Louisville celebrates its lazily idyllic waterfront with a 7-mile RiverWalk along the shore. Anchoring an ongoing downtown revitalization effort is the new Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. (tel. 502/584-9254; www.alicenter.org), a $60-million museum-like conflict-resolution center inspired by the life of boxing's "Greatest," Louisville native, Ali. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (she funded one of the galleries) were among the celebs who attended the star-studded grand opening in November 2005. Interactive displays (view any Ali fight on demand) and exhibits trace Ali's life, his boxing career, and his accomplishments as a peace activist and humanitarian. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students, and $4 for children. The center is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30am to 5pm, and Sunday from noon to 5pm.
Churchill Downs, 700 Central Ave. (tel. 502/636-4400; www.churchilldowns.com), has hosted the Kentucky Derby, which runs the first Saturday in May, since it was first run in 1875. The season runs from late April to early July and from late October to November; post times vary. General admission is $3 for adults, $1 for seniors, and free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free in certain areas, $3 in a lot near Gate 17, or $5 for valet.
On the same grounds is the Kentucky Derby Museum (tel. 502/637-1111; www.derbymuseum.org), with photos, films, exhibits, and even a chance to sit on a saddle in a real starting gate. It's open year-round Monday through Saturday from 8am to 5pm, and Sunday from noon to 5pm. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 for students, and $5 for children ages 5 to 12; guided tours are available every half-hour.
The Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Park, 937 Phillips Lane, Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center (tel. 800/SCREAMS [727-3267] or 502/366-2231; www.sixflags.com), boasts one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the world and a 750,000-gallon wave pool among its 60-plus rides and attractions. Different parts of the park are open at different times of year, so call before you arrange to spend the entire day. It's open from April to October. Admission is $40 for adults, $25 for seniors and children shorter than 48 inches, free for children 2 and under.
The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, 800 W. Main St. (tel. 502/588-7228; www.sluggermuseum.org), offers fun for all ages. Look for the giant bat (the world's tallest) standing outside the door. Inside, you can see a bat used by Babe Ruth, as well as miniature souvenir bats, and feel what it's like to stare down the stitches of a 90-mph fastball. The Hillerich & Bradsby factory here is where they turn out thousands of bats for Major Leaguers every year. It's open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sunday noon to 5pm, with 90-minute tours of the factory every 20 minutes from 9am to 3:30pm. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $4 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under.
Gun enthusiasts and history buffs alike will find plenty to ponder at the new Frazier International History Museum, 829 W. Main St. (tel. 866/886-7103 or 502/412-2280; www.frazierarmsmuseum.org). The interactive museum, which opened in spring 2004 as the Frazier Historical Arms Museum, changed its name a few years later but not its focus. It features the largest collection of arms, armor, and related historical artifacts in the world. Hours are Monday through Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday noon to 5pm. Admission, which includes an audio guide, is $12 for adults, $11 for military, $10 for seniors, $9 for students and children, and $3 for children 4 and under.
The Belle of Louisville, moored at Fourth Street and River Road (tel. 502/574-2355; www.belleoflouisville.org), is the oldest operating steamboat on the Mississippi River system. The stern-wheeler was built in 1914 and is now a National Historic Landmark. There's even an old-fashioned calliope on board. The Belle and a larger, more modern paddle-wheeler, Spirit of Jefferson, carry passengers along the Ohio River. Admission for a 2-hour sightseeing cruise is $16 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $8 for ages 3 to 12.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.