The Louisville Equestrian Center is the realization of a childhood dream for owner, operator, and adept horsewoman Betsy Webb. Now found in the familiar confines of the Red Barn Arena, the center is home to a team of dedicated staff members and instructors. Nestled less than 20 minutes from Louisville in the rolling country hills between Taylorsville and Mt. Washington, the arena provides a picturesque setting for private and group lessons for all ages and experience levels. During these sessions, trainers illuminate horse-handling and riding fundamentals with the help of the center's stable of horses. Camps and clinics engage equestrian youngsters aged 4 and older, and pony parties entertain kids with experiences more rewarding and memorable than trying to ride a pile of My Little Pony action figures.
As RHC Riding Academy’s head trainer, Erin Reid shares a passion for horses that began when her family founded RHC in 1985. A devotee to all things equine since age 5, Erin quickly caught onto the finer points of riding and has instructed students for the past 19 years. Barn manager Debra Reid, who discovered her life’s passion while growing up in Kentucky, managed 70 horses at a breeding facility in Southern California and unites her experience with Erin's. Together they oversee nine horses, several of which are Arabians—prized for their distinctive beauty and superior intellects.
Students come to the facility from all backgrounds to learn proper saddling and riding techniques. Erin supplements her technical training with lessons in horse psychology, helping students bond with steeds or to get them to open up about complex relationships with their mothers. Horses in need of discipline or a hay-filled couch on which to crash can be boarded and trained at the facility, which boasts box stalls, an indoor riding arena, and a large outdoor arena.
Occupying the former gardens of late nursery and landscape leader Theodore Klein, Yew Dell Botanical Gardens displays graceful garden arrangements and lush foliage while striving to improve the botanical world through research and community-education programs. The Silver Cloud family membership gives you—and family members residing at the same address—free year-long access to the sprawling grounds and their leafy residents that welcome visitors with the friendly stoicism of a granite butler. Espy new varietals of ornamental plants, the hortichildren of Yew Dell's plant development program, wander through the alternately arborial and floral gardens, and practice your standup comedy on the dogwoods, sugar maples, and other plants that flourish throughout the property.
The Game Room’s 5,000-square-foot facility boasts 30 50-inch TVs, body-enveloping furniture, and enough pixilated thumb-candy to keep fingers on their toes. An all-day pass grants button-massagers access to Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Atari, and Nintendo systems—as well as chips and a drink to generate the brain power needed to wage computerized warfare. Stealthily stalk a buddy through the streets of Renaissance Italy in Assassin’s Creed II on the Xbox 360 or pit Peach against Donkey Kong against Teddy Roosevelt during Super Smash Bros. on the Wii. If none of The Game Room’s hundreds of games dragon-punch your fancy, bring along a game of your own, such as Capcom’s violent shoot ’em up adaptation of The Sound of Music. You can also pre-order the latest releases for 10% off. Though not included with today's Groupon, $1 pool games and 25¢ stand-up arcade games are also available; alternately, the Gamebulance will bring the fun right to your party.
As dawn breaks over the campsite, soldiers begin stirring in their tents. Some tend to breakfasts over campfires while others see to the artillery. It's a scene straight from a Revolutionary War encampment?and that's exactly the way the reenactors intended it. Each year, roughly 275 of them flock to Locust Grove to camp out for two days, each of which ends with an artfully staged mock battle.
But when visitors come to the 18th Century Market Fair, they won't just find battle awaiting them. Top-notch craftsmen and artisans also roam the grounds, hawking replicas of 18th-century military and household items. "It's all very reminiscent of the type of market days they would have had during this time period," says Locust Grove's program director, Mary Beth Williams. Cooks dish up stews, pies, and cornbread alongside wine, ales, and apple cider. Nearby, families and historical buffs alike cheer on jugglers, watch as women prepare meals in the colonial kitchen, and listen to live music. And it's not just adults and time travelers creating the historical scene. "There's a lot of re-enactors of all ages," Mary Beth says. "I think it's particularly fun for kids to see other kids running around in period costume."
The fair's grounds lend to the historical accuracy. William and Lucy Clark Croghan built Locust Grove in 1790, on 55 acres of rolling land. To this day, their original Federal-style house remains, with its separate kitchen, icehouse, spring house, and barn. Over the years, Locust Grove was inhabited by Revolutionary War commander George Rogers Clark and served as a stopping point for Lewis and Clark as they walked across America as part of an early Nike ad campaign.
In 1909, a group of local art enthusiasts banded together to foster a community appreciation for art and further the practice of creating art. More than three decades later, they moved from their home at the old Water Tower, and now fill their new space with workshops, classes, and exhibits. Louisville Visual Art Association remains dedicated to promoting local artists, artistic styles, and contemporary culture.
A team of instructors instills painting and sculpting skills in children of all ages with the Children's Fine Art Classes program, which lets kids hone their understanding of color and technique during nearly 40 classes and camps. They also teach adult art classes, and help economically and socially disadvantaged students exhibit their artwork through Open Doors. Six to eight annual exhibitions often showcase work from these programs, but may also display fabric and knit pieces from local artists, or house events such as custom plates, cups, and utensils fashioned by 16 national ceramics artists to recreate Salvador Dali’s themed dinner parties. Each year, staff also fill two galleries with up to 800 works from its children’s programs, and celebrate local restaurants and music at the annual Bacon Ball.