Louisville Bucket List for family fun in 2023
Are you ready for family fun in 2023? Our ideas for fun events and activities will get you started with a kid-friendly suggestion for each month.
We have a Louisville bucket list of fun for you!
Don’t forget to Check out our Lessons & Learning page for links to businesses and organizations to foster your child’s interests. And, head to our Summer Camps pages to start planning for summer (fully updated by mid-February).
Get out your energy by ice skating through January. We have found that during the pandemic, ice skating is a nice option. At Iceland, for example, during open skating, it was very spread out when we went. Also, people were very compliant with wearing masks. Check ice skating off your Louisville bucket list in January!
Bundle up and head southwest to Jefferson Memorial Forest! They have wonderful events or you can simply explore on your own. I follow the Wilderness Louisville and JMF Facebook pages to keep tabs on events.
It may be cold, but the bare trees offer a great opportunity to experience nature in a whole new way. When you’re finished, warm up with some coffee or hot chocolate at one of these locally owned coffee shops! If you’re hungry take a short drive down to Colonial Gardens to enjoy one of their yummy restaurants across from Iroquois Park.
This Louisville bucket list idea is something to take advantage of soon! Take advantage of Owsley Sundays at the Speed Art Museum. Thanks to a generous contribution from Brown-Forman, admission to the Speed is FREE on Sundays through 2024. A family of 4, will save up to $40!
The Speed is very family-friendly. Depending on the age of your kids, you can probably get away with viewing a few “grown-up” exhibits before heading to Art Sparks*– an interactive, hands-on area especially popular with children.
Don’t miss the annual St. Parick’s Day Parade that is the Saturday before St. Patty’s day. It starts on Baxter Ave at Broadway and ends at Value Market off Bardstown Rd. The more “kid-friendly” section starts near Bardstown Rd. This is scheduled for March 11, 2023.
One of the biggest events of the year is Thunder Over Louisville. If you have not check this off your Louisville bucket list, get to it! I’m always surprised at how many people travel to Louisville to see it, while so many locals have never attended in person. April 22, 2023
To simplify your first visit (especially with children) consider a ticketed venue, such as Slugger Field or Kentucky Science Center which offer perks such as indoor restrooms, seating, special views and additional entertainment during the day. Local hotels and restaurants offer viewing too, but reservations must be secured well in advance, so don’t delay.
If fireworks aren’t your thing, the Kentucky Derby Festival has many other offerings for your Louisville bucket list. Here are some of our reviews (some occur during the first week of May): Kroger’s Fest-A-Ville and Chow Wagon, Great Steamboat Race, Pegasus Parade.
The Great Steamboat Race is May 3 this year and the boats depart around 5:45-6pm. You can watch from various parks along the river or go to Fest-A-Ville and have fun there, grab dinner from the Chow Wagon and see the boats come and go!
Host a Derby Party at home! We don’t all head to the track on the first Saturday in May but most people want to have some fun on Derby Day. We have ideas to make it great at home with kids, click here.
Visit a local farmer’s market for amazingly delicious seasonal foods. Your family can have breakfast at many of the markets, browse the booths and develop an idea for something to cook together for dinner with all of the fresh ingredients.
Wednesdays during the summer offers Waterfront Wednesday and usually kicks off in May. Not only is this event great for families, but it is also FREE! We hope you can enjoy this as part of your Louisville bucket list this year.
If you have kids 21 and under, you need to get a Louisville Cultural Pass for free fun throughout the summer. We will update info about the Louisville Cultural Pass when it is released from Fund for the Arts (usually late spring). The Cultural Pass will help you check off lots of fun Louisville bucket list items.
For a truly unique experience, visit the Kentucky Highland Renaissance Festival in nearby Eminence, Kentucky. See our review from 2014 here. The festival spans over several weekends from June – July. Each weekend offers a different theme from Vikings to Steampunks. In past years, there has been a special discounted children’s weekend, so check the schedule for an opportunity for savings. The Festival features live shows, fairies, jousting, knights, jesters and more! Last summer, my husband got to participate in two of the shows and our kids had a blast watching him get wet and muddy. (It all washed out, so no worries). This is an outside event so dress appropriately for the weather and make sure you have plenty of space on your phone for photos and videos!
