Friday, April 13, 2012

Hot Air Balloons, Pre-Kentucky Derby Fun

Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Race FestivalHere's a quick idea for a trip you could take if you are free two weekends from now, April 27-29th.  During the weekend before the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, lots of fun events are planned before the arrival of the really serious horse race crowds.  I've been wanting to go check this out for a few years now and it just won't work out for me.  This year my children are playing in a soccer tournament.  Last year, the hot air balloon weekend conflicted with the Easter holiday.    Fast horses are fine, but hot air balloons are why I'd like to go.   The U.S. Bank Derby Festival Great Balloon Race begins on Saturday morning April 28th at 7am.  About thirty hot air balloons are scheduled to race.  This balloon race is a hare/hound-type chase in which the lead balloon, the US Bank balloon, launches first and then is chased by the other balloons, the "hounds".  The chasing balloons don't land, but try to drop a bag of Kentucky bluegrass seed as close as possible to the X at the landing site of the "hare" balloon.  The grass seed is a little corny, but I bet it's a pretty site to see all those hot air balloons lifting into the sky.  To me, it's a thrill to see one hot air balloon by chance while driving, so I bet approximately 30 balloons is a real spectacle.  The night before the race sounds even cooler:  Friday night April 29th at 9pm at Bowman Field, the hot air balloons light up to music.  Spectators and the balloonists gather at an airfield, look at the balloons and picnic in the grass, wait for sunset, then watch the field light up to the glow of the balloon's burners.   Admission to this static luminary show is a Pegasus Pin which you can buy at lots of Louisville retailers including Meijer and CVS.  Also $5 for parking.  Watch this Utube overview of the hot air balloons.      This link is of the Friday Night Glow.


Combined with the Derby events, here are my other ideas:

Louisville Slugger Museum   This museum is a baseball history museum with a working factory.   Here's their information: Admission:
$11 - Adults (13-59)
$10 - Seniors (60+)
$ 6 - Kids (6-12)
Kids 5 and younger are free.   To see the bats being made, take a guided factory tour.  Guided factory tours begin at 9:00 am and last about 25 minutes.  The last factory tour of the day is one hour before closing.  The website indicates that when the factory is not in full production, they will do bat making demonstrations.   Everyone receives a miniature souvenir bat at the end of the tour!
Louisville Slugger MuseumHours: Monday through Saturday 9:00-5:00
Sunday 11:00 -5:00
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
800 West Main St.
Louisville , KY 40202
1-877-7-SLUGGER (877-775-8443)

Another option for early Friday or Saturday or Sunday afternoon: The Speed Art Museum. They have an interactive children/family area, Art Sparks,  where kids can make stuff with the really good art supplies that art people buy.   Also something that turns your body into art on a giant psychedelic screen.  Admission to Art Sparks is included with museum admission.  Hours: Friday 10a-9p.  Saturday 10a-5p. Sunday 12p-5p.  After your kids are done painting with paints that you didn't have to clean up, you can walk around the museum and get a little cultured.  If your kids aren't much into art museums, pick up a museum guide and have them navigate to the correct gallery and then be the first to spot the art that you describe from the guide.  For kids too big to be so easily won over, you could also engage them by telling them about Van Gogh cutting off his ear.  (the real story from abc news)

Traveling exhibit: Renoir to Chagall: Paris and the Allure of Color, til May 6

1 comment:

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