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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Things to do Labor Day Weekend around Louisville 2013

 2014 Info - Click HERE

Hanging around for Labor Day weekend and wondering what to do?  Here are some ideas!

WorldFest - Admission to WorldFest is free!  It takes place Friday, Aug. 30, Saturday, Aug. 31, Sunday, Sept. 1 from 11 a.m.- 11 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 2, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.  Performances, food, shopping and more!  Check out our review here.

Family - palooza - an event put on by Southeast Christian Church at multiple locations.  They have various campuses.  It starts at 11am on Monday 9/2 at all locations but the ending times differ. See details here - I suspect the largest event will be at the main campus on Blankenbaker. Here's our review

If you are up for shopping, there's always the big Flea market which offers free admission. It's at the KY Expo Center -  Friday 12-6 , Saturday 10-6 , Sunday 11-6 , Monday 10-5   There's a "wrestling legend" (that I have never heard of) that will be appearing all weekend.  You better set up a tent outside the night before to be the first one in and meet this dude ;)

Then there's the KY Bluegrass & Bourbon Festival  which takes place at the Louisville Water Tower Dates & Times are: Saturday, August 31 - (5-11pm) Sunday, September 1 - (5-11pm) Monday, September 2 - (1-7pm) It's $8 before 6pm, $11 after 6pm but kids 10 & under are free - parking is also free.

Last, if you want to brave the heat heat heat that left for a while this summer but is back full force - head to
a golf course at one of the Louisville Metro Parks.  On Labor Day weekend, they have a special- a family of up to four members can play nine holes at any Metro Parks course for just $20. That includes greens and cart fees. Families can take advantage of the deal after 4:30 p.m. on three days: Saturday, August 31, Sunday, September 1 and Monday, September 2.  There's also the Mayor's Hike Bike and Paddle  for those that want to be active on Labor Day Monday - unlike me who will sit around and eat burgers while I watch the kids be active.

Have a great long weekend!

LouFamFun $10 Challenge - August

I love a good challenge, so when I was asked to have some fun for the August $10 challenge, I wanted to look around for a fun and unique time for my two boys and I before we hit the back to school routine. I decided to try and stretch my newfound funds for as many days of fun as I could. Since we love to be outside, our first stop was a picnic from home and a fun time hiking trails at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. We loaded in the car early, slathered on the sunscreen and bug spray and had a great time walking the two ponds loop. We saw lots of geese, turtles, and fish, as well as the awesome trees and plants that make Bernheim such a cool place to be year round. We walked, we played, and by the time we were headed to the car to dodge a pop up shower, both boys were worn out! To me one of the best parts was that admission to the Arboretum is free from Monday through Friday- so we still had our $10 intact for more fun! Admission is only $5 per carload on weekends and holidays.

 photo Science1_zpsff65c311.jpgThe next idea was sort of an “Oh no! It’s raining!” kind of twist. We’ve all been there- you think you can have a somewhat normal schedule to your day, but before long everyone was climbing the walls! So, I went for a kind of “home chemistry, Pinterest idea, good clean fun” kind of approach. I broke out all of the kitchen staples in the pantry and we tried our hand at as many “homemade” fun things as we could!

We did color exploration with food color and water (“Red and Blue make purple, mommy!”) We made our own super bubble solution and tried out variations to make sure it was THE BEST! We made the well-loved “cornstartch and water oobleck” to play with, and my new purchase to add to the fun was some Borax (around $3 for a big box) for some fun with polymers in the kitchen. We made our own slime, and bouncy balls. (The bouncy balls were kind of a flop for us, but maybe you will have better luck!)

 photo Science2_zpsbadd591e.jpg Last but not least, we mixed together baking soda and vinegar for some foamy fun. We did that a lot. There are a lot of sites out there with great recipes, so if you can’t remember just how to make the PERFECT kitchen volcano, it is easy to find.  We used a lot of sites from http://chemistry.about.com. We also made some paper airplanes, and raced them down the stairs. With the remainder of the money, we made my oldest boy’s day.

My 4 year old son loves planes and rockets, and all things that even resemble them. So the next day when he saw that we were headed to the hobby store, he was beside himself. We went inside and bought something that was a blast from my past, but especially my husband’s past. We found a small water rocket for just over $5. This is the kind that you fill with water, pump up by hand to build pressure, and then “let her rip!” Full of giggles, we picked up my husband and headed to the Douglass Hills neighborhood park to have some fun. 

 photo explorerLane_zps2388da69.jpgWe chose this place, since they have a great water fountain and pump that ended up working very well with the water rocket, and more importantly, open spaces. We spent almost 2 hours giggling and chasing, and making memories.

What fun!  We decided as a family that the remainder of the challenge money change should go in a donation center for Children’s Miracle Network, and Kosair Children’s Hospital. Thank you, Louisville Family Fun! Have fun getting out there and making your own discoveries and memories with those you love!

By guest contributor: Jackie

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Weekend Getaway Options in Warren County, OH

Warren County, OH is just about 30 minutes northeast of Cincinnati and a totally easy drive from Louisville since I71 goes straight through Warren County.  The Warren County Convention & Visitor's Bureau so graciously invited and hosted my family and I to visit some attractions in their fine county and report back to you on them.  They call it "Ohio's Largest Playground" and I wanted to put them to the test so off we went for a weekend excursion.   It took us just about 2 hours to arrive at our first destination.

