Long Awaited Return to Louisville

I couldn’t believe when I looked it up that it had actually been seven years since I was in Louisville, Kentucky.

It was one of those places I had looked forward to returning to soon, but never got around to it.

When I had the chance to cover the first annual Bourbon & Beyond Festival, I knew it was also a chance to get back to a Kentucky favorite, which happens to be only a few hours away from my home in Champaign.

Brittany, Jamie, and I headed out first thing on Friday morning, so we could get to Louisville in time for a full day.

The tourism board had helped me arrange some fun and unique things to do.

Day one was set downtown and our first stop was someplace none of us had ever been, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.

To say that this place makes baseball bats would be a huge understatement. It is a baseball lover’s must – and I happen to be one.

We had a private tour through the museum and factory as we watched the bats being made from start to finish.

We also learned about the history of making bats in Louisville, and saw some owned by famous players, such as Ty Cobb, Barry Bonds, and Kris Bryant.

This Mets fan was especially excited to see the one signed by Mookie Wilson.

In addition to the history and the factory, the Louisville Slugger Museum has some fun and interactive exhibits.

You can try out some real bats in the Batter Up cage, while the younger set can enjoy Big League, Little Bricks.

I enjoyed the Lego recreation of baseball parks around the country.

We left the museum with our own sample bats and headed down the street to the Muhammad Ali Center.

“The Greatest,” as he is frequently referred by, is the what this museum is built around, but you will find so much more here than a tribute to a boxer.

It’s a place you can easily spend the day.

You’ll learn about the history of Cassius Clay and how he became Muhammad Ali.

It includes everything he did on his spiritual journey, and the causes and charities he contributed to.

The center also has exhibits that allow you to see if you can punch the bag as fast as Ali, test out a boxing ring, and work on your footwork.

The Muhammad Ali Center also has films about the champ and a chance to chose and watch many of his boxing matches.

We left downtown and headed over to Champions Park to pick up our credentials for the Bourbon & Beyond Festival, stopping for a quick dinner on the way back.

We then checked into our home for the next three days, the Marriott Louisville East, ending our day with our first beautiful Kentucky sunset.


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