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Thursday, March 31, 2016

8 FREE things to do in April 2016 in and around Louisville

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1. Saturday, April 2: Free Kids' Building Workshop at Home Depot. 9am – 12pm. Build A Butterfly House: All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Online registration is suggested.

2. Monday, April 4: Crafting for Kindness at Side by Side Studio from 2 - 4pm. Paint stones with words or pictures to sprinkle through out the community in hopes of bringing a smile or sense of joy to anyone who should stumble upon them. Open to children, families, and adults of all ages who wish to spread kindness, joy, and compassion throughout our community! 

3. Monday, April 4 - Friday April 8: Tree-rific Spring Break at Bernheim Forest. Free Spring Break activities daily at the visitor's center, from 11am - 3pm. Registration is not required for individuals or families, but groups of six or more should RSVP at least 48 hours in advance by contacting Whitney Wurzel at whitneyw@bernheim.org or (502) 955-8512.

4. Tuesdays, April 5, 12, 19 & 26: Family Storytime at the Highlands/Shelby Park Library. Family Storytime is an opportunity for families to bond over shared stories and songs, as well as engaging in creative activities that reinforce a lifelong love of learning. Ages 3-8 and their families.

5. Saturday, April 16: The Nature Center at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every third Saturday of the month. The Nature Center features four dioramas: wetlands, woodlands, Native American life/artifacts, and Kentucky fish. Additional learning areas include fossils and geology, animal tracks, an herbarium, wood identification, bird nests and birds, a one-way bird blind and an observation bee hive. Younger children will love playing the Magical Forest Imagination Station. Extend your day by packing a picnic lunch, hiking through the preserve and visiting the playground. 

6. Saturday, April 16: Open Game Day at Oldham County Library Main Branch from 1 - 5pm. Visit the Main Library to play one of 100+ table top games, or bring your own!

7. Saturday, April 16: Water Fest Family Day at Crane House. 11am - 1pm. Celebrate some of the different roles water plays within four major Asian cultures! Sample Chinese ink painting before experiencing a Japanese Kamishibai story that takes place under the sea. Learn about Ganges River in India while you work at the printing table. Finally, discover flora and fauna living alongside Korean shores while you create your own inspired design. Free parking is available behind AICH and there is also on street parking.

8. Sunday, April 17: Kentucky Shakespeare's Shakespeare in the Park present Romeo and Juliet at Locust Grove from 6pm – 8pm. Guests should please bring their own seating of choice as it will be held in a side yard of the historic home. Entertainment is free, however, wine will be for sale by Old 502 Winery, as well as light hors d'oeuvres by Locust Grove. In the case of inclement weather, the performance will move indoors to the Locust Grove auditorium. Sponsored by Councilman Kelly Downard's office.

BONUS: The Speed Art Museum recently reopened, and thanks to a grant from Brown-Forman, admission is FREE on Sundays through March 2021! (Charges will apply for Speed Cinema or special exhibits.) 

By Guest Contributor: Brandy 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review of The Arctic Scoop Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt in Louisville, KY

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The Arctic Scoop is a really cool ice cream and yogurt store on Hurstbourne Parkway. What makes it so unique, is that they use liquid Nitrogen to cool the ice cream one order at a time. You choose a base (ice cream versus yogurt, etc), a flavor (theres a lot more than chocolate and vanilla!), and then an "add in" (fruits, nuts, candy, and other flavors). Then they chill your ice cream right in front of you with the liquid Nitrogen causing a cloud to form over the bowl and spill over the counter. My kids loved choosing what they wanted in all 3 columns, watching their order be mixed, and playing with the Nitrogen cloud as it spilled over.

On the Saturday we went to the Arctic Scoop, they were having a cup cake decorating event (they have also done cookie decorating, card making, and are looking for other fun ideas to do on Saturdays!). For $2 per cupcake, my kids got unlimited, crazy, colored frosting and all sorts of candies to decorate with however they wanted. The staff was super nice, helpful, and generous. The cupcakes were all very unique and looked...very sugary! (They also have tasting nights, game nights, and other fun activities. Definitely check out their website for events).

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We LOVE the large selection and delicious taste of their ice cream, and my kids are totally entertained by the Nitrogen process. All of their ingredients are natural and there is no need for preservatives. They also have gluten-free, dairy-free, low-fat, vegan and other selections for food sensitivities.

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The Arctic Scoop prides itself on being a locally owned, independent store. They are always open to new ideas and flavor combinations. They do catering, liquid nitrogen demonstrations, parties and fundraising events. I highly recommend checking them out - try a Saturday afternoon and see what special thing they have going on!

By guest contributor: Caryn

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Getaway to Pigeon Forge, TN

I was granted admission/discounts to some of these venues for purpose of review. 

Pigeon Forge, TN is a popular destination for Louisville area families.  Since it's about 4 hours away, you can get there for a long weekend or stay even longer. There's definitely enough to do!  With the help of MyPigeonForge.com, I was able to put together an itinerary of fun that everyone enjoyed.  We did not tackle everything, that's what's great about Pigeon Forge - you can repeat a visit but do an entirely different list of things each visit.  Next time, we want to try a mountain coaster and visit Dollywood.


