The night of Wednesday the 31 of June, we stayed at the Springhill Suites By Marriott in Louisville (10101 Forest Green Blvd). The hotel was nice, of course, being it was a Marriott. We got a 2-queen bed suite and it was very nice. Only qualm we had was once the sofa bed was pulled open, no one could get around it. That means to get out the door, we had to literally climb over the bed. Same deal with getting to the fridge, or computer table. Was a bit awkward and annoying but was 1000x better than last night: Everyone got to sleep on comfy beds, it was clean , smelled nice, and had free breakfast (a REAL breakfast). Their breakfast buffet is the same one you find at just about any Marriott chain with eggs, breakfast meats, cereals, yogurts, breads, fruit, and the like. We all filled up our bellies and then we’re on our way for a new day of adventures!
Our first stop was a much anticipated one – the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory (800 W Main St, Louisville, KY). Not only is it a museum and have a factory tour but it houses the world’s largest baseball bat. Stick world’s largest in front of something, and you got my intrigued on that alone. Anyway, with my baseball nut of a hubby and kids who love tours, this was one of the main things we planned to do. It does cost to do the museum and tour though. While Owen was still free (thank goodness for still being 5), the rest of us cost $34 dollars total but I knew this in advanced and it was budgeted.
Along Main Street are home plates & a bat for the Walk of Fame. We stopped to take pictures by the Yankees ones. Then we arrive out front where the enormous bat is. It weighs about 68,000 pounds, has a hollow interior that can hold 30,000 gallons, is constructed of carbon steel, is 120 ft. long and 9 ft. diameter at the base; 3 ft. 6 in. diameter at the handle with a 6 ft. 6 in. diameter knob. Wildest thing? It’s only attached at the base! It looks like it is leaning on the building next to it, but it isn’t! They joke that if a tornado were to hit, they’d be in serious trouble. Agreed.
We went inside, got our tickets and our tour time at 10:00 and had about a half an hour before the tour started to explore the museum. It was nice. It had the history of bats of course focusing on Louisville Slugger brand itself. There is an area with 6 authentic, game used bats by 6 famous baseball players. My Yankees fanatical family of course had an easy decision to make: Tom held Mickey Mantle’s bat and HT held Derek Jeter’s. You walk into the area, alone, and the man asks which bat you’d like to hold. He has on white gloves and first hands you a pair of batting gloves. Once you have both gloves on, he hands you the bat with the understanding that you are not allowed to swing the bat – you can look at it and feel it , and pose with it but swinging it is not allowed. So, hubby & HT posed with the bats very proudly. They have replica players you can pose with, they have famous bats like DiMaggio’s, & they have an area where you can see exactly what a 90-mile per hour pitch by Cole Hamels. They even have the bat the Great Bambino, Babe Ruth, carved notches in for every home run he hit with it during his record-setting 60 home run season in 1927!!
we got through most of the museum area before we had to go in for the tour. No pictures allowed of course (sorry). But it was great! They showed how the 1st bat by Louisville Slugger was made – by hand and lathing it. We felt original bats and their weights and learned a lot just at that one station. Then they showed us how they do things now with technology. We saw regular bats being made as well as professional ones which are elite bats. We saw the branding and sanding and dipping and lacquering. It was very informative and held the kids attention well which is surprising for my brood. The tour is inside the actual working factory which is rare these days. On the tour, you were able to take a baseball bat “nub”. The nub is the area on top of the handle that gets cut off to finish the bat but stays on during the process to hold the bat. It’s unfinished but carved. Then at the end of tour, you get a souvenir bat! It’s a nice size but not one can actually use. Definitely make sit worth it (we all now had 2 souvenirs)! Oh, and guess what? Worried about all those trees they use? Well, Louisville actually plants more than they use so they are increasing the tree population, not hurting it (and all trees come from upstate NY 7 PA since they have the best soil for the type of wood they need).
