Had I known there were so many fun things to do in Louisville with kids, I would have planned a few extra days to spend visiting the city. We only had one day to experience as much of Louisville as possible and it left us wanting to come back for more.
First of all Louisville is a stunning city. The architecture and classic charm, along with the views of the Ohio river make Louisville an amazing city to explore for all ages.
We decided to visit Louisville, Kentucky during our road trip to Tennessee. The great thing about including many places in your road trip is you get to experience so many places. The not so great thing is you are limited with time.
We had less than 24 hours to experience as much of Louisville as we possible. There are many family friendly Louisville attractions but we decided to visit two: The Kentucky Derby Museum and the Louisville Slugger Museum.
Best Things to do in Louisville with Kids for the Day
Kentucky Derby Museum with Kids
We’ve watched the Kentucky Derby a few times but the kids didn’t really know what we were walking into, I didn’t really know either.
When you plan your visit always check the schedule on the website and make sure there isn’t an event going on during your visit. The Kentucky Derby Museum is located next to Churchill Downs and they are separate places, but your general admission ticket does allow a 30 minute walking tour of the grounds.
The tour is really awesome because you walk so close to the track and learn a lot. That being said it can be tough for kids to get through. There is a lot of walking, inside and outside, and a lot of stopping to talk and ask questions. My kids did okay but I don’t think they would want to do it again.
We did the tour first and they were ready to explore the museum as soon as we finished. Plus it was a 90 degree day so it was incredibly hot!
After the tour we were happy to get inside where it was cooler and we took a break to sit and watch “The Greatest Race” show. This is a 360 degree theater show that narrates the story of everyone involved in race day from morning until the end of the day.
We all really liked this. It was interesting to see all the preparation that goes into race day and the many people involved. There are only a few seats in this area so most people were standing or sitting along the wall on the floor.
Next the kids wanted to spend time playing with the interactive exhibits. Riders Up is a simulated horse race that was a lot of fun. The exhibits were really interesting. I liked seeing the story behind the fashion and the hats of the Kentucky Derby and taking our picture in the winners circle.
There is also a Kentucky Derby Museum Stable that we missed. It has live horses and is a permanent stable at the museum. The museum visit took us around 2 hours and that included the guided tour.
Can’t Miss at the Kentucky Derby Museum
- Tour of Churchill Downs
- Watch “The Greatest Race”
- Participate in Riders UP
- Explore the exhibits and learn the history.
- Take your picture in the winners circle.
Visiting the Louisville Slugger Museum with Kids
The Louisville Slugger museum has a tour that guides you through the production of the Louisville Slugger bats. It is about a 20 minute tour and there is no video or photography allowed.
We learned a lot from the tour and it was incredible to see a piece of wood turned into a baseball bat. The tour is a lot of fun and at the end you receive your own min-bat.
The museum itself is not very large and would take under an hour to tour. The highlight of the visit was having an opportunity to hold a famous bat. They had bats from every player imaginable and this was a very cool moment. When you hold the bats you wear gloves and have to be very careful to keep the bats preserved.
Can’t Miss at the Louisville Slugger Museum
- Factory Tour
- Big Bat Photo at the Entrance
- Hold a Real Baseball Bat
Ending Our Louisville, Kentucky Day
After our busy day combined with the heat I really thought we would go back to the hotel and collapse for the day. We did go to our hotel but there was one more think we wanted to do: EAT!
My husband is the food guy in our family and he does most of the research for where we will eat during our travels. He found a restaurant a few blocks away from our hotel. As exhausted as we were we walked to the Troll Pub Under the Bridge.
This is literally under the bridge and might not look like your first choice for a family dinner. Even as we walked down the stairs to enter the restaurant I was second guessing our decision. You never know when traveling with kids if a place is going to be kid friendly.
Finding a place that is kid friendly and has amazing food is a huge win…and we found it in the Troll Pub!!
I would suggest arriving for an early dinner because I am sure it becomes more of an adult place as the night goes on but the staff was wonderful and the food was amazing!
They had many craft beers and options for everyone. I loved the sweet potato tater tots and the kids loved the fried pickles and pub pretzels. They do not have a kids menu but between the appetizers and personal pizzas it was easy to find a good choice for the kids.
A Few More Louisville Attractions for Families
Although we couldn’t do everything we wanted there are a few Louisville attractions we have added to our list for our next visit.
- Louisville Zoo
- Louisville Mega Cavern
- Louisville Waterfront
- Muhammad Ali Center
- Kentucky Science Center
We had a jam packed day with all the things to do in Louisville and while we were excited for the next part of our adventure we were sad to have to leave early the next morning. Louisville was a great city and we would love to go back to spend more time exploring everything it has to offer!
Looking for more family fun inspiration?
Subscribe to my mailing list and receive all the latest posts.
Leah has been traveling with her family of 5 since 2012 and sharing her expertise on planning family vacations and visiting theme parks since 2016. Leah has been featured in Visit Rochester, Undercover Tourist, and Home Publications. She has worked with brands like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Hersheypark, Toyota, and various Tourism boards and destinations. Leah creates family travel itineraries based on real trip experiences with her family. Her guides and tips help others plan great family vacations. Learn more about Leah and Five for the Road.