There are so many options that it can be overwhelming. My family tends to be loyal to Choice Hotels because we can accrue points and they are always modest in price - and many have indoor pools and breakfast included.  I searched the Choice Hotels website and actually found a Gatlinburg Sleep Inn that was very reasonably priced and from what I could see, was just a few miles from Pigeon Forge.  The hotel was very simple and met out needs. It was not anything that would knock your socks off and the room was small but we literally slept and ate breakfast there (one dip in the pool) so price was my most important factor.  It was just $80/night.

If you prefer to find lodging in the main, bustling part of Pigeon Forge, click here.

Attractions/ Dining
Here's a synopsis of all of the things that we did - it was busy! Pick up one of the many coupon books around town because there are so many coupons and discount available.

Titanic Museum: We loved this museum.  You get handheld speakers to go through the museum and listen to details about each items you are learning about.  It kept moving and the kids were very intrigued.  I think it's appropriate for kids 7 and up. It's very close to WonderWorks so you can do those in the same day with lunch in between.

WonderWorks:  We chose to get the basic ticket and not try the laser tag - we knew we would do that somewhere else.  WonderWorks was on point for my kids' ages  (7&8).  We pretty much touched and tried everything and spend about 3 hours there.  My son and I tried the glow ropes course and it was challenging in a fun way.  Beware of groups! You might want to call ahead and see if there are any scheduled.

The Island:  This is an outdoor shopping area that has restaurants and attractions - see coupons.  It's particularly fun in the evening when the fountains dance to music in lights.  We ate at Margaritaville, which we all enjoyed, and played in the arcade. Arcade City was one of the nicest arcades I have been in, it was so clean!  And, the kids played for $40 each and were actually able to get decent prizes - a large stuffed animal and a nice college branded basketball.   While at The Island, there was also a band playing live music, a mime putting on a show and more - that was all free.  It's the type of place where you can spend as little or as much as you want.

Dixie Stampede: This show was one of the best parts of the trip.  Be sure to get there early for the pre-show, we missed about half of it and wished we had gotten there earlier. The food was really good (the soup...the soup is AWESOME) and the kids enjoyed the "hands on" nature of the meal.  The staff was so friendly and added to the fun but also, the show was just great.  If we go again someday, I'd get a seat right in the middle of the arena - we were on a corner and it was good (don't think there's really a bad seat) but I think being in the middle would be ideal.  Get your tickets early, the do sell out during peak travel times like spring break or fall break.

The Comedy Barn:  Talk about good, clean fun!  This show was probably the highlight of our trip - my son went up on stage and it was just hilarious.  It will stand as one of our best family vacation memories ever.  The show is interactive, fun for all ages (parents and grandparents laughed plenty) and it is so affordable.  Definitely a must!

Go-Karts/Arcades/Mini Golf/Laser Tag
Oh my! There are about a million go-kart places and arcades along the main strip in Pigeon Forge.  We wound up at Lazer Port Fun Center because it seemed to have it all. We actually didn't play arcade games there because we played at Arcade City at The Island but we did play Glow Mini Golf, laser tag and take a spin on the Go Karts.  The mini-golf was indoor so that's a great option if you have a rainy or cold day.  The Go Karts are FUN - you zip around 3 floors of track at a pretty decent speed so there's so squealing from the kids!  The laser tag was fine, nothing that stood out, just your normal laser tag experience.

The Old Mill:  This is an area within which you will want to spend some time.  We found parking difficult so it would be a good idea to take the bus there or walk if you are staying nearby.  The Old Mill restaurant is a MUST.  It was so delicious, home cooking, and you won't have to eat the rest of the day. FOR REAL - so much food. Don't be afraid if you see a line, they move everything very quickly.  In the Old Mill area, I spend the most time in the pottery store. I took home some gifts (some for myself!) and we watched the artisans craft the items. We also enjoyed the blacksmiths, definitely unique.  There's a cafe, ice cream parlor, general store, candy shop and more. It's a great place for lunch and then spend the day "milling" about.

Smoky Mountain Candy Makers: There's taffy all over the place in Pigeon Forge.  We chose Smoky Mountain Candy Makers totally at random.   They had dozens of taffy flavors and the store was just so cute.  Of course, they were making taffy so the kids loved watching and sampling.  They also had chocolates and many other choices to take back to the hotel for dessert or the drive home - which is exactly what we did.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Week in Preview March 28th-31st

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Hope the Easter Bunny was good to you, now it's time to hop into some fun!

Here are my picks for the week!

Live it: Check out Shining A Light: The Right to Education exhibit at the Muhammad Ali Center. This year’s exhibition showcases individuals and organizations working toward the “Right to Education” for all children worldwide. Find out more here!

Eat it: Have dinner on Wednesday at Moe's! Kids eat FREE all day with an adult purchase of $5 or more. Click here to find one near you.

Move it: Sign up for Kids Bowl Free now so that you are ready to move once summer comes! Registered Kids Receive 2 FREE GAMES Of Bowling Every Day All Summer Long, Valued At Over $500 Per Child! Check it out here for more information!

Learn it: St. Matthews Library is doing a StoryWalk on Tuesday, March 29th at 2pm. Come learn what a StoryWalk is and enjoy a bit of nature with your reading. All ages and families welcome. Learn more here!

By Guest Contributor: 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Picks for Things to Do this Weekend around Louisville: March 25,26,27

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Check out our Spring Fun Page & Easter Events post too!

Check out Yoga at Rainbow Blossom. This is a good way to explore it and see how you like it.  They are offering a series that's free and open to people of all ages and "yoga knowledge."  See the calendar by clicking here - there are some on Friday!

