Whether you're visiting Louisville or if you live there, Kentucky's largest city offers plenty of interactive and fun activities to keep your toddlers entertained. You and your family can learn about the state's rich horse-racing history, get outside into nature, cool off at a splash pad, and ride a carousel. And in the evening, take a stroll along the river and see the light show on the pedestrian bridge.
The Louisville Zoo is a great place to take your toddler for a day of fun when the weather is nice. In addition to the wildlife, there are plenty of other fun things to do with your toddler at the zoo that have nothing to do with animals: a splash water park, several playgrounds, and a carousel. Best of all, kids under 3 are admitted for free. Weekday tickets for children ages 3-11 are $11.75 and adults are $16.75. Weekend tickets for children are $12.75 for children and $17.75 for adults.
Henry's Ark Petting Zoo is an exotic animal petting zoo in Prospect, Kentucky, about 20 minutes outside of Louisville. The petting zoo features animals such as water buffalos, capybaras, emu, llamas, zebras, yaks, camels, ostriches, and an albino peacock, among others. Admission is free.
Parents throughout Kentucky rave about how much their kids love All About Kids, a 47,000-square-foot sports center where kids can take classes in gymnastics, cheerleading, swimming, dance, and taekwondo. For younger kids, there is the Inflatable Fun Zone featuring inflatable mazes, slides, tunnels, and ball pits your toddler will love so much that you'll have to drag him home.
Huber's Farm is about a 30-minute drive outside of Louisville, but it's definitely worth it when you get there. Huber's Farm has a ton of things to occupy your toddler: wagon rides, a petting zoo, a cornfield maze, a train, and playgrounds. In the fall, your toddler will enjoy picking the perfect pumpkin from Huber's huge pumpkin patch. Some of the activities are free and some have an admission cost, but it's really easy to fill an entire day at Huber's Farm.
Though many of the exhibits at the Louisville Science Center are geared toward school-aged children, there are plenty of things toddlers can enjoy there too. Exhibits that use bubbles, building blocks, or bright colors attract the attention of little ones, and there is even a room for younger kids.
If you need to get out of the house and let someone else do the reading for a change, you may want to check out Story Time Tuesdays at the Pottery Barn in Oxmoor Mall. Kids receive a free gift after attending five story sessions.
Metro Louisville has more than 100 parks covering more than 14,000 acres, ensuring that it's easy to get outdoors no matter where you live. Every park has different amenities, but those with splash parks, playgrounds, and sandboxes are most likely to appeal to your toddler.
Cherokee Park, a local favorite, was designed in 1891 by Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of landscape architecture. In this beautiful setting you'll find trails, picnic areas, a playground and sprayground, and plenty of natural settings to explore with your little one.
At Waterfront Park in downtown Louisville, there are two spraygrounds, riverside paths, and a chance to walk across The Big Four Bridge linking the Louisville Waterfront Park to Jeffersonville, Indiana, over the Ohio River. In the evening, the bridge lights put on a colorful light show.
The Louisville Nature Center is a place where you can explore, learn about, and enjoy plants and animals in a natural setting. The spacious center features butterfly and dragonfly gardens, wildlife exhibits, hiking through Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve, and children's activities. If your toddler is a fan of flowers, butterflies, and animals, she will love this preserve.
The Ogle Center at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana, hosts a number of free shows for kids throughout the year. Every year brings new shows which are appropriate for children of all ages. Events like the Children's Film Festival and musical performances such as the Louisville Orchestra's "Carnival of the Animals" thrill young audiences. The Ogle Center is only a five-mile trip outside of the city.
There are tons of free events for children of all ages going on every day at Louisville public library locations all over the city. Babies and toddlers especially enjoy story time at the library, which is interactive—many times the library brings in surprises like a bluegrass band or even a mobile petting zoo.
Take a Boat Ride
Take to the water on the Belle of Louisville. This steamboat holds the title as the oldest river steamboat still in use. The two-hour cruise takes guests up and down the Ohio River. For adults, it will take you back in time but for toddlers, the experience is equally exciting!
Go to Churchill Downs
Little ones love getting up close, and personal with horses and Churchill Downs offer a great way to do just that. While the racetrack is best known for the Kentucky Derby, it makes a great family-friendly outing for low admission, plenty of places to eat, relax, and play.