Lazer Kraze

This laser tag and indoor gaming center is located in a small shopping center at the same exit for Kings Island and Great Wolf lodge making it easy to pop in for some fun.  This fall (2013) they are opening a bigger location with a trampoline park as well. We went there first at around 10:30 am and with the exception of a birthday party, the place was all ours. The kids loved the arcade games while we waited for our slotted laser tag time.  Before noon on Saturdays, it's all for kids under 12, I thought that was a great idea. They have munchkin madness from 10 am to noon on Saturdays and the littler ones can play unlimited for $12.  This is a good deal considering normally, it would be $8/mission.

When it was time for our mission, we entered the briefing room to learn the rules. Then, we were assigned teams and headed in to get our vests. I was able to hang my purse in that room and it was locked during the game. You hold the laser gun in a certain way to make it active and you shoot at the lit vests of the opposite team. Your goal is to hit their vest to earn points.  After the game, you can check your score on the screen outside.  The mission lasted around 15 minutes and was an absolute blast.  My husband and I, as well as our children and all of the people in their playing that session were really having fun!

Also, I loved that it was so close to Great Wolf Lodge and we could fit in a game before we headed to the hotel which we could not enter until 1pm to access the water park.

Great Wolf Lodge

This was our second time staying at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, OH. Read our review from the first trip here as I won't recount all of the same things again.   We checked in right at 1pm and it was pretty empty. I highly recommend checking in at this time and getting to the water park because from 3-4pm, I saw a line at check in and at 1pm when I checked in, it was a breeze.  Also, our room was available at 1pm and we got it early! Not a guarantee, but definitely convenient.

We had a standard room with 2 beds, a small living area and bathroom and the microwave/fridge/freezer. I really like that they have these options in all of the rooms because you can really save money by bringing some drinks and items for lunch or breakfast. The freezer has enough room for smaller items, but not something larger like a pizza or tub of ice cream. Everything is our room was clean and we had a great patio overlooking the outdoor pool and a peek at Kings Island which was awesome because we were able to see their 10 pm fireworks!

Upon entering the water park, the guard measured our kids and gave them color coded wristbands so it was clear which slides they could go on.  We also picked up towels - fantastic not having to worry about that. The kids loved the whole water park, especially the tower with the medium sized slides and all of the gadgets to twist and pull to squirt off water.  There are water options for kids (and adults) of all ages.  There are multiple bathrooms as well as a locker and changing area with showers.  The outdoor pool was also very nice and had a large shallow area that's great for younger kids but it was only about 77 degrees the day we were there so we staying inside.  Also note, if you are not there right at the beginning of the day, it's a bit difficult to find a spot to claim for your stuff.  We just found one chair to put all of the towels on and leave our shoes under.

We played in the water park for about 2 hours and headed back to our room to get ready for our next adventure!  Bonnybrook Farms!

 Bonnybrook Farms
Click this photo to see ALL of 
Bonnybrook Farms photos in a slide show
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This was the highlight of our trip - no doubt.  We left Great Wolf Lodge and arrived at this lovely farm about 30 minutes later. It as a cute country drive.  The farm offers seasonal events and during the summer, it's the Chuck Wagon Dinner Ride.  It's $30 for adults, $17 for kids 4-12 and children 3 and under are free.  I also hear their fall events are unparalleled.

Folks can arrive at 5pm to play farm games before dinner.  Games and activities included: clodhopper golf, giant slingshots, large sandbox, horse swings, giant slide inside of a hill, a pretend little western town and train, catch and release fishing (bring your own supplies, those fish were biting!), a stable full of horses and other animals and just a lot of room to roam and run. We loved it, my son was obsessed with the giant slingshots as were most of the kids and I really enjoyed the scenery.  There are drinks out for when you get thirsty from all of that playing!   Note, the only bathrooms are porta potties but I can say, I believe they are the cleanest porta potties I have ever used and they have a sink station right outside.

At 6:30pm, the owner, Bonny, rang the dinner bell and everyone lined up for country fixin's.  The line moved very quickly and everyone filled up on coleslaw, potato salad, mac 'n cheese, and pulled chicken or pork sandwiches. There's also hot dogs if the kids prefer those.   There was ample condiments for getting the items just right and chips for snacking too.  Everyone sat in the gorgeous open air barn at picnic tables and there wasn't a single family who wasn't absolutely soaking in the wonderful family time and savoring the good food. It was all delicious, particularly the coleslaw - tangy and so fresh.  After the dinner, my kids ran off to play a few more games and then promptly at 7:30, everyone loaded 3 tractor wagons for a ride out to the campfire.

Bonny came aboard each wagon and told guests about her farm, some history and things to see along the tractor ride.  It was a wonderful bumpy ride through the enormous farm, as it should be, and a perfect way to end the evening.  The tractor pulled up to a little spot near the river on the farm where a chuck wagon was set up with drinks, coffee and dessert options.  Multiple fires were going for toasting marshmallows with benches all around to sit and enjoy the evening.  Families grabbed their s'mores ingredients, cobbler, cookies and beverages and finished off the night with the sweets and an awesome backdrop of the river on one side and the farm land on the other, a deer even paid us a visit off in the field.  This was the buggiest area of the farm so you might want to spray yourself and the kids with some repellent, we didn't notice many pesky bugs over by the games and dinner, surprisingly.  Also, the gadgets they have for roasting marshmallows are metal. They have handles but despite me telling my 4 year old twice to only hold the metal, she did touch the metal and get a small burn so watch the little ones closely! Nothing a fresh cookie couldn't heal. Let me tell you, save room for the cookies. Their chocolate chip cookies were so gooey and perfect. I ate....too many.

