Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city, sits on the scenic Ohio River and draws more than 15 million visitors annually. If you have children, Louisville is the perfect destination as it goes above and beyond to create endless entertainment for families.
With over 100 nature parks, museum row, and underground zip-lining in a manufactured cavern, there’s no shortage of incredible things to do in Louisville. Whether you want to check out the city’s past sports legends or experience the local food and art culture, you’ll never run out of activities to enjoy with your children in Derby City.
Whether your family is looking for adventure, outdoor fun, or education, we have you covered. Check out our top 30 things to do in Louisville with kids, and have a blast on your next family trip.
1. Kentucky Science Center
Map It: 727 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 | Phone: (502) 561-6100 | Website | Hours: Daily 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: $20 per person and children under 2 are free | Age Group: All ages welcome
Rain or shine, the Kentucky Science Center is the place to be for hands-on fun with your kids. Each exhibit offers an interactive learning opportunity.
One of the most popular displays is Cave Crawling. Kids can practice crawling and maneuvering through caves. There’s also a pretend Weather Station where kids can be news anchors and broadcast weather forecasts.
The Center also houses a four-story, 3D theater. Check out the Center’s schedule to see what documentaries or movies are playing.
What you need to know: Buy your admission tickets online to save $3 per ticket.
2. Louisville Zoo
Map It: 1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville, KY 40213 | Phone: (502) 459-2181 | Website | Hours: Daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $18.50 and children 3 – 11 $15.75 | Age Group: All ages welcome
The Louisville Zoo is among the best things to do in Kentucky with young children. It’s a 134-acre zoological garden that houses over 1,800 animals.
Your family can enjoy a full day exploring the zoo’s eight exhibits. Exhibits include Africa, Australia, Cats of the Americas, Glacier Run, Gorilla World, Herp Aquarium, and South America.
A mile-long trail weaves through the zoo, so you can get your steps in while seeing all the amazing animals.
What you need to know: Parking at the zoo costs $6 per vehicle.
Related Read: 30 Fun & Free Things To Do In Cincinnati
3. Kentucky Derby Museum
Map It: 704 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208 | Phone: (502) 637-1111 | Website | Hours: Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: $17 per person | Age Group: All ages welcome
Kentucky is famous for its world-renowned horse race – the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby Museum preserves the history of the Kentucky Derby and is right next door to Churchill Downs.
The two-story building displays interactive exhibits that share the Derby’s long history. The museum showcases artifacts from past Derby champions.
Museum admission includes access to the Churchill Downs Historic Tour. You’ll get to walk through the property and go down by the track.
What you need to know: You must reserve your tour time online prior to your visit.
4. Locked In: The Louisville Escape Game
Map It: 521 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202 | Phone: (502) 526-5311 | Website | Hours: Wednesday – Thursday 4 – 11 p.m., Friday 2:30 p.m. – 12:30 p.m., Saturday 11:30 – 12:30 a.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. | Admission Fee:$25 per person | Age Group: Recommended 7+
Locked In: The Louisville Escape Game is ranked as one of the top five escape rooms in America by USA Today. Take your family on a challenging real-life adventure.
You’ll have to work as a team to escape the room you choose in 60 minutes or less. There are five different themed rooms to choose from – the warehouse, classroom, battleship, laboratory, and museum.
Which room will your family choose?
What you need to know: Save 5% on your Escape Room experience when you book online.
Related Read: 25 Top Treehouse Rentals in Kentucky
5. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
Map It: 800 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 | Phone: (877) 775-8443 | Website | Hours: Daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $18 and children 6-12 $11| Age Group: All ages welcome, 3+ recommended
Baseball is the center of America’s pastime, and Louisville is no exception. The Louisville Slugger Museum will entertain sports lovers, both young and old.
A factory tour includes a walk through the production line for the famous slugger bats. Afterward, step into the Bat Vault to see more than 3,000 bats used by some of America’s greatest players, like Babe Ruth.
What you need to know: Due to high demand, purchasing your admission tickets online in advance is strongly recommended.
6. Belle of Louisville Riverboats
Map It: 401 W River Rd, Louisville, KY 40202 | Phone: (502) 574-2992 | Website | Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Admission Fee: | Age Group: All ages welcome
The Ohio River is beautiful and features many of Louisville and Jefferson’s historic sights. Exploring Louisville’s natural beauty is possible with a ride on one of the Belle of Louisville’s riverboats.
The kids will be impressed with the steamboat’s magnificence. Not only are the cruises entertaining, but they are also educational. A guide will point out important sites and tell you stories about the city along the way.
What you need to know: Parking is available at 131 W. River Road in the Parc Wharf Lot. To pre-pay for parking, click here.
