Foster Chiropractic wants to help take some of the stress out of the upcoming holidays for one of our lucky readers! Being a parent himself, Dr. Foster really loves finding family fun in our area and supporting other family-owned businesses. So, he's sponsoring this awesome prize - a $50 Gift Certificate to The Parent-Teacher Store and Toys too! Remember, if you tend to tense up around the holidays, you might want to give Dr. Foster a call.
I am so excited to announce the Heartland Music Together $50 gift certificate winner!!! It's Nikki Snow!
To claim, please email email@example.com from the email address with which you used to enter the contest!
I get asked a lot “Where is a good safe place for my family
to ride our bikes around Louisville?”. It always makes me smile to hear this
question because kids on bikes with parents are an amazing thing. I hope
this post will help some of you answer that question.
A great flat place to take the family is the Louisville Loop trail system. I like this a lot for families because it is labeled with mileage,
has great signage and can be short or long. The best place to start this ride
is the Big Four Bridge lot. It has parking, a nice bike fix it station, and if
you are lucky after your ride a place to buy some treats for a job well done. Click here to find more information on the Louisville Loop.
Another good trail that is 100% no cars, short and pretty is
the Beargrass Greenway at Irish Hill. It runs along a portion of Beargrass
Creek and is great for seeing some wildlife (like turtles). You can start the
trail at 2001 Lexington Rd., 40206, this is the intersection of Lexington
and Grinstead near I-64.
recommendation is Cherokee Park. Yep, there are a few big hills but with some
practice they are fun. I would not start with this trail system but add it in
as the family progresses. The park has a dedicated recreation lane that cars
are not allowed to drive in. There are also several water fountains,
playgrounds and rest areas. A great place for a daylong of play and maybe a fun
make sure to wear your helmets, bring plenty of water, and have fun. Louisville has a great biking community and
some good online resources- check out the city’s bike page here.
First things first: Today is my parents' 43rd Wedding Anniversary! Now that deserves some attention! Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!
Now, let's get down to business. You are looking for things to do this weekend and I certainly have a few ideas to share.
I'm going to have to pick the trusty F.A.T Friday Trolley Hop. The weather is going to be lovely to walk around, visit the shops, grab something to eat and some dessert. All around good fun.
Oh - lots of choices this day!! So hard to choose. I'm a sucker for Nulu so I'd definitely recommend checking our the Nulu Festival. It keeps evolving each year and getting better and better. It's from noon-11pm. Don't be fooled by the fact that a beer store is sponsoring the event. Yes, that's definitely an option at this event but it's a totally family friendly vibe there (before say....8pm). It's on the 700 block of E. Market in...well, Nulu. This year, they are adding the Louisville Mini Maker Faire (noon -6pm) so that's super cool and you'll find all kinds of "makers" there showing off some mad skills and unique stuff.
It's also FREE MUSEUM DAY so you can grab 2 free tickets to some local museums around town like the Kentucky Derby Museum or Kentucky Science center to name a couple. You have to register here and print your tickets.
As of my typing, there's a good chance of rain on Sunday so I thought I would mention a good ole favorite - Roller Skating! Champs has public skating on Sundays from 2-6pm for $6.50 (skate rental $2.50). I bet you will get lots of giggling in during that time and awaken some muscles and actually get some exercise! See our review here.
The holidays are approaching so I want to tell you about this product that we were given by VTech to try! (We'll also be giving one away to a reader so be looking for that!). It's the Kidizoom Camera Connect from VTech.
This camera allows your kids to take real pictures or make movies. They can zoom, record and more. Then, they can be creative with the photos because in the camera, they can edit them or play games that incorporate their photos. My kids giggle like crazy when they are playing with this camera.
Here's some info about the camera:
The Kidizoom Camera Connect from VTech equips your child to take and edit digital photos, make movies and play games!
Offering 4x digital zoom for 4x the fun, your child will become an instant photographer and movie director with the press of a button.
Your child can take digital pictures with special built-in photo effects and even record video movies with sound! Watch your child's creativity come alive!
Take and edit photos with wacky effects, shoot video movies with sound and even play three cool games right on the camera!
Kids can even string a series of pictures together to create fun stop-motion animation videos.
Specially designed with your child in mind, this kids' camera has an easy-to-use viewfinder and a design that's safe and durable for kids.
With storage of approximately 800 photos, an expandable memory and the ability to connect to a computer, your child can easily keep all of their creations so they can be treasured by the family forever.
Save and send pics on a PC and share with friends!
The kids have been playing with this camera for a few weeks and haven't used up all of the internal memory or the batteries, that's impressive considering how many photos they have taken. They really like the games and using their own faces in the games as well as all of the silly sounds the camera makes. I think this is a great camera for a young child! It's available on Amazon. VTech Kidizoom FFP Camera.
Stephanie Here from Facebook/Twitter to win one? Simply go to our Facebook page post about this review and in the comments, comment ONCE with your favorite color. That's it. We will use random.org to choose the winner, you have until 10pm on 9/26 to enter.
Enjoying fall without taking in the beauty of the fall leaves is like eating a warm brownie without ice cream. It just should not happen!
