Louisville Summer Attractions

There are people in the world whose favorite season is winter, spring, or fall. I am not one of those people. I love summer, especially a Louisville summer. It may be humid and muggy out, but there are so many great things to do that you’ll soon get over being out of your cool home.

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Church Picnics

A church picnic

Jessica Elliott

One of a local's favorite things to do during the summer is visit the Catholic Church picnics. Picnics are best known for good food, cheap beer, carnival games and rides, and pull tabs. Church picnics are a lot of fun for both kids and adults alike, and they come with the added benefit of knowing that all of the money you spend goes to benefit the church. It's not often that having fun supports a good cause.

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Rent a Bicycle at Waterfront Park

A romantic, unique thing to do on a date during the summer might be to rent a bike at Waterfront Park and spend an hour or two leisurely pedaling along our beautiful riverfront. Several different styles of bike are available, and it's possible for a couple or even a family to fit on one bike together.

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Rent a Paddleboat at Buffalo Trace Park

Buffalo Trace Park is located in Palmyra, Indiana, about an hour outside of the city. However, if you're looking for a good way to get out of the house for a day and enjoy the warmth of the summer, you can head up to Buffalo Trace and rent a paddle boat to take out on the lake for 30 minutes to an hour. The boat is easy to maneuver and offers visitors the chance to enjoy some quiet time out on the water. Visitors to Buffalo Trace can also swim in the lake from the beach or visit the free petting zoo.

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Go Horseback Riding

There are several places to go horseback riding in Louisville. Horse enthusiasts, amateurs, and kids alike can take a ride on a horse on special trails in Iroquois Park, can take horseback riding lessons or ride to Jefferson Memorial Forest from Bannon Woods Farm, or can enjoy a week of riding lessons at camp or ride for up to two hours any day of the year at McNeely Lake Park. Or head to Indiana and ride the horses at French Lick Resort.

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Georgetown Drive-In

When I was growing up in Louisville we had three drive-in movie theaters. Unfortunately over the years two of those have closed, but we are lucky enough to still have the Georgetown Drive-In in Georgetown, Indiana. Just outside of New Albany, the Georgetown Drive-In has two theater screens, a kid's playground, and a concession booth. In general, each night the drive-in runs two movies for kids on one of its screens and two movies for adults on the other. The drive-in is only open during the warmer months, and it's a great way to spend a summer evening on a date or with the kids.

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Mike Linnig's

If you mention the words "good" and "fish" together in the same sentence around Louisville, you'll hear a resounding "Mike Linnig's" in return. Mike Linnig's is a fish restaurant located in Louisville's South End that is open seasonally during the warmer months. During the summer, visitors to Mike Linnig's can enjoy their fried fish outside on picnic tables while their kids play on the nearby swing sets. It's like having a picnic in Cherokee Park except you don't have to make the food yourself.

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Baxter Jack's

If you spend your workweek daydreaming about playing volleyball on the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, then you need to spend some of your summer nights at Baxter Jack's. Baxter Jacks sports three sand volleyball courts where sporty locals can form teams and compete in tournaments. The venue is open from April to October. No alcohol is allowed on the premises, however, so don't get your hopes up for playing drunken volleyball.

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Shakespeare in the Park

During June and July, Louisville residents can watch Shakespeare's plays reenacted in Louisville's Central Park. Shakespeare in the Park is an annual, free event that features a few William Shakespeare plays that vary from year to year. The plays occur in the evenings during the summer and are a great way to get the family out for a cost-friendly local arts experience.

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Henry's Ark Petting Zoo

Henry's Ark Petting Zoo is an exotic animal petting zoo in Prospect, Kentucky. The petting zoo features animals such as water buffalos, capabras, emu, llamas, zebras, yaks, camels, ostriches, and an albino peacock, among others. Admission to Henry's Ark Petting Zoo is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Henry's Ark Petting Zoo is 12 miles east of Downtown Louisville off of U.S. 42 on Rose Island Rd. They do not currently have a website, but can be reached by phone at (502) 228-0746.

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Water Parks  in Indiana and Kentucky

During the summer, kids of all ages love water play. There are plenty of splashing options, zero-depth pools, interactive water features, lap pools, plunge pools, and more

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Summer Pools and Spraypads

Another fun way to splash about is at local pools and spraygrounds. These options are managed and maintained by Louisville Metro Parks. Spraygrounds are free, pool admission is a small fee.

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Sunset Over Slugger Field

Louisville slugger field

Jessica Elliott

There's nothing that will make you feel more American than enjoying a beer while watching a baseball game at Louisville Slugger Field. During the summer, you can catch our local Minor League baseball team, the Louisville Bats, play their home games and dine on hot dogs, sodas and other summer treats

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Tour Historic Corydon

Indiana's capital

Michael Maupin

Explore the rich history of Corydon, Indiana, by taking a walking tour of its historic district. Corydon, Indiana, is approximately 40 minutes outside of Louisville. The Corydon historic district features many historical buildings, such as Indiana's first capitol building, the first Indiana bank, and the headquarters of Governor William Hendricks. Historic Corydon is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and 2008 marked the town's bicentennial anniversary.

