Thursday, June 28, 2012

Night at the museum

I know Europeans and other non-Americans believe in taking long vacations.  That is great, if you can do it, but I am also a fan of the mini-vacay...just getting away for a couple of days is often great to experience something new, get a change of scenery, and re-energize.  Without much planning or forethought, we took a short family vacation and spent one night in Louisville, Kentucky.

We were lucky to get a room at the 21c Museum Hotel, since it was a last-minute decision to go.  This hotel was rated by Conde Nast Traveler as the best hotel in the US and 6th best in the world in 2009! Five historic 19th century tobacco and bourbon warehouse buildings were renovated in 2006 to house a contemporary art museum, the hotel, and a restaurant.  There is art everywhere you look in this unique, 90-room boutique hotel - much of it a little strange.  But some of it was humorous, like the red penguins that line the outside of the building and can be found migrating inside to different locations throughout the day.  Originally, they were in Venice as part of an outdoor exhibit before they became a defining element at the 21c.
We were pleasantly surprised by Louisville.  It is a great city with trendy neighborhoods, restaurants, and stores.  One of the things I wanted to do was visit Churchill Downs.  We arrived just in time for the last tour of the day.
It was a quick, but really great experience that makes me think I should add the Kentucky Derby to my Bucket List!  After all, it is the longest continuously running sporting event in the country.  The 2012 Derby was the 138th one.
Grace found the perfect hat for the occasion!
The names of all 138 winners line the walls.
Those in gold were Triple Crown winners. 
Notice this year's winner - I'll Have Another -
on the sign behind them!

 Inside the museum they had displays of some hats from celebrities over the years and jockeys' jackets.  Grace liked a video game where you can ride a horse and race on the track.  There were two bigger boys playing and she got right on the horse in the middle, chose the jockey with the pink jacket, and beat the pants off those boys!  You go, girl!

We are still working on our Summer Fun Jar.  In addition to the four that have already been posted, we have:  made "worms and dirt" dessert (#5), played ballon baseball (#6), visited another new park (#7), and took Daisy to the dog park (#8).  While in Louisville, we also visited the Louisville Slugger factory (which is now #9 on our list - take a factory tour).

You can't miss the factory on Main Street since there is a 120-foot, 68,000 pound baseball bat outside!  Inside we learned how the bats are made and how the professional players choose the perfect bat.  It is pretty amazing that the company makes 1.8 million bats per year (including all the bats sold in retail stores) and is still a private, family-owned company.  Inside, they have a bat vault with a priceless collection of every bat they ever made for a professional player who used a Louisville Slugger.
They also let you hold the actual bats some famous pros used in games - like the Mickey Mantle's bat Kyle is holding here. 
The next day we visited the BEST water park any of us have ever been to.  It is called Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana.  They had the most amazing water slides and everything was accessible for a child that is at least 42 inches tall.   My brave girl tried everything! We don't have any photos of this adventure because we were all just having fun getting soaking wet (but we can count it as #10 on the Summer Fun Jar list)!


aamayna said...

What a fun trip! I am so glad you posted this! AS a HUGE I'll Have Another and Union Rags fan - I would love to see this park! Mayna's trainer has been telling us to take a trip down...glad to hear it is an overall nice place to visit on all accounts (not just horse :). Grace is looking beautiful as always and like such a big girl!!!

cathybcareers said...

I can see Grace in one of those Jockey outfits! Planning well; even for one-two days..makes a huge difference. You did a great job Lynn! I was wondering about the camera at the water park! Next year!

Phyllis said...

My favorite is the photo of you with the hat....I think you looked absolutely beautiful. KY sounds like a great place to visit, maybe Aunt Phyl should put it on her bucket list.

Kellie said...

I love the red penguins. It made me think of Mr. Popper's Penguins! Cute hat Grace!