To help you avoid such a mistake, here’s our top 5 favorite family favorites to enjoy the fall foliage:
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest: An easy drive south of Louisville, this forest is a great one for a morning or afternoon trip with the family. The Tree Canopy is an easy walk to view some fall foliage being 75 feet above the forest floor. Be sure to read our review here and check out their website for more on exploring Bernheim with children.
Clifty Falls State Park: This park is a family favorite to get immersed with the colors of fall with the views, the waterfalls, and variety of rugged trails to hike. It is a great day trip (about 90min from Louisville) to pack a picnic and go. A short review of the park and the park’s website are helpful. Jefferson Memorial Forest: This forest gives you a chance to enjoy nature’s beauty without leaving home too far behind. Check our review out and their websitefor more information on their trails and other activities.
Knobstone Trails: For the families with older kids or feeling more adventurous this fall, Knobstone Trails is a great place to do some backcountry hiking and camping. Indiana Outfittershas some great info on these trails. We have only hiked the one close to Deam Lake with our young family. We enjoyed the geocaching and the views.
Mammoth Cave, Brown County State Park, and Red River Gorge Area: So I have combined my favorite- farther- away- places to take in the changing leaves of the trees. They are all trips doable in a day. However, if you have a free weekend in the fall, they are worth spending more time there.
After touring the cave, Mammoth Cave trails has some great overlooks perfect for fall. Here’s our review.
I may be bias since I grew up near Brown County, IN, but Brown County State Park is one of my favorite places in the fall. However it is a very popular place to be in the fall - meaning lots of people! The park has spectacular overlooks. Red River Gorge has it all - the scenic views, good mix of different levels of trails, the natural bridge, outdoor adventures - rock climbing, zip lining. You will not be disappointed enjoying the season of fall here for sure! For a review of Nature Bridge State Park and Resort which is a part of the Red River Gorge area check out this link.
Kentuckiana has so many fantastic outdoor places to enjoy the season of fall, it was difficult to choose a top 5. What are your family’s favorite places to visit to see the oranges, browns, and reds on trees?
I did a lot of thinking and researching once I heard I was given the $10 challenge. I wanted to do something that would take myself and two kiddos around to various places all over the city. But, that’s hard to do when you are working around two different nap schedules. So, with the start of preschool last week, I decided to try and do an adventure everyday after school to celebrate their first week back. This was a lot of fun and I may do this again for a birthday week. Here’s what we did:
Monday- We hit up Plehn’s Bakery for a cookie and a handful of their mint meltaways. I love it there because it has such an “old time” feel. There’s plenty of “eye candy” in their cases of baked goods for the kids to see. Afterwards, we took the short drive to St. Matthews Eline Library where I let each child choose a book from its sale corner. The sale of these books benefits Friends of the Library. It’s a bargain at .50 per book! Spent: $3
Tuesday- I redeemed a coupon for a free ice cream at Chick-Fil-A leftover from the Lyndon Family Festival. I bought an additional child-size cone for .90 as well and we headed over to the St. Matthews Community Park (directly behind Chick-Fil-A). What a hidden gem of a park! Their equipment was new and different and had baseball fields galore. We wandered to the back of the park to the exercise path-which we renamed the “forest” and took a “hike”. There were lots of bridges to throw sticks from, completely surrounded by trees and a paved pathway throughout. Spent: $.90
Wednesday- We are members of My Gym, so on this day we took advantage of our free access to free play. Non-members are also welcome for $5 per child. We have been enrolled here for over 3 years. Both of my kids love it! Breadworks is only a few stores down from My Gym, so next we had races down the sidewalk to grab our free samples. The staff here is always super friendly. Spent: $0
Thursday- This adventure took a bit more planning, but worth every minute. My four year old is obsessed with all things tennis and is a big CARDS fan. I called the UofL tennis club and they allowed us to come visit. We got to watch the team practice, take a walk around their facility, and even got to hit a few balls on an empty court-FOR FREE! Tennis may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it may be worth checking with the other athletic departments-either at UofL or other universities such as Bellarmine for practice times. Afterwards, we cooled down at Dairy Kastle with dreamy orange ice cream. Spent: $3
Friday- We opted to check out the Flea Off Market this day. It wasn’t that crowded, which was a bonus for us stroller users. I let the kids peruse around and look at everything. My eldest was most excited about the Ultra Pop booth-wielding lots of Star Wars and anime themed toys and candy. There was a group performing belly dancing, but mine didn’t seem too interested in that. Ultimately, we decided to use the remainder of our $10 on some amazing doughnuts from Hi-Five Doughnuts. One word. YUM. Spent: $3
The remainder .10 I plan to let the kids use at the Zoo or Science Center’s spiral penny donation well.
Thanks for a fabuLOUs week, Louisville Family Fun!
Fall is in full swing! The kids are back to school and you think, I missed enrolling my child in music class!!! Well, you are just plain wrong. Lucky for you, Heartland Music Together offer music classes all over the Louisville area and you can enroll any time for a prorated rate!
