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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A look inside of the new Aloft Louisville East hotel

 photo 20170106_173902_zpsevw1gdt3.jpg At Aloft's media opening, I was able to get a sneak peak into a new hotel in our area!

Aloft would make a great staycation or parents' getaway night. It features an indoor pool, indoor bar/lounge area with pool table, outdoor lounge area with tv and fire heaters, 24/7 fitness room with state of the art equipment, meeting room and comfy looking guest rooms.

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The hotel has 5 stories and 126 rooms. While there's not a full restaurant in Aloft, it is surrounded by lots of adult and child-friendly restaurants. The hotel offers fast, free WiFi, free parking and 12 p.m. check out. It is also pet-friendly. It's a great location in the East end off Westport Road and the Gene Snyder, making easy access to travel around the 'Ville, or over the new east end bridge to Indiana.

Aloft is part of the Starwood Hotels family and Starwood Preferred Guest members receive a special rate, so be sure to check in to the program. AAA memberships are also honored. Online, the rates seem to range from between $100 and $200 per night.

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Aloft officially opened to guests on 1/13/17.

By Guest Contributor: Caryn

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Week in Preview January 16th-19th

Sponsored by:
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JANUARY 22nd 2-7pm
Get moving this week into a lot of fun!

Here are my picks for the week!

Live it: Join Side by Side on Monday, January 16th from 1pm-3pm as we make friendship bracelets for the youth of Americana Community Center. At Side by Side we believe there can never be enough kindness, joy, and compassion in the world! Our monthly event series "Crafting for Kindness" will use the power of art and craft to help spread the love! Find out more here!

Bonus Fun: Visit Holiday in the City on Monday for their last day of the season!Buy one ticket, Get one free for ice skating. Hours will be 11am - 7pm

Eat it: Breakfast at Chick-fil-A Jefferson Commons is the place to be on Thursdays until February 23rd. All you have to do is show up between 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to get a free breakfast entree of the day. Find out more on their Facebook page!

Move it: Mondays at Lazer Blaze are they place to be! All lasertag is $6.00 per game per person!

Learn it: Head over to the Iroquois Library on Thursday for their 'Ready for Kindergarten' time.
Join us for fun stories and activities that will improve preschoolers’ kindergarten readiness skills including tips and ideas for parents.

Don't forget that this winter, the Library is participating in the Drop Your Drawers Campaign, a statewide effort to collect new, clean underwear for the Family Resources Centers at JCPS. For thousands of young Kentuckians, the absence of clean underwear—and even underwear that fits correctly—provides a barrier to education. All library locations are drop-off sites for people to donate NEW pairs of children’s underwear (sizes 4–16) through the end of February.

By Guest Contributor:


Friday, January 13, 2017

Picks for things to do this weekend around Louisville: January 13,14,15

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JANUARY 22nd 2-7pm

Ugh. More rain.  Make the most of it and tap into our rainy day indoor fun post.  Enough of avoiding heading out because of the yucky weather!

Power & Grace Gymnastics/Dance is having an open house. This is a new(ish) recreational gymnastics location in Prospect.  The owners want to give back to charity through their business, it's a pretty neat concept.  Check out their open house event from 1-3pm, details here and Facebook event here.

The Carnegie Center in New Albany is having one of their family fun workshops. It's free and they encourage you to pre-register. It's from 10am-Noon and it's paper plate puppets. See details on Facebook.  See a review we wrote by clicking here.

Sunday....in January....not many options. Unless it's the 22nd, see above :)  I digress.
Malibu Jack's has a Groupon running - there's some indoor fun and savings for you.  Go for it.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 Bucket List of Best Things to Do in and around Louisville

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After a 1 year hiatus, the bucket list of fun events and activities in and around Louisville has returned! You'll find one suggestion for each month. For more ideas, be sure to check our calendar, follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and read our monthly "free event" articles and seasonal lists.

January - Go ice skating! The Holiday Square pop-up outdoor ice rink on the Plaza at Fourth and Jefferson Streets remains open daily through 1/15.  The outdoor Jeffersonville Skating Rink will be open through 1/13. Hop across the new Lewis and Clark Bridge in the East End and visit Charlestown, IN for outdoor ice skating through 1/28. Louisville also boasts two indoor ice rinks, open year round, Alpine Ice Arena and Iceland Sports Complex.

