireworks, show why this is such an aptly named event! Held two Saturdays before Derby Day.
3. Kentucky Shakespeare Festival
1114 South 3rd St, Louisville, KY 40203 · 502-583-8738
This festival, in late June-July, attracts 10,000-15,000 people each year. Since its inception, more than half a million people have attended the festival’s 115 summer productions. The FREE performances are held in Central Park, in Old Louisville's historic preservation district. Handicapped accessible parking and seating. During the school year the Festival's educational outreach tour travels throughout Kentucky and beyond, taking Shakespeare to more than 40,000 students each year.
4. Kentucky State Fair
P.O. Box 37130, Louisville, KY 40233 · 502-367-5002
Held in August. Traditional events such as livestock shows, as well as competitions featuring tropical fish, cut flowers, hobbies, and antiques. A total of more than $285,000 is offered in awards, premiums, and prizes. Event originated in the late 1700's as informal, cooperative sheep shearings and developed into the modern-day format in the early 1800's. It became a state recognized event in 1901. Louisville became the permanent site of the fair in 1907. There is easy access to parking from I-65, I-264, Phillips Lane, Crittenden Drive and Preston Highway.
5. Bluegrass Music Festival of the United States
at Riverfront Plaza and Belvedere, Louisville, KY · 502-448-9107
One of the country's largest, free bluegrass festivals. Located at the Riverfront Plaza and Belvedere. This alcohol-free event is held every September, usually on Labor Day weekend. Past years’ performers have included Jimmy Martin, Ralph Stanley, the Osborne Brothers, Del McCoury, J.D. Crowe, Larry Sparks, the Country Gentlemen and the late father of bluegrass himself. It’s the second weekend of September; admission is free.
6. Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom
937 Phillips Ln, Louisville, KY 40209 · 502-366-2231
With more than 110 rides and attractions, this is the place for family entertainment and non-stop thrills. Spectacular new additions include the Road Runner Express, a family roller coaster with unexpected twists and zigzagging turns, and the Meteor Attack, the ultimate space adventure that channels motion simulator technology into an incredible jet-fighter flight that twists, turns and drops.