The night ended with a tractor ride back up to the main barn and Bonny thanked everyone for coming out. All of the families were smiling and so pleased with how much fun everyone had. This is not just an activity to check off your list of things to do, it's family bonding ya'll.  They have seriously good stuff going on out on Bonnybrook Farm.   We drove back to Great Wolf Lodge, watched the 10pm fireworks over Kings Island from our balcony and retired comfortably for the night.

We awoke and had breakfast in our room, an extra latte from Starbucks in the gift shop of the hotel (which was really not made well, but hopefully that was a fluke because for over $5, you better make a good latte) and headed to the water park for an hour of swimming.  You can swim all day even after checking out but we had day plans so we just swam for a bit. We loaded most of our items in the car, the check out was automatic at 11 am, and we brought just a change of clothes with us to the water park.  We entered right at 10 am when it opened and it was perfect to be there when it was less crowded - went straight to the tube slides since there was no line!  At around 11:30 am, we changed in the family locker room and went to McDonald's right down the road for lunch since it was cheaper than eating at Kings Island - our next stop. This is a VERY busy McDonald's.  Then, we returned to park at Great Wolf Lodge and walk over to Kings Island.

Kings Island

Kings Island is just a short walk from Great Wolf Lodge and when you stay there, it will save you the $15 parking fee.  The park is open seasonally and you can usually find good deals on tickets at Kroger and sometimes they have special prices for certain times of the year.  Also, it's cheaper to visit after 5pm and if you want to go two days, you can buy a combo ticket that's a better deal than buying 2 days individually.  If you don't get a discount, the prices are $39.99 for adults and $33.99 for seniors/kids. (They define kids as those 3 and up or under 48" tall so apparently kids under 3 are free).

This park is set up with one area for the little kids (Planet Snoopy), the water park (Soak City) and the rest of the park. The park is very big and you can get a map when you get in or you can search your app store on your phone for Kings Island - they have an app that has show times/locations and park information.  I found the app really useful for show times and locations. We had only about 6 hours so we did not go to the water park but from seeing it, Soak City appears to have many slides of all sizes and wave pools that everyone would enjoy.  Next time, we'll be sure to check it out.

My kids are 4 and 6 so we spent the majority of the day in Planet Snoopy and at the shows. We saw a Charlie Brown show in front of the tower in the main part of the park by the fountains and a jungle themed show at the stage in Planet Snoopy later in the day.  My kids bopped to the singing and laughed with the characters; it's a great excuse to sit down.  As for rides, the Planet Snoopy lines were modest.  Within that park, there were a few more popular rides that commanded about a 20 - 30 minute wait but most of the smaller rides had fast moving lines.  My daughter loved the carousel (as always) and my son says that the Woodstock Express ride was his favorite.  I thought it was awesome that they have a small splash area in Planet Snoopy so if you are there on a hot day but don't want to do both part of the park, you can still cool down.

The lines for the women's bathroom were always long, prepare for that and encourage your children to let you know right away when they need to visit the restroom or send boys into the men's room - always faster. My daughter waited until it was an emergency and I had to cut a poor tween off for the family restroom and apologize to avoid an accident - we couldn't wait in the regular line! Poor tween just looked at me and nodded since I was clearly a crazed mom on a mission.

We didn't eat at the park. We got the $13 (my eyes just popped out of my head) souvenir cup and shared and got free refills all day and then the kids got a treat later in the day.  I avoid spending money on food at amusement parks as much as I can. Treats are always a bit more my speed -ice cream was about $5 and my son got candy for about $3.  We ate dinner in the car on the way home, it was cheaper, healthier (I packed sandwiches in a cooler) and with limited time, we didn't want to spend a lot of time eating at the park. However, it was a really gorgeous day and we saw many families at tables in the middle mall area of the park enjoying outdoor dining.

We ventured out of Planet Snoopy for just a bit at the end of the day to explore.  The rides in the main park are impressively fast and huge. My kids were not tall enough for many of them but they got a thrill out of watching the riders zoom on the tracks. They have a new ride called the Diamondback and apparently it cost $22 million dollars to create and on one of the drops, you go 80 mph!   I found the park to be clean and well maintained.  It was really crowded but I can say, I was probably there on the most perfect day weather-wise and it was a weekend.

Digression: To compare to say, Holiday World, price wise, I think it's a wash.  Kings Island is cheaper for admission but a tad bit further, they charge for parking and I felt the food options were more expensive (no free drinks either).  So in the end, you would likely spend around the same at each by the end of the day. Attraction wise, my kids enjoyed Holiday World more as a whole because they are younger and the children's rides at Holiday World are dispersed all over the park. But, for older kids, I think Kings Island is more attractive because the rides are really impressive and the scene all together has more of a traditional amusement park buzz while Holiday World is well, cute.   Kings Island=cool, Holiday World=cute, to make it simple.   Both parks are worth visiting and we are lucky to have two within driving distance.

To end our whirlwind Warren County, OH 2 day getaway, we walked back to our car at Great Wolf Lodge and headed back south on I71.  The drive was a breeze, ample options to stop for gas, bathroom, food and we took a deep breath and turned up the music while the kids fell asleep.

Definitely explore the Warren County Visitor's Bureau website to see the options for a 3 day weekend.  The 2 day getaway was fast, 3 days would be perfect!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Top Ten Fall Getaways from Louisville, KY

 photo IMG_2883_zps68c02448.jpg10. Great Wolf Lodge is a great place for an action-packed family getaway (Review here). If your kids get bored or need a change of pace, visit nearby IKEA (Review here) or Entertrainment Junction (Review here).

