Family vacations in Louisville can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters -- it all depends on pre-trip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Louisville family vacations.
The Kentucky Derby, held the first Saturday in May, is the most famous of Louisville's attractions. The 1.25-mile horse race is the last event in the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival that features a parade, a road race, a steamboat race and a night of fireworks. The race, the most important in thoroughbred horse racing, is held at Churchill Downs, located in south Louisville.
Address: Churchill Downs, 700 Central Ave., Louisville, KY 40208
Hours: The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May. Gates at Churchill Downs open at 8 a.m. Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:24 p.m.
Price: General admission is $40.
Louisville Science Center
Also located in the West Main District, the Louisville Science Center offers 150 interactive, hands-on exhibits as well as a four-story IMAX theater. Highlights include the Discovery Gallery,home to a mummy, a polar bear and a Gemini trainer.
Address: 727 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202
Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: Adults, $13; Children 2-11, $11; IMAX admission, $7; Friday night after 5pm, $5
Just across from downtown Louisville on the opposite side of the Ohio River, Atlantis Waterpark is the place to cool off after a morning of sightseeing in Greater Louisville. The park features a large wave pool called Tsunami Sea as well as a 43-foot maze of water slides and a toddlers' pool play area.
Address: 515 Marriott Dr., Clarksville, IN 47129
Hours: Open daily from Memorial Day weekend through mid-August from 11 a.m to 6 p.m.
Price: Weekdays, $8; Weekends, $10
Louisville Slugger Museum
The Louisville Slugger bat has been a favorite of major league baseball players since 1884. Babe Ruth used one, and so did Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron and Ty Cobb. Today, visitors to the Louisville Slugger Museum can relive the grandeur of the iconic bat. You know you're somewhere special when you pass the six-story-high bat at the entrance. Inside, you'll learn how the bats are made as well as view a variety of baseball memorabilia from Louisville Slugger users.
Address: 800 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Price: Adults, $10; Seniors (60+), $9; Children six -12, $5; Children five and younger, free
Muhammad Ali Center
Located in Louisville's West Main cultural district near several other museums, the six-story, 96,750-square foot Muhammad Ali Center is devoted to the famous boxer's life and ideas. Exhibits include a mock boxing ring where you can go a few rounds with Ali and a gallery dedicated to the boxing champ's memorabilia.
Address: 144 N. Sixth Street, Louisville, KY 40202
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Price: Adults, $9; Seniors (65+), $8; Students and Military, $5; Children six-12, $4; Children five and younger, free
The 135-acre Louisville Zoo, located five miles southeast of downtown, is home to more than 1,300 animals. Of particular note are both the Glacier Run exhibit — a state-of-the-art playground for seals, sea otters and their friends — and a four-acre natural gorilla habitat aptly named Gorilla Forest.
Address: 1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville, KY 40213
Phone: 502- 459-2181
Hours: March through Labor Day: Sunday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Labor Day through March: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: Adults, $12.95; Seniors (60+), $9.95; Children three - 11, $9.95; Children two and younger, free
Belle Of Louisville
No trip to Louisville would be complete without a trip down the Ohio River. The Belle of Louisville, a restored steamboat, has been traveling these waters for 95 years. This historic landmark makes regular sightseeing trips along the Louisville waterfront. You can even have lunch on board.
Address: 401 W. River Road Louisville, KY 40202
Hours: Late March through December. Lunch cruises board at 11:30 a.m. for a two-hour cruise, beginning at noon.
Price: Cruise Only: Adults, $18; Seniors (60+), $17; Children three -12, $9. Cruise and Lunch: Adults, $29; Seniors, $28, Children $19
What is your family's favorite Louisville destination?
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