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Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs

Jeff Gentner / Getty Images

Churchill Downs has a spring and fall meet each year that fall within the warmer summer months and are a perfect, fun way to spend a summer afternoon. At Churchill Downs you can bet on the races, watch the horses parade from their stables to the starting gates, cheer your horses on from the Grandstand section, and indulge in great food and drinks from one of Churchill Downs' many restaurants. If you're looking for a good nighttime summer activity, look out for offerings of Downs after Dark for a completely different track experience.

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Louisville Extreme Park

Photo Courtesy of Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Louisville Extreme Park is a 40,000 sq. ft. concrete skate park where people of all skill levels can skate and bike 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some of the Louisville Extreme Park's biggest features include a 24 ft. full pipe, two 11 ft. bowls, two 8 ft. bowls, two 4 ft. bowls, a 6 ft. bowl, fun boxes, a street course, a 6 ft. flat bank, ledges, rails, and a 12 ft. wooden vertical ramp with a 13 ft. extension. If you or your kids are into skateboarding, rollerblading, or biking, a trip to the Louisville Extreme Park is a fun, free, local summer attraction.

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Louisville Nature Center

Louisville Nature Center is a place where people can explore, learn about, and enjoy nature. Louisville Nature Center features butterfly and dragonfly gardens, wildlife exhibits, hiking through Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve, and children's activities. While visiting Louisville Nature Center, you can explore the outdoor nature preserves and wildlife exhibits, or you can engage in learning activities in the indoor museum area.

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Bring the Family to Huber Farm

CHildren's Farm Park

Michael Maupin

Whether you go to pick blackberries or to sample the wine made from the blackberries grown at Huber's Orchard, Winery, and Vineyard in Starlight, Indiana, you're certain to have a great time. To get to Huber's Farm, you have to take a lengthy drive through the country, but it's definitely worth it when you get there. Huber's Farm has a ton of things to occupy children and adults of all ages. Kids can go on a tractor ride, play on the pedal cars, playground, and jump pads, and find their way through the bamboo and rope mazes. Adults can fish, pick fruit and vegetables, and sample Huber's homemade wine, to name a few. Some of the activities are free and some have an admission cost, but it's really easy to fill an entire summer day at Huber's Farm.

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Louisville Zoo

Louisville Zoo

Jessica Elliott

The Louisville Zoo is a great place to take your kids for a day of fun when the weather is nice. Obviously, the main attraction at the Louisville Zoo is the wildlife, but there are a lot of other fun things to do at the zoo that have nothing to do with animals. The Louisville Zoo is home to a splash water park, several playgrounds, a train, a miniature train garden, a carousel, and a motion simulator.

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Louisville Parks and Pools

Louisville Parks and Zoo

Michael Maupin

Metro Louisville is home to more than 100 parks covering more than 14,000 acres. No matter where you live in Louisville, you're probably just a few miles away from a park. Every park has different amenities, such as swimming pools, dog parks, amphitheaters, hiking trails, horseback riding, and ball courts, so regardless of what you and your kids enjoy doing, you should be able to find a park to do it in within a reasonable drive from your home.

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Historic Belle of Louisville

Historic Belle of Louisville

Jessica Elliott

The Belle of Louisville is the oldest river steamboat in continuous use. Today she takes passengers on cruises up and down the Ohio River and races in the Great Steamboat Race every year on the Wednesday before the Kentucky Derby. During the summer and on various holidays throughout the year, visitors to the Belle of Louisville can take a 2-hour cruise down the Ohio River to Six Mile Island and back and listen to the music that plays over the Belle's calliope.

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Cave Hill Cemetery

Cave Hill Cemetery

Michael Maupin

Cave Hill Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a Victorian-era cemetery and arboretum that is open to the public. Cave Hill is a pleasant and photogenic place where people go for the lovely scenery and intricate gravestones as well as to visit their deceased loved ones. The land is home to a cave, lakes, and the graves of many famous Louisvillians, including KFC founder Colonel Sanders.

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Falls of the Ohio State Park

Ohio State

Kenneth Keith Stigler - Image from BigStockPhoto.com

The Falls of the Ohio State Park is located on the Ohio River in Southern Indiana. The park features 220 acres of 386-million-year-old fossil beds. People love to go to the Falls of the Ohio to explore for fossils as well as fishing, hiking, bird watching, and picnicking. Also at the Falls of the Ohio is the Interpretive Center, a nature center, museum, and educational facility with more than 78 exhibits, coral reef aquariums, and more.

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Kart Kountry

Kart Kountry is a go-kart track and activity center in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. It is the home of the world's longest go-kart track, and the five different sizes of go-karts available ensure that people of all ages can ride. Additionally, Kart Kountry features ten batting cages, two 18-hole mini golf courses, bumper boats, trampoline basketball, and a huge arcade.

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Top 8 Kentucky Caves

Photo Courtesy Mammoth Cave National Park

Kentucky is home to an extensive system of caves, an ideal family outing for science buffs and history aficionados alike.

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Spring Mill State Park, Indiana

Spring Mill isn't really all that far away from Louisville in distance (only 64 miles), but it takes about an hour and a half to get there because you have to take Indiana highways through a lot of small towns all the way there. However, Spring Mill is definitely worth the trip. At Spring Mill you can take a guided boat tour of the Twin Caves, you can hike, you can swim in the park's huge pool, and you can camp. There's also an inn if you decide to stay overnight.

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