This spring we had the opportunity to visit Western Kentucky which is known well for making Bourbon and horses. In a previous post I wrote about making bourbon so on this weekend of the Kentucky Derby I thought it appropriate to write about horses. One morning we stopped at a horse breeding farm in Lexington where we were treated to some very young horses which they call foals.
In the photo above, this young foal was about 3 months old in a stall with its mother. It’s really amazing to see this young horse as it continues to learn what life is all about. I could have stayed and photographed this little horse for hours and maybe even all day. Surprisingly this little horse already had a halter on which I never really thought about. Kind of like a new puppy where a collar is often times put on early in their life so they get use to it.
What is a horse adventure without actually getting on one. A short drive away, near Mammoth Cave, we found a farm offering trail rides to take advantage of through this beautiful landscape. While riding one of these horses you can feel just how powerful they are as they traverse up and down hills along with the uniqueness of each horse. Even on a hour trail ride you can see each one has a different personality which is kind of fun to watch.
Seeing a 3 month old foal was really exciting but there was another treat for us at this horse breeding farm. In the photo above we’re feeding this thoroughbred carrots but behind it you can barely see a newborn foal. It was born almost 12 hours before this and was still a little wobbly on it’s feet as it tried to walk around in its stall. Such a treat!
What is a trip to Western Kentucky exploring horses without stopping at Churchill Downs? There is a museum here that displays the history of the Kentucky Derby over the last century which is quite interesting. Along with the museum there are tours providing views of different parts of this horse track. As you go through each area you can almost feel the excitement and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby. Now when watching this on TV it brings a different perspective. It’s much more personal with increased interest.
At first thought, Louisville Kentucky is not in a lot of peoples list of places to go. That is except for one day a year – The Kentucky Derby! We took a weeklong trip recently and once we started looking at what there is to do, we found plenty to keep us busy. The number one attraction on TripAdvisor is the Mega Cavern. This was certainly on our list but we never did make it. If you’re looking for a unique adventure, this would appear to be it with underground ziplines and ropes course. For sports enthusiasts there is the Louisville Slugger Museum and factory. That was something I forgot about until getting to Louisville and seeing signs with the bat on it.
Moving on to areas to explore that we personally experienced. In the past few years Louisville has put quite a bit of emphasis on rebuilding their riverfront and they have done a great job providing a place to relax and get out and enjoy an afternoon or sunset along the Ohio River. Currently they are still working on improvements to make it an even better experience. You can walk across the river on an old rail bridge and go from Kentucky on one side to Indiana on the other. It’s a great bridge to enjoy the sights with the beautiful Louisville skyline in the background. The only thing that would have made it a little better would be to have a Kentucky State sign on one end and an Indiana State sign on the other. There really isn’t a good place to take your picture by state signs as the entrances to the states are over a river.
If you like animals, Henry’s Ark in a Louisville suburb is a nice place to spend a couple of hours. This is a nice place especially if you have kids. For our tour we had a special tour guide that the kids really enjoyed – one of the resident turkey’s. For a little faster paced adventure there is the largest go cart track in the world at Kart Kountry. Their track is 1.5 miles long and quite challenging. They offer two different types of go carts. Most are the average cart while you can upgrade to their Thunderbolts and pass many of the other drivers on the track. Warning: you have to have a driver’s license to upgrade as these definitely go faster and you need to know how and when to pass the other carts. We all enjoyed the challenges this track offers.
While in the area, a visit to Churchill Downs should be on your list if for no other reason than the historic nature of this place. There are tours offered throughout the week with visits to different areas of the racetrack. I couldn’t believe the amount of money horse racing is worth. I’m not a big horse racing fan but there was much to learn about the sport at the museum. We were able to pet one of the retired race horses at the completion of our tour making this more interesting and fun for the younger people. Along with the numerous education displays there is an area in the museum where you can practice betting on taped races and even a game area where you can get on a simulated race horse, select your type of horse and race against others. After a visit, watching the Kentucky Derby (or watching Secretariat) will be more fun and interesting since you’ve seen this place in person.
For those older explorers, there is another item Kentucky is famous for – Bourbon. There is the bourbon tour if you are willing to travel to many different distilleries. Louisville is considered the gateway to this tour with many distilleries requiring quite a bit of travel. There are 10 places to stop on this tour to complete the bourbon tour and is recommended to take all these in over 3 days or more. Apparently at the end of the tour there is a free gift with a completed passport. We didn’t get the opportunity to experience this first hand but looks interesting if we get the opportunity again.
For natural wonder seekers, a few hours away resides Mammoth Cave National Park. You can read about our adventure here…..