9. Lookout Mountain, featuring Ruby Falls, Rock City, and the Incline Railway is a great place to start your exploration of Chattanooga, Tennessee. You can also visit the Tennessee Aquarium, take a tour on the Chattanooga Ducks explore the Creative Discovery Museum.

8. Hocking Hills State Park has everything you need for a mellow family camping expedition. Take a ride on the Hocking Valley ScenicRailway, check out the caves and cliffs, or go canoeing.

 photo IMG_0133_zpsd587e550.jpg7. Opryland can be a base for your Nashville adventure or a self-contained resort vacation. There are multiple restaurants and entertainment venues on site. We have multiple reviews. Check them out!

6. Clifty Falls State Park is a great nearby place for hiking, camping, and other relaxing family activities.  There is an Inn with a restaurant as well as campgrounds. See our review here.

 photo IMG_9908.jpg5. The Breaks Interstate Park on the Kentucky/Virginia state line offers everything for an action-packed family getaway or a laid-back commune with nature. There is Geocaching, hiking, peddle boats and canoes, a water park, white water rafting, and a museum. Accommodations include a lodge, cabins and cottages, and camping.

4. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park features a lodge, cabins, and camping. There are multiple hiking trails, including the one that leads to Cumberland Falls and its’ world-famous Moonbow. See our review here.
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3. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee are great places for family fun. Everything from camping, hiking, and fishing to the Ripley’s Aquarium and Dollywood are available for your entertainment. You only need to decide what kind of vacation you would like to have and all the attractions are there. Check out our review!

 photo lb_zpse10b4622.jpg2. The Land Between the Lakes offers hiking, biking, horseback riding, archery, target practice, water sports, and many other activities.  There is also an elk and bison prairie and a planetarium. Camping is available at Land Between the Lakes, and Lake Barkley State Resort Park is nearby with more lodging and activities. See our review of Lake Barkley State Resort Park here.

1. Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Park are my favorite places to go in the fall. The leaves are beautiful along the hiking trails, and when you get to the top of Natural Bridge you can see trees for miles. This is where you go for a peaceful family commune with nature. See our review here.  

By guest contributor:  


Monday, August 26, 2013

Louisville Zoo Contest!

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 photo DSC_0086_zpsaf7e47b0.jpgDon't you just love a trip to the Louisville Zoo?

Family fun options there are endless day in and day out but in the fall, they have the "World's Largest Halloween Party" and it's always a crowd pleaser.

The Louisville Zoo would like extend a special prize to a Louisville Family Fun reader.  One lucky reader will win 4 tickets to the "World's Largest Halloween Party" and 4 train ride tickets, what a great prize!

Good luck, enter daily, tell all of your pals :)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Winners! Parents Night Out to see the Screwtape Letters at The Brown Theatre

 photo BrentHarrisasScrewtape3_zps22e31a2d.jpgThe National Tour of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS will run at The Brown Theatre on Broadway, 315 West Broadway, Louisville on Saturday, September 28 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Two lucky readers won tickets from the contest last week!

They are: Tiffany Abbott and Samantha Portman
Please email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net from the email address with which you entered the contest to claim your tickets!

Review of Bob Hedge Park: a park designed with the physically disabled in mind

 photo IMG_3205_zpsdfeb5440.jpg photo IMG_3201_zps4d4baa5c.jpg photo IMG_3193_zps0bb10adb.jpgWe recently visited Jeffersonville’s Bob Hedge Park. It was about 5 minutes off of exit 1 from I-65. The park sits inside a neighborhood setting with lots of trees for shade and plenty of free parking. I immediately noticed the size of the play area-it’s HUGE! The play area is also gated, which is super nice for those of us with wandering children. The lock on the gate is currently broken but just having it closed seemed to deter the kids from trying to escape. The maintenance staff, who were there emptying trash cans noted that fixing the lock was “on their list”, though. The play area was completely covered with rubber for a safer surface. The play equipment was all designed with the physically disabled in mind.

There were gentle inclined ramps throughout the entire area with plenty of space for maneuvering a wheelchair.  Like many playgrounds now, there were games installed on the equipment like spinning tic-tac-toe, steering wheels, puzzles and other manipulatives. The good thing here was that all of these were put at a lower level with extra space in front of them for wheelchair placement. They also had two adaptive swings. All of the equipment appeared to be well maintained.

The bathrooms were just a few steps away and each had two stalls with handrails in each. The women’s bathroom also had a baby changing station. The doors to the bathroom had a “no touch” entrance/exit device on them. I wasn’t able to get them to work, although I could have been doing it wrong.

There were several picnic tables and grills around if you would like to take a lunch. There is also a pavilion with several tables and lights for those who prefer an evening outing.

 photo IMG_3217_zps9f140231.jpg photo IMG_3215_zpscdfae744.jpgThe park has a small walking loop flanked with exercise equipment. Every exercise station had an adapted version of the exercise for those in wheelchairs. After taking in all that this park has to offer, cool off with their misting station-a big hit with my kids! If you do go to this park, you may consider also checking out a quiet walk on the JeffersonvilleRiverfront. It was a 5 minute drive, wheelchair accessible, and beautiful.

Check back often for more fabuLOUs reviews for your special needs or disabled child!