Saturday:  Check out our calendar too, so much going on for Saturday!

Enjoy "Breakfast with the Bunny" at Renaissance Fun Park. For $20 per person you will get unlimited laser tag, laser tag, mini golf and a continental breakfast.  And, the Easter Bunny will make a visit with goody bags for the kids!

Check out a FREE Heartland Music Together Demo - they are having one at 9:30am and at 11:30am - sign up on their website.
Sunday: HAPPY EASTER!  Enjoy family time!

Have a fabuLOUs weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Family Service Opportunities around Louisville During Spring Break 2016

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The kids are out of school and driving you nuts. One great way to channel all the energy is to encourage giving back and helping in the community as a family. It is important to teach our kids how they can help and that they are never too young or too old to give back.

Listed below are several volunteer projects kids can do with the help of an adult as well as some things teenagers can do on their own. Please keep in mind that it is a good practice to check with the organization before showing up to volunteer or donate items.

Opportunities in the community:

For the Family:
  • Sign up the family to serve for a day (or more) at the St. Vincent de Paul Open Hand Kitchen. They need help throughout the year.
  • Have a trail cleanup day with The Olmsted Parks Conservancy. The family can take a trash bag and some gloves and head out on the trails to make them a little cleaner. You can also sign up for one of the organized cleanups that are already on the calendar and all the stuff you need is provided.
  • Head out to the Food Literacy Project and help maintain weed free gardens. They are always looking for good helpers to clean out the garden beds. 
For older kids:
  • Volunteer at St. Joseph Childers Home. They accept teen (14+) volunteers to help in the Child Development Center. 
  • The Home of the Innocents has a Junior Volunteer program for teens 13-17. Find out more information here

Opportunities at home:
By Guest Contributor: Christine

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Educational Fun Over Spring Break in Louisville, KY

 photo Educational_zpsque3fklh.pngFor those of you who are taking a Staycation in the L.A. (Louisville Area) this spring break, I've put together a go-to list of books to read together! Also included is a list of online resources to utilize some more literary fun throughout the week, some great read alouds to make reading fun together as a family, and many fabulous, free resources and events that the libraries and local bookstores around town are offering for kids of all ages and their families during spring break week. Enjoy!

Book Suggestions to Read Over Spring Break

Babies (birth to 1):
Roar, Shh!
I'm Grumpy
Peep and Egg
Naptime with Theo and Beau
Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA

Toddlers (2 to 3 years):
The Wonderful Things You Will Be
If Animals Kissed Goodnight
Go! Go! Go! Stop!
Sense and Sensibility: A BabyLit Opposites Primer - all of the books in this series are really cool!

Preschoolers (3 to 5 years):
Love Monster by Rachel Bright
The Full Moon at the Napping House by Audrey Wood
The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
Henry and Mudge series (up to early elementary too)

Ages 5-10:
Big Nate series
Captain Underpants and Ricky Ricotta series
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
Furry Detective series
Magic Tree House series
Notebook of Doom series
Rainbow Magic series
The Secret Series by Psuedonymous Bosch
Sisters Grimm series
Troublemaker by Andrew Clements
The Day I Lost my Superpowers by Michael Escoffier
My Weird School series

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner
Gone series by Michael Grant
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Starflight by Melissa Landers
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Read Aloud Suggestions:
I suggest checking out these fantastic wordless picture books over spring break. Read them together during your quieter down times, and make up the story page by page together as a family. It's a fabulous memory-making activity!
  • Chalk by Bill Thompson
  • Journey by Aaron Becker
  • Tuesday by David Wiesner
  • Flotsam by David Wiesner
  • Zoom by Istvan Banyai
  • Bluebird Bob Staake
  • Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day
  • Unspoken: a story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
  • Beaver is Lost by Elisha Cooper
  • Wave by Suzy Lee

ebook/Audio Book Options: All you need to access free ebooks from the Library (24/7!) is an internet connection and your computer or mobile device, a valid Library card and password. Click here to get started and find some great books to read online during spring break and any time!

Check out this link to One Click Digital for downloadable audiobooks at your fingertips!

eMagazines: The electronic magazines available through the Library are entirely free and there are tons from which to choose!! The instructions on the main page walk you through the whole setup. Once again, all you need is your valid Library card and password. There are more than 160 available, click here for a print ready list!

Online Resources:
According to the Kids Tab on the Louisville Free Public Library websiteABCmouse.com for Libraries is an exciting new online educational resource – designed for children ages 2 – 7+ – that offers more than 3,000 fun learning activities including online books, interactive learning programs, games, puzzles, songs, art activities, and more. Access to this service is available free (with a Library account) at all 18 library locations.
  • Learn with Lynda! There are 3400+ courses!
  • Stream some music while you play around this spring break! Streaming Music Library
  • Check out the Library's music link to find all sorts of genres of music to check out! Music Corner
  • Got kids or teens or anyone in your family interesting in designing their own app or website? The free Treehouse service is for you!
  • Your family can learn about your family tree and ancestry with all of the Library's Genealogy resources.
  • My Library U is a yet another fabulous free service that the Library offers to its patrons. Spend some time learning something new this Spring Break; it's a great choice to do together with your older kids, or perhaps you'd like to learn something new as an individual. There are college level course to take, or drop by the Library and enjoy a Short Course. Some previous topics include The Holocaust, Opera 101, and The Beatles: Band of the Sixties.

Free Classes/Courses/Programs - Learn something new this spring break!

