The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft collects and displays works by the state’s artsy residents and nurtures creative inclinations with art classes for kids and adults. A family membership grants free access to the museum's permanent collection, which holds works by such Kentucky artists as Marvin Finn and Rebekka Seigel. Members can also attend openings of special exhibits, such as the upcoming Big Idea : small package challenge, which dared and, in some cases, double-dared local artisans to craft a tiny piece of art no larger than one cubit cubed. At a discounted rate, budding Botticellis can enroll in creativity-sparking classes such as textiles and origami courses as well as children’s summer camps and special-needs classes for adults on bookmaking and watercolor painting. A 10% discount in the gallery store, meanwhile, lets members support local artists and acquire conversation-provoking pieces with which to adorn coffee tables, mantles, and inflatable sideboards.
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.
Amid the hustle and bustle of the city, Louisville Nature Center offers a tranquil escape from urban sprawl. At its 41-acre Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve, more than 2 miles of hiking trails wind past a verdant forest populated by 180 species of tree, shrub, and wildflower. The latter blooms in a native pond and garden, and dragonflies and 30 butterfly species in other gardens pay homage to Lord of the Flies by trying to collectively lift a conch. More creatures soar skyward inside one of Louisville's only bird blinds, where visitors can watch 150 species of resident and migratory birds fluttering about.
After exploring on their own, guests can relax on one the picnic tables or beneath the covered gazebo before joining in on special events such as owl hikes. Youngsters, meanwhile, can discover more nature factoids at summer camps, educational programs, or birthday parties, which include guided hikes and live animal presentations.
A loud whistle sounds off in the distance, signaling the arrival of a steam locomotive. The train pulls past dozens of trees and into the station. It’s just another day at the Kentucky Railway Museum, where new and restored trains take visitors on nostalgic journeys through the New Haven countryside. The area’s scenic landscapes encompass 17 miles of track that meander around scenic Mount Vernon. The stationary exhibit hall—a replica of the original New Haven depot—houses a collection of railroad artifacts and memorabilia ranging from rail carts and dining cars to steam whistles and the discarded mustaches of malevolent railroad barons.
At Eagle Aviation's Cessna Pilot Center, potential pilots get the rare chance to learn the fundamentals of flying in a secure, well-maintained Cessna aircraft. The training begins with a pre-takeoff briefing on flight protocols and a thorough inspection of the plane. Aspiring aviators and an FAA-certified instructor then lift off in an up-to-date Cessna 172SP for some soaring, basic maneuvering, and taking in sweeping views of Lexington County from 3,500 feet. The entire experience from engine startup to shutdown is approximately 30 minutes long. After the student helps land and taxi the aircraft, a postflight briefing addresses questions and reviews lessons learned throughout the celestial jaunt. Each flight allows room for a friend to share the thrill and corroborate Pegasus sightings.
Breitenstein Frame Shoppe offers a large selection of pre-framed art, gifts, and custom framing options in its cozy gallery. The walls are gracefully plastered with framed photos and paintings, and a long display of multicolored frame options lurks just behind the shop’s counter. With extensive experience framing everything from broken boat oars to whole boat oars, framing experts Carl and Kathleen Breitenstein can custom frame almost anything, including boat oars, be they broken or whole. Framing prices can range from as little as $40 to around $200; however, a 16"x20" frame will typically cost about $80 without a mat and about $100 matted. Customers can also choose to direct their Groupon’s value toward the shop’s stock of limited edition prints, contemporary photos, or sinus-soothing Candleberry candles.