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.
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.
Built on the more than 40-acre site where Pond Station Asylum allegedly burnt to the ground, Asylum Haunted Scream Park remains haunted by tortured spirits of past patients’ and the lingering presence of cult activity. Additional petrifying figures, such as a chainsaw-wielding menace and a crazed butcher, haunt the woods’ mile-long indoor and outdoor displays at Darkness Falls Asylum, while zombies terrorize a town under military-enforced quarantine at Zombie City: Mutation. In the 9,000-square-foot Xterminate: Zalien Attack arena, hoards of zombie aliens protect their queen against a ragtag group of humans including TNA professional wrestler Al Snow. The Carnivale of Lost Souls treats those that survive Asylum Haunted Scream Park’s three immersive attractions to free sideshow routines from freaky performers such as a fire-eater, a human pincushion, and a child happily eating vegetables.
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.
Nearly three decade ago, New Orleans transplant Sharon Potter became so enamored with her new hometown of Kentucky that she raised 1.2 million dollars to assemble and present her own 4,000-image slideshow, KentuckyShow!, which celebrated the state’s unique beauty, culture, and history. In 2003 Potter was approached by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau about the possibility of updating the visual spectacle and rose to the challenge with the help of seasoned producer Donna Lawrence and graphic designer Julius Friedman. The updated 32-minute documentary now amazes audiences with new high-definition images of the Bluegrass State, as well as narration by Hollywood starlet Ashley Judd and director’s commentary by Kentucky’s state bird, the northern cardinal.
Today, local and out-of-state visitors—enjoying jaw-dropping views of Kentucky’s gorgeous landscape and meeting some of the commonwealth’s most memorable characters from past and present—come to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts to feast their eyes on KentuckyShow!. Renée S. Gordon of the Philadelphia Sun referred to the majestic video tour as “an outstanding overview of the state’s multicultural history.”
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.