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

Share 100 Stories Before 4th Grade

TumbleBooks - Scroll down on the LFPL Kids page for access to TumbleBooks online at your favorite library.

Read It Down - This is one of the best kept secrets (not anymore!) going on at all Louisville Free Public Library locations. Your kids or you check out books for your children, and no matter how hard you try to remember, they end up coming back late. You rack up some late fees/fines on your child's library card. With the "Read It Down" program, children and teens can reduce library fines just by reading. Participants read or listen to books of their choosing in the library. The more you read, the less you owe. It’s that simple! Visit any branch of the Louisville Free Public Library today and Read It Down!

ACT and SAT Test Prep - For your middle school and high school students, perhaps you'd like for them to spend a day this spring break studying??! The Library hosts numerous ACT and SAT test preparation programs all year long. Check it out here.

What's Happening at Louisville's Local Bookstores?
Keep checking Carmichael's Bookstore website for updates to their April calendar. Follow them on Facebook as well because they always list events there.

A Reader's Corner Bookstore offers a monthly storytime at 11am on the second Saturday of every month.

Read a Book about It / Visit this Local Spot!
By guest contributor: Erin

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Week in Preview March 21st -24th

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Take some time to be fun and silly this week!

Here are my picks for the week!

Live it: Take a trip to the Newport Aquarium this week! For a limited time only, get up to 2 kids (age 2 – 12) in for $5/each with each adult paying full price 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Wednesday (March 21-23 and March 28-30).

Eat it: Have dinner at the Riverwalk Grill on Monday for Kids Eat Free from 4pm to close!

Move it: Check out the Main Event for their Grand Opening on Tuesday! They have bowling, laser tag, arcades, and more! Find out more here!

Learn it: Get in the Derby spirit with a trip to the Kentucky Derby Museum! Admission includes two levels of family friendly interactive exhibits, a walking tour, a chance to meet their resident thoroughbreds, and the gift shop!

By Guest Contributor:


Friday, March 18, 2016

Picks for Things to Do this Weekend around Louisville: March 18,19,20

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Check out our Spring Fun Page & Easter Events post too!

How about a trip to the Louisville Zoo?  Did you know they started offering camel rides this year? And, the hours are back to "spring" hours so you can stay a bit longer in the evening. Click here for more details.

This is the chosen day for tons of Easter activities around town.  Take your pick!

For something unrelated to Easter, an afternoon treat at Gigi's Cupcakes sounds great.  They are celebrating the 1 year anniversary of opening their Springhurst store. From 12-4, they are handing out free mini cupcakes, will have a kids coloring contest and free balloon animals starting at 2pm. 

Try something new with your family!  Rainbow Blossom Highlands Market is hosting 'Taste of Yoga" at their 3046 Bardstown Road location to showcase many styles of yoga that are offered in Louisville - it's a week of FREE yoga classes! On March 20th at noon, they kick it off with Yin Yoga. It's for beginners to advanced students and for toddlers to seniors.

Have a fabuLOUs weekend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

18 Free/Cheap Fun Ideas for Spring Break

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Outside Louisville

La Grange, KY
The Kentucky Science Center has a remote exhibit a the Main Library in La Grange.  This is a great opportunity to stroll through La Grange main street area for a place to eat, some shopping and watch the train go through town after you visit the science exhibit at the library. 

Clarksville, IN

The Falls of the Ohio State Park is located on the banks of the Ohio River in Clarksville, Indiana at I-65, exit 0. The 390-million-year-old fossil beds are among the largest, naturally exposed, Devonian fossil beds in the world. The park features a spectacular Interpretive Center overlooking the fossil beds containing an exhibit gallery and video presentation.

Shelbyville, KY

Perfect Timing Alpacas offer “recreational” alpaca farm tours for those wanting to bring their family to Perfect Timing Alpacas, as well as large group alpaca farm tours. Make sure to call us on our cell phone at 270-945-1818 for tour rates and to schedule your appointment as drop in visitors are difficult to accommodate!  Here's a groupon deal!

Frankfort, KY

Head to Rebecca Ruth's and see where the world famous Bourbon Chocolates is born. This unique confectionery operation is known worldwide as "The Inventor of Bourbon Candy!," and is located in historic downtown Frankfort, KY - just a stone's throw from the Kentucky state capitol building. Take a tour and sample some yummy candy! $5.00 Per Person, Children 5 & Under are free. Guided tours are Monday - Saturday 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM & 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM.

Salato Wildlife Education Center has something for the entire family! See native wildlife up close and personal along our accessible exhibit trails, bring a lunch and have a picnic, go fishing at one of our fully stocked lakes, or take a hike on the HabiTrek or Pea Ridge Trails! You’ll have fun, and you’ll learn something, too! Adult: $4, Youth (5-18): $2, Under 5 is free!

Lexington, KY

The Kentucky Children's Garden is a safe 1.85 acre outdoor learning environment designed to help children 2-10 years old discover plants and the environment. There's an integrated combination of various “child-scaled” theme gardens and garden-like elements for experiential play: gardens planted and maintained by children, a small amphitheater for presentations, interactive educational exhibits, inter-connecting paths and comfortable benches. $10 for a family of 5. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

At the Kentucky Horse Park meet Thoroughbred legends at the Hall of Champions, see interesting breeds at the Breeds Barn Show or head out for a walking barn tour to meet our police horses, see our blacksmith facility and explore a kids’ barn with stories and activities perfect for young visitors. Some of the attractions are pricey so make sure to stick with the free ones!

Tour the Toyota Plant. It's for kids who are in first grade or above and they have tram tours and interactive features that kids will love.

Clermont, KY

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest has lots of classes and trails to explore. It is free Monday-Friday and only $5 for passenger cars, minivans, and motorcycles on the weekend.

Hodgenville, KY

Visit Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace. Begin your journey at the Visitor Center and view the Bible that belonged to his father and mother, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, watch a 15 minute video about his early years, and follow the “Pathway of a President” plus lots more.  Here's a day trip idea!

Louisville Area

Take a walk over the Big 4 Bridge and bring a picnic to share with your family and friends. This is a fun and cheap way to spend a beautiful spring day. Splurge a bit and rent a bike or have lunch/dinner at one of the yummy restaurants in Jeffersonville!

Your Neighborhood Library has loads of fun to explore during Spring Break! Find more information here about classes being held near you.

Parklands of Floyds Fork, Iroquois Park, and Cherokee park are just a few of the great parks within Louisville that have loads of fun ready to be found within!

Be brave and take a trip to the Extreme Park downtown! The Louisville Extreme Park is one of the nation's best skate parks, with awesome features, including a 24 foot full-pipe! The park offers a great balance of street-style, transition style and vert.

Get your exercise on the Louisville Loop. The Louisville Loop is an estimated 100-mile trail system that will eventually encircle the city and link existing and new parks and neighborhoods to civic attractions, transportation alternative and recreation opportunities.

The Farnsley-Moremen Landing is part of Louisville Metro Parks and so rich in local history.  They do have special events that are fun but they are also open to the pubic so you can explore and learn over spring break. Great picnic spot too. The original home is there and very interesting as well as active archaeological digs going on to learn more about the people that have lived on that site. There's a family rate of $15 so you won't be spending a ton if you have a big family, otherwise - the individual fees are very reasonable too.

Download a map and explore Cave Hill Cemetery. It is known for its exquisite collection of monumental art, many examples of which are over 150 years old. Additionally, the property includes a variety of historic structures, from the Administration Office to the Board Room to the three and half miles of brick and stone wall that encircle the perimeter.

Museum of American Printing House for the Blind offers free self-guided visits to the museum which allows visitors to explore at their pace. Those who want to see the factory in action and learn more about how products are made may take a guided tour that combines braille and audio book production with the museum visit.

Take some time together and volunteer. Click here for some ideas on where to go.

Be sure to keep tabs on our Spring Fun links for even MORE ideas!

By guest contributor: Kelly

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

15 Spring Break Destinations within 3 Hours of Louisville

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You don't have to travel 10+ hours to a beach to have a fun Spring Break. We found plenty of things to do and places to go within a short drive of Louisville. Whether you're looking for a day trip or a multi-day getaway, we've got you covered!

1 - 2 hours from Louisville
1. Columbus, IN - Columbus boasts a children's museum called KidsCommons. See our review here. Across from the museum you'll find The Commons which includes a fun indoor playground. Just down the street there is a great historic ice cream parlor called Zaharakos! If you like to ride, bring your bikes. There is a 55 mile bike trail that begins in Columbus. It's highly rated in Bicycling magazine. For more time in the great outdoors, visit nearby Brown County State Park. There is hiking, fishing and more! You can camp out or stay in a neat lodge or cabin nearby.

2. Newport, KY and the Greater Cincinnati, OH area - There are plenty of family-friendly hotels in all price ranges. For entertainment, start by visiting the Newport Aquarium and Newport on the Levee. If the weather is nice, cross over the Ohio River on the pedestrian bridge. Check out the Cincinnati Museum Center in historic Union Terminal. It boasts three museums and an OMNIMAX Theatre! For the parents, take a side trip to IKEA in nearby West Chester. For a big surprise, stay a couple of days at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, KY. The rooms have fun themes and there is a huge indoor water park!

3. Frankfort, KY - For the animal lover, visit Salato Wildlife Education Center. Enjoy at sweet treat and learn something new at Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours and Museum. Get a glimpse into the history of bourbon in Kentucky, by taking The Trace Tour at Buffalo Trace Distillery. This tour is fun and educational for all ages. Kids can enjoy a delicious sample of root beer at the conclusion of the tour. There are also many historical sites to visit in Frankfort!

4. Lexington, KY - Tuesday - Sunday, visit Explorium; a children's museum. See our review here. Of course, no trip to Lexington is complete without a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park! Review here. Want to see more horses?  The Spring Meet at Keeneland begins on Friday, 4/8. For more great ideas, visit our sister site, Kentucky Family Fun.

5. Indianapolis, IN - My top pick for Indy is the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. The place is huge and you can easily spend an entire day there. Read our review. The Indianapolis Zoo is also a fun place to visit on a sunny spring day. They even have a dolphin show! Have a racing fan in the family? A visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Hall of Fame Museum is a must do! Check out Indy With Kids for lots of ideas.

6. Natural Bridge State Park (KY) - A haven for those who enjoy hiking and breathtaking views. There is a skylift that operates beginning in early April. Call to verify dates. You can opt to take a day trip, camp out, stay in a cottage or in the lodge. Read our review here.

7. Cave City/Horse Cave/Mammoth Cave (KY) - Travel South down I-65 and you'll find an area with some fun, unexpected opportunities. Dinosaur World and Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo are two unique attractions that are sure to please the kids. You can read our review here. Of course, the main feature of this area is Mammoth Cave National Park, reviewed here. There are cave tours of various lengths and difficulty to meet the needs of different ages and abilities.