Music classes are great for kids of all ages and wonderful opportunities for parents to join in tunes with the kids. Heartland Music Together has classes all over town and has been doing business in Louisville with many many families since the days of Beethoven (exaggeration, obviously).
One lucky reader will win a $50 gift certificate to put toward enrollment in one of their classes. With so many location and times, there's one close to everyone!
We decided to check out this year's Disney On Ice at the KFC Yum! Center with tickets courtesy of the show promoters. We got to downtown a couple hours early and parked in the KFC Yum! Center parkinggarage for $5. It's nice and close, and getting there early means we get a close spot to the exit. We walked up the sidewalk to Bearno'sPizza. It was only $25 for 6 of us to eat, it's good pizza, and it's so convenient! A very family-friendly place to eat and there's usually coupons available (online, city saver etc.).
We had plenty of time to walk over to the Yum Center, take some pictures outside, and then head in for the fun. Be prepared for lots of overpriced toys and snacks - we talked to the kids ahead of time to let them know that we would not be buying anything that night, but they were welcome to look at everything. Plenty of folks treat their kids to these special items though - they do have really cute things. To kill time before the show, we walked around the building looking at the Ohio River and merchandise stands. We used the family bathroom before the show started so we wouldn't have to leave in the middle of the show. It started right on time, but people continued to arrive for 15 minutes blocking our view of the show - it may be worth it to pay for the closer seats if this bothers you at the beginning and intermission.
The skating was great! The princesses, Small World characters, and Pinocchio did an especially excellent job with neat jumps, flips and tricks. During the 15 minute intermission we got drinks at the water fountain and saw several moms filling empty water bottles from home -very smart! Then we sat down to enjoy the rest of the show. At the end, they do allow the kids to give high fives to the skaters, but the characters don't stay at the bottom very long, and it's hard to battle the leaving crowd. If you're not close to the bottom with your camera ready, you may want to prepare your kids in advance that you are not going to head down to the ice level.
Overall, it was a great night. With easy parking and dinner, no rushing to get to your seats, it is a great night to remember for your little ones.
Most people think of Kings Island as a summer activity but it's open through the end of October!
With more than 100 rides, shows and attractions from world-class roller coasters to giant animatronic dinosaurs to an award-winning kid’s area, this family-friendly theme park has something for everyone. They also have fantastic family events and special activities leading up to Halloween, a great time of the year to visit Kings Island.
Last week, we gave you a chance to win SIX tickets to visit Kings Island! The winner is: Ashley Wolfe!
(Yay Ashley, long time LouFamFun.net reader, so happy for you!)
email firstname.lastname@example.org using the email address with which you entered the contest to claim the tickets. Send your mailing address! (tickets are good for this season only, ending at the end of October an open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. As soon as the winner claims the tickets, we will contact the nice folks in Warren County, OH to get you the tickets ASAP)
We are headed to Disney on Ice at the Yum Center this weekend, we love it! We aren't planning a Disney vacation for a while so it's super fun to see the characters come to us - cheaper than airfare and hotel! Our weekend will round out with two YMCA soccer games and fun with friends.
It was very difficult to narrow down some events for your family this weekend, but here are my picks:
Start the weekend off with some thrills at the Fairdale Community Fair (more event details here, runs Fri and Sat) or the Crestwood Festival. Both will fill your bellies with cotton candy goodness and your ears with the screams and squeals!
Looking for a really unique show? The Louisville Magic Club is putting on It's Magic! at the Ursuline Arts Center. Thanks to Steve-o the Magician for this great tip. Adults $10
Children (12 and under) $5
Doors open at 6:00. Close-up performers will entertain early arrivals.
lmcmagic.com for ticket info.
Saturday Family Canoe Day at Tom Wallace Lake 10:00 - 2:00 PM
Learn the basics of canoeing and spend some time on the lake practicing. All equipment (canoe, paddles, and personal flotation devices) is provided. This program is suitable for ages 5 and to adult. Activities Free; $10.00 canoe rental
Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve has a new event - Creatures of the Night starting at 6:30 p.m. "James Kiser and Tony Evans, biologists, will stay for the evening to introduce visitors to creatures of the night. They will set up a mist net to capture and band bats on the nature preserve grounds. What other creatures are active during the night? Come and learn! Maybe we will see some owls!"
Fees are: Members $3; Non-members $5; Under 2 years Free
I so wish I could go to this!!! "100 Years On the Ohio: A Living Timeline of Louisville's First Century" from 10 am to 5 pm (Saturday also) at Farnsely-Moremen Landing. Historical re-enactors demonstrating the tools, weaponry, clothing, pastimes and cooking of each period and an 1860s-style base ball game between the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Cincinnati Buckeyes on Sunday afternoon!
$6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children. Family Rate is $15 (2 adults with up to 3 children under 18)
My toddler and I recently joined Ms.LouFamFun and her two kiddos on a rainy day in downtown Louisville. She invited us to check out the return of Kentucky Science Center's, Science in Play exhibit. This exhibit was at the Science Center last year, and it has returned and will be moving permanently into the Center's exhibit space.
We arrived bright and early as the Science Center was opening, and had the place to ourselves for a good 45 minutes or so! The Science in Play exhibit is currently housed on the first floor, in the temporary exhibit space right next to the KidZone. There are five main areas to play, engineer, and use your brain! They are a Sensory Course, Getting Moving and Small Build, Testing, Big Shapes, and Shapes and Stuff Store.
The LouFamFun kids are ages 4 and 6; my little guy is just about to turn 2. He had fun sprinting around the space, rolling balls, climbing under the ropes course, and playing in the mirror maze. The LouFamFun kids are the perfect age for this exhibit. They built roller coasters and used their minds to problem solve and figure out what pieces needed to connect where, disassembling pieces where needed, and just trying to get just the perfect set up for the right momentum for the ball to make the entire loop and span of the coaster. It was fascinating watching her son as an architect, building and rebuilding to get it just right.
We stayed in the first room for a long time. In this room is the above mentioned roller coaster making station, along with a fun mirror maze, a ropes course mat where kids try to figure out how to cross from one side to the other sticking with the same color ropes, a huge mirror with wooden blocks for building, and a large magnetic space on the wall with fun cups, spoons, pails, etc. for kids to experiment making different designs.
All of our kids really loved this entire area; my little boy really liked the magnetic space and pulling the spoons off and sticking them back on! He also loved the musical sound floor, where you move your hands over the space and make music! We then ventured to the next room, which is adjacent to here. In this room is the Big Shapes and Shapes/Stuff Store area. Once again, the LouFamFun kids just went at the huge foam blocks in this area, building and assembling to their heart's content. My little boy immediately saw small, toddler sized grocery carts and went to grab one. In the Shapes/Stuff Store, kids can grab a huge shopping list card that is color coordinated and you can go shopping for the shapes listed on your card. When you're done grabbing all of your shapes and colors, you can follow the directions on the card to build a new shape out of the shapes you've shopped for. It's a really neat concept! Of course my under 2-year-old didn't quite catch onto that concept, but loved looking for the colors and naming them things that he is familiar with in his own world, like orange balls became oranges and yellow shapes became bananas. This was a very fun space, a great place for kids' imaginations to run wild. There is also a nice little reading nook in the corner, for some quieting down time for your kiddos.
All in all, visiting the Science in Play exhibit was a huge hit. Of course, after you've had your adventures there, the rest of the Science Center awaits you. We also took our kids over to the ever popular KidZone space, where they played and had a blast. My son and I had to get home to lunch/naptime, but the LouFamFun family stuck around and explored the rest of the center, stopping for a packed lunch that they brought along with them. The Kentucky Science Center is a very engaging, educational center in the heart of our downtown, and it's the perfect place to spend an entire day learning! I would recommend this exhibit for kids ages 9 and under, although we saw kids of all ages exploring in their own ways; there were even some older kids that may have been middle school aged there the morning we went and they were really enjoying themselves as well. The entire center is geared for a wide range of children, of course.
The Kentucky Science Center is located at 727 West Main Street. Click here for hours and admission prices. Remember you can visit the Center for $5 after 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The Science in Play exhibit is included in your general admission.
This nearly 90 year old bakery, Plehn's Bakery, is at 3940 Shelbyville Rd
Louisville, KY 40207 in St. Matthews and it is fantastic. I cannot express how sugar-happy I was when I walked into this bakery. I grew up in a town with the most perfect bakery that distributed rolls and baked goods all over the NY area and I have been seeking some place that can provoke the reaction from my kids that was like what I had growing up - walking into a baked wonderland! Plehn's did this!
This bakery has been on my list of places to go and now it will be family favorite. People were coming and going so quickly with bags and boxes of goodies. It was a busy Friday and my kids and I spent a good amount of time choosing what we would order. The kids were squealing with delight over the decorated items, the turning display case and the old-fashioned diner counter. I cannot express the abundance of choices!
I narrowed it down and got a loaf of pumpernickel bread, a Kuchen (because it's not something I have ever had) and we each got a doughnut. The kids got standard doughnuts but not me. Thanks to a FourSquare tip I read at check-in, I ordered the Yum Yum (see it on the counter in the photo of my daughter) and it was INSANE. It was a twisted double (or triple!?) sized doughnut with cinnamon sugar throughout with chocolate and vanilla icing. It is definitely one to share and you need to go get one! For all of these items, I spent around $17.
At home, my husband and I really like the kuchen for dessert for several nights. It was a custard pie of sorts and it was really unique. And, my son and I devoured the fresh pumpernickel bread within 24 hours with just a little butter. It was the best bread I have had in a very long time.
I highly recommend that you go to Plehn's bakery - it's an experience and you can treat yourself to something different each time. I didn't even tap into their entire menu so go check it out for yourself, you deserve a treat.
This summer, we explored Kings Island for the first time and I wrote a review. It's published with other ideas to about places to visit it Warren County, Ohio. It's open through the end of October so here's your chance to visit Kings Island one last time before they close for the 2013 season....and it's on them! Good Luck!