After the tour, we finished the museum, then went looking around. We saw the bat vault where they have over 3,000 bats – one for every person they’ve made a bat for. We didn’t get to tour it, but if you get a chance to, do it! They actually let you handle the bats! Then we went to the batting cages. where one can choose to hit with replica bats of legends like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, plus current stars or batters can use aluminum bats from their latest line. Tom got Mickey’s bat and CT used which aluminum bat fit him best. It was 1 balls for a buck. It was worth it for sure! Then we came out and the movie, The Heart of the Game.”, was about to start. Tom went to see it while I brought the kids into the special exhibition, Big Leagues, Little Bricks. There in addition to being able to build with Lego, there were sculptures, pictures, and models all made from Lego bricks. They had replica stadiums and the best part? They have a replica of Milwaukee’s Miller Park which uses more than utilizes more than 35,000 LEGO bricks and has a retractable roof that actually moves!! Tom met us in the Lego section after the movie which he said was VERY good. I’ll take his word on it.
We then went to the store where we got a cool sign and a bat that had an imperfection but still an authentic bat. It was cool because it’s not completely finished. It’s just beautiful as is. This visit was a grand slam for sure (see what i did there?)!
After all that baseball, kids got hungry so before we went into no-man’s land Kentucky, we stopped at White Castle in Louisville (on Fern Valley Rd) to pick up a crave case and be on our way. We only get White Castle on our road trips as we don’t have them down here in NC and it’s a treat we do once a year (if that often). Get a case and split it half with cheese. Not healthy but so worth every bite!
Our first stop was a little backwards but worked better for our travelling. We went to Hodgenville to see Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood home. It’s a small log cabin (exterior view only) and sits next to a building which is also exterior only and doesn’t have to much information. Behind these buildings is a field with the Lincoln family garden (an example of what was grown and why it was grown). It also has a public restroom which was more of a modern outhouse (think outhouse but instead of a hole to use, it’s a working toilet but not sinks and it’s old skool log cabin so a peeper could easily watch you peeing – icky but when ya gotta go, ya gotta go). We took a few pictures and were on our way to the next Lincoln stop.
This stop was in a more main area in the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park where the actual cabin Lincoln was born is was/is.. We go into the visitor’s center and we started chatting with one of the rangers there. He explained some things about where we were and why we were there. We chatted about Lincoln and I was explaining what great collection LMU had and he had never heard of it. I told him if he like Lincoln, he needed to check it out that he’d be impressed by it. I love talking to locals. He showed us that they have the family Bible – the exact one that Lincoln’s mother read to the family from daily in the boyhood home in Knob’s Creek and in this home. So why’d Lincoln move? Well, his father bought land and built the log cabin. Then someone disputed the claim to the land and after 2 years of battles, Lincoln’s father lost and he had ot move. He then bought the area at Knob;c Creek where we had just come from. The Visitor’s Center only had a few thing there, nothing too major or exciting besides that Bible. The real attraction was the monument. Going up a hill was a monument. Inside this monument is 1 thing and 1 thing only, Lincoln’s Log Cabin. There is nothing on the interior walls, nothing but a velvet rope to keep you from touching it and a guard to protect it. There are 56 steps up the door (which is oddly around the back not where you walk up the steps to). Why 56? 56 steps represent the 56 years Abraham Lincoln lived before he was murdered. Pretty cool.
Our final destination for the night was at My Niece’s house in Berea, KY. We were supposed to spend 2 nights with them but my niece got sick the week before (she was on vacation at WDW) and they had gotten home and she was still sick so we left her another day to let penicillin kick in and for her to rest & recoup). We got to my niece’s around 6pm. Her mother was already home and started making dinner: She made chicken cutlet parm, pasta, and broccoli – YUM! Since niece was just getting over an illness and her grandma was currently sick, we ended up hanging outside after dinner. Niece’s brother, J, is a year older than CT and they all got along swimmingly! Of course a cat walked through the yard and my kids went nuts! They sure missed some kitty lovin’. When it got dark enough, we started a fire in their fire pit & the kids told ghost stories (or what they consider ghost stories). Then the roasted marshmallows. Eventually it was really late & we all went to bed. When we got up, we just quick got ready, said a quick good-bye to my niece, and headed on our way.