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Travel Logs June 2016

Compulsive Traveler

Take 10 in Louisville

By Sandra Scott

There is plenty of street art including “Kentucky’s Rushmore” depicting Mohammad Ali, Abraham Lincoln, Colonel Sanders, and Secretariat. Colorful street statues of horses are part of their Gallopalooza project.

Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city is home to several iconic sites. Every May more than 100,000 people make their way to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. That isn’t the only sport connection to the city. It is home to the Mohammed Ali Center and where the Louisville Slugger is made. The city likes to be called the “Bourbon Capital of the World” but there are also beautiful parks, historical sites, and more.

  1. Churchill Downs: Every May the Louisville Marching Band plays the derby’s signature song and 1000s of spectators join in singing, “My Old Kentucky Home,” before the beginning of the Run for the Roses. Daily tours of Churchill Downs are available and the adjacent Kentucky Derby Museum celebrates all aspects of racing. Try their signature drink – a mint julep.
  2. The Mohammad Ali Center: The tour of the center starts on the third floor with a five-screen multimedia presentation called “If You Can Dream.” It provides an overview of Ali’s life and explains his six core principles: confidence, conviction, dedication, respect, giving, and spirituality. It preserves the legacy of Mohammed Ali and inspires people to release the greatness within.
  3. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory: The museum details the history of the famous Slugger bat with a mix of exhibits. You can have your fast ball clocked. On view is the Louisville Slugger used by Joe DiMaggio to set his 56-game hitting streak. A film, “The Heart of the Game” gives insight to the game from the player’s perspective. After a tour of the factory you can buy your own personalized Slugger.
  4. Bourbon: Visit the Evan Williams Bourbon Museum situated on the site of their first commercial distiller. Videos, dioramas, and displays explain the history of bourbon distilling that started in 1783. By law, bourbon must be aged in new, charred white oak barrels, and it must be distilled from corn grown in the USA. Dedicated bourbon sippers can pick up a passport and follow the Bourbon Trail.
  5. The Frazier History Museum: The Frazier details 1000 years of history. Their vast collection includes a rifle owned by George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt’s “Big Stick.”
    The Lewis and Clark Expedition has many interactive and hands-on exhibits. There are daily historical presentations and live demonstrations. Several exhibits debunk many cowboy legends.
  6. Old Louisville: Old Louisville is home to one of the largest historic preservation districts in the nation having the country’s greatest collection of preserved Victorian architecture. For an illustrated brochure call Old Louisville Information Center (502) 635-5244. The perimeter is so large that five tours are suggested.
  7. Art: The Speed Art Museum has a collection of art covering more than 6,000 years of man’s creativity. Explore the cultural diversity of Asia at the Asia Institute Crane House. There is plenty of street art including “Kentucky’s Rushmore” depicting Mohammad Ali, Abraham Lincoln, Colonel Sanders, and Secretariat. Colorful street statues of horses are part of their Gallopalooza project.
  8. The River: Louisville owes its existence to the Ohio River. Enjoy a scenic cruise on the Belle of Louisville or the Spirit of Jefferson. Landlubbers can relax in the city’s 85-acre Waterfront Park, the site of many events. There is an overlook near 26th Street where people can see barges and other boats go through the McAlpine Lock and Dam.
  9. Parks: In 1891 Frederick Olmstead, famed for designing New York City’s Central Park, designed Louisville’s park system based on his concept of parks connected to tree-lined parkways instead of freestanding parks. Today there is a 100-mile trail system that connects parks, neighborhoods and attractions.
  10. And more: There are plenty of diversions: golf courses, amusement parks, theaters, karting, and festivals. Try Louisville’s signature dishes: the open-face Hot Brown Sandwich created at the Brown Hotel, a variation of a traditional Welsh rarebit, or end a meal with a piece of the decadent Derby Pie, a tart made of walnuts and chocolate chips.


Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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