Related Read: 10 Best Waterfalls near Louisville, KY
7. The Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind
Map It: 1839 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 | Phone: (502) 895-2405 | Website | Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Admission Fee: Free | Age Group: All ages welcome, 5+ recommended
Try something different by taking your family to the American Printing House Museum. You and your family can learn about the challenges that blind people face and how they work to overcome those obstacles.
This museum is one-of-a-kind as visitors experience the exhibits using all senses except sight. The galleries include discovery-based displays, braille production, writing and educational aides, and more.
What you need to know: Drop-in guided tours are available twice daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
8. Cherokee Park
Cherokee Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities. It’s the perfect spot for outdoor lovers to enjoy Louisville’s natural beauty.
Take a stroll on the park’s famous scenic loop. The 2.4-mile trail winds through rolling hills, open meadows, and woodlands.
Attractions include Frisbee Hill, Big Rock picnic area, and Nettleroth Bird Sanctuary. Your family can enjoy hiking, tennis, fishing, biking, archery, and more.
What you need to know: Check out the park’s map online to locate the available attractions.
9. Louisville Water Tower Park & WaterWorks Museum
Map It: 3005 River Rd., Louisville, KY 40207 | Phone: (502) 897-1481 | Website | Hours: Currently under renovation | Admission Fee: N/A | Age Group: All ages welcome
There are some neat scientific inventions and engineering marvels at the Louisville Water Tower Park. Bring your kids to see giant pieces of water mains that are over 150 years old. They can also study a cross-section of a fire hydrant and a 100-foot-tall steam pump.
A visit to the park includes access to the WaterWorks Museum and a tour of Pumping Station No. 3. The Museum highlights Louisville’s water history through memorabilia, films, photos, and more.
What you need to know: The Museum is currently undergoing major renovations and will open in early 2023.
10. Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center is located on museum row in Louisville. It’s a must-see even if you’ve never seen a boxing match before.
The Center remembers the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali and strives to encourage up-and-coming generations to chase their dreams. The Center includes videos, artifacts, and exhibits to teach visitor’s the history of Ali’s life.
There are 18 permanent exhibits to check out, and the Center continuously rotates temporary exhibitions. Muhammad Ali’s resting place is nearby in the Cave Hill Cemetery if you wish to pay your respect to one of America’s greats.
What you need to know: Tickets for special programs and events can be pre-purchased online.
11. Malibu Jack’s
Map It: 1915 S Hurstbourne Pkwy, Louisville, KY 40220 | Phone: (502) 883-0380 | Website | Hours: Monday – Thursday 12 – 9 p.m. and Friday – Sunday 12 – 10 p.m. | Admission Fee: Pay per activity | Age Group: All ages welcome
If you’re looking for a fun indoor activity that will keep the kids entertained for hours, you must visit Malibu Jack’s. This amusement center is located inside of Town Fair Center shopping mall.
This indoor theme park has a mini-golf course, a bowling alley, go-karts, laser tag, and a 4D theater. Its ride attractions include bumper cars, a spinning roller coaster, tilt-a-whirl, and more.
What you need to know: Some attractions and rides do have height restrictions, which are listed on the website.
12. E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park
E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park is located in Louisville’s Frey Hill area, where Central State Hospital used to be. If you’re looking for a fun place to spend the day with your family, the Park offers activities for visitors of all ages.
The Park contains the largest swimming pool in the city, and is open during the summer months. It also features Louisville’s only outdoor public archery range.
What you need to know: To access the pool and splash pad, adults must pay $8 and children, ages 3-12, are $6.
13. Kentucky Kingdom & Hurricane Bay
Get ready for some quality family fun at Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Park. The theme park also connects to Hurricane Bay Water Park, which is open seasonally during the warm weather months.
The Kentucky Kingdom sits on 63 acres and has over 70 rides and attractions. From high-speed coasters to smaller, kid-friendly rides, there is something for every in the family to enjoy.
Hurricane Bay is the best spot to cool off if you visit Louisville during the summer. There are several large slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river.
What you need to know: Download a park map here to help you plan your visit.
14. Beckley Creek Park
Beckley Creek Park is one of the best free attractions in Louisville. This recreational Park is a part of the Floyds Fork system and sits in the heart of downtown Louisville.
The Park boasts nature trails, community gardens, playgrounds, fishing lakes, and more. A farmer’s market is held every weekend. Buy some locally grown produce and enjoy a picni together.
What you need to know: Download a map of the park online to help plan your activities.
