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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record
Much to See in Louisville

David Rodger
Louisville Conference Promotion Coordinator

Many USITT conference-goers book their days from breakfast to bedtime. If you prefer a more relaxed schedule and plan to include a little sightseeing and cultural fun while attending the 2006 USITT Conference & Stage Expo, Louisville will not let you down.

Below are some museums, historic locations, and other interesting places to visit, most of them within walking distance of the Kentucky International Convention Center.

Actors Theatre of Louisville, 316 West Main Street, 502-584-1205 (box office).

First on your list of events to see in Louisville must be the Humana Festival of New Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. USITT and ATL have put together a special, three-show package of performances on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 28 and 29) as a special Regional Attraction. You can also get discount vouchers for available seating at any performance throughout the conference. More details will be announced this fall. The Humana Festival was featured in the July issue of Sightlines.

Belle of Louisville, Fourth Street Wharf, 502-574-2992.

The Belle of Louisville, christened the Idlewild when she was built in 1914, is the nation's oldest operating river steamboat. Ohio River cruises are offered only in the summer and fall but walk-on sightseeing tours are available by appointment year-round.

Churchill Downs (see Kentucky Derby Museum)

The National Corvette Museum, 350 Corvette Dr., Bowling Green, 42101, 270-781-7973.

Corvette fans will definitely want to set aside a half day for a side trip to Bowling Green. The museum, which is adjacent to the assembly plant, displays more than 50 Corvette models and one-of-a-kind concept cars, as well as thousands of Corvette-related photos, movies and videos, advertisements, scale models, and rare memorabilia.

Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center, 201 W. Riverside Drive, Clarksville, Indiana, 812-280-9970.

Just 20 minutes from downtown Louisville (by car) on a bluff overlooking ancient fossil beds, the center has an impressive collection of geological, anthropological, and zoological displays.

Fourth Street Live!

Located between Liberty and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, just two blocks from the convention center, this is "the place" for eating, drinking, and socializing in downtown Louisville. Restaurants and entertainment venues include Hard Rock Cafe, Red Star Tavern, TGIFriday's, Sully's, Lucky Strike Lanes, and Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge. Fourth Street Live! features a variety of bars and nightclubs including Red Cheetah dance club, Parrot Beach, and Felt billiards lounge. There is also live comedy at Rascals Comedy Club and live music at Saddle Ridge and Howl at the Moon.

Frazier Historical Arms Museum, 829 W. Main St., 502-412-2280.

Three floors of exhibits include the Arms of Distinction Gallery (fine and historically important objects from a variety of periods and cultures, the Frazier's permanent collection of arms and related artifacts), over 600 objects largely of American origin made between the 16th and 20th centuries, as well as regularly changing displays dating back to the 11th century of European arms and armor. A day-long visit and presentation on arms safety in theatres is being offered on Tuesday, March 28.

Glassworks, 815 West Market Street, 502-584-4510.

Louisville is a Midwest hotbed of glassworkers. Tours of the glassblowing, flame working, and architectural glass studios at Glassworks are available Mondays through Saturdays.

Hadley Pottery, 1570 Story Ave., 502-584-2171.

Mary Alice Hadley began her pottery business around 1940, and it has become one of the most respected names in handcrafted kitchenware. A showroom/store is open six days a week, and, if the temperature remains under 85 degrees, daily factory tours begin at 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Kentucky Derby Museum, 704 Central Avenue, 502-637-1111.

The museum features "The Greatest Race," a 360-degree, high-definition video presentation, two floors of exhibits, walking tours, and barn-area van tours of Churchill Downs. (See also story in the May issue of Sightlines.)

Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, 715 W. Main Street, 502-589-0102

Founded in 1981, KMAC supports craft artists of Kentucky and their heritage. The museum and galleries offer a wide range of exhibitions throughout the year featuring local, regional, and national artists.

Louisville Science Center, 727 W. Main Street, 502-561-6100.

Featuring hands-on exhibits - "The World We Create" and "The World Within Us" - the Space Science Gallery, KidZone, and an IMAX theater.

Louisville Slugger Museum, 800 West Main Street, 502-588-7228.

See the world's biggest bat! Fun tour of the bat factory. Free mini bat with tour. Personalized bats available.

Louisville Zoo, 1100 Trevilian Way, 502-459-2181.

Notable exhibits include the MetaZoo Education Center, the Herp-Aquarium, the rotating Islands exhibit, a walk-through Rain Forest, the Boma African Petting Zoo, and the new four-acre Gorilla Forest exhibit.

Muhammad Ali Center, One Riverfront Plaza, 502-584-9254.

The Muhammad Ali Center, opening in November 2005, will include biographical storyline exhibits from Ali's Louisville roots through his boxing career and his societal and religious convictions.

The Speed Art Museum, 2035 S. Third Street, 502-634-2700.

Founded in 1927, The Speed Art Museum has over 13,000 pieces in its collection including collections of 17th century Dutch and Flemish painting; 18th century French art; Renaissance and Baroque tapestries; and significant holdings of contemporary painting and sculpture. African and Native American works also are represented in the museum's collection.

Waterfront Park, River Road next to Louisville Slugger Field, 502-574-3768.

Louisville's Waterfront Park hosts dozens of music festivals and social functions each year. The 55-acre park along the Ohio River opened in 1999, and construction is under way on an additional 35 acres to the east of the current park. You can jog, walk, join the occasional pick-up football game, rent a bicycle built for two, enjoy the children's playground, splash in fountains, or simply take in the park's magnificent views of the river and downtown Louisville.

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The dramatic lobby of Actors Theatre of Louisville is empty in this photograph, but it will be filled with activity from the Humana Festival of New Plays when USITT visits the city in March 2006.

Photo/Courtesy of Greater Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau.