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Churchill Downs is an iconic venue in the city for obvious reasons. Recently, with diversified programming, more and more families are headed their for a day of fun for everyone. Here are some things to know before you go!
1) General admission on regular race day is free for kids 12 and younger. For adults, it's just $3. We recommend general admission because the kids tend to want to move around so paying for seats that you don't sit in much may lead to you hoping you saved that money for a giant pretzel :) If you are going with many adults, stop at a local hotel and visit the kiosk with the brochures - Churchill Downs is known to put free admission coupons on the back!
2) You can take the kids over to Kentucky Derby Museum and see the gardens and visit the horses for free. This wonderful museum itself is separate from Churchill Downs and there is an admission fee (free for kids under age 5).
3) Look out for special events like Family Adventure Day or brunches. These come with higher fees but you get what you pay for............there are more things to do and even special family-friendly menu items.
4) To save some money for other things while at the track - you get what I am saying here - look for free parking. When you arrive, there will be a temptation to park right up front or in someone's yard because they are offering you a deal on their cardboard sign but be it known........Churchill Downs offers free parking first-come, first-serve basis and trust me, these lots are NOT far away. Head to Longfield Avenue near Gate 10, the White Lot and
Green Lot– Accessible off of Taylor Boulevard or Bohannon Avenue. See a map here. Sometimes you can find street parking, but that's more difficult.
5) Get at least one program. The kids love the horse names, stats and details. They won't be grabbing at yours all the time! Well, maybe that's wishful thinking.
6) Keep it moving. Churchill Downs is BIG. Show the kids all of the signs hanging for past Derby winners. Read the placards by the statues or art to learn some history. Head to the Paddock to what goes on prior to a race. Hang out by the stairs where the jockeys go in and out (by the paddock across the walkway to the track). Watch a race from different angles - at a turn, down the stretch etc. Get a look at the horse coming into the winner's circle. Ride the escalators :)
7) Chicken Nuggets. You browse all of the food stops looking for the most bang for your buck. It's the chicken nugget basket. You're welcome.
And remember, bet a Kentucky Proud horse with the prettiest silks and interesting name - a winner every time ;)
(Disclaimer: Seriously, we are not responsible for your wagering outcomes!)