15. Kentucky State Fairgrounds
Map It: 937 Phillips Ln, Louisville, KY 40209 | Phone: (502) 367-5000 | Website | Hours: Sunday – Friday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Admission Fee: Varies | Age Group: All ages welcome
The Kentucky State Fairgrounds hosts numerous events throughout the year, like rodeos, free concerts, and craft fairs. One of its most significant events is the Kentucky State Fair, which takes place every August.
The Fair features dozens of carnival style rides and games, from the carousel and Ferris wheel to ring toss and darts. Vendors sell delicious food and freshly squeezed lemonade. There’s something fun for the whole family here.
What you need to know: Check the Fairground’s website for the announcement of event dates.
16. Louisville Mega Cavern
Most people don’t know that Louisville is home to one of the largest caverns in the world. Built from a limestone quarry, the Cavern is over 100 acres long.
Louisville Mega Cavern offers the world’s only underground zip-line course. You’ll be guided through the artificial Cavern and explore its spaces by zip line. The course features six zip lines and two challenge bridges.
You can also explore the caverns by riding Mega Tram or on a walking tour. You must be 7 years old to participate in the zip line and the walking tour. The Mega Tram is the only attraction that allows children under 7 to participate.
What you need to know: Complete the online waiver prior to your visit to save time.
17. Joe Huber’s Family Farm & Restaurant
Map It: 2421 Engle Rd., Starlight, IN 47106 | Phone: (812) 923-5255 | Website | Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Admission Fee: Free | Age Group: All ages welcome
Joe Huber’s Family Farm & Restaurant is just a skip, hop, and jump from Louisville once you cross the Ohio River. It’s worth the drive if you want to feel the true spirit of Louisville.
The Huber family has lived on the farm since 1843 and openly welcomes guests to their land and restaurant. You can count on learning the farm’s history and can pick fruits and vegetables while you’re there.
What you need to know: Weekdays are the least crowded times to visit.
18. Flame Run
Flame Run is a unique art gallery and glass studio. They offer public glassblowing demonstrations, and allow visitors to tour the studios.
Your teens will enjoy browsing the glass art gallery and seeing the beautiful items that can be made from glassblowing.
The studio also offers glassblowing classes and workshops for beginners. It’s a fun experience if your family is interested in learning the art.
What you need to know: Classes and workshops cost an additional fee and you must reserve your spot in advance.
19. Blackacre State Nature Preserve and Historic Homestead
Map It: 3200 Tucker Station Rd, Louisville, KY 40299 | Phone: (502) 266-9802 | Website | Hours: Daily 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Admission Fee: $5 per person and children 5 and under are free | Age Group: All ages welcome
The Blackacre State Nature Preserve is a 270-acre nature preserve nearby Jeffersontown. It’s a great place to experience Louisville’s country charm. You can tour the historic homestead and barn, and gardens.
The preserve hosts learning programs for children of all ages. The Park offers great educational opportunities, from learning about nature through crafts to identifying different animals and plants on hikes
What you need to know: Check the calendar for special programs and house tour events.
20. Vernon Lanes
Map It: 1575 Story Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 | Phone: (502) 357-2382 | Website | Hours: Monday – Thursday 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. and Friday – Sunday 12 p.m. – 2 a.m. | Admission Fee: $15 per person | Age Group: All ages welcome
Step back into the 80s at Vernon Lanes in Louisville’s Butchertown. Bring the family to bowl on one of the eight wooden lanes that have been fully restored to their original condition.
This vintage bowling alley features a full-service restaurant. Grab a delicious appetizer like the sloppy joe wontons or enjoy one of their famous flatbreads.
What you need to know: You can place your dinner order online to have the food ready when you arrive.
21. Art Eatables
Louisville is known for its bourbon. And Art Eatables is known for its artisan chocolates, some of which are made with bourbon.
A husband and wife own the shop, located in Louisville’s trendy SoFo neighborhood. The handmade chocolates are some of the best in the state. Each tray of chocolates includes a plaque that tells what bourbon was used to make it.
What you need to know: Art Eatables is a completely nut free facility, which will come as a relief for families with nut allergies.
22. Thomas Edison House
Map It: 729 E Washington St, Louisville, KY 40202 | Phone: (502) 585-5247 | Website | Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $5 and children over 6 $3 | Age Group: All ages welcome
The Thomas Edison House is located in historic Butchertown. Thomas Edison lived in this neighborhood during the years he worked in Louisville. Kids can experience history in action with a visit here.
Visitors can see where Edison lived and worked. The house includes artifacts like cylinder and disc phonographs, Edison’s Business Phonograph, and the Edison Kinetoscope.
What you need to know: Guided tours take place on Tuesdays – Thursdays.