8. French Lick, IN - Two historic hotels, French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs offer a variety of fun Spring Break activities for families. One of our writers visited last year. You can read her review here. Another option in town is Big Splash Adventure, an indoor waterpark and hotel. Check out our review.

9. Clifty Falls State Park (IN) - Have a fun camping adventure and enjoy hiking all around this state park. Depending on recent precipitation, you may see the waterfalls flowing. We have a review here. Take some time to visit historic Madison, IN while in the area. See suggestions here.

10. Patoka Lake (IN) - This state park boasts opportunities for boating, waterskiing, archery, hunting, disc golf and more! It's near French Lick (#8 on our list) so you can potentially enjoy both in one trip.

11. Bowling Green, KY - Check out the National Corvette Musuem, take boat tour (water-level permitting) or explore the grounds around Lost River Cave, or visit the Historic RailPark and Train Museum. Consider combining a trip to Bowling Green with any or all of the activities listed in #7 on our list. Read more suggestions here.

2 - 3 hours from Louisville

12. Nashville, TN - Kids always love the opportunity to swim when it's not quite warm enough outside. While in Nashville, stay in a comfy hotel with an indoor pool. Visit the Nashville Zoo (review here), Adventure Science Center, explore unique city parks and check out Opry-Mills Mall. Read our getaway review for more ideas.

13. Cumberland Falls State Park (KY) -  This state park is famous for being one of only 2 places in the world to see a moonbow! A moonbow is only visible in the falls at night during a full moon. Even if your Spring Break doesn't coincide with a full moon, this park still has much to offer. Hiking, fishing and camping are popular activities here. If you're not into tent camping, you can opt for a cabin or a room in the lodge. Read our review here.

14. Carter Caves State Park (KY) - This state park offers several overnight options, ranging from primitive camping to a room in a fieldstone lodge. In addition to cave tours, Carter Caves offers hiking, rappelling, canoeing, a gemstone mining flume, horseback riding and more!

15. John James Audubon State Park (KY) - This state park has a primitive camping area with shower houses/restrooms and a playground. There are also a handful of cottages available. A museum and nature center are also on site. Other available activities include fishing, hiking and a 9 hole golf course.

Some of the reviews linked within this article are a few years old. Please call or check the direct website of any place you plan to visit to verify hours and details.

If travel does not fit into your plans, check out our other Spring links for local ideas and Spring Break camps.

By Guest Contributor: Brandy 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Week in Preview March 14th-17th

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Don't forget to wear your green this week!

Here are my picks for the week!

Live it: The Louisville Zoo’s spring season launches this week when guests can stay at the Zoo a little longer and most rides and attractions will reopen for the season weather-permitting. Head out there this week to explore. Find more information here!

Eat it: Head over to Dairy Queen for a FREE cone on Tuesday, March 15th. Check it out here for more information!

Move it: Monday-Friday, Awesome Outdoor Products has their Pay to Play for $7 a child. They have 7 Rainbow Playsystem playets set up in a heated showroom ( No Air Conditioning) where you can come and play for as long as you'd like! They also have many other fun activities like a pop-a-shot basketball goal, Step-2 Toys, Trains and Cars, and much more!

Learn it: Take a trip to Carmichael's Kids on Thursday at 11am for a story-time that is sure to be filled with leprechauns and pots of gold. Join us at Carmichael's Kids for St. Patrick's Day crafts, snacks, and activities all day! Find more here!

By Guest Contributor: 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Picks for Things to Do this Weekend around Louisville: March 11,12,13

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Check out our Spring Fun Page & Easter Events post too!

Take on family roller skating at Champs!  You'll get some exercise (from laughing too) and you can save.  We found a coupon for you - click here.

The weather looks a bit iffy. I'll be at the soccer field standing under my umbrella.  If you are looking to stay dry, how about the Frazier Museum?  The theme for Second Saturday this month is “Medieval History” from 11:00am 3:00pm. They’ll have armor you can try on, traditional games to play, crafts, meet a a real-life knight and more. It's free for members or with paid museum admission.

Also, it's Museum Day Live when you can get 2 free tickets to some museums.  Locally, Louisville Slugger Museum and the Ali Center are participating.  See details here about getting tickets. 

The weather........Enjoy some indoor fun - check out our list.   How about a movie?  Have you been to the new theatre off of 64 at Blankenbaker?  It has comfy seats!

Or, Saturday/Sunday help celebrate the re-opening of the Speed Art Museum. They have special programming this weekend!  See here.

Have a fabuLOUs weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Review of Parent/Child Outing SimCave in Louisville, KY

Writers were granted admission for purpose of review. 