With more than 100 rides, shows and attractions from world-class roller coasters to giant animatronic dinosaurs to an award-winning kid’s area, this family-friendly theme park has something for everyone. They also have fantastic family events and special activities leading up to Halloween, a great time of the year to visit Kings Island.
The contest entry is below for a chance to win SIX tickets to visit Kings Island! (tickets are good for this season only, ending at the end of October an open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. As soon as the winner claims the tickets, we will contact the nice folks in Warren County, OH to get you the tickets ASAP)
My daughter is one of those girls who really has always been enamored with dolls. So when the opportunity came up for me to review a washable doll and let her tell me how she used her imagination to spark life into her play, I knew she would jump at the chance!
I decided since she is in 5th grade to let her write up her own version of how she played with this doll and what her thoughts were about it: "I made up a game with this Dorothy doll where she was sent out into the woods for no apparent reason. While she was in the woods she came across many animals and had to keep hoping that someone would come save her. She was told that there would be a small river at the end of a path that she started walking on. She started following the path through the woods until there was no more forest and all she could see were buildings. At the end of this long path, there was no river and there was no end of the path, there was a giant spider! 'Now is the time I really need to be saved' said the Dorothy doll."
What an imagination! I like how my daughter makes up these imaginary situations and really engages her characters throughout her stories. There always seems to be a conflict and then resolution. In this story, she leaves it with a cliffhanger! We really don't know what might happen to Dorothy and the giant spider, much like in the movie she faced the witch and those flying monkeys! She is continuing to have a lot of fun with the Dorothy doll and I really like it because it is washable and very easy to clean.
Since this Madame Alexander doll is a Dorothy doll, the character from The Wizard of Oz, I'd like to remind readers that Derby Dinner Playhouse does offer the play, The Wizard of Oz, at their dinner theater. It's over for this current season but my husband and I have been to that play on a date night and really enjoyed it. We've also been to a couple of the children's theatre shows at the breakfast showings and have absolutely loved them. Check out their shows for children here. The Madame Alexander Dorothy doll can also be found locally at Rabbit in the Moon. The company that set the Dorothy doll for Louisville Family Fun to review is going to giveaway one doll to a lucky reader! Be on the lookout for that contest!
Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic
Coming SEPT. 19 – 22
KFC Yum! Center
Tickets info here
Join the celebration as 65 of Disney's unforgettable characters from 18 beloved stories come to life in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic! You'll be captivated by the one and only Mickey Mouse, the irresistible Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and many Disney Princesses. Be thrilled by exciting moments from The Lion King; Mulan; and Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Toy Story films; in a skating spectacular filled with magical Disney moments you'll remember forever as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic!
3 lucky winners will receive 4 vouchers good for tickets at the Thursday September 19th 7pm show at the KFC Yum! Center. The winners from last week's contest are: Tickets claimed! email email@example.com using the email address you entered in the contest form. Send you your mailing address!
This month's family book review is two-fold. The first book I have to share with you is The Busy Family Cookbook by TasteofHome...I thought since school just started and we're all trying to get back in that groove of keeping everything on schedule, a cookbook would be a great tool to share to help you drum up some new and interesting family meals, some of which only take 10 minutes to get on the table! This cookbook contains 275 recipes that are pegged for quickness and flavor for your weeknight family meals around the dinner table. The thing that drew me to this cookbook was flipping just 2-3 pages in and seeing a section on dinnertime solutions for your family. Some recipes included take 10 MINUTES or less from start to table! I'm sold. Most recipes are designed for approximately 30 minutes of your time. I've already tried this recipe, which was in the 10 minute section: Mozzarella Beef Sandwiches - fabuLOUs as we like to say! For the most part, cookbooks are pretty much cookbooks. What I really like about this cookbook is that it supports the Kohl's Cares endeavor where 100% of the proceeds from sales of this book in Kohl's department stores goes to support kids' health and education initiatives around America. I love to give $5 to causes that help children in our nation.
The other two books I have to share with you are Curious George's Dinosaur Discovery and Curious George's First Day of School. The Kohl's Cares charity generously donated these items for a lucky reader to share the books and this cute plush Curious George toy with your kids. I love that mischievous monkey, I always have and when I began my storytimes as a librarian at the Jeffersontown Library, Curious George was my sidekick and always helped me welcome my little ones with a song and a hand shake. Kids love him and parents love sharing him with their kids because they remember him themselves. In these two stories, George is always curious and goes on his normal frolicky adventures, getting in a little bit of trouble along the way and ending his excursions with his usual lessons learned. Thanks to Kohl's Cares, Louisville Family Fun would like to reward a lucky reader or two with these fabuLOUs books for your family book shelf, along with this cute guy for one of your loved ones to cuddle. Be on the lookout!
Sharing the love of reading with families = my day is complete! Happy reading!
Eeeeeek! It's Friday the 13th!!! I just had to post that because it's cliche. I don't really get into that stuff. What's going on this weekend? It's the height of family fun in Louisville. September and October are huge months in our area for all sorts of options that at times, it's actually overwhelming. That's when you stop, reflect and thank LouisvilleFamilyFun.net for making things so easy for you to find. You're welcome and note, I like lattes and chocolate if you want to send gifts.