23. Louisville Palace Theater
Map It: 625 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202 | Phone: (502) 583-4555 | Website | Hours: Varies | Admission Fee:Varies | Age Group: Depends on showing
Families can tour the Louisville Palace Theater to see its beautiful Spanish Baroque architecture and its calming interior atmosphere. This live performance and music venue hosts concerts and plays.
It features many events throughout the year, suitable for adults and children. Check the online calendar for upcoming shows.
If there is an event your family is interested in, don’t miss the opportunity to experience all this theater has to offer.
What you need to know: Events can sell out quickly. Book your tickets online to secure your family’s spot.
24. Farmington Historic Plantation
Map It: 3033 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40205 | Phone: (502) 452-9920 | Website | Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $10 and students of any age $5 | Age Group: All ages welcome
Farmington is a 14-room Federal-style plantation that was the center of 19th-century hemp production. Bring the family to tour the plantation home that Thomas Jefferson designed. The home features all the original furnishings, historic wallpaper, and decorations.
You can also walk about the grounds that span 18 acres. There is a beautiful early 19th-century garden, a barn, springhouse, cook’s quarters and kitchen, carriage house, and blacksmith shop.
What you need to know: Book your tour spot online.
25. The Speed Art Museum
Map It: 2035 S 3rd St, Louisville, KY 40208 | Phone: (502) 634-2700 | Website | Hours: Friday 1 – 8 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $15 and children 4-17 $10 | Age Group: All ages welcome
The Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum. Visitors are invited to experience the power of art through a collection that spans 6,000 years of history.
You’ll want to make sure you stop in the Art Sparks interactive space, which allows families to connect. You can also check out art films in the cinema, special workshops and programs that cater to children.
What you need to know: Check out the Museum’s calendar for current special events and workshops.
26. Conrad Caldwell House Museum
Map It: 1402 St James Ct, Louisville, KY 40208 | Phone: (502) 636-5023 | Website | Hours: Thursday – Sunday 12 – 4 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $15 and children 0-17 $11 | Age Group: All ages welcome, 8+ recommended
Take your family to see the only historic castle in Kentucky – the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum. It’s Louisville’s #1 Victorian House Museum that is the best example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture.
Your kids will feel like they have stepped back in time into a fairytale. The “Conrad Castle” features stone gargoyles, elaborate archways, and rooms full of period pieces.
Besides tours, the Museum holds special programs, lectures, and “Story Time at the Castle” for young children. Check the website calendar for Story Time dates. It is a free event for children under 12.
What you need to know: Guided tours take place daily at 3 p.m.
27. Frazier History Museum
Map It: 829 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 | Phone: (502) 753-5663 | Website | Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $14 and children 5-17 $10 | Age Group: All ages welcome
Frazier History Museum is located on Museum Row, like many other famous museums in Louisville. The Frazier documents Kentucky’s history through artifact displays, gallery lectures, and live performances.
The Museum opened in 2004 and has historical arms and armor collection. You can see the largest collection of toy soldiers and historic miniatures here.
What you need to know: The best time to visit is in the mornings at opening to avoid the afternoon crowds.
28. Full Throttle Adrenaline Park
Map It: 2520 Ampere Dr, Louisville, KY 40299 | Phone: (502) 297-9899 | Website | Hours: Sunday – Thursday 12 – 10 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. | Admission Fee: $55 per person | Age Group: 7+
If you have children who are 7 years and older, you won’t want to miss out on the exciting thrills at Full Throttle Adrenaline Park. It features a massive indoor go-kart track, so even if it’s a rainy day, you can still ride.
Other attractions include mini bikes, arcade games, ax throwing, and a Rage Room. The Rage Room gives your teens the opportunity to get all of their anger out. Smash and destroy everything in the room without getting in trouble.
What you need to know: Find age and height restrictions for each attraction online.
29. The Comfy Cow
Louisville is home to several fantastic local ice cream parlors, but the Comfy Cow is rated #1. Their most popular flavor is Bourbon Ball.
There are several more bourbon and Kentucky-themed flavors that you’ll want to sample. Comfy Cow ice cream is in such demand that you can buy pints at the Louisville Airport. And you can even have them shipped to you across the country.
What you need to know: There are several locations throughout Louisville, so you shouldn’t have too much of a wait when you visit.
30. The Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Louisville doesn’t have many haunted places to explore. But if you and your older children are into such attractions, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium will give you the creepy experience you’re looking for.
The Sanatorium opened in 1910 to house and care for tuberculosis patients. After new medicines emerged in the 1960s, the Sanatorium closed since there was no need for it anymore.
The abandoned hospital is now a hub for paranormal activity. Three types of tours are offered, and a haunted house is set up in October.
What you need to know: Guided tours last for two hours. You’ll have eight hours to explore on private and public guided tours.