Kentucky is full of unique, one-of-a-kind things to see and do all over the state! The largest piece of sporting equipment can be found in Louisville at Louisville Slugger Museum. The largest boat in the world is in Williamstown at Ark Encounter. The “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” takes place at the Kentucky Derby.
However, just 20 minutes from downtown Louisville you’ll find Oldham County, Kentucky, on I-71, showcasing the coolest things to do near Louisville that can only be found in this place in Kentucky where the Kentucky Derby pie was born and the Featured Derby Milliner reside. Only in Oldham!
1. Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky
Oldham Farm Tours offer the largest number of educational and interactive farm tours in Kentucky from April-November, where you can enjoy all breeds of horses, from racehorses to carriage driving. You can also visit favorite movie farms featured on Hallmark®. Come for the alpaca, bison, sheep, dairy cows, botanical gardens, nature preserves and organic/sustainable foodie farms.
2. Trains on Main in La Grange
La Grange is the only town in the world with a freight train running ON its Main Street. See the “Trains on Main” and take a stroll through the only Kentucky town chosen by HGTV and People magazine for a 2022 episode of a new spin-off renovation show, “Home Town Kickstart.” This very walkable, historic shopping and dining district offers vacation rentals, boutiques, handmade gifts, art galleries, studios, restaurants, a train observation tower, cool train museum and awesome outdoor seating by the tracks.
3. Hermitage Farm
Native Dancer was one of the most celebrated thoroughbred racehorses in the 20th century – that is, until he lost one race out of 22. Dark Star from Hermitage Farm beat The Grey Ghost in the 1953 Kentucky Derby. And the world’s most expensive yearling, Seattle Dancer, was raised and sold by Hermitage Farm. Hermitage offers horse farm tours where you can hear these stories, plus it’s the home of Barn8 Restaurant – which is actually Barn #8 on the farm! Inside, you’ll find a fabulous farm-to-table restaurant where you can eat in an elegant barn stall and sample bourbons from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®.
Hermitage Farm also boasts Kentucky’s most unique collection of horse carriages on display in a newly renovated Stud Barn and Carriage Gallery. Included is the Brewster-made Vis-a-Vis Carriage, built in 1882 and most notably featured in the 1939 classic movie “Gone with the Wind,” plus the Stagecoach CEO Carriage made from a converted Hummer H2 by artist Jeremy Dean.
4. TRF Sanctuary Farm at Chestnut Hall
The TRF herd (Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation) lives at 19 different facilities across the country. Eight of those farms are “TRF Second Chances Program” farms located at state correctional facilities, where inmates participate in a vocational training program in equine care and stable management.
TRF Sanctuary Farm at Chestnut Hall in Oldham County is the only farm of those 19 that is open to the public for tours. This beautiful 25-acre farm in Prospect, KY, is the newest addition to the Oldham Farm Tours program and the “forever home” for 10 retired thoroughbred racehorses from the national herd. These horses serve as ambassadors for thoroughbred aftercare to educate racing fans and the community at large about these equine athletes and the importance of providing a “soft landing” for each of them to transition to the next chapter of their long lives when their racing careers are done.
5. Yew Dell Botanical Gardens
Check out the only botanical garden in Kentucky on the National Historic Register and the only solar geothermal greenhouse with a “green” roof in Kentucky. You’ll find the only small-scale castle in Kentucky here, too, along with the only fairy forest at a botanical garden in Kentucky. Yew Dell Botanical Gardens also features the largest collection of hellebores and hostas in Kentucky, plus it is the state’s only botanical garden with five awards from the American Institute of Architects.
6. Oldham Gardens – Kentucky’s Largest Beer Garden
At 8 acres, the largest cultivated beer garden in Kentucky features both a brewery (3rd Turn Brewing) and food provided by Backside Grill. Oldham Gardens also features the longest communal table in Kentucky – 80 feet long with wisteria overhead! Taste the difference as you sip a glass of craft beer or a cocktail in this gorgeous garden of 8 connected greenhouses with an outdoor stage showcasing live entertainment and concerts.
7. Kentucky Artisan Distillery
The only completely farm-to-bottle distillery in Kentucky also just happens to be the first distillery in Oldham County since Prohibition. Home to Jefferson’s, Whiskey Row and Billy Goat Strut, Kentucky Artisan Distillery is a former ice cream factory offering distillery tours and tastings as part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®. Pro tip: You’ll also find a fascinating collection of distilling antiques and “the perfect Manhattan” – so says Esquire magazine.
8. Oldham County History Center
The largest whiskey jug collection in Kentucky (and one of the largest in the United States) is also the only place in the Bluegrass State with two sites on the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The Oldham County History Center also boasts the largest oral history collection of WWII veterans in the state.
9. Woodland Bison Farm
The largest collection of gigantic pink snails, green rabbits and purple elephants in Kentucky – as far as art installations go, that is – can be found at Woodland Bison Farm. From giant pink snails at the farm’s entrance to the Deborah Butterfield horse standing next to the pond, art is integrated into the landscape in unexpected ways.
10. Openrange Sports
The longest indoor firearms range in Kentucky stretches 300 feet to its computerized targets at Openrange Sports, which also offers the largest indoor “reball” arena in the state (think paintball, but without the mess) and an 11,000-square-feet indoor NERF arena. It’s plenty of high-action fun!