On a recent Friday night, our writers and their families visited SimCave Louisville. SimCave is a new Digital Gaming Arena that opened in November 2015. Located in the Bluegrass Industrial Park at 11501 Plantside Drive Ste. 11, the venue offers entertainment for gamers of all ages. Here is what our writers and their families had to say about their first experience at SimCave Louisville:

"My kids and I had a blast! I liked the dancing room the best. It was fun to see everyone in the video afterwards. My son loved the Minecraft room even though he didn't get much play time. He still enjoyed watching everyone play." ~ Caryn

"We loved how easily they were able to change games and connect players together. My kids can play Minecraft at home but there's so much less fighting when everyone has their own television. They keep talking about it and we can't wait to go back." ~ Maggie

"I love that SimCave is fun for children and adults! My son played Minecraft, while I laughed at myself in the Dance Cave. The crew members are very attentive and helpful also!" ~ Nicolle

"We loved the fact that parents and kids could play together or separately and how helpful all the staff were when help was needed. We also liked that we could change games pretty easily." ~ Kelly

"Kids and "big kids" (aka adults) all had a great time! Something for everyone ---
Being the non-gamer I am, I enjoyed watching the kids play, and loved the dance room myself, as well as watching the kids get down! The ONLY negative, if we had to name one, was that the "big kids" (dads) said that they wished the seating for the games were padded. ~ Karen

"Friendly and helpful staff make it an entertaining and inviting atmosphere. Great for trying out new games and easy to see how their tournament style play would work really well. The live feed and video archive, especially for the party room, is a thoughtful addition- grandparents or others who don't live nearby can watch the fun as it happens." ~ Angela

"Pros- Especially fun for a group of kids who want to play together all at once. Friendly, attentive staff. Cons- Kids who aren't into the most popular games may prefer playing at home. Seats were uncomfortable for adults, but kids didn't seem to mind. Overall- It's a fun, immersive experience. My kids (10 and 7) had a good time and look forward to visiting again." ~ Nick

"The staff was really great.  They swapped out games easily, were helpful and very friendly. Also, the place was very clean.  My kids liked the freedom to go between rooms and although my son was hesitant to 'Just Dance' in front of everyone, once he did it, he had a blast and kept playing.  We laughed SO HARD during the dancing." ~Stephanie 

I think it's safe to say that these families will be returning in the future! SimCave Louisville offers Game Nights, Birthday Parties, Tournaments, Kids' Day Out (drop off) and Special Events. The calendar on the SimCave website includes all of the details you need. Tournaments and Special Events are frequently announced on Facebook, so be sure to like their page to stay in the know. 

By: Louisville Family Fun Staff & Family

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spring Break Louisville Staycation Itinerary

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Spring break is coming up fast and maybe you don’t want to go to the beach this early in the year. It’s still too cold in most places to really enjoy the water anyway. The good news is that there’s plenty to do right here in the Louisville area!

-Pack a picnic lunch and head to Waterfront Park. Walk across the pedestrian bridge and enjoy the views, play on the playground, and have a picnic on the Great Lawn by the mighty Ohio River.

-After lunch head down to Museum Row on Main to check out The Louisville Slugger Museum, The Frazier History Museum, The Kentucky Science Center, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, or any of the awesome museums along Main Street. Save your receipts for discounts if you want to visit more than one!  Bring magnets - most of the buildings on Main Street have metal facades, the kids can test out which ones while you walk around. 

-Head down to Bardstown and take a tour of My Old Kentucky Home. Then check out the most beautiful small town in America- historic downtown Bardstown. Have lunch at the Old Talbott Tavern.

-Stop by Bernheim Forest for a hike and a late afternoon snack at Isaac’s CafĂ©. Check their website for special events during Spring Break week.
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-Go swimming at the Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center at the Crescent Hill Reservoir. Take a walk around the reservoir afterward.  Bring a camera - great for photos!
-Eat at Clifton’s Pizza and then ice cream at the nearby Comfy Cow or Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen – they’re right across from each other on Frankfort Avenue!

-Finish up the day at the movies if it's a rainy day.

 photo IMG_2202_zps3lbrpjjs.jpg-Have an Indiana day! Explore The Falls of the Ohio State Park, The Howard Steamboat Museum, and Schimpff’s Confectionery and Candy Museum. Or if you want to take things underground venture up to Indiana Caverns or Marengo Cave.    We love walking over the Big Four Bridge to the playground on the Indiana side and making a day around Jeffersonville too!

-Stop by The Kentucky Derby Museum to learn all about the history of horse racing in Louisville. Kids love dressing up in jockey silks!  Admission is free for kids under age 5 and admission includes a tour and an amazing 360 degree movie.

-Have lunch at nearby Vietnam Kitchen so your kids can try something new. Noodles and dumplings are always a big hit!  Or, Wagner's Pharmacy - there's a ton of history there and great diner food.

-Head out to The Parklands at Floyds Fork for a walk around the Egg Lawn.  Bring a kite!

By guest contributor: Maggie

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review of MADE Blowdry Boutique

What is better than getting your hair done? Not much, and there is a new place in town that is doing it heads above the rest. Made Blowdry Boutique opened on Lime Kiln Ln. a few months again and I have already visited 4 times. Every time I walk in I am comforted by sparkly things, smiling faces, and all-around beauty.

 photo 35e8653b-a326-4105-980b-3f086471779a_zpswuo5nrcc.pngEach of my styles was done by a different maven (hairstylist) and I have loved all of them. One time was for my wedding rehearsal dinner and I got many complements on how wonderful it looked! On another occasion, I simply walked in, sat down and said, "Make me look good, I have a party." The maven did not disappoint. The style she gave me was not one that I would have chosen for myself but  I am not the expert. When you got to get your hair done at MADE, trust them, they know what they are doing!

Another other thing I liked was getting a mini hair and product education. Usually I have to ask, what did you use on my hair? How did you do that? Can I do that on my own? When one of the mavens put a product on my hair, they told me what it was and why they were using it. It is good knowledge to have.