Here are my picks for the weekend....even more choices on the calendar above!
How about taking in a University of Louisville men's soccer game? You know, this university has more sports to watch than football and basketball. My kids are playing soccer now so we are taking them for some family fun to watch a real game! They play at 7pm on Friday. Ticket info here, kids 2 and under are free, kids 3-18 are just $3 and adult tickets are $5.
It's Archaeology Day at Falls of the Ohio - 9:30-4pm. Here's a flyer with all of the details (it's from 2012 but they said it's all the same). I love Falls of the Ohio and what a glorious weather day to be out there.
The Hermitage Classic is a free horse competition to enjoy in Goshen. It starts at 10am on Saturday and finishes up at 3pm. There are kids activities, petting zoo, pony carriage rides and food vendors! Plus, you get to see the races at a really nice farm
A free movie at Iroquois Amphitheatre - "A Christmas Story 2"- starting at 8:30pm (doors open at 7:30). It's FREE. Head to the park before the movie, bring a picnic dinner and make an evening of it!
The Caufields Halloween Parade is on October 11th at 7pm on Baxter Ave and full of crazy costumes and lots of tossed candy - bring a bag for the kids. FREE
October 12th Mary T. Meagher is having a Halloween Festival from 5pm until 8:15pm. After, you can watch Hotel Transylvania. They also have old school fright night movies on the lawn at the Mary. T. Meagher Aquatic Center throughout October. They start at 9pm and are FREE 10/4,10/11,10/18.
Museum of American Printing House for the Blind: Saturday, October 19th 10:30 a.m.–12:30pm
Make your own Halloween masks! Museum staff will guide your children to make a scary or friendly, for kids of all ages. Free to the public: registration is required. Call 502-899-2213 by October 17th to register.
Back in July, my family and I were given the privilege of representing Louisville Family Fun on a hosted travel assignment to Pigeon Forge, TN for a mini-getaway. We stayed 3 nights and 4 days in this tourist's town and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. And boy were those a busy 4 days worth of minutes.
We arrived on a Tuesday in the early afternoon; because we were hosted by the My Pigeon Forge tourism department, they scheduled us to stay mid-week and be there during the non-peak days (i.e., the weekend). If they have a non-peak time, we didn't see it! This place was jam-packed full of people, from everything to families with young children and older children and teens alike, to young couples, to church youth groups, to older, retirees.
We started our first day by stopping at the Sevierville Tourism Center and the Pigeon Forge Visitor's Center and Tourism Department. There are a couple of tourist/visitor's centers along your way into Pigeon Forge. We picked up some brochures and other pertinent information about Pigeon Forge, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the surrounding area. Sevierville is a small town on your way into Pigeon Forge and it has its quaint feel to it; we did not spend any length of time here (on our way out of the city and back home we did stop at the Russell Stover's Candy Outlet store here and picked up an entire box of one of my favorite candies!) After we drove through Sevierville, we continued down "the Parkway" as its known in this area toward Pigeon Forge. Once the traffic lights on this road turn to #0, you are in Pigeon Forge. This is a nice feature of the city - each traffic light along the Parkway (or "strip" as its also known) is numbered right above the light and it helps you keep track of where you are and how to navigate where the many attractions are in Pigeon Forge. When asking for directions to a particular place, many people would say it's at Traffic Light #4, for example.
After we drove down the Parkway and got the lay of the land, we ventured to Traffic Light #6 and turned off to where our hotel was located. Since we were guests of the Pigeon Forge Tourism Bureau, we received our lodging complimentary and were give a suite at the MainStay Suites. It was a great property, I highly recommend it for families especially with younger kids. The room had two queen beds, a kitchenette complete with a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and microwave plus ample cabinet and drawer space, and a balcony. The hotel amenities included four pools and two whirlpools and an exercise room. A hot complimentary breakfast was served each morning that included a waffle-making station (kid-friendly, bear shaped!) sausage, biscuits, gravy, cereals, hard boiled eggs, and the usual assortment of continental items like bagels, pastries, and breads. It was definitely enough and then some for anyone. From the website, a one-night stay at this hotel costs $129 without any deals or coupons involved.
We arrived before we could check-in, so once we saw where the hotel was located, we drove back out on the strip in search of a restaurant property we had heard of called Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. We found it very easily a few miles back up the strip nestled in a little valley. It reminded me of Joe Huber's Family Farm here in Louisville. There was a restaurant, a winery, an apple cider and gift shop, an apple orchard and an ice cream shop. We splurged a little bit at this restaurant and ate for a family of four for $33 before tax and tip. They had a great kid's menu and many fixins' like chicken dinners, green beans, and mashed potatoes, along with the most delicious apple fritters and apple butter. I got a chicken salad plate on greens with fruit and my husband got a chicken dinner. My daughter and our toddler ordered corn dogs and macaroni and cheese off the kid's menu, which also came with a dish of ice cream and a drink. After eating and walking around the gift shop and orchard, we got back in the car and drove back down the Parkway, mentally checking off all of the tourist spots we definitely wanted to check out. We went back to the hotel and checked in, and went swimming for a couple of hours. There was a regular size pool, a lazy river pool, an infant/toddler pool, and another indoor pool. Plenty of options for our family!
