There are tons of things to do with kids in Louisville, Kentucky! And if you play your (membership) cards right, much of it can be free!
Louisville, Kentucky is just around 3 hours from Columbus, Ohio! Though my husband and I had been there a couple of times together without kids, we had never taken the kids! Over an extra-long weekend break from school, we decided to hit the road and explore Louisville with the kids!
This is a round up of family-friendly things that we did on our trip to Louisville with just a few ideas thrown in from our previous visits without kids, just in case.
Things to do with Kids in Louisville, Kentucky:
Louisville has a great downtown area and several of the items on this list of kid-friendly things to do in Louisville are within walking distance of each other! Though you will need a car to get around the city, it’s also a great city to explore on foot!
Make your plans to visit these kid-friendly attractions in Louisville!
1. Kentucky Science Center
- Address: 727 W Main St., Louisville, KY 40202
If you’re visiting Louisville with kids, you definitely don’t want to skip a visit to the Kentucky Science Center! This is a must-visit destination in Louisville!
There are three floors of exhibits and activities. There are rooms off of rooms, so make sure to explore to find them all! Each of the floors has staircases that open up over the main lobby where you can look down over the atrium.
Some of my kids’ favorites were the water area in Science and Play and the ability to make paper rockets and shoot them down into the atrium! Also check out the Discovery Gallery for some life size polar bears!
Tips for visiting Kentucky Science Center:
- Kentucky Science Center is a member of the ASTC Travel Passport Program. If you have a membership to COSI or The Works, you can get in free!
- Plan to spend 2-3 hours here.
- You will receive a hand stamp that allows you to leave and return on the same day.
- Check their website for 3D movies that are available at an additional cost.
- There is a Subway restaurant inside the same building if you need a lunch option on site.
- Check out info below on a nearby restaurant (Luigi’s Pizzeria) where we had lunch.
2. Speed Art Museum
- Address: 2035 S. Third St., Louisville, KY 40208
The Speed Art Museum has 4 floors of exhibits and a cinema. Since we were visiting with kids we spent the majority of our visit in the Art Sparks area which is a hands on area where kids (AND adults) can get interactive with and up close to art.
In the Art Sparks area we spent a lot of time at the symmetry station and the Recollections Six interactive video installation that projects your silhouette on a screen as you move around. That was a hit!
If you happen to have a membership that is part of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association, you can get in free to the Speed Art Museum! Our Ohio History Connection Membership is a part of NARM so we were able to get complimentary admission!
Tips for visiting the Speed Art Museum:
- Paid parking for the museum is in a parking garage right next to the museum!
- Bring your NARM reciprocal membership for free admission.
- Plan to spend 1-2 hours in the museum with kids.
- Don’t miss the Art Sparks interactive area on the bottom floor.
3. Frazier History Museum
- Address: 829 West Main St., Louisville, KY 40202
The Frazier History Museum is just a block away from the Kentucky Science Center! We hit up the Science Center in the morning, had lunch at Luigi’s Pizza across the street (see below) and then visited the Frazier History Museum in the afternoon.
The museum has 3 floors of exhibits focused on Kentucky history. Highlights of our visit included the Lewis and Clark Experience and the Stewart Historic Miniatures Collection.
The Spirit of Kentucky exhibit is a large exhibit featuring Kentucky’s native spirit: bourbon. The Frazier Museum is the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail! We also enjoyed the Kentucky Rivalries exhibit featuring Kentucky sports rivalries through time. There are two basketball hoops and a football throw area here so my boys loved that!
Tips for visiting Frazier History Museum:
- Plan to spend 1-2 hours at the museum.
- This is another museum that is part of the NARM reciprocal program so you may be able to get in free if you have a participating membership!
- There is a paid parking lot adjacent to the museum or you may be able to find street parking as we did.
- Don’t miss the super cool gift shop here!
- Make sure to pick up a daily schedule at the front desk so that you don’t miss any of the special shows or tours you might be interested in seeing.
4. Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory
- Address: 800 West Main St., Louisville, KY 40202
Full disclosure: we have not taken our kids to do the Louisville Slugger factory tour! My husband and I have done it in the past but because our kids are not super into baseball, we decided to skip the tour and just take pictures in front of the World’s Biggest Bat!
My husband and I took the tour a couple of years ago and enjoyed it! You will see bats being made on the tour and each person gets a mini bat at the end! This tour is definitely one of the most popular things to do in Louisville, so if your family is interested in baseball and the history of the sport, make plans to visit!
The museum is between the Frazier History Museum and the Kentucky Science Center, but on the opposite side of the street so it’s easy to fit it in in the midst of these other fun things to do in downtown Louisville.
Tips for visiting the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory:
- Allow at least 90 minutes to 2 hours for your tour and exploring the museum.
- Kids 5 and under are free!
- Even if you don’t do a tour, you’ve gotta visit the World’s Largest Bat when you’re in Louisville!
Along East Market Street, there is an area of Louisville called NuLu which stands for New Louisville. It’s filled with interesting shops and restaurants! I recommend walking around if you get the chance! Keep an eye out for colorful murals and artwork!
One fun store we went into was Jones & Daughters. They have a mix of clothing, jewelry and fun decorative items. They also have a section for kids in the back!
Keep reading below to find out which restaurant we ate at in NuLu!