I have never left MADE feeling like it was a waste of time or money. There is a range of prices depending on what you have done. A blowout costs $35 and you can add other options, like a scalp massage or a braid. You can get your hair all done up and fancy for a big event for $75. There is even an $25 option for men.

 photo 12107918_10153180873590754_4786708283370367793_n_zps1zmhwspi.jpgWant a fun mommy/daughter treat? How about a MADE and Mini MADE? Another unique thing they offer is a mini MADE birthday party. One of my most fun parties as a kid was going to my aunt’s salon getting pampered with all of my friends. I am pretty sure it is still talked about. How cool is it that it is now a thing and offered in such a cool space?! The cost varies from $40-$50 per child with a minimum of 5 children. It lasts for a full hour and includes a gift bag and salons services for each child.

I feel pampered and beautiful. I wish I had the time and money to visit MADE every day, but for now I will settle for a nice every once in a while treat.

By guest contributor: Christine

Monday, March 7, 2016

Review of Disney's Zootopia

We were given admission to Disney’s Zootopia for the purpose of review.

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Disney’s Zootopia is a story of a rookie bunny cop, Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), trying to prove herself in the big city of Zootopia.  She quickly finds that it is difficult to be a bunny cop in a big city surrounded by much bigger animals than herself.  Determined to prove herself, she asks to be assigned to solve a mysterious missing persons (otter) case.  Along the way, she has help from a sneaky fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman).

The story-line takes the audience through the different districts of Zootopia where Judy and Nick face different obstacles.  It was fun to see the various animals and surroundings in each district.  The buildings, cars, food, etc are scaled according to the animal.  For example there is a tiny city for mice and snobby elephants ordering giant ice cream in a shop.  The slow sloths at the DMV are hilarious! 

In Zootopia, all of the animals live together, both predator and prey.  But, because there are different districts, the city is separated into classes where the animals are faced with prejudices based on preconceived notions.  The story-line starts with following your dreams (even if you are the smallest and only bunny on the police force) and ends with a message of being the change one wants to see in a world where there is discrimination.  

The film is fast-paced and entertaining from beginning to end.  We watched the movie in 3D!  The graphics and 3D effects were great!  There was one “scary” scene in the film, but nothing too bad.  There is a lot of silly humor and, in true Disney fashion, adult humor that will go over most children’s heads.  Our favorite characters were Flash the Sloth and Mr. Big!  You will recognize other celebrity voices such as Shakira, Tommy Chong and Bonnie Hunt in the movie. 

Zootopia opens in theaters on March 4th!  It’s a fun, family-friendly film!

By Guest Contributor: Nicolle 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Week in Preview March 7th-10th

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 March into some family fun this week!

Here are my picks for the week!

Live it: Explore the Louisville Nature Center. They have loads of fun including hiking trails, a one of a kind bird blind, and gardens. Check it out here for more information!

Eat it: Dairy Kastle is back open! Head over there for some ice cream, a banana split, milk shake, or even a hot dog. Check out our review for more information! 

Move it: Get climbing at Climb Nulu! They are open Monday-Friday from 11am-10pm (and on the weekend as well. Find more here!

Learn it: Check out the eBooks at the Louisville Free Public Library. Have a family story time with a book or two! Find more information here!

By Guest Contributor: 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Picks for Things to Do this Weekend around Louisville: March 4,5,6

 This post is sponsored by:
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Check out our Spring Fun Page & Easter Events post too!


Go See PETER PAN at Floyd Central Auditorium at 7:30PM.  Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and $6 Students.  You can get tickets online or by calling (812) 542-2284.  What an affordable way to enjoy a music and support these kids!

Hwang's Martial Arts is hosting their annual Health Kick Festival to raise money for Kosair Children's Hospital.  It is at the KY International Convention center and the festival portion (noon to 4pm) is free! It includes a petting zoo, inflatables, face painting, vendors and more!


Do you like green eggs and ham? Come and have some, bring the fam!  Garage Bar is celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday with a special family-friendly brunch featuring Seuss-inspired dishes. They'll  have Dr. Seuss themed prizes, an egg hunt for all the littlest Whos and more.  Reservations recommended. Call 502.749.7100 

Have a fabuLOUs weekend!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

9 Free Things to Do in March 2016 in and around Louisville, KY

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1. Douglass Loop Farmers Market The season opens on Saturday, March 5th 10-2pm. Food, music and fun!

2. Hwang’s Martial Arts Louisville Health Kick Festival at the KY International Convention Center on Saturday, March 5th 12-2pm. (From 2-4pm there is a $5 entry fee to see the martial arts demonstrations.) 

3. 25th Maple Syrup Festival by LM Sugarbush in Salem, IN on March 5th & 6th 9am-5pm. 

4. St. Patrick’s Day Parade down Baxter Avenue on Saturday, March 12th at 3pm. 
5. Speed Art Museum re-opens on March 12th! Free admission every Sunday for the first year of their re-opening! 

6. Awesome Outdoor Products is having an open House on Saturday, March 19th 10-2pm. 

7. Drive-In Movie Night at the Middletown Public Library on Thursday, March 24th 6:30-7:30pm. Recommended for ages 3-8, please call the library to register. 

8. Story Time at Learning Express Toys on Tuesdays at 10:30am. Snacks and craft follow the story. 

9. University of Louisville Baseball Free home games! Click on the link to pick a game in March!

Don't miss out of our Easter Events post!!

By guest contributor: Nicolle