Last week, I spent a week in Louisville, Kentucky as part of the VEX IQ International Robotics Finals, which was a very exciting seven days indeed! We had a spare day in the city before the competition, so we decided to visit the Kentucky Science Center and the Louisville Slugger Museum, where the famous baseball bats are manufactured.
The Kentucky Science Center
We rushed into the Science Center first to escape the pouring rain, and quickly saw something which shocked us:
There was lots to see and do inside the museum, and we starting by walking upstairs into an exhibition on the human body. This was a large room, full with information about the different functions of organs and organ systems. There were displays about the digestive, respiratory and circulation systems, and we enjoyed finding out our heart rate by holding on to a bar. There were lots of interactive exhibits, such as one where we had to team up with each other and press buttons to destroy viruses, and another where we had to mimic the human heartbeat. I knew most of the facts in the room but I am sure that my brother Robert wouldn’t, and would have learnt a lot. Sadly, many of the exhibits were out of order and some were quite old.
There were lots of other exhibits taking place in the museum, which we all liked. One of my favourites was pulling a rope which created a bubble – this was extremely exciting, especially as I managed to get it up to my shoulders before my backpack popped it! We also created a bridge out of blocks, which took countless tries to finish. We were surprisingly proud to finally manage it…
Before we left, we decided to watch the 3D Film “Journey To Space” in the museum’s cinema. The film was around 45 minutes long and was fascinating, talking about life in space and the challenges of reaching Mars. Although I am not a major fan of space exploration, the film was certainly interesting, and allowed me to think about the engineering challenges that a trip to space presents. The rest of the museum was aimed at younger children, so it was nice to have something aimed at the older members of the family.
The Louisville Slugger Museum
After a pizza lunch just opposite the Science Center, it was a short two minute walk to the Louisville Slugger Museum, where the famous Louisville Baseball Bats are made. It was dangerously close to closing time so we had no chance to walk around the museum, but we had a walking tour around the factory instead.
None of us knew anything about baseball, but our tour guide was wonderfully useful at answering any questions we had. We walked through the factory, stopped at certain machines and watched videos. We were told that the factory produces 1.8 million baseball bats a year, and that they first arrive at the factory as billets (cylinders) of wood. When the factory was started, every bat was hand carved – taking up to half an hour to shape each one! Nowadays, there are machines which have countless of bat models saved, and each one can be made in 30 seconds. It only takes a click of a button to switch designs!
We got to see bats being dipped to get distinctive colours, and were shown how each bat gets the Louisville Slugger logo pressed onto it. My highlight of the tour was being given full-sized bats to hold, which was enthralling. At the end of the tour, we were given an opportunity to ask questions, and were all given a free mini bat to take home with us. The tour was quite short at only 30 minutes long, but our guide was really friendly and knowledgeable so we learnt a lot and had a great time.
Overall, we had a really exciting day visiting the Kentucky Science Center and the Louisville Slugger Museum. Our highlight of the day was definitely going on the walking tour of the Slugger Museum factory, and we wish that we had more time to visit the rest of the museum and go to the batting cages. I thought that the Science Center was quite old and not advanced enough, but I’m sure that younger children would really enjoy playing with the exhibits.
Despite the fab museums we visited in Louisville, my favourite part of the trip was eating at all the American chains, such as Applebee’s; the portion sizes were gigantic!
To see the exhibits and the movie at the Science Center, adults are $20.00 and children (aged 2-12) are $15.00. Full pricing information can be found here.
To visit the Louisville Slugger Museum, adults are $12.00, seniors (aged 60+) are $11, kids (aged 6-12) are $7.00 and kids five and under are free.
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