The first Saturday of every May, the Kentucky Derby caps a two week festival in Louisville, which goes by the same name. The festival includes “Thunder Over Louisville” — which is the the largest annual fireworks display in North America — the Great Balloon Race and The Great Steamboat Race. But as one of the country’s growing destination spots, there’s more to do in Louisville than the Derby. Here are four activities to add to the itinerary.
1. Copper and Kings Brandy Distillery Tour
See where the brandy comes from when you tour this distillery, located in Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood. You’ll get to see the brandy maturation cellar, where Copper and Kings uses “sonic aging” in addition to climate control to perfect their product. You’ll also get to take in the Louisville skyline while you sip brandy in the rooftop tasting room.
Learn More: Copper and Kings Brandy Distillery Tour
2. Kentucky Derby Museum
The Derby is the biggest thing that happens in Louisville all year so you really should learn its history while you’re in town. Learn the history of the derby as you make way through trophy exhibits at your own pace. Museum highlights include a replica of the Winners Circle, as well as The Greatest Race, a 360-degree, immersive movie about the Derby. There’s also an optional guided tour of the Churchill Downs racetrack, where the action takes place.
Learn More: Kentucky Derby Museum General
3. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
Celebrate the role of Louisville Slugger in baseball’s past, present and future when your tour the museum. You can explore every step of the bat making process with a tour of the factory, plus get a free miniature souvenir bat to take home. Baseball fans will also enjoy seeing some iconic memorabilia, including all the bats used in the Chicago Cubs-winning 2016 World Series.
Learn More: Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
4. Louisville Mega Cavern
Spanning nearly 100 acres, Mega Cavern boasts the world’s first totally underground zip line and aerial ropes challenge courses. There’s even an underground bike park. Geology enthusiasts will appreciate the knowledgeable tour guides, who cover everything from cavern rocks and formations, to how to survive underground. (Fun fact: the Louisville Mega Cavern was once planned to be an emergency nuclear fallout shelter during the Cold War). This is the #1 rated attraction in Louisville according to TripAdvisor. Who know you could have so much fun in a cave?
Learn more: Louisville Mega Cavern
5. Derby City’s Distillery and Museum Combo
Kill three birds with one stone when you book this tour. You get admission to two local distilleries: Cooper and Kings Distillery and Kentucky Peerless Distillery, plus the Kentucky Derby Museum.
Learn More: Derby City’s Distillery and Museum Combo Pass
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