February - Have a basketball fan in the family? Watch the Louisville Cardinals Women's Basketball team play in one of four home games this month. Tickets are inexpensive and the team is impressive! The Cardinal Women play at home on 2/2, 2/12, 2/19 and 2/23.

March - Drive down to Bernheim Forest for a self-led or themed, guided hike. Check out their awesome children's programming offered on the first and third Saturday of the month. Weekend admission is just a $5 environmental impact fee per vehicle.

April - One of the biggest events of the year is Thunder Over Louisville. I'm always surprised at how many people travel to Louisville to see it, while so many locals have never attended in person. To simplify your first visit (especially with children) consider a ticketed venue, such as Slugger Field or Kentucky Science Center which offer perks such as indoor restrooms, seating, special views and additional entertainment during the day.

May -  Forest Fest is a fun family event that takes place every May at Jefferson Memorial Forest. The 6,500 acre forest, located about 15 miles south of downtown Louisville, is a great place to visit any time of year! The Forest Fest event typically includes children's activities, food trucks, vendors, silent auction and more! Stay turned for the exact date, which will be listed on their website as well as on our Spring Festival list (typically published in March).

June - For the past few years, the city of Louisville has offered a FREE Cultural Pass to all 0 - 21 year olds who are eligible for a Louisville Free Public Library Card. This includes Jefferson County residents, as well as non-county residents who work or own property in Jefferson County. The pass is typically valid for the length of summer break and includes free entry to many local attractions and events! The Louisville Free Public Library will publish details on their website as summer nears.

July -  Kentucky Kingdom is open every day throughout the month. The theme park offers rides for the whole family. King Louie's Playland area includes 12 rides for the park's smallest visitors. There are thrilling coasters, water rides in Hurricane Bay and even a sea lion show in the park's Aqua Theater. Kentucky Kingdom has new additions each year, so if you haven't been in a while, you may be surprised!

August - The 168th annual St. Joe's Picnic takes place August 11th and 12th. The picnic includes musical entertainment, games and, of course, food! It's a tradition older than the Kentucky Derby! Proceeds go to provide a home safe to abused and neglected children.

September - WorldFest is an annual event that is both entertaining and educational. There are three stages featuring various entertainers from different cultures. There is a Global Village, Parade of Cultures and even a Naturalization Ceremony. Of course, one of the crowd favorites is the food! There is no admission charge for WorldFest. The event takes place September 1 - 4 on the Belvedere at 5th and Main Streets.

October - Want to be wowed? Check out the Jack-O-Lantern Spectactular at Iroquois Park! The event takes place October 12 - November 5 and features 5,000 carved, lighted pumpkins along a quarter mile trail. Proceeds benefit the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation.

November - The 28th annual Festival of Trees and Lights takes place at Louisville Slugger Field. The dates aren't posted yet, but it's typically the second weekend of November. Friday night is Family Night with entertainment for kids and opportunities for guests to shop for holiday decor. In previous years, Santa has been present and there has even been a fireworks show. Saturday and Sunday, enjoy hundreds of decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, and hand crafted holiday items. The Norton Children's Hospital website will be updated with details later in the year.

December - If you're looking for great holiday events, Louisville and Southern Indiana have plenty to offer! We publish a giant list of events shortly after Halloween, so be sure to check it out. For a little something different, we recommend the Old Fashioned Family Holiday Festival at Riverside - The Farnsley-Moreman Landing. Adults will enjoy touring the historic home fully decorated for the holidays. Kids will enjoy crafts and photo opps with Santa. There will be craft vendors, horse-drawn carriage rides and more! Details will be posted later in the year on their website. The event usually takes place the first Saturday of the month.