By guest contributor: Jennifer

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Things to do this weekend around Louisville - August 23,24,25

I am going to be brief and give you some bullet points for your weekend. Kids are back in school so I know you are overrun with papers coming home and new routines, you don't need to read me run on!

  • Shop some bargains at the Little Treasures kids sale that's at HOOPS and runs through the 25th.  Details here.
  • Head to Mama's Hip (the store, not her actual hip) and have your toddler make a masterpiece at their Toddler Art class on Friday morning at 10:15am or this Saturday at 10:30am. It's $10 a class or they have a little card you can buy to discount each class.
  • Friday night, learn about Jeffersonville and go on a walking tour at 6pm. Meet at Spring St. & Riverside. Details here
  • Saturday - head to a Farmer's Market - I've been seeing some great tomatoes lately and it's awesome for kids to learn that food really comes from farms.......not packages or drive thrus.
  • Saturday - spend the afternoon (3-6pm) at Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood for their Hummingbird Festival. Details here.  Kids 12 and under free, $7 for adults.
  • Saturday- head to the Iroquois Amphitheater for a free movies starting at 8:30pm. It's Rise of the Guardians. Great playground right next to it, so picnic and play before the movie! See review of this park here

  • Sunday - rest....school is tomorrow :)

  • Stephanie

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013

    Review of Putt Putt Mini-Golf in Fern Creek

     photo IMG_5580_zps7445f307.jpgMy son loves playing mini-golf on family vacations and there just aren't too many options around Louisville to  do it. So, when a daily deal popped up for the Putt Putt on Bardstown Road in Fern Creek (5720 Bardstown Road Louisville, KY 40291), I snagged it.

    If you don't have a deal, online, you can find their pricing specials - that's the best on-going way to save.
    All You Can Play Day Every Monday: Play all the Putt-Putt golf you desire from 10am until 5pm every Monday for $8
    Super Saturday- 10:00am - 2:00pm- $8 per person. Unlimited Putt-Putt® golf and 10 Tokens for the Game Room
    Daily Special: Play all three courses for $9
    Their regular prices can be found here.

     photo IMG_5586_zps2f738069.jpgWe went on a nice spring weekend afternoon and it wasn't too crowded. Out on the course, there's not a lot of shade so in the summer, I imagine it's really hot. We try to go when it's not too busy because my 4 and 6 year old kids are not very patient!  We arrived and got our 4 balls in different colors and our putters. They have 3 18-hole courses, we just did 1 course.  It's a very basic mini-golf place with simple designs for the holes, nothing too extravagant. But, they were challenging enough for adults but basic enough that my son did get a hole-in-one during our outing.  They have a hole-in-one game in which they light up different colors by the front desk and if you get a hole-in-one with the same color ball that's lit, you let them know and you get a prize. I noticed that the prizes were little scratch off tickets for coupons or freebies from them.

     photo IMG_5579_zps67ee7592.jpgWith the special daily deal voucher I had, it made for a very affordable outing.  The fountains were not running, that would have been nice and there was so pooled water from a recent rain but in general, it was clean.  They offered some basic, reasonably prices snacks. The inside has some video games and an area for parties, the bathrooms were clean. The entire place could use a little update but it was just enough to fulfill my son's desire for a mini-golf outing.


    Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    Review of Jennifer's Academy of Dance - Quality Classes at an Affordable Price

     photo IMG_4426_zpsefb3f04b.jpgMy daughter (4) expressed some interest in taking dance class so I started looking into my options. I asked around, checked online and weighed out choices based on location and cost more than anything since I really didn't have too much experience with studios.  Luckily, a discount deal popped into my email inbox for Jennifer's Academy of Dance and I decided to go with them.  I knew that even when the deal ended, if we liked it, we would stick with it so I checked on their pricing and location and it seemed reasonable.

    Prior to our first class, I called and asked what she needed.  I got her soft dance slippers, tap shoes, tights and one leotard dance outfit.  I found the tap shoes at a consignment shop for a great deal and found the rest at Target for less than $30 total. They sold items at the dance studio, but my daughter was excited to go shopping for the items so I took her elsewhere. I'm now always stalking sales for dancing gear!

    My daughter started in January 2013 so she was pretty much in the middle of the year but they took her into the class and made sure she got accustomed to the routine of the class.  I liked that they didn't fuss too much about her being new so she didn't feel like an outsider, they just jumped right in with her.  From then on, we attended every Wednesday night at 5:30 pm through early June.  There is a recital in mid-June around Father's Day and we didn't go because we already had our vacation planned before enrolling her in class.  If Maggie had done the recital, there is a recital fee and you do pay for the outfit- I believe this cost may change from year to year depending on the outfit chosen. I honestly can't recall the cost since we knew we were not going to be around for the recital and I didn't pay as much attention to it.  They can let you know a rough figure if you ask.

     photo IMG_4429_zpsb1a31d35.jpgDuring the classes, my son and I waited in the small reception area and the girls all went into dance with the instructors.  The girls would take their bags with their shoes into the studio, hang them up and pick a spot for starting class. They did half hour of ballet and half hour of tap.  Some of the instructors for the little girls are the older students and my daughter talked about them all of the time - her "dancing teachers."  I loved the role modeling and how sweet they were with the little students. During class, the parents and their children sat and talked, the kids colored and we all got to know each other.  It made taking my child somewhere less of a chore since we weren't just sitting there waiting for her to finish, we really enjoyed getting to know the other people.  Some parents left to run an errand, and that's ok too. Jennifer, the owner, would be in and out laughing with people and catching up on what's going on in our lives - her husband and daughter are always there too.  She keeps up with parents via email as well.  I felt like the staff was truly invested in each child and making sure they were learning and having fun. It's not the fanciest studio, but honestly, fancy things don't impress me - I'm not fancy, my stuff isn't fancy and I don't aspire to be fancy......but good people, I dig good people.  And, they have good people.  So, we are heading back to Jennifer's Academy of Dance in early September for a full year and my daughter can't wait and my son (who would seemingly complain about being dragged along) said he's excited to see Charlie, the little brother of one of the other girls in his class (and Charlie's mom, he likes her too).