6. Big Four Bridge at Waterfront Park
- Address: 1001 River Rd., Louisville, KY 40206
In my opinion, walking the Big Four Bridge is a must-do activity in Louisville, KY! The Big Four Bridge is a former railroad bridge that crosses the Ohio River into Indiana. The bridge was reopened as a pedestrian bridge in 2013.
The bridge itself is 1/2 a mile long and the ramps on each side are 1/4 a mile long for a total of 1 mile each way. My husband and I walked over the bridge on a previous visit and explored the town on the other side: Jeffersonville, Indiana!
When we had the kids with us, we only made it about halfway before they were ready to turn around! The views from the bridge are definitely worth the walk!
Tips for visiting the Big Four Bridge:
- The bridge is open 24/7 to pedestrian traffic.
- No pets, skateboards or inline skates.
- Bikes are welcome.
- There are a couple of free parking lot areas at Waterfront Park on the Louisville side. Use the address above for a parking lot close to the Big Four Bridge
7. Adventure Playground and Splash Park
- Address: 1101 River Rd, Louisville, KY 40202
When you arrive at the Louisville side of the Big Four Bridge, you can’t miss Adventure Park! This is a really unique playground in Louisville that your kids are sure to love!
There are several play structures in the park and a splash pad. We also liked the large swings along the edge of the park.
One of the play structures is shaped like a steam boat. Another has a long bridge going across to a really steep hill that my boys loved climbing! Musical instruments can be found on another side of the park. It’s a great playground with a great view!
If you’re looking for a place for your kids to play and get out their excess energy between visits to museums, this is such a great place to do just that! Definitely one of the best things to do with kids in Louisville!
Tips for visiting Adventure Playground:
- The splash pad is open May through October.
- Look for the Silver Parking Lot on Riverside Drive for the closest parking.
- You can access the walkway to the Big Four Bridge from this playground area.
8. Falls of Ohio State Park
- Address: 201 W. Riverside Dr., Clarksville, IN 47129
While this is not technically in Louisville, it’s worth a trip across the bridge to Falls of Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana!
The fossil beds here have been named a National Natural Landmark. You can walk on the fossil beds down to the Ohio River. That was the highlight of our visit.
You can also visit the Interpretive Center at the park. There is an admission fee to enter. Even if you don’t visit the Interpretive Center (we didn’t) you can walk around the overlook at the back of the building and use the viewfinders to look at the falls and downtown Louisville.
Tips for visiting Falls of Ohio State Park:
- There are steps at the back of the Interpretive Center that take you all the way down to the river.
- It is illegal to take any fossils or natural elements out of the park.
Where to Eat in Louisville, Kentucky:
- Address: 712 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202
I’ve mentioned this restaurant above because it was so convenient to have lunch here between visiting the Science Center and History Museum! A great thing about Luigi’s Pizza is that everything is pre-made and ready to be served. Somewhat like a cafeteria line. Also, they have pizza which makes it an easy choice for my picky eaters! They also have various hot pastas and side options!
- Address: 605 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202
There are a couple of Wiltshire Pantry locations around Louisville, including inside the Speed Art Museum! I’ve included the address of the one we visited which is within short walking distance of Kentucky Science Center and the Frazier History Museum.
This was a great stop for us to take a break and get a coffee and a sweet treat! I highly recommend the large chocolate chip cookies! I wish I could recommend something else, too but the cookies looked so good, all 4 of us chose the same thing for our treat!
- Address: 909 E. Market St., #100, Louisville, KY 40206
Feast BBQ is located in NuLu. It came recommended by my friend Abby of @daytripscbus! We were not disappointed! We got wings for the boys and my husband and I tried the pulled pork and the brisket!
The atmosphere is laid back and kid-friendly. There are also picnic tables outside if the weather is good!
Logan Street Market
- Address: 1001 Logan St., Louisville, KY 40204
If you’re looking for a meal option that offers choices for everyone, check out Logan Street Market! This indoor food and vendor market has various food stalls to choose from on the bottom floor and a handmade vendor market on the top.
We got bagel sandwiches from Cold Smoke Bagels and dumplings from Fresh Out the Box. There is also a coffee shop, a full bar and several grocer options for food products to take home.
This is a fun place to eat and it was very kid friendly. There were some large yard games to play and several arcade games as well. There is a seating area so you can eat your food on site.
Where to Stay in Louisville, Kentucky:
I’m going to feature two hotels that we have stayed in in Louisville, KY! The first was a hotel my husband and I stayed in during a weekend getaway. The second is where we stayed when we visited with our kids!
Upscale/Downtown Option: Galt House
- Address: 140 N. Fourth St., Louisville, KY 40202
If you want the complete downtown Louisville experience, there are many hotels to choose from. My husband and I stayed at the Galt House which is on the river and has amazing views of downtown Louisville!
If you stay at the Galt House you can walk to the museums on W. Main St. in about 10-15 minutes. But you will need your car to get around to a lot of other places and daily parking at the hotel begins at $30/night.
Budget/Family Friendly Option: Holiday Inn Express Louisville Northeast
- Address: 3711 Chamberlain Ln, Louisville, KY 40241
This hotel was clean and modern and very affordable! We “splurged” for a two room suite and the cost was still under $140/night. The boys were able to have their own bedroom which meant the adults could stay up with the lights on and not keep the kids awake!
Another plus with this hotel option is that breakfast is included and there is free parking. When you add those costs to the already more expensive hotel downtown, this was a option was a no-brainer for our family!
I hope this list of things to do with kids in Louisville, Kentucky helps you plan a fun road trip! We had a great time and I think you will, too!
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