Create memories with a week (or weekend) of Summer fun in Louisville. We’ve pulled together a suggested list of family-friendly attractions and hidden gems around town below that are perfect for exploring.
Great for Teenages & "Tween"-agers
Art comes to life before your eyes with glassblowing at Flame Run. You are the artist with the “Design Your Own” experience where trained artists help you create your one-of-a-kind art piece. Become part of the art at 21C Museum Hotel’s falling letter art installation near the elevators. Just hold your arms out to see where the letters land. Before leaving, take a selfie with one of the red penguins that “roam around” the lobby.
For indoor fun and games, check out Activate Games where high tech games test your physical and code breaking skills (it’s almost like being a part of the movie TRON). Fulfill the need for speed up to 30 mph with indoor go-karts at Bluegrass Indoor Karting & Events. Wall-to-wall trampolines await at Altitude Trampoline Park with basketball, dodgeball, foam pit and more. (For the little ones in your group—not to worry. There’s a kid’s court the perfect size for them.) Check out Dave & Buster’s or the Main Event for additional indoor fun.
A former limestone quarry underneath parts of Louisville found a new life as the world’s only underground adventure park. The Louisville Mega Cavern is home to a zipline course, tram tour, ropes course, bike tour, and more. Enjoy outdoor thrills and chills at Kentucky Kingdom & Hurricane Bay Amusement Park with over 70 rides and attractions throughout the amusement park and over 25 water slide plus a wave pool at the water park.
The Younger Crowd
Take a 90-minute guided tour of Louisville to see all the sights aboard Trolley De ‘Ville. Waterfront Park's playground is perfect for kids to run around and explore. Be sure to walk across the Big Four Bridge to watch the barges navigate the Ohio River. The Speed Art Museum is the oldest and largest art museum in Kentucky that is home to classical and modern art plus rotating temporary exhibitions. For the budding artist, stop by Art Sparks-- an interactive, hands-on art gallery.
Ready to meet some four-legged friends? Stop by the Louisville Zoo, where you’ll meet include Lee the Polar Bear, Fitz the African Elephant calf, and the newest slower moving residents—the two-toed Sloths Sebastian and Sunni. Across town, goats, donkeys and horses are waiting to say "hi" at Blackacre State Nature Preserve. Just north of Louisville, Huber’s Orchard & Winery Family Farm Park is loaded with outdoor fun with a train, slides, mazes and larger than life animals (don’t worry they won’t bite).
Along the banks of the Ohio River in Southern Indiana, budding geologists will enjoy hiking atop the 390-million-year-old fossil beds at the Falls of the Ohio State Park. As the largest hands-on science center in the state, the Kentucky Science Center encourages all visitors to engage in science in their own way throughout each of the floors.
Hike through one of Louisville’s many parks from Iroquois Park to the newest park system-- the Parklands of Floyds Fork. Head across the river and back in time at Rose Island to roam among the remains of a 100-year-old abandoned amusement park. Just south of Louisville is Bernheim Arboretum and Forest where you can join one of the daily educational programs, walk among the canopy tree tops or meet the three Forest Giants who call the forest home.
Stop and smell the flowers at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens where there is always something new in bloom. Visit an urban farm with the tiniest livestock of butterflies and exotic insects at Idlewild Butterfly Farm & Insectarium. Cave Hill Cemetery began in the 1840s as a garden-style cemetery that has evolved into an award-winning arboretum that is the final resting place for many famous Kentuckians like Colonel Sanders and Louisville’s own, Muhammad Ali. (Traveler tip: once inside there are two colored lines on the ground to guide you around—Green for Muhammad Ali & Yellow for Colonel Sanders.)
A few hidden gem attractions to worth a visit include the American Printing House for the Blind, the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to creating for the blind and visually impaired from braille books to talking books for over 150 years. And the Little Loomhouse, that has been welcoming guests since the 1880s like Frank Lloyd Wright & Eleanor Roosevelt, but the Little Loomhouse is famous for being where the “Happy Birthday to You” song was composed and first performed by the Hill Sisters.
Don't forget to visit some of the city’s iconic attractions before heading home like the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Muhammad Ali Center, Kentucky Derby Museum, Frazier History Museum, Belle of Louisville, and one of the city’s newest museums-- Roots 101 African American Museum that explores the African American journey its entirety from Africa to all the ports in between.
Get ready to cheer on your favorite sports teams—the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A team for the Cincinnati Reds, at Louisville Slugger Field or the Louisville City FC (men’s professional soccer team) and Racing Louisville FC (women’s professional soccer team) at Lynn Family Stadium.
Keep your eyes peeled as you walk down the street, pass alleys, traverse through parking garages, and past the backdoors of businesses— or you might miss some unique artwork and sculptures. Alley Gallery has turned the downtown area into an outdoor art gallery featuring the work of local artists.
After exploring all the amazing attractions and parks around town, here are a few suggestions of place where you can all kick back, relax and enjoy.
Eats + Sweet Treats
|Union Restaurant & GameYard||Troll Pub Under the Bridge|
|Please & Thank You||80/20 @ Kaelin’s (Home of the Cheeseburger)||Mark’s Feed Store|
|Bearno’s Pizza||Bae’s Bakery||Glow Worm Play Café|
|The Old Spaghetti Factory||Comfy Cow||Schimpff’s Confectionary|
|Louisville Cream||Nord’s Bakery||Hi-Five Donuts|
|Kizito Cookie Factory||Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company|
Louisville has no shortage of events happening all summer long. Check out our calendar of events to see what is going on while you're visiting or sign up for our weekly Front Runners tip sheet for the "best bets" for weekend fun.