When planning a family vacation I can guarantee you that Louisville isn’t the first destination that comes to mind (or the second 0r even fifth!) But, what many people don’t know is that Louisville is actually an amazing family oriented city and there is so much to see and do. Here are ten of my favorites…
1. The Louisville Zoo‘s Dinosaur! exhibit. Walking through the wooded path you’ll encounter dinosaurs from over twelve species, including the popular Tyrannosaurus Rex! Using animatronics technology the Dinosaur’s are eerily life like as they move and roar which makes it fun for the whole family. Just don’t watch Jurassic park with the kids before you go.
2. Water Front Park. This is a personal family favorite and is always a hit when I bring visitors from out of town. It’s a beautiful urban park that offers everything from play grounds for kids (including a water park in the summer), biking trails, lawns to sprawl out on, swing gardens for a quiet place to read, an amphitheater, and an amazing view of the river wherever you go. Simply put, it’s a peaceful retreat in the hussle and bussle of the busy city. Did I mention the swing garden? Plus, it’s free!
3. Renaissance Fun Park. If you have kids and you’re in Louisville, do yourself a favor and go to the Fun Park. This place never fails to disappoint and by the time we leave my son is always thoroughly exhausted (win-win!). Go karts, laser tag, mini golf, video games, food & drink. Need I say more? Trust me, you won’t want to leave either.
4. Louisville Equestrian Center. Horses are a huge part of Kentucky’s history. Home of Churchill Downs and some of the most famous races of all time, how could they not be?! I highly suggest a visit the Equestrian center for a lesson or two for the whole family. They offer an amazing value and it is very kid-friendly. Fun fact: literally hundreds of artfully painted horse statues can be found in downtown Louisville.
5. KaZoing. If you want to go somewhere that you can sit back and relax while your kids run around, have a blast, and get all of their energy out, this is the place to go! KaZoing offers the largest indoor party room in Kentucky with five huge inflatables. After the kids are all jumped-out they can go into the craft room and create art or into the glamor studio which offers a variety of over 400 dress up options! I’m telling you, this place is pure joy.
6. The Slugger Museum. This museum is a blast and home to the biggest bat in history, reaching a tall 120 feet. It’s a special place to the heart of Louisville and crafts the #1 Bat in Major League Baseball. At Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, experience history-in-the-making as you explore the actual factory where world-famous Louisville Slugger bats are created. After the tour be sure to check out the batting cages!
7. Mega Cavern. Take the tram tour or zipline (yes, zipline!) through part of a 17 mile man-made cavern under Louisville. It’s a great tour for all ages whether you want to learn about science and history, or simply want to experience being in a giant man-made cavern. If you are visiting during the holiday season, be sure to check out Lights Under Louisville at the Mega Cavern: The World’s Only All Underground Holiday Light Show. Just be sure to bring candy to bribe your kids into being quiet for the tour. My son screamed bloody murder throughout our cavern tour (2 years old at the time) and take my word that the last place you want to be is in an echoing cave of screaming hell.
8. Kentucky Science Center. This is a very fun hands-on environment with endless exhibits and demonstrations (geared mostly to children 10 & under). It’s highly involved environment allows children to play and have fun while teaching them at the same time. There is also a must see IMAX that is a great experience for the whole family. This particular museum is part of the Blue Star Museum program that allows free tickets for military families through the summer.
9. Hubers Farm. Although Huber’s is actually North of Louisville in Indiana, the trip is worth every penny. In fact, I feel I would be doing every Louisville visitor a disservice if I didn’t encourage a visit to Huber’s Farm. The barnyard experience is a blast for the whole family. The activities include a 40 foot barnyard tunnel slide, giant inflatable slide, Billy Goat Walk, Cow train, pony rides, and more. Don’t forget to stop in the gift shop and buy some homemade Huber’s jam (you’ll thank me later).
10. Thunder Over Louisville. This is a seasonal event, but it’s so awesome that I’d go as far to say “don’t visit Louisville until it’s the week(s) of Thunder Over Louisville“. Thunder is an annual kickoff celebration two week prior to the Kentucky Derby. In fact, it’s so huge that it is known for having the largest firework display in the world since 1990 (need I say more?). Festivities throughout the event include hot air balloon races, air shows, boat races, live music, chow wagons, and kid play areas with rock walls, giant bounce houses, face painting, and more. And while you’re in town, you might as well stay for the Kentucky Derby too!
Got any favorites in Louisville? Add them in the comments!