Looking for some old fashion fun on the 4th of July? Look no further than Crescent Hill 4th of July Festival. In the past, not only did you get a free fireworks show, but there is food, FREE INFLATABLES for the Kids, a Pet Contest, children’s field games with prizes, silent auction, music and up to artist booths.
Explore Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve in July. It has family friendly trains, creeks and ponds. And, it has a wonderful playground. There are clean bathrooms and covered picnic areas. It’s a perfect way to spend the day out in nature.
The rest of the month you can splash or dive in and go for a swim. Kentuckiana boasts a wide variety of swimming pools and spraygrounds. Some spraygrounds were able to open during the pandemic, pools were limited as well. Hopefully for 2022, there are more options!
Spend some time with local animals. Blackacre Conservancy is open for farm animal feedings daily (spring – fall) and on Saturday families can enjoy learning about animal care and participate in the actual feeding. Bring plenty of carrots or apples to feed the farm animals along the fence line.
Here are a few other fun places to meet or feed animals:
- Louisville Zoo- For the most animal interaction, take the extra time to visit the lorikeets and Boma African Petting Zoo. You can also feed a giraffe and enjoy a ride on a pony or camel!
- Shelby County- Feed ducks and geese and pet farm animals at Gallrein Farms.
- Horse Cave KY- Visit a wide variety of animals and even pet and feed a kangaroo at Kentucky Down Under. Review here.
Before school starts, head to a lake nearby for swimming. There are fantastic options within driving distance. Some are free and others have small fees for entering the park. Bring sand toys and floats. I also suggest water shoes because some kiddos (and adults) don’t like the bottoms of the lakes!
September: The Gaslight Festival in Jeffersontown is a ton of fun. This event has grown from a small street party to an event that boasts over 100,000 visitors each year! The Gaslight Festival includes a parade, balloon glow (reviewed here), 100’s of arts and craft vendors, live entertainment and much more! There are additional events before and after the festival, including a motorcycle rally, car show, golf scramble, and 5K!
Take in a baseball game at Slugger Field before the season is over. The Louisville Bats offer several activities for kids and general admission tickets are really affordable.
Before it gets cold, go on a waterfall hike. Wow, there are a lot of waterfalls in our area. We spent much of the warmer months of 2020 & 2021 finding them. What fun! Be prepared with change of clothes and towels, change of shoes as well.
Experience the majesty of fall at Bernheim Forest ColorFest. This annual event features hayrides, a hay maze, pumpkin slingshots, mud pie making, corn pit hands-on nature activities, food vendors and more! See our review here. A $10 per vehicle fee applies to all non-members, and a few of the activities cost a small amount. Watch Bernheim’s Facebook page for the date and additional details for 2023.
A must during October in Louisville is Hillcrest Ave. The residents go all out with Halloween decorations and it is bigger and better every year.
We love Halloween at Louisville Family Fun and if you do too, you can see all the family fun events going on in our post.
Light Up Louisville is the official kick-off of the holiday season in the Ville. It takes place on the day after Thanksgiving when Santa and our mayor plug in the lights to illuminate the giant tree and decorations in downtown Louisville! There are fireworks and photo opportunities with Santa. Prior to the light-up moment, enjoy the Lots of Lights parade and activities for kids.
Start off the Holiday Season with the Turkey Trott at the Northeast YMCA. Is there a spot for family fitness in your Louisville bucket list? They have different distance fit for all and you get a pretty cool looking shirt. If you don’t want to run with the kids, there is complimentary childcare while you run.
Great holiday events are plentiful in Louisville and Southern Indiana. We publish a giant list of events in early November, so be sure to watch for it to be updated – keep tabs on our winter fun page for all of the ideas.
For a little something different, check out Christmastide, 1816 at Locust Grove. First Person Interpreters recreate an 1816 Croghan family holiday party in the historic home. Historic artisans demonstrate their trades, give hands-on experiences, and sell their wares for a unique holiday shopping experience. Children’s activities are also offered. This event typically occurs on the first Saturday of December, but keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates for 2023.
Never pay full price! Always check out the Louisville Family Fun deals page.
Have something we should add to our Louisville bucket list for 2023? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.