After our pool time, we got ourselves ready and headed back out to the action. It was early evening by this point and we decided to check out the Titanic Museum first. Since we had eaten a late, very hefty lunch, we decided to wait and get a lighter dinner later. This museum was very cool, especially interactive enough for older kids 5+ probably. Our visit to this attraction, along with most of the other places we went, was way over the head of our youngest who is just barely 2 years old. I believe he fell asleep in his stroller for the duration of our walk through this museum. There is a lot of the back story about the ship Titanic, and many artifacts, photographs, and history lessons to learn about throughout the exhibits. My daughter is 10 and is fascinated with the Titanic, so I knew she would love this one. When you arrive outside, a greeter hands you a boarding pass with the name of a passenger, and at the end of your journey you get to find out if your person survived or not. It's a neat souvenir to take back with you. Our favorite parts of the museum were the water pool, where you could touch the 28
degree water that the passengers endured. We tried to see how long we could stand
to keep our hand in the water – less than 30 seconds. Other favorites were the water trapped behind one of the elevator doors in the 3rd class area of the bottom of the ship and the mirrors in the 1st class that allowed you to see how long the hallways were. We also loved the replica of the grand staircase, which was done in exact measurements to the actual ship.
The museum excursion took us 1 1/2 hours to walk through, so keep that in mind for younger ones. After we left Titanic Museum, it was around 8pm and we decided to head to a local grocery store and buy a few snack and lunch items for our room. We bought fruit, deli meat, cheese, milk, and the like and when we got back to our room we made some eggs and sausage in the kitchen and had some fruit with it for dinner. I really appreciated the convenience of having the "home away from home" essentials like this, which made staying here very family-friendly. With the options we had of free breakfast and groceries in our room, we only ate out at dinner times during our whole stay. Families can certainly save a lot of money that way! We turned in and got an early start the next day, which was jam packed!
We woke up bright and early the next morning and ventured downstairs for the free, hot breakfast at the hotel. We then got ready to embark on our full day of fun and began the day at WonderWorks, a quirky, bizarre-filled museum of awe and wonderment for all ages! I mean, when you walk up to the front door, the building is creaking at you and the entire thing is upside down! WonderWorks is a very stimulating, loud, bright place: think Kentucky Science Center to the Xtreme 10th power! When we walked inside, you slither your way through a dark tunnel with flashing lights all around you and you feel like the floor is moving, forcing you to tip all the way to your left side. In actuality, you're completely upright. Heard of the television show, 'Brain Games'? This place was all about tricking your mind and playing optical illusion games with you each step of the way. As you enter the first room, there is an electricity game that sounds off pulses of light about every 30 seconds. Our young toddler had enough (of the stimulation) after 30 minutes! He endured though, just like he always does! In this first room there was a huge Google Earth map that we spent quite a few minutes navigating and finding Louisville, and other places we've visited in the past. There is an experience called "Quake Cafe" where you are placed into what an earthquake would feel like in San Francisco. There is also a hurricane tunnel with winds blowing at you at 65 MPH. It's a lot of fun!
The entire science museum took us about three hours to get through, really taking in each area. Other areas to explore are a challenging ropes course, lazer tag, the space zone, bubble lab, a bed of nails...the list could go on as there are over 100 interactive exhibits to explore. On this same property of WonderWorks is the magic show entitled Wonders of Magic that you do not want to miss. We came back the following night to see that show, and it was worth every second. It's an extremely family-friendly magic show with many illusionist and slight of hand tricks that will keep you wondering for days. We really enjoyed the magician, Terry Evanswood. He was phenomenal. Wonders of Flight is also located directly behind WonderWorks. It is a giant tethered balloon ride that was widely popular - my family did not ride this one though.
Throughout the remaining two days that we vacationed in Pigeon Forge, we played miniature golf at a putt-putt place called Firehouse Golf. One note about putt-putt: you will see a golf place about every other site on both sides of the Parkway! Some are very elaborate while others are simpler. You'll have plenty to choose from though! We also rode the giant ferris wheel at The Island, a neat, newer shopping and dining district that opened up earlier this past summer. It was pricey to ride, and my daughter really wanted to so we bit the dust of the tourism bug and paid the price. The ticket lady told me it was about a 15 minute ride, but it really ended up being about 9 minutes. It is the one of the tallest attractions of its kind east of the Mississippi River in the U.S. and it was a spectacular view of the area. We also spent a good 2-3 hours of an afternoon at The Track, one of those entertainment centers that has bumper cars, arcades, go-karts, more golf, bumper boats, and little kiddie rides. There are a lot of options at this type of attraction, and there are just as many of these as there are mini-golf places all along the Parkway. The Track was awesome fun, our highlight was driving and zipping around on the go-karts. We also checked out Hollywood Wax Museum. It was great, especially for older kids who are familiar with some Hollywood stars. At the end you can enter a celebrity you’d like to see added to the museum-we picked Kate Winslett and “Sheldon Cooper” from Big Bang Theory. This museum didn't take as long, probably about 30-45 minutes and was a nice, cool place to wander around.
