In 2015, during our seven-week road trip, we spent a wonderful day in downtown Louisville, touring the Louisville Slugger Museum and seeing other highlights of the city.  (See my blog post here.)

This time, we arrived in Louisville aboard the American Duchess, so we saw the city skyline from a different perspective.



Instead of revisiting downtown, we did something we missed during our first visit:  took a behind the scenes tour of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.  Having seen Churchill Downs on TV over all these years, it was fun to be able to actually be there.  On this day, however, it was very quiet; not a horse to be found on the track.  It was a very hot day, and the horses that were there had been exercised hours before our tour.  (We had been fortunate to get to see the horses close-up during our tour of Keeneland Race Course during that road trip, but the timing just wasn’t right for this tour.)

One of the highlights of touring Churchill Downs was getting to meet 1970 Kentucky Derby winning jockey, Mike Manganello, who rode Dust Commander to victory.  We heard some interesting stories during our Q&A session with him and learned what life is like to be a professional jockey.


The other highlight was watching a film about the history of Churchill Downs that we viewed in a theater with a 360-degree screen.  We sat on stools in the center with the screen surrounding us.  As they showed footage from previous Kentucky Derby races, we spun around to watch as the horses raced a full 360 degrees around the screen.  Since the sound traveled with the scene, and the camera angles were very close-up, the experience was thrilling and quite unique!


Here are scenes from the day at the track:









Bill Shoemaker was one short guy! We toured the Churchill Downs Museum and learned about the great jockey.


Standing next to Wilt Chamberlin proves just how short Shoemaker was– and, how tall Chamberlin was in comparison!









Yesterday afternoon following our tour of Maker’s Mark, we made our way along the less-traveled back roads to Louisville. The remainder of the day and evening was spent exploring the downtown area and scoping out the spots we would return to today during business hours.

Before returning to our hotel after dinner, I insisted we take the short drive on one of the bridges that crosses the Ohio River, so we could get a short look at Indiana on the other side. Hey, with us being THIS close to a state we had never been to, how could we come this far and NOT go there? Yes, it’s almost like cheating to add Indiana to my “States Traveled” list, but what is the official criteria, anyway?

This morning, I finally had an opportunity to get in a good swim. Although we had the time in Bowling Green, the pool was closed until later this month, so I had nowhere to swim.


The Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center was wonderful, because they offered an option of swimming short course yards or long course meters, because of their set up of a half-pool bulkhead. Given that option, I’ll take long course every time. Walls just get in the way! I love to get in a good rhythm swimming butterfly without having to break it up with a turn.

Meanwhile, Bruce got in a nice 3-mile walk in a path around the reservoir across the street.

Feeling refreshed and invigorated, we were ready to tackle a full day in the city. Since the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory was top on our list, we started with a tour.

Normally, when photographing somebody, I like to get in close so you can actually see the person in the photo; however, this ant-sized photo of Bruce shows just how large the bat is on the outside of the factory! (Just in case you were wondering, no, it’s not made of wood!)



This “Gallopalooza” horse depicts the scene across the street.


Here’s the bad news/ good news about the 1.8 million wooden Louisville Slugger bats that are produced each year. The bad news is that 40,000 are used to make those bats. The good news is that the trees used for the bats reseed themselves and six more trees grow for every tree that is harvested from the forest.

Back in the 1960’s, the bats were made by hand and took 20 minutes to shape. Now, a more precise computerized lathe is used, and it takes only 30 seconds to shape a bat (or 37 seconds for a major league ball player’s bat).



After the tour and enjoying the exhibits in the museum (especially everything about Hank Aaron and Tony Gwynn, our favorite baseball players), we walked all around the downtown area and rode on the free Zero Bus to Muth’s Candies to buy some chocolates. Muth’s has been producing chocolates since 1921. We also visited The Brown, one of the top hotels in the United States. It was absolutely gorgeous.


About that Zero Bus, the “Zero” stands for zero emissions, because the buses are 100% electric. It was interesting to see this bus pull into the charging station and hook up for a fresh electrical charge.


Our day ended with a stroll through the Historic District and a drive by Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.




We enjoyed our stay in Louisville. The downtown area was clean, safe, and a nice place for walking.