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The Louisville Metro area offers new destinations for regional locals

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By Brad Bowman

A trip to the Louisville metropolitan area doesn’t always cross many locals’ minds, but a continuing revitalization of the area may change your mind.

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In this week’s one tank trip, I looked for a mix of family friendly destinations and those couples could enjoy.

Travelers can reach downtown’s West Main Street in less than hour on the weekend. Unless an event clogs up the Third Street exit, you can find accessible parking at street level and save parking money for something more enjoyable.

Drivers can easily find a parking space on the left side of Main Street just one block before 800 West Main Street; within walking ease of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory and the Kentucky Science Center at 727 West Main Street.

If you think the ‘Slugger’ museum is just for serious baseball fans and is a bat factory, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

The Slugger Museum gives visitors a trip into the history of baseball with rotating interactive exhibits, baseball memorabilia and even a chance to take a few swings.

The little leaguers in your family will enjoy the Big Leagues, Little Bricks Lego exhibit. Artist Sean Kenney’s Lego sculptures of Wrigley Field, Joey Votto and Buster Posey can easily delight the imaginations of young and old. Tim Kaebisch’s replica of Milwaukee’s Miller Park and Jason Burik’s Yankee Stadium shouldn’t be excluded, but for young visitors being able to play with Legos at the exhibit may interest them most.

Visitors can get into a batting cage with a pro helmet and batting gloves to show off their batting skills or visit the museum’s exhibit that shows from the batter’s box what a 90 mph fastball looks like as it travels toward your face.

“The critical information we get from trip advisor and travel log services is to hear that most of our visitors are not huge baseball fans,” said Anne Jewell, Executive Director of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. “Our success and appeal is not just for baseball fans. Since baseball is such a part of our history and culture, visitors connect to that when they come here and experience our exhibits.”

Among the interactive exhibits, the museum displays iconic Louisville Slugger and baseball relics that educate and entertain sport and history fans.

Babe Ruth’s actual 1927 Louisville Slugger bat rests in a case near the front the museum. Ruth carved a notch in the bat for every homerun he hit in 1927. Ruth hit 60 homeruns in 154 games in the 1927 season setting a record that Roger Maris would finally beat in 1961 with 61 homeruns in 163 games. The 21-homerun notches circle the Louisville Slugger’s trademark oval face. The factory made the bat from hickory and display Ruth’s order for the bat from May 14, 1927, in a daily ledger that the factory speculates belongs to the bat.

“We try to rotate special exhibits and make them interesting enough that people will want to come back and give them reasons to come back,” Jewell said. “During the holiday season we will partner with the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta with Coca-Cola artifacts and baseball. We don’t take it for granted for the local support we have gotten and include Henry County in that. Our attendance numbers hit 250,000 and a lot of that is the local area. We really appreciate that people are proud of this heritage.”

 

Across the bridge

Southern Indiana gets traffic for casinos, but a quick 10-minute trip across the bridge to some of its lesser-known attractions have just as big of a pay off for the family or a couple’s night out.

For couples and families, take Interstate 64 to New Albany to the New Albanian Brewing Company at exit 123 toward IN-62 E/New Albany. The Bank Street establishment offers an upscale twist on pub food without the price tag.

The kitchen offers great gourmet appetizers like duck wings in a dark bacon barbecue sauce. If you don’t make it until Sunday try the Bloody Mary bar where patrons can customize their cocktails with horseradish, okra and a wide variety of ingredients to accompany a good brunch dish like the chorizo hash with pickled red onions, russet potatoes and Fiedler Farms chorizo.

The restaurant emphasizes its locavore profile using products from neighboring farms, wineries and spirits distilled in the region. The atmosphere could cater to the formal and casual. They offer staple and specialty brew beers from their brew house.

After lunch, shoot back toward Louisville and stop before crossing the river in Clarksville at the Widows Walk Ice Creamery at 415 East Riverside Drive.

The creamery sits on the side of a Victorian house that faces the Ohio River with a scenic view of downtown Louisville. The creamery offers everything from shakes to sundaes at cheap prices, and offers daily and hourly bike rentals.

Runners, bicyclists and pedestrians populate the riverside walkways while the location remains isolated from heavy car traffic. Visitors can take a quiet afternoon stroll or bike ride without fear of being overcrowded.

 

For more information about the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory visit: www.sluggermuseum.com.

For more information about the New Albanian Brewhouse visit: www.newalbanian.com,

For more information about the Widows Walk Ice Creamery and bike rentals visit: www.widowswalkicecreamery.com.