Turn your WonderFest trip into a vacation
If you love bourbon and horses, you’re in the right place!
Plan your WonderFest getaway by investigating the many tourism sites in and around Louisville. Come early or stay a few days after to explore the places that make Louisville unique.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel has extended the reduced WonderFest room rate both before and after our WonderFest dates to make your stay easier.
For more information about area attractions, visit the GoToLouisville.com website.
Louisville’s downtown has been making a comeback, especially when it comes to dining. Check with the hotel concierge for recommendations in every price range.
Bardstown Road & Frankfort Avenue
The Bardstown Road and Frankfort Avenue corridors are loaded with antique shops, art galleries and unique boutiques. They are also home to some of Louisville’s best places to eat! Check with the WonderFest staff or the hotel concirege for recommendations. Easy driving from the hotel.
4th Street Live!
The 4th Street Live! entertainment district is within just a few blocks of the Kentucky International Convention Center and many downtown hotels. The $70 million entertainment complex offers bars, restaurants and clubs, including Hard Rock Café, TGI Friday’s, The Improv Comedy Club, Angels Rock Bar, Howl at the Moon, and Maker’s Mark Bourbon House and Lounge.
Sightseeing: The Usual Cool Stuff…
New for 2015, introducing the NEXT GENERATION OF FEAR! – T3 a suspended looping coaster with five gravity defying inversions! Just across the street from the Crowne Plaza Hotel, it’s a favorite spot for WonderFest families. Kentucky Kingdom will have 48 rides, including several new attractions. The Hurricane Bay water park has doubled in size and includes a new Raging Rapids River Ride.
The Louisville Zoo is situated on 73 rolling acres and home to 1,300 exotic animals living in botanical settings, which replicate their native habitats. Other outstanding adventures include the Gorilla Forest Exhibit, African Panorama, the Islands exhibits and daily animal training demonstrations. Human comforts include a playground, African petting zoo, indoor and outdoor cafés, plus the antique Conservation Carousel, tram and miniature train rides.
Speed Art Museum
Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum recently reopened after a $51 million renovation and expansion. Displays 5,000 works ranging from ancient to contemporary and spanning 6,000 years of history. Masters such as Rubens, Monet, Rembrandt and Picasso are featured. Whether you’re an art aficionado or don’t know a Dali from a Degas, you can find fresh inspiration and meaning at the Speed Art Museum.
Kentucky Science Center
Has a rich history, from its founding as a “cabinet of curiosities” in 1871 to its current status as the largest hands-on science center in Kentucky, with about 150 interactive exhibits and activity stations, a four-story IMAX Theatre, teaching laboratories, educational programs, and distance learning capabilities.
Frazier History Museum
History comes alive at the internationally-acclaimed Frazier as it portrays the history, artistry and technological significance of weaponry and armor in the context of events that have shaped our country. Take an unforgettable journey through more than 1,000 years of history with ever-changing and interactive exhibits, daily performances by costumed interpreters and engaging special events and programs.
Louisville Slugger Museum
The world’s largest baseball bat, standing 120 feet tall, is just outside the entrance. Exhibits at the interactive museum honoring baseball’s greatest hitters include a walk through an under
ground locker room into a full-size dugout and a virtual home plate where you can try your skill against a fastball. There’s a large collection of custom-made Sluggers signed by the stars who used them, including Ruth, Mantle, Mays and DiMaggio. Take a guided tour of the plant to see how wood bats are turned for today’s major league players.
Explore Glassworks, featuring hot glass, flame-working and cold glass studios, where artists create their delicate crafts. It is the only facility of its kind in the country, bringing together an array of glass artists and galleries in one location and providing visitors with a rich portrayal of the magic, mystery and beauty of glass.
Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs is the most famous racetrack in America and the home of the pinnacle of horse racing success, The Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby Museum, next to Churchill Downs, captures the thrill and traditions of the Kentucky Derby every day in an exciting 360-degree high-definition multimedia show. The museum has exhibits, memorabilia and art to delight all ages. There’s a fine gift shop and a café overlooking a paddock with a resident horse.
Muhammad Ali Center
Louisville is the birthplace of Muhammad Ali, one of the many reasons he chose to locate the $41 million Muhammad Ali Center, honoring his life, here. The Center not only explores Ali’s life and what makes him such an enduring hero, it also touches visitors’ lives and inspires them to emulate his discipline, perseverance and willingness to stand up for one’s beliefs.
Falls of the Ohio State Park
Located on the banks of the Ohio River in Clarksville, Indiana at I-65, exit 0. The 390-million-year-old fossil beds are among the largest, naturally exposed, Devonian fossil beds in the world. The park features a spectacular Interpretive Center overlooking the fossil beds containing an exhibit gallery and video presentation.