    The studio is at 8706 A Bayberry Place off of Westport Rd. - in from the Hurstbourne Lane intersection. They have classes for dancers (or those wanting to be dancers) ages 2.5 and up. The fee for my 4 year old is $45/month and there is a registration fee of $25 (mention LouFamFun and get this free if you are a new student!). We pay monthly and if you miss a class, they are very flexible about making it up so there's no money/learning lost. We have already told Grandma and Grandpa that we will have to shift our 2014 vacation to visit them to accommodate that June recital because next year, she's getting all decked out and hitting that stage!


    Monday, August 19, 2013

    Contest! Parent's Night Out to see THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS at The Brown Theatre

     photo BrentHarrisasScrewtape2_zpsc1674c3f.jpgThe National Tour of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, based on the novel by The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis, is returning to Louisville by popular demand for two performances only. The limited engagement will run at The Brown Theatre on Broadway, 315 West Broadway, Louisville on Saturday, September 28 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

    The production has been to over 50 major cities at this point and has received rave reviews in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, CNN and more.

     photo BrentHarrisasScrewtape3_zps22e31a2d.jpgSCREWTAPE LETTERS has had smash hit engagements in LA, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Houston, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and many other cities throughout the country. To date, over 250,000 people have seen the production on tour.

    What a perfect opportunity to get downtown, enjoy a show and head out to dinner!  Awesome date night or night out with a friend.

    We have two pairs of tickets to give away!
    Good luck

    Sunday, August 18, 2013

    Review Cafecito: Coffee Shop and Italian Ice Shoppe in Jeffersontown

     photo IMG_35512_zps76b96a0f.jpg photo IMG_35542_zps7a6a57f4.jpgWhile we've been on summer break, I've been itching to go to this great little cafe that opened up in Jeffersontown a few months ago. I've been in a few times before to grab a cup of coffee, and I must say that I have had the most authentic, delicious cup of Cuban coffee here. But I wanted to take my daughter there for a lunch date and finally got a chance to recently. She and I did a girl's day one afternoon while my younger one was with a sitter. We had a very nice lunch and special treat and did some shopping as well.

    Cafecito is a coffee and sandwich shop in the heart of Jeffersontown near the district they refer to as Gaslight Square. It is located right down the street from Gaslight Pavilion, where the Jeffersontown Farmers' Market is held every Tuesday (5pm-7:30pm) and Saturday (8am-12:30pm).

     photo cafecito_zps53396fc0.jpg photo IMG_35522_zps471294a5.jpgThey mainly serve made-to-order deli sandwiches and hot paninis, salads, and soup. My daughter and I ordered a black forest ham sandwich and chips. Our total bill was $18.50 and that included a sandwich, two chips, two drinks, and two servings of Italian ice. Their coffee menu is loaded and they will custom make a drink if you'd like. They serve hot drinks, espresso, iced drinks like coffee and tea. I ordered an iced coffee with caramel flavoring.

    Cafecito is also an Italian ice shop; they serve 16 flavors of this scrumptious dessert as well. My daughter and I each got one and tried the pina colada, cherry, strawberry, mango, and watermelon. It was scrumptious!

     photo ice_zps43abafdd.jpgAfter enjoying lunch and our Italian ice treat, we headed down Watterson Trail and stopped in Sissy's Consignment & Boutique and another cute consignment store called Molly's. We bought a few accessories-girly stuff you know, and then headed home. It was a wonderful afternoon together! Check out Cafecito next time you're in the Jeffersontown area. It is located at 10414 Watterson Trail and their current hours are M-F 8:30-4 and Saturdays 8:30-2; 502-409-8712. Give this very small shop your business and help those Louisville locals!

    By guest contributor: Erin

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Picks for Things to do this Weekend around Louisville - August 16,17,18

    Please excuse me if this is rather brief and not typed with the same zest as usual. Something Ohio-river-valley-ish is messing with my sinuses and merely looking at the computer screen for more than 10 minutes makes me feel like my eyes are going to explode out of my head.

    Regardless, the family fun must go on and here I am to tell you what you can do this weekend - I'll get the ibuprofen and other meds going to see if I can sustain some entertainment with the kids this weekend! Maybe I will through a neti pot pity party.

    Outdoor dining is a great option for entertainment on Friday since the weather is just brilliant.  Check out our list of great family-friendly dining options that have wonderful spots for meals al fresco.

    Friday is also a nice day to hit the KY State Fair!