There are several dinner shows for families and those without kids - Pigeon Forge is sort of known for doing these types of dinner theatre shows and there are plenty to suit your fancy. My family and I opted for the Lumberjack Feud show; we did not partake in the dinner portion but that is an option. When you walk into the huge warehouse building, you will be greeted by a host or hostess who tells you that you are either a McGraw or a Dawson. We ended up being McGraws, and all that really means is determining which side of the theatre you sit and which family you are going to root for during the feud! It's a rousing, entertaining show full of lots of action with ziplines, saws, log rolling, and dog tricks. We had a blast at this show, and I highly recommend it.
Other tips about dining: we ate dinner on the other two nights in Pigeon Forge at Bennett's BBQ and The Old Mill Restaurant. Our bill at each of these came to between $30-35. Bennett's was very good. I loved the sticker sheet they give to kids as opposed to the same old coloring sheet you're used to. My kids loved that and used the stickers on themselves to make goofy faces and make the time pass by. The Old Mill Restaurant is located at the Old Mill District and was also very good and affordable. Almost every restaurant we ate at, the kids meal came with a dish of ice cream. I really loved how kid-friendly all of the restaurants we went to were, they obviously are used to catering to families in this city and it shows. The Old Mill District is an extremely neat place to walk around and get pictures by the Old Mill. It is the original mill that has been working since 1830. A neat insider's tip: the flour and corn meal used in their food and baking is milled on site to this day. The corn fritters with butter that tasted like syrup were scrumptious! After eating our late afternoon/early dinner, we had a special treat of ice cream at the Old Mill Creamery. It was reasonable, as were all of the prices of food I saw-they were all pretty comparable to what I see in Louisville restaurants. After we had our ice cream and watched passers-by in their nice outdoor seating area, we walked into the Old Mill Pigeon River Pottery and sat down to watch a potter at work. My daughter thought that was really cool. Be sure to check it out! There is also a neat candy store and toy store and a few other cafes here. Also, eat at one of 17 pancake houses through the strip. We ate at one called Reagan's House of Pancakes. They all seem the same to me!
On our last day, we checked out of our hotel and packed up our van, then headed to do some sightseeing at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What a gorgeous park, with so many hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty and length, and nature to discover. The day we were there was so neat because the temperature kept dropping as we climbed in altitude and we walked around quite a bit at Newfound Gap, which is near the Tennessee/North Carolina border. I recommend driving all the way up to Clingman's Dome, and take in spectacular views from the overlook. There is a lot of history about the Smokies, and we learned how they got their name and a lot about the logging tradition and way of life for families way back when. We actually learned a lot of that throughout the Lumberjack show.
Here is the approximate pricing for adult and child's admission to all of the attractions mentioned (most attractions have free admission for children under age 4) Plus you can save if you buy advance tickets online through individual attraction websites:
Titanic Museum: $22/$11
Wonders of Magic: $14.99/$14.99
Wonders of Flight: $15.99/$9.99/3 and under free
Firehouse Golf: $10/$6
The Island: $13/$9/2 and under free
The Track: $48 average for Great Value Pack (rides are on a point system)
Hollywood Wax Museum: $17.95/$8.95
Lumberjack Feud (show only): $26.95/$7.95
As you can see, because we had a tourism V.I.P pass to be able to experience a lot of the attractions in Pigeon Forge, we did a lot. I was hoping to experience some of the main museums and report about what was really cool, and honestly, they all were. But I would say for much younger children, The Track or other places like it would be the #1 pick for that age range. For 4-8 years, they'll absolutely love WonderWorks. For kids 9-12 years, all of these are suitable. If you have teens in your family, I think they will also enjoy all of these, plus there are other options like MagiQuest, indoor skydiving, or Hannah's Maze of Mirrors. Your whole family will enjoy the Wonders of Magic. If your family is more of an outdoors/adventure taking family, spend more time at the national park. There are tons of trails and I did hear about this area called Cherokee where they do reenactment type of scenes and kids can go swimming in the creeks. They also do bonfires and those types of things as well. Of course, if you like shopping, there are plenty of tourist-y shops along the entire strip, plus the Tanger Outlets shopping area right between Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.
Click on the first photograph for a slideshow of highlights!
You won't be bored, trust me. Pigeon Forge is about 3 hours away from Louisville, a very easy drive and very family-friendly. There is a trolley service that runs from anywhere along the strip with stops every 15-20 minutes, 9am-midnight everyday. It's $.50 per trip/per person or you can purchase a daily armband for multiple trips for $2.50. We drove everywhere because of our little one, and it's all very navigable. Some good advice to sum up: you can't do everything there is to do in Pigeon Forge the first time you vacation there. We packed in a TON of things to do, but normally we would have done one, (two tops), major attractions a day. One of the travel agents I spoke with about Pigeon Forge told me that most folks who visit Pigeon Forge come three-four times a year. They go for long weekends and keep coming back, and do something different each time they go. Your family can definitely do something different and have new memories each time. We can't wait to go back again!