By Guest Contributor: Brandy 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review of LVL1 Hackerspace in Louisville, KY

 photo 20161230_202408_zpsmrnmlzdc.jpgMy 9 year old asked for a typewriter for Christmas. It was all he could talk about. So after buying two broken typewriters, one on eBay and one at Goodwill, I decided I was going to have to get them fixed instead of trying to buy another one. I put out a call for typewriter repair on Facebook and found out a friend of mine started a program called “Fix It Friday” at LVL1 Hackerspace. I had been waiting for a reason to take my kids there and this was just what I needed.

 photo 20161230_202045_zpsftwbfmft.jpgWe went at about 8pm on a Friday night in January. It’s a volunteer-run program and space, so you need to contact them ahead of time if you are planning a visit. Ben Hibben, the former Vice President and current member of LVL1, met us after work and got going on fixing our typewriters. My kids alternated between watching him work and walking around with his kids checking out all the equipment. Within about half an hour he had the first typewriter operational, and a few minutes after that he pronounced the other one dead on arrival. Because it is run on a volunteer basis, payment is donation based. I gave him $20- the best 20 bucks I’ve ever spent.

While we were there we talked to other folks who were working on other projects. One man was hooking up a Raspberry Pi system to LED lights, a project he was doing for his fish tank at home. My husband found someone who can fix the Ethernet port on his Playstation, which was recently fried. Another man was in the wood shop making chairs. The possibilities for finding cool stuff to do at LVL1 are endless.

The immediate next thing on our list is to learn how to solder. Hibben is the cofounder of a company called Mr. Blinky Bling, a Louisville company that makes custom LED wearables as well as LED soldering kits for teaching kids (and grownups) how to solder. There are soldering stations at the Hackerspace, so we are going to buy a couple of kits and have “Mr. Ben,” as my kids call him, teach them how to solder. It is all my kids can talk about.

There are a number of classes coming up at LVL1 Hackerspace:

January 11 - Vinyl Cutter: Customizing products like a cup/tumbler $12 per person including materials (parents must be present)

January 14 - Raspberry Pi: Getting Started Workshop $20 per person, suggested you bring Raspberry Pi Cana kit but not totally necessary (parents must be present)

Click here to find future events
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 photo 20161230_195132_zpsntvuizmq.jpgIt’s worth noting here this is an adult-oriented space. Adults need to be present with their kids, and if you plan something like a scouting class they would like close to a 1:1 ratio of adults to kids. There is a lot of delicate equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters. It is also not a “language sanitized” place, either visually or audibly. There was nothing going on that I felt was unsafe or unsavory for my kids, but if your kids are sensitive to adult language or topics, you might want to wait a few years. That said, Hibben says the youngest kid he’s taught to solder was 4. If your kids are into anything technologically related, this is a great place to get hands-on experience. You can also talk to Hibben about bringing Mr. Blinky Bling kits to your school’s STEM lab or your scouting troop- kits run around $15 each. Adults over 18 can become members for $50 per month, and membership would allow you to bring your kids in to use the space.

By Guest Contributor: Maggie

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Week in Preview January 9th-12th

Sponsored by:
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Now that you are back into the swing of things, it's time for fun!

Here are my picks for the week!

Live it: For almost twenty years, the Kentucky Science Center's Be-In-A-Bubble has been a favorite of every child and adult to pass through their doors. Now they have reopened this classic experience, this time bigger, better, and more fun than ever. Their new Be-In-A-Bubble is large enough for a family and built for accessibility!

Eat it: Kids eat free at Zeggz Amazing Eggs on Mondays and Wednesdays at all locations! Dine in only with an adult purchase. 

Move it: Go for a swim at Mary T. Meagher Aquatics Center! Check out their website for hours and location.

Learn it: The Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve has it's Nature Center open Mondays and Wednesdays from 9am-1pm. The Nature Center is a wonderland of exhibits and discoveries for adults and kids! Take a close-up look at woodland creatures, fossils and rocks, Kentucky fish, a wetland display, a Native American setting, and hawks and owls (stuffed). There’s even an observation bee hive where you can view the bees hard at work helping the plants get pollinated.

By Guest Contributor:


Friday, January 6, 2017

Picks for things to do this weekend around Louisville: January 6,7,8

Sponsored by:
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JANUARY 22nd 2-7pm

Friday: Did you know you can visit the Kentucky Science Center for $5 after 5pm on Fridays (and Saturdays)? Head downtown for a special evening of learning and fun. 