    FOX (Families Outside X-ploring) - Starts at  9:00 AM and goes through Noon. It features: Checking out the Ohio River, a nice playground and pray ground, great picnic areas and wooded area.  They want you to hike, search for tracks, build forts, catch pond critters, get muddy, play in leaves, and take a break from technology - according to their website. Bring water bottles, a snack and dress for the weather. Families should meet in the upper parking lot of Riverview Park. Here's a video about it. It's $8/Family. Pre-Registration required; call 502.368.5404.

     photo 2013Woofstockflyer_zps2148bb6d.jpg
    One of my favorite spots, Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve is having an awesome event to celebrate our pets and also butterflies.  Details are here, it's Saturday from 10am - 2pm and it's free (donations welcome, of course). Pet adoptions available, pet-friendly booths, and lunch treats will be available. Pets and four-legged friends are invited (on leash and bring scooper bags, please!). Also, there will be a butterfly expert present for some awesome info! Visitors will be able to view butterflies up close in their butterfly tent. Fun times!

    Actor's Theatre Block Party is free and takes place Saturday from 1pm - 10pm. It's all to celebrate their 50th anniversary - with kids activities, performances, music, tours, food and more.  Enjoy this event downtown on Main St. between 3rd and 4th.

    A lot of kiddos are heading back to school next week. Take Sunday to take it easy, talk about going back to school and enjoy some quiet time at home together. I am sure there are events but sometimes, keeping it chill and simple is just as important as exploring! Maybe have a drive in movie night ,get crafty and make some ooey gooey stuff for everyone to play with or break out some board game and snacks and let the games begin!

    Don't forget to tune into this week's LouFamFun podcast on Louisville.am

    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    Review of PossibiliTour: Free walking tours in Downtown Louisville, KY

     photo IMG_3696_zps965b3caf.jpgBack on a scorching hot, humid day in July, I ventured downtown to try out one of the added Wednesday morning walking tours put on by the Louisville Visitors Center. The tours start at 10:30am and I had to call the day before to reserve a spot. They are completely free and it was very enjoyable. I did spend about $2 in quarters to pay to park at a street meter, which I luckily found on Liberty Street just a block away from the Visitors Center.

    I arrived at the Visitors Center at about 10:15am. The person I spoke with on the phone when making my reservation said to be sure to arrive a few minutes early because the tours leave promptly on time. I walked around the Visitors Center until the tour guide started. It was neat to look at everything from a visitor's standpoint. I've lived in Louisville for over 20 years and have actually never stepped foot inside this space! That's one of the reasons why I love doing these types of activities in our city because I'm on this quest to rediscover Louisville, especially now with a family and two children.

     photo IMG_3691_zps96ff1cca.jpg photo photo2_zps84cbc23c.jpgI had my toddler in his stroller the day I went on the walking tour. We hit the concrete right on time at 10:30am and were with a fairly good group of others, mainly older adults and one grandmother who was taking the tour with her two grandsons. I met a couple who was visiting Louisville and had just happened to walk into the visitor's center right as the tour was getting going. The tour guide for our adventure was a woman who is a volunteer for the visitor's center, and worked in downtown Louisville for 20+ years. She knew the ins and outs of the city and had such great information, history, and tidbits to share with us about the city of Louisville. For instance, did you know if you drive exactly 26 miles per hour down Main Street, you'll never hit a red light? That's according to her! We walked north on Fourth Street to Main Street and our first stop was at the corner near the Galt House Hotel. She also relayed to us the story about F. Scott Fitzgerald and his connection to the Seelbach Hotel. He wrote the beginnings of the classic, The Great Gatsby, on a napkin at the bar in the basement of the hotel! She talked about the history of bourbon and baseball and distilleries. Did you know that for bourbon to be given the official name "bourbon", it must be made in America? Bourbon seems to be a big thing for the tourism industry in Louisville and the state; I saw many souvenirs in the gift shop at the center that were bourbon-related.

     photo IMG_3690_zpsb891d38b.jpg photo IMG_3692_zps246eaa67.jpgWe continued walking west down Main Street and stopped in front of the American Life Insurance building to talk about three main buildings in downtown that line up the skyline of Louisville. She gave fascinating facts to the group about all three buildings and the designers and architects. We then ventured over toward the Belvedere and stopped at the foot of the Galt House near the fountain. She talked about George Rogers Clark, the Falls of the Ohio, and Clark's connection with Locust Grove. I love history and learning about all of these pieces of the puzzle that make Louisville, Kentucky what it is, and our tour guide that day was very knowledgeable. We walked up to the outlook over the river right near the statue of George Rogers Clark and talked some more about the Ali Center and other prominent Louisvillians, businesses, and buildings. The walking tour left that area and stopped on the backside of the Kentucky Center for the Arts, where our guide continued to talk about the arts and culture of Louisville and about KentuckyShow!, a breathtaking short film. Click here for our review.

    The tour continued a few more blocks west down Main Street, stopping to talk about the history of Main Street's facade, Whiskey Row, Museum Row, and Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. It lasted about 1 1/2 hours and was a perfect way to spend some free time. I recommend the tour for families, but especially those with older children. I think it makes for a great history lesson for homeschooling families. But since it's free and you're outdoors, you can't go wrong with any of your children, and if needed, you can always politely cut out of the tour and head back to your car. The entire tour is about 10 blocks worth of walking, so keep that in mind for younger children. Try a new place to grab an early lunch around the Visitor's Center. I saw several places that looked promising, and 4th Street Live is right there as well.

     photo IMG_3689_zps29a7833f.jpgThe PossibiliTours are every Friday and Sunday at 2pm and Saturday at 10:30am, May-October. Remember they leave from the Louisville Visitor's Center, which is located at 301 South Fourth Street (corner of 4th and Jefferson). You can call 502-379-6109 to make a reservation a day in advance.

