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LOCAL


Get on the Fast Track
For Fun in Kentucky


Churchill Downs---On the first Saturday in May, this renowned race track becomes the center of attention as the world's fastest thoroughbreds Run for the Roses in the Kentucky Derby. The "Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" attracts bettors and those who want to sip a mint julep while modeling a hat that would stand out in any crowd. Louisville makes the most of those two minutes by partying through a two-week festival leading up to the big day. There's plenty of action other times of the year with live racing in the spring and fall. Watching a race is fine, but do you think you have what it takes to be a jockey? Saddle up on a simulated horse at the Kentucky Derby Museum on the front steps of Churchill Downs. You can also try to call the race like an announcer in a soundproof booth. After you're done viewing the museum exhibits, sign up for a tour of the facility and barns for a chance to see horses in the flesh. 

Big Bone Lick--A herd of bison still roams this land, which is best known for the remains of the giant animals that gathered to take advantage of the minerals and water found in the swamps that once covered it. Bison, both the ancient and modern variety, primitive horses, giant mammoths and mastodons, the enormous stag-moose, and the ground sloth once frequented Big Bone Lick. Unfortunately, the soil couldn't support the weight of the massive creatures and they sank. Today there is an indoor-outdoor museum with collections of bones and a video presentation on the history of Big Bone Lick. On the grounds are life-size replicas of mastodons and bison. Among the events at the park is the Salt Festival each October that features salt-making demonstrations.

Louisville---Yes, the famous track is what many people think of first, but there's much more to this city on the Ohio River. Fittingly, the University of Louisville basketball teams play at the KFC Yum! Center, which also hosts concerts, shows, conventions and sporting events. The world's biggest baseball bat, weighing in at 68,000 pounds, is outside the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, open for tours. Fourth Street Live! in historic downtown draws crowds for entertainment, shopping and dining. The lovely Louisville Waterfront Park is an 85-acre venue for concerts, picnics, splashing in the waterplay area and strolling along the promenade. Cruise the river on the Belle of Louisville, an historic steamboat. More than 35 miles of trails await hikers in the Jefferson Memorial Forest, the largest municipal forest in the country. And get in the spirit of the liquor Kentucky is known for by visiting the bourbon distilleries and bars.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky--The two states pair up to form a sensational metropolitan area overflowing with world-class attractions and activities. An incredible variety of species will amaze at the Cincinnati Zoo and the Newport Aquarium. A colorful pedestrian bridge, the Purple People Bridge, links the states, from Cincinnati to the shopping/entertainment center of Newport on the Levee. Sports fans can watch the Reds play ball at the Great American Ball Park and root on the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Coney Island (the one in Ohio, not New York) and Kings Island amusement parks twist, turn and thrill visitors with gravity-defying rides.


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