Howard Steamboat Museum
Step back in time to the Great Steamboat Era with a tour of the Howard Steamboat Museum. This beautiful 1894 home, built by premier steamboat builders, the Howards of Jeffersonville, features original furnishings, brass chandeliers, stained glass windows, and intricate carvings throughout and even a grand staircase! Models, photographs, paintings, half-hull models and other artifacts from the Great Steamboat Era abound at this unique Museum.
…and the Unusual…
Cave Hill Cemetery
One of those old, scenic cemeteries that inspires awe with amazing monuments and abundant history. Locals pack a lunch and take walking tours. Some say it’s haunted; we say it is beautiful.
Waverly Hills Sanitorium
Opened in 1910 as a two-story hospital to accommodate 40 to 50 tuberculosis patients. Today this long-closed facility is called one of the “most haunted” hospitals in the eastern United States. The sanatorium was featured on Syfy’s Ghost Hunters, ABC/FOX Family Channel’s Scariest Places On Earth, VH1’s Celebrity Paranormal Project, and Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. It’s at 4400 Paralee Ln, Louisville, Kentucky 40272; call for tours at 502-933-2142.
Nearby Attractions (90 miles or less)
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
Offers a gorgeous getaway for those who love the outdoors, nature trails, and beautiful plants. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is a 14,000 acre privately-owned non-profit organization nestled in the scenic Kentucky knoblands in Clermont, KY. Bernheim is Kentucky’s Official Arboretum, encompassing a 250 acre nationally-recognized arboretum, landscaped gardens, tranquil lakes, and a 14,000 acre research forest managed as a natural area. Located just 25 miles south of Louisville, down I-65 at mile marker 112.
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park
The Park focuses on Lincoln’s life in Kentucky. The Birthplace Unit demonstrates Lincoln’s humble beginnings with a symbolic birth cabin enshrined within a neo-classic Memorial Building. The Boyhood Home Unit at Knob Creek Farm was home to Lincoln during his formative years. Events in Kentucky helped mold a young boy into the man who became the nation’s sixteenth President. About 55 miles from the Crowne Plaza.
Fort Knox & Patton Museum
Fort Knox is a working Army base, home of the United States Bullion Depository (watch out for Odd Job!), and the location of the George S. Patton Museum. About 36 miles from the Crowne Plaza.
Horse Farm Tours
Several companies offer tours of the picturesque farms where thoroughbred racehorses are born and raised. WonderFest does not endorse any particular tour company; you may ask the hotel’s concierge for recommendations. You won’t believe the lifestyles of these rich and famous horses!
Maker’s Mark Distillery
One of the most famous Kentucky bourbon whiskies is made in Loreto, KY. You know, the one with the red wax seal on the top. About 60 miles from the Crowne Plaza.
Four Roses Distillery
One trip to this historic distillery and you’ll begin to understand why our Bourbon has come to be so mellow. Nestled in the quiet Kentucky countryside near Lawrenceburg, and on the banks of the scenic Salt River, the Four Roses Distillery makes the trip to this very mellow place all that more rewarding. The Distillery was built in 1910 and features a unique Spanish Mission-Style architecture rarely seen in Kentucky. About 30 miles from the Crowne Plaza.
My Old Kentucky Home State Park
The house that came to symbolize Kentucky’s gracious hospitality and according to legend inspired Stephen Collins Foster to write his immortal song, “My Old Kentucky Home” is one of the most cherished historical sites in the commonwealth. Built between 1795 and 1818, Federal Hill, the home of Judge John Rowan, became a part of the Kentucky State Parks System on February 26, 1936. Tours and theater performances are part of the experience. About 39 miles from the Crown Plaza.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 390 miles explored. Early guide Stephen Bishop called the cave a “grand, gloomy and peculiar place,” but its vast chambers and complex labyrinths have earned its name – Mammoth. About 91 miles from the Crown Plaza.
Dinosaur World is a classic roadside attraction in Cave City, KY, where visitors can see up close and life-size the amazing creatures that once ruled the Earth. Life-sized models of dinosaurs welcome families and classes to learn, have fun, or just enjoy a quiet encounter with your favorite T. Rex. About 80 miles from the Crown Plaza.
Horseshoe Casino (Indiana)
Formerly Ceasar’s Indiana, the Horseshoe Casino and Resort Hotel ate slightly off the beaten path in Southern Indiana. With over 100 gaming tables and 2,000 slot machines, you’ll be sure to find a game that’s right up your alley. About 30 miles from the Crowne Plaza.
French Lick Springs Hotel / West Baden Springs Hotel (Indiana)
Two historic resort hotels nestled in Southern Indiana have been restored to their original grandeur. The French Lick Hotel looks like the Grand Hotel in “Somewhere in Time.” The West Baden Hotel was once called “The 8th Wonder of the World” and features one of the largest unsupported domes, built at the start of the last century. Now a casino has been added to the French Lick Resort. About 70 miles from the Crowne Plaza.