Saturday: Head to the American Printing House for the Blind for a party to celebrate the birthday of Mary Ingalls. This is a free event but they ask that you register. Read more about it and find the details on our Free January Events post

Visit the KY Expo Center for SportsFest Lou. It's a two-day event where kids (and parents) can engage in a variety of sports activities and learn about all sorts of fun around Louisville.  15 interactive sports zones - tickets are just $10 (free for kids age 5 and under) or you can purchase tickets online for a discount if you get 4 tickets, it's $25.

Sunday:  Find indoor fun and learning at the Speed Art Museum.  Remember, it's free on Sundays. Visit the downstairs area that is geared toward kids but do explore all of the levels to find such variety of art, it's wonderful.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

LouFamFun's 7th Birthday Party!

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It's the Louisville Family Fun 7th Annual Birthday Party benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters

Party goers will be able to jump, eat and play at House of Boom.
100 Urton Lane, Louisville, KY 40223

January 22nd
   2-7 p.m.  

One hour jump times available, buy tickets below in advance. Sold out last year. 

 photo IMG_6469_zps19e6q7xd.jpgFor just a $10 per jumper, come out and jump, play games, jam to great music, enjoy yummy Raising Cane's chicken, bottled water courtesy of Pepsi and ice cream from Valley Dairy Freeze!

Activities in the party rooms and throughout the venue with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hwang's Martial Arts and Derby City Pediatric Dentistry and Whet Your Palette.

Meet -n-greet and get autographs from Louisville City FC soccer players. Photo opp time! (They will be there 4:30-6:30pm)

Giveaways throughout the event and favors for the kids!

All of the proceeds will go directly to 
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana
 Don’t miss this chance to hang out with the family and do good at the same time!

All paid jumpers will get Raising Cane's chicken/sauce/Texas Toast, bottled water thanks to Pepsi and ice cream thanks to Valley Dairy Freeze. These items will be available for non-jumpers in attendance for a small donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Parents/guests who are not jumping do not have to pay to simply attend.

For ease of check-in, fill out this online waiver before arriving!

Follow Louisville Family Fun on Facebook for updates! 

Thank you to these amazing sponsors
  Hazen Insurance

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review of Joella's Hot Chicken in Louisville, KY

 photo IMG_0042_zpsa3ziu46s.jpgNashville hot chicken is a fun food trend that is sweeping the nation. Word on the street is that Joella's Hot Chicken is the place to sample this delicacy, so I had to check it out!

Over the past couple of months, I have visited both Louisville locations, but my first experience was at the original location in St. Matthews at 3400 Frankfort Avenue. It was a Sunday night in the summer, and there was a bit of a line. This location has a great atmosphere, but very limited seating and parking. We parked on a residential street and sat on the patio, which was nice, but a hot since it was August.

 photo IMG_0040_zpsp95ayjkx.jpgJoella's menu features multiple chicken options, including tenders, wings, quarter white, quarter dark, and sandwiches. Chicken can be added to salads as well, and there is even an vegan tender option. Each chicken order can be prepared at one of 6 heat levels- ranging from Southern (no heat) to Fire-in-da-Hole (inferno).

My husband, children and I all decided to try the chicken tenders. The adult meal comes with 3 tenders, served on a slice of bread, and 2 sides. The kid's meal (10 and under) comes with 1 tender, 1 side and a drink. The tenders are quite large and also come with a choice of dipping sauce. We all enjoyed the chicken and found it to be quite flavorful. There is definitely something for everyone- whether your prefer mild or wild!

One thing that cannot go without mention is the side dishes. They are unique and delicious! Some examples include kale salad, black eyed pea salad, garlic parmesan fries, red skin potato salad and creamy mac and cheese. There are also some fun dessert options and craft beer available. Instead of offering the typical Coke or Pepsi selections, Joella's offers fountain drinks from Boylan Hand-Crafted Sodas.

 photo IMG_0044_zps1yivnc64.jpgWe had out-of-town guests with us on our visit to the Frankfort Avenue location, so I did not take photos. The photos featured here are from the new Middletown location at 13401 Shelbyville Road. This location is much more spacious than the Frankfort Avenue location, with ample seating. We visited early on a weeknight, and noticed several families with young children. There are TVs tuned to sports all around, so it'd be a fun place to catch a game as well. Carryout and catering are also available. Both locations have Facebook pages; Middletown, St. Matthews.

