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A world-renowned racecourse commemorating Henry Churchill, the Churchill Downs is the holy grail for aficionados of horse racing. Spread across more than 140 acres (56 hectares), the track rekindled Louisville's hope for horse racing after two of the city's favorite venues were shut down. Since its inception in 1875, the Kentucky Derby has prospered on this track garnering many raves from jockeys and equestrian sports lovers from across the globe. Featuring more than 70 luxury suites, the interior of the site is decorated with murals of Kentucky Derby winners thus celebrating the augustness and exclusivity of the sport. A museum, stables and a clubhouse are also a part of the Thoroughbred racetrack's extensive layout.
The Kentucky Derby, held annually at the fabulous Churchill Downs, is often said to be 'The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.' The museum, which is located just outside the racecourse, elaborately presents the history of this racing tradition through more than 20,000 items that have been collected since its inception in 1875. Exhibits include trophies, sculptures, photographs and paintings along with Derby souvenirs and the private collections of former horse trainers and jockeys. Tours can be made with the museum to visit the hallowed grounds of Churchill Downs as well.
Explore Louisville Mega Cavern in a historic tram where you ride through 17 miles (27 km) of dark passageways beneath the city of Louisville. Learn about geology, history, mining techniques, recycling and green business technology as well as witness where 50,000 people would have sheltered during the Cold War Era. You can also go on 'Mega Zips', an adventure tour that features five underground zip-lines, three challenge bridges and over two hours of adrenaline. Another great tour only offered from November through December is 'Lights Under Louisville'. This underground holiday light show is perfect for the season, where guests drive through an underground passageway festooned with holiday lights.
Louisville's Waterfront Development Commission manages this massive park that runs from Beargrass Creek to the underpass of the Clark Memorial Bridge. It's always filled with runners, bikers, dog walkers and anyone else who seeks the sunshine and beauty of the Ohio River. In addition to tons of open riverfront space, the park hosts different events throughout the year. From beach volleyball to weddings, there is always something going on.
While the Kentucky Science Center is not as famous as the Museum of Natural History or the Smithsonian, it is a very educational and fun place to bring the kids. Adults will also enjoy the interactive exhibits, educational events and huge IMAX presentations, so it's not just a destination for children. The museum's exhibits focus on both general science and regional Kentucky attributes such as agriculture and coal.
The Louisville Zoo is quite possibly one of the most underrated zoos in the world. Though somewhat modest in size, in is nonetheless home to a bevy of beautiful beasts. Some include camels, baby elephants, tigers, rhinos and even polar bears. The zoo also features different special exhibits. 'Glacier Run' presents arctic animals while 'Gorilla Forest' and 'Lorikeet Landing' are self-explanatory. The tiger feedings are also an attraction that highlight the nature of this apex predator. Here, guests are invited to walk a few yards away from a mesh-covered opening as the animal feeds on its lunch.
Reenactments, music, photography, lectures, and artifacts are just some of the many ways the Frazier International History Museum helps bring the excitement of history to a contemporary audience. This 100,000 square-foot, three-floor museum's permanent collection includes Theodore Roosevelt's "Big Stick," Daniel Boone's bible, and Geronimo's bow. Children and adults are sure to be entertained by various daily reenactments, while an ongoing series of historical lectures provides fascinating insights. Groups can rent designated areas of the museum, including the fifth-floor roof garden which overlooks the Ohio River.
Muhammad Ali is one of Louisville's most prodigious sons, and this stunning multipurpose facility devoted to the boxing great promotes his ethos and six core principles of "Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect and Spirituality." The building also provides event space and it offers guests an opportunity to relive the life and times of the man who was born as Cassius Clay. Some exhibits include a movie, a number of interactive video displays, and educational programs on how to become involved in social justice projects within the community.
Leaning like an all-American obelisk on its building, the Louisville Slugger Museum's signature giant-size baseball bat is recognized as the biggest piece of ash that will never see any action on the diamond. Inside the facility, visitors are treated to a baseball experience that details the history of this iconic Major League Baseball fixture since 1884. The best part is the 30-minute tour of the factory floor, where you'll see real Sluggers being crafted out of raw timber. When you enter, sign up for the chance to obtain your own signature bat, it will be ready by the time you leave.
This former railroad bridge connects Louisville, KY to Jeffersonville, IN. Today, it's a pedestrian and bicycle only bridge and a great way to exercise while traversing two states in one day. It was reconverted as part of a Louisville revitalization project and both states provided funds for its new usage. The bridge can be accessed from beautiful Waterfront Park on the Kentucky side and from Riverside Drive from the Indiana side.