Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Louisville, KY...giant bats and river boats

We arrived at our hotel in Louisville and felt we had stepped into an alternate reality.  I mean really, do you know how much you take for granted on a daily basis??  Air conditioning, showers you don't have to wear shoes into, and light switches.  Things we were glad to give up for a week, but extremely happy to feel clean and not sweaty anymore. 

After showers, yes, they were first, we went out to a nice dinner at a local brew pub.  I have to say, we did not have any bad food while we were there.  There are a ton of excellent restaurants.  And while you are there, try a hot brown.  Trust us, it's worth it and delicious. 

We greatly enjoyed the upgrade on our usual hotel choices (ie. Holiday Inn Express, etc.).  Located right downtown on the waterfront, we had a great view of the river and part of downtown from our room on the 22nd floor.  We used the telephoto lens as binoculars and also enjoyed taking photos out the window.  I mean, we were at the window a lot. Watching the people on the waterfront, barges, the sunset.  We looked out the window more than we watched tv!

The bat at the Slugger museum

The Muhammed Ali center

The railroad bridge across the Ohio River

The view out the window.  Anyone have Humana?  That's the building on the left.

When Daddy gets up earlier than anyone else, you end up with photos like this

and trying to wake up the big boy
So Saturday dawned and we headed off to The Louisville Slugger museum.  All along the way are bronze bats and plates, detailing the players that signed with Slugger.  Brant enjoyed seeing the different sizes and styles of bats.

There is a lot of renovation and revitalization going on downtown.  This building was just a shored up facade, but still really interesting

Of course I taught a little Hispanic history to Brant about this one

There's this really funky boutique hotel downtown, called a museum hotel.  Boasting red penguins all around the roof and a huge gold man statue outside, I can only imagine the inside.  But the limo that they have is covered in those flat glass marbles.  It was just to funny not to take a photo of

Finally we made it to our destination, the giant bat.  I mean giant.

120 feet tall, 68,000 lbs.  It's an exact replica of Babe Ruth's bat.

We really didn't know what all was there, besides the museum and the factory tour.  There's a lot of exhibits around, and it was quite interesting to learn how Louisville Slugger developed from a company that made butter churns and banisters.  A major leaguer asked them to make him a bat, and Louisville Slugger was born.

One of the exhibits allowed the kids to hold and pose with bats that were used in MLB games.  And not just MLB games, the bats belonged to Mickey Mantle, Cal Ripkin Jr., David Ortiz and Johnny Bench.
Mickey Mantle's bat.  You can't handle the bat without gloves, and can't swing, tap or do anything but hold the bat.

David Ortiz's

The funny big foam bat

and huge glove.  

Standing behind the plexiglass as a video projection of Cole Hamels (yeah Phillies!!!)  pitching a 90 mph ball.
Brant thought it was cool as his position is catcher. 

A replica of Jackie Robinson's bat

They keep a copy of each bat they make.  
So no photos were allowed in the factory tour, but it was really neat to see all the specialized equipment.

After the tour, we headed off to the giant ball and glove carved out of KY limestone and the batting cages.

And the Lego display of baseball stadiums...

And Henry had his turn.

Yeah Henry!
So, meandering back towards the hotel, we took in some of the sights.  And decided to head to Hard Rock for lunch

One side of the hotel

the waterfront.  I believe this was Clark...or Lewis..

The sun didn't actually go down until almost 10.  We were at the very edge of the Eastern  time zone.  

The next morning we were all a bit lazy.  Heading out for breakfast, we meanedered down to the Slugger museum again, for another few times in the batting cages.  And then Brant wanted to check out the cool fountain on the waterfront.  Kids had been swimming in it (seriously!) the night before, and Brant wanted his chance to explore it.  With STRICT instructions to not get wet, he did an excellent job.

Heading back to the room to relax...
before heading out on our afternoon adventure.  A ride on the Belle of Louisville, a 100 year old paddleboat, complete with calliope music!  Still steam operated, but no longer coal burning, it was about as close to the original we could get.  It's the oldest operating Mississippi steamboat and a National Historic Landmark.  First named the Idlewild, then renamed Avalon, she's had a long history of water travel in the U.S.

Burning off some energy before boarding

The very nice calliope player.  

She let Brant blow two notes on it!  There's a series of steam whistles on the top of the boat. 

The barge factory

This was the flood that flooded Ironton as well, we have a photo of the flood on our wall in the livingroom

Do you know what this building is?  I've searched and searched. 

checking out the engines with Daddy

A great way to spend the afternoon.  We walked the deck, checking out the paddle wheel, and all the workings of the ship.  We sat and ate popcorn and watched the scenery go by.   And when we were done, we ate dinner at one of the best Cuban restaurants we've ever eaten at.  The boys had their first Cuban and loved it, and we were stuffed!!  Not a bad ending to our time in Louisville, for tomorrow we headed to Dayton, Ohio and Lancaster.

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