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By Guest Contributor: Brandy 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Free Things to Do in and around Louisville January 2017

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1. Free Admission Sundays at the Speed Art Museum
Thanks to a generous contribution from Brown-Forman, anyone can visit the Speed Art Museum for free on Sundays through March 2021. This includes the recently redesigned Art Sparks interactive gallery, which is a hit with kids of all ages! The Speed is open 12 - 5 p.m. on Sundays.

2. Nature Center at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve
Every Monday & Wednesday, check out the Nature Center at CMNP, just a few minutes over the line in Oldham County. Open 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Take a close-up look at woodland creatures, fossils and rocks, Kentucky fish, a wetland display, a Native American setting, and hawks and owls (stuffed). There’s even an observation bee hive where you can view the bees hard at work helping the plants get pollinated. While you're there, bundle up for and take a walk on one of the nature trails or explore the Woodland Garden.

3. A Birthday Party for Mary Ingalls
Saturday, January 7, 1 - 3 p.m. Visit the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind to find out about Mary’s richly rewarding life and the challenges she faced as a blind woman a hundred years ago. Sing along with some of Pa’s fiddle tunes, weave a beaded bracelet, and have some birthday cake made from Ma’s recipe. Dressing as characters in the Little House books is encouraged. Free to the public but space is limited so registration is required. Call 502-899-2213 or email kcarpenter@aph.org to register. For all ages.

4. Family Movie Night Out: Pete's Dragon at Shawnee Library
Monday, January 9, 6 - 8 p.m.

5. The Other Side of Archaeology Free Public Archaeology Lab Program at Riverside - The Farnsley-Moreman Landing.
Wednesday, January 11 & 18
Saturday, January 21
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Get an up-close look at artifacts that have been found during recent digs at Riverside. Work with archaeologists to wash, identify, sort and study artifacts.

6. Family Fun Workshop at The Carnegie Center in New Albany, IN
Saturday, January 14. This month's theme is "Muppety Paper Plate Puppets." Each child will learn how to make their own colorful puppet. The program is free and all supplies are provided, but registration is greatly appreciated. Email dthomas@carnegiecenter.org or call (812) 944-7336 to register. Arrive no later than 11:30 AM to have enough time to complete the project.

7. Movie: Zootopia at Western Library
Saturday, January 14, 2 - 4 p.m.

8. "I Have a Dream", Too at Newburg Library
Saturday, January 14, 3 - 4 p.m. View the original speech and share your own poem or original piece in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

9. PJ Library and Shalom Baby Music Class
Sunday, January 15, 10:00 - 10:45 a.m. This class at The J is designed for the youngest music lovers, from newborns to toddlers. Dance, sing and move along with local musician John Gage.

10. MLK Day of Service 2017
Monday, January 16. Join other members of the community for a day of service at Beckley Creek Park, to include mulching, invasive species removal and light trail maintenance. Tools and instruction will be provided on-site as well as gloves, hot coffee, and snacks. Email Program Coordinator Ali Greenwell at agreenwell@21cparks.org with any questions, or to register.

11. Chinese New Year Program at Southwest Library
Monday, January 23, 5 - 6 p.m. Hear stories about the Chinese New Year and do some fun crafts Ages 5+.

12. Winter Hike: "Let's Notice Trees" at Louisville Nature Center
Saturday, January 28, 1 - 2 p.m.

13. Tanagram Fun in the Louisville Nature Center lobby
Saturday, January 28, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Can you create a tanagram animal?

14. Pirate vs. Princess Story Time at the Main Library in La Grange, KY
Saturday, January 28, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Choose your own adventure at this interactive story time featuring guests from the Princesses & Superheros of Louisville. Please register online in advance.

By Guest Contributor: Brandy

P.S. Not a free event but it's all for charity and it's our event!
House of Boom in Louisville
All ages.
$10 for food, fun & jumping.  All proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana.  Tickets on sale here.