    By guest contributor: Erin

    Review of GlowGo! 5K in Louisville, KY

     photo Glow2_zps57aaccfb.jpg photo glow1_zps44a2e845.jpgThe GlowGo! 5K is a 5K run (or walk, or stroll) that was held in Louisville’s Waterfront Park in July. I was super excited to go to this “multi-sensory experience” as this was my 2nd 5K run that I had ever officially participated in. I really was not sure what to expect. When I was given the opportunity to register I culled the website for info. It seemed like it was trying hard to be family friendly, yet it also seemed like I was about to put myself in the middle of a night of partying, and wild craziness.  This was furthered by my packet pick up experience, where I got a nifty bag with a T shirt, glow necklace and bracelet, Glow glasses, a super cool glow baton thingy, and a jar of cookie spread. I was puzzled, yet intrigued.

    I am currently the only runner in my family, so the rest of my family smiles and nods… and I excitedly tuck in my boys for bed before I head down to the fun and or mayhem.  I found a place to park without too much trouble and headed on down to the party launch site. I had signed up for the 2nd wave at 9:30pm since the first two (9:20, 9:30) were deemed the most family friendly.  After getting in the chute and being surrounded by lots of scantily clad dancing women and a DJ, we got the go ahead and started our run. There were a wide variety of people there, and it was a fun time just to look around and observe the things going on around me. I loved hearing the kids around me say “That’s Cool!” or “Mommy can I sit down?” (around mile 2 somewhere).  

    When we approached the first turn in the route there was a bit of confusion and a group of runners in front of me turned right instead of heading the correct way. Thanks to the guy behind me, I stayed on the route.  After the first station, the signs and volunteers were visible and I no longer was left to my own lack of direction. When I started, I was able to run fast enough to keep ahead of the walkers and partiers. However, as I stopped to take pictures it became a lot harder to keep a steady pace without fear of tripping over little ones, running into a stroller, or breaking up a 4 person group walking together. I just decided to take it easy, and run when I could.

    Another thing that made this a tough event for me is that the path folded back on itself. Imagine yourself running with other runners. Great, now add walkers. Add strollers and families (yay!). Now add people standing still. Now add the same things coming at you on the other side of the path or sidewalk. In the dark.Yea. That’s what I thought. Now, it wasn’t always that bad- but when it was, it was just plain nutty!

    The overall vibe was very casual, and filled with glowing bobbing runners and families. Some families had decked out the strollers and kids and it was great! Each of the three stations had a rave-like tent that you could run through, and celebrate, dance, or just keep running!  There were also a few water stations with cups of slightly warm water waiting throughout the course. (Warm water is better than none, right?) When we were finishing the last mile I was really glad to see the smiling face of the volunteer that was cheering me on. Yay!

     photo Glow3_zps6662cfc5.jpgAround the last mile, I caught up with an awesome mommy friend and we ran together to the end. I was curious to hear her experience and compare it to my own, as well as another running mommy that ran with me for a while at the start of the race, before she and her son zoomed on their way. (I run, but I am slow ) As I came to the finish line, there was a table of water, and then directly behind that, the party zone. There was loud music, food trailers, and other party events for the more energetic and perhaps younger crowd who did not have to hurry home to sleeping kiddos.  Alcohol was something that was everywhere both before and after the race, which to me went as a strike against this being a really family friendly event. People were even selling shots out in the open! Families are not the target here… so keep that in mind. The after race party was headlined by Havana Brown and seemed pretty wild. Too wild for this mama, but maybe in my younger days.

     photo Glow4_zps00cce784.jpgOverall, I think the run had more “that was cool” moments than “Aww, man!” moments. Not by much, but it did. If you want a chance to do something cool as a family and have a very portable stroller aged kiddo, or an older kid or preteen, I’d say this might be for you (if you skip the after party). My kids would have melted down in a glowing scream fest around a mile and a half. I saw a lot of families having fun, and a lot of cool moments with fathers and daughters or mothers and sons running it together.  If you want to get together for a girls night out, this would be a possibility. I also saw a lot of families heading out after crossing the finish line. Good thing, since the party scene was more like a college party than a celebration of the run.  Date night? Sure! (If you both want to bust a move!) It might be worth checking out. If you just really want to run a Kk, this probably is not the choice for you. Walk leisurely with glowing gear and admire the awesome Park and Ohio River? Have a blast and dance to some hit music? Go for it! 

    I asked my friends for their views on “Family friendliness” and the overall time.  Here are their comments:

    Nicole G.- “ With so many children there, there were parts of the course that were too dark and unsafe.  I was for sure okay with having to purchase the junk the vendors offered for sale, but for the price that was paid, I felt as though it should have had more to offer.  Way too much alcohol around so many children. I think there should have been a "beer" tent being you have to be 21 to be under it and that is the only place you could consume alcohol. The volunteers were amazing!!! They were kind and encouraging and they seemed to have been enjoying themselves out there along the paths!”

    Suzy K.-“The atmosphere of the event was energetic and fun. I really liked that there was food and music, and I was surprised by how family friendly the mood was. Kids love glow sticks and rocking music! Having it by the riverfront was a plus with all of the space for kids to run and play before the event...It really should not be advertised as a run but as a walk and the greatest majority who participated were walkers. I had done a couch to five K training routine to train for this event and am still a struggling runner proud just to complete 3 miles without stopping to walk. The addition of so many walkers as obstacles in my path, the darkness, the glo sticks and rave stations made it very difficult to keep running. The addition of a set of stairs down and up at the end of the course broke me and I ended up walking a large portion of the last half mile which really disappointed me.”

    By guest contributor: Jackie