Two posts ago, I talked about the museums that you should check out when you are in the historic downtown area of Louisville. You can go here to read about the city’s downtown museums. Even though you will want to head downtown to check out the museums there, there are a few museums located outside of downtown that are just as worthy of your time for things to do in Louisville, Kentucky. I will cover them in this post.
Kentucky Derby Museum
Louisville is renowned for being the host to the famous horse race known as the Kentucky Derby which normally takes place on the first Saturday of May annually. So, fans of horse racing will want to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum. It is located on Central Avenue near Interstate 264 in Louisville’s southern section.
It is actually located onsite at the iconic Churchill Downs venue which is where the Kentucky Derby takes place. The museum contains a unique 360 degree theater that displays the film called The Greatest Race. This 18-minute long movie, which is displayed in 4k using the highest quality laser projection available, immerses you into a special behind the scenes look into the Kentucky Derby.
The museum houses two floors filled with Kentucky Derby-related exhibits. There are currently 21 exhibits for you to explore. You will have the opportunity to experience every step of a racing horse’s life from its birth to its appearance at the Kentucky Derby.
You will learn about the history of the Kentucky Derby stretching all the way back to 1875, when it first started, as well as what makes the famous horse race special. One interesting thing you will hear about at the museum is the roles that African-Americans had played in the horse racing industry. In addition to numerous exhibits, the museum also offer guided tours of Churchill Downs.
There are different types of Churchill Downs guided tours to choose from. One fun tour you will want to consider is the Racehorse Workout Tours. This is the tour where you can observe the horses undergoing training exercises in preparation for their races, including running around on the racetrack. You will learn the ins and outs of training during this tour.
This tour is sold separately for $15 per person. You can go here to get your tickets for this tour. The general admission fees for the Kentucky Derby Museum are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $10 for children aged from 5 to 14. Those who are aged under 5 will get free admission. It is worth noting that a free Churchill Downs guided tour, Historic Walking Tour, is included with general admission tickets.
You can buy the tickets by going here. There is also an onsite restaurant called Derby Cafe Express. For those of you looking for souvenirs, a gift shop is located onsite.
Located between downtown Louisville and the University of Louisville is a historic district called Old Louisville. This historic district is renowned for its breathtaking Victorian-era architecture. One place you will want to visit in Old Louisville is the Conrad-Caldwell House. It is a gorgeous house that serves as a museum. It is nicknamed Conrad’s Castle because it is designed to resemble a castle.
The house is built of Indiana limestone in the Richardsonian-Romanesque architectural style. The exterior of the house is beautified with gargoyles, archways, and elaborate stone designs. Indoors, the house is known for its beautiful woodwork and parquet floors. The house was built in 1895. It was owned and occupied by Theophile Conrad and his family.
Theophile was among the wealthiest residents in Louisville at that time. He was a prominent tanning businessman who built and owned the Conrad, Fabel, and Mooney Tannery in Louisville. He lived in the house until his death in 1905. In 1908, the house was sold to another wealthy Louisville businessman, William E. Caldwell, who had interests in water tanks through his company, W.E. Caldwell Company.
William then lived at the house with his family until 1938 when he died. As a result, the house is called the Conrad-Caldwell House for these two wealthy Louisville families that lived there. Today, the house houses a massive collection of period-specific items that demonstrate the lavish lifestyle of the two prominent Louisville businessmen and their families.
When you visit the house, you can learn about the two families that lived there, what the neighborhood was like during their days, and the era overall. The fees for visiting the Conrad-Caldwell House are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for students. You can head here to buy your passes.
Speed Art Museum
The Speed Art Museum is located on South Third Street right next to the University of Louisville campus. It is halfway between the Kentucky Derby Museum and the Conrad-Caldwell House. The Speed Art Museum is the largest art museum in Kentucky. So, art enthusiasts won’t want to miss this museum.
The museum is known for its prominent display of paintings and sculptures, especially from European and American artists. Artwork in the African, ancient, Native American, modernism, and contemporary art categories are also housed at the museum for you to check out.
There are currently seven exhibits available at the museum such as The World Turned Upside Down, Kentucky Women: Enid Yandell, and Andy Warhol: Revelation. The admission prices for the Speed Art Museum are $20 for adults and $14 for seniors, military personnel, and children aged 4 to 17.
Admission is free for those aged under 4. Also, if you get hungry during your time at the museum, you can head to Wiltshire At The Speed which is the museum’s onsite restaurant.
These are the museums outside of downtown that you will want to visit for things to do in Louisville, Kentucky. They are generally located between downtown Louisville and Muhammad Ali International Airport. Also, if you want to see the lovely Kentucky countryside, I would suggest you visit this post from a couple weeks ago for a few suggestions on the horse farms that you should visit.
Should you need a place to stay overnight at during your time in Louisville, I am here to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.
Hampton Inn Louisville Airport
This hotel is located on Phillips Lane just across Interstate 264 from the city’s airport. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few dining options nearby include Blue Horse Restaurant, Book & Bourbon Southern Kitchen, and Chili’s. There is an outdoor swimming pool and fitness center available for you to use at the hotel.
All of the hotel rooms come with WiFi, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $98 to $240. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.
Comfort Suites Airport
This hotel is located on Paramount Park Drive at the interchange of Interstate 65 and Kentucky Route 1747 at the southeastern corner of Muhammad Ali International Airport. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. A few nearby restaurant to dine at include Outback Steakhouse, El Nopal, and Frisch’s Big Boy. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.
There is also a fitness center for your workout needs at the hotel. All of the suites at the hotel come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $93 to $181. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.
What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these non-downtown museums in Louisville before? Feel free to leave a comment below.