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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.
Frederick Law Olmstead not only designed the great New York parks, Central and Prospect, but he also created this gem in the Bluegrass State. Though its location may be outside of downtown Louisville, it's a veritable playground replete with locals taking advantage of the amenities when the weather allows. Some park features include the popular amphitheater, an archery range, basketball courts, disc golf course, fishing lake, miles of trails, horseshoes, picnic areas, playground, tennis courts, etc. Car access on the road to the top of the park is only open between the months of April to October, but bike and foot access is available throughout the year.
Located at the University of Louisville, the Gheens Science Hall & Rauch Planetarium provides an exciting look at the heavens. The 160-seat theater gives audiences a 360-degree view of a realistic night sky from their tilted seats. With special holiday events, daily shows, enlightening lectures, and group discounts, the planetarium is a stellar way to begin or further a lifelong interest in the universe beyond this planet.
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.
Ever wanted to learn tapestry weaving or carve delicate features in stone? The Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft is the place to explore hidden talents in an array of workshops, browse art exhibits in the gallery or shop for unique cadeaux at the gift store. Workshops for adults and children teach skills as varied as quilt-making and drawing and classes are also offered for special needs students. Moreover, there is always a touring art exhibit of some type as well as a permanent collection; the museum does charge a small fee for admittance.
At 746 acres (302 hectares), McNeely Lake Park is one of the largest parks in Louisville. The park is dotted with picnic spots, hiking trails and large fields perfect for soccer or football. The picturesque McNeely Lake, complete with a boat ramp and pier, is great for fishing activities, so don't forget the lures and lines. One of the additional highlights at this park is the Korean War Memorial, which was dedicated in 1993.
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.
Freedom Hall is one of the eight venues housed within the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. The arena hosts events such as wrestling competitions, basketball, and ice shows among many, many others. The venue seats around 19,000 spectators, and for smaller events the space can be customized to hold a minimum of 6,000 people. VIP rooms are also available.
Kentucky Kingdom is a fun seasonal amusement park and water park. Get an adrenaline rush on a roller coaster ride, then jump on the swinging pirate ship, and then relax on the carousal. With tons of rides you'll find something for everyone, from little kids to adult thrill seekers. Afterwards cool off at Hurricane Bay which has water rides including a wave pool, slides, and a lazy river.
Renaissance Fun Park is the spot to go for hi-octane entertainment. It's comprised of three main attractions: the go-karts, laser tag center and mini-golf. The center is spread over four acres (1.6 hectares) and it's a great place to host all kinds of events, from corporate team building parties to other group functions. Needless to say, its a perfect spot to bring the kids on their birthday. The park is located in the suburb of Middletown, about 20 minutes east of downtown Louisville.