In my quest to find the best place in Louisville to watch the Thunder fireworks show, I decided to venture out to watch the 2010 show from the Thunder Over Louisville Slugger Field event. While seats you don't have to carry from your car and real bathrooms are well worth the cost if you're planning to be Downtown for a large part of the day, you may want to head down to the waterfront as it gets closer to the fireworks show if you want to experience the full chest-pounding effects of Thunder Over Louisville.
In 2010, I watched Thunder Over Louisville from Slugger Field for the first time. We paid $35 a piece for tickets, and for that $35 we got a number of amenities: all-day access to real bathrooms, all-day seating, and entertainment via a baseball game and a concert. If you've ever drug lawn chairs up and down 14 city blocks and waited in line for 20 minutes to use a portable toilet that is out of toilet paper, you'll understand how appealing Slugger Field's amenities were.
Our seats were a little disappointing. We discovered when we arrived that a structure blocked our view of the river--something that wasn't mentioned when we purchased the tickets. There was also no shade over our seats at any point in the day. What would have been a perfect day under a shady tree became a little unbearable at one point in the afternoon because of the heat from the sun. Luckily, there were shady areas with picnic tables that provided temporary relief from the sun.
You can venture in and out of the stadium as much as you want, so you can still enjoy the Chow Wagon, tourist shopping tents, and rides on the waterfront. But if you just want to sit and read a book until the fireworks start, you have a comfortable seat to do it in.
I was a little disappointed when the fireworks started because part of what I love about Thunder Over Louisville is how your chest pounds with every explosion of the fireworks when you watch the show from the waterfront, but you really don't get that same experience from Slugger Field. It ended up being a better experience for my five year old daughter who hates loud noises--she really enjoyed the show. But, if chest-pounding is what you're expecting, you may be disappointed with the show even if you get a seat with a good view.
Don't let the seating chart convince you that you have good seats--we thought we had perfect seats until we arrived and realized there was a structure right next to our seats that completely blocked our view of the Second Street Bridge. The following sections and seats would have been the best places to watch the show:
- 111, 110, 109, 108, and 107: These seats are covered by an overhang which blocks full view of the skyline in the higher rows, so the closer you can get to the bottom rows, the better you'll be able to see the show.
- 106, 105, and 104: Any seats in these sections would be great.
- 212, 211, 210, 209, and 208: These seats are second-level and have full view of the fireworks.
- Right-Field Bleachers: While these are probably the least comfortable seats in the entire stadium, they offer some of the best views of Thunder Over Louisville.
If I had it to do all over again, I think I would have taken advantage of the bathrooms and comfortable seats for the afternoon, but I would have went down to the waterfront for the fireworks show. If this is what you're planning to do, the following seats would be the best choices not for views of the show but because they're covered and will keep you out of the rain and/or sun while you're waiting around in the afternoon:
- The higher rows of 112-124: While these seats don't offer a great view of Thunder Over Louisville, they're protected by an overhang that keeps you out of the rain and sun, they offer a good view of the baseball game, and they're close to the concessions.
- Access to real bathrooms with actual plumbing (you can flush the toilet AND wash your hands).
- Comfortable seating for the entire afternoon.
- Fireworks aren't as loud and may be less frightening to young children.
- You can come and go as you please all day, so you can enjoy all of the festivities on the waterfront.
- The number of seats that offer good views of the fireworks are vastly outnumbered by the number of seats that don't provide good views of the fireworks.
- Because of its distance from the river, you don't really get the chest-pounding experience that you get while standing on the riverfront when the fireworks explode.