Louisville, Kentucky – Great America Road Trip

categories: USA Travel

Louisville, Kentucky

Our fifth stop on our Great American Road Trip was in Louisville, Kentucky. This was our most ambitious day of the trip. In one day we visited Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, toured the Corvette Factory near Bowling Green and toured the world’s longest cave at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Corvette Factory

Corvette Factory

We had noticed that our route between Nashville and Louisville took us right by a Corvette Museum. If I was really a car guy I might have been more interested in that stop. The museum got a lot of national press in 2014 when a sinkhole opened under the museum and ate 8 Corvettes in their collection. Wise promoters simply added the sinkhole to the experience and added the destroyed cars to the exhibit.

But what attracted our attention instead was that just across the road you could tour the Corvette assembly line. My wife and I both have engineering degrees and this is just the geeky sort of thing we knew we would love. I had previously toured a Ford Truck assembly line near Detroit and am fascinated by the complexity, technology, cacophony of sound, and ballet of motion that is an auto assembly plant.

Corvette owners can pay extra to be at the plant when their car rolls off the line and be the first person to turn the key. Or they can pay $5000 for the privilege of assembling their own engine (something I would prefer to be done by a professional on my car).

Tours are free but allow for delays of 1-2 hours on busy days. Also know that you won’t be able to bring a camera or a cell phone. See the General Motors tour site for details.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave is the longest known cave system in the world with over 400 miles of caves. We arrived in time for one of the last tours of the day. There are a number of different tours so your second trip to the park does not have to be the same experience. Mammoth Cave was not what I expected. If you are picturing lots of stalactites and stalagmites then you have the wrong picture. In many ways, the cave is more plain that caves like Carlsbad Caverns.

Portions of the cave are also going to be pretty claustrophobic. At one point on the tour, we had the option of backtracking or getting down on the cave floor and rolling into the next chamber. Joan and I chose to roll with it, but some of our group gave up at that point.

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Tours of the cave used to be done by candlelight and you can still see where guides would write the names of visitors on the ceiling of the cave with candle flame.

Louisville Slugger Museum / Factory

Louisville Slugger

In keeping with the baseball theme of our road trip, the next day we visited the Louisville Slugger factory and museum.

Louisville Slugger Museum / Factory

I was surprised by how interesting they could make the simple process of turning a piece of wood into a baseball bat. The factory tour did not take that long but by the time we watched some of the videos and toured the museum, we may have spent a couple of hours at Louisville Slugger. The museum is a cross between the Hall of Fame for hitters and a hands-on discovery museum for kids.

Louisville Slugger Museum / Factory

Next Time

We did not get out to Churchill Downs nor did we take the nearby Bourbon Trail which we talked about on the Amateur Traveler episode on Louisville.

my photos of Kentucky

What to do in and near Louisville Kentucky


Great American Road Trip

Our home team was playing baseball in Kansas City. One week later we needed to be in Cincinnati for a wedding. It could only mean one thing: Road Trip!


Travel to Louisville, Kentucky – Episode 467

Our Route

Map of Our Route

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

One Response to “Louisville, Kentucky – Great America Road Trip”

Sean Bradford


This is a great post! I’ve been wanting to travel to Louisville for a while now. When I finally get around to it I’ll definitely visit the Mammoth Cave and the Louisville Slugger factory tour. I love factory tours — they’re just so fascinating. The giant baseball bat they have leaning against the building in the picture reminds me of the giant Tabasco bottle at the Tabasco factory in Louisiana. That’s one of my favorites, as is the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Have a feeling Louisville Slugger Factory will make the list when I go.

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