Happy Derby Day, ya'll! It's the one day of the year where I don't feel pretentious ordering a Mint Julep! So, I figured in honor of the 2019 Kentucky Derby, I would do a quick post about visiting Churchill Downs!
I was lucky enough to visit Churchill Downs right after the 2016 Kentucky Derby! We decided to splurge and pay for the behind-the-scenes tour which actually took you out onto the field of Churchill Downs. A standard ticket gets you access to the grounds, and museum. I, for sure, recommend the add-on! Getting to go onto the actual field is such an amazing experience!
The museum has so many fun exhibits, like the hats above, that show all aspects of the Derby, the horses, and the people who go to watch the race!
There was an exhibit about that year's winner, Nyquist. This exhibit changes every year to reflect who won that year's Derby.
It offered a lot of information about Nyquist, his jockey, and the 2016 Kentucky Derby!
The museum is actually very interactive, which I
enjoyed since I'm actually a child! I really liked getting to interact with the exhibits, and learn more about the Derby and the horses in a more hands-on way than most museums.
I really liked getting to learn about the different winners, and about the beginning of the Derby itself.
They have an amazing exhibit about Secretariat. There was so much to see and do in the museum itself, including an amazing 3D movie experience, which I recommended taking the time to watch. It breaks down the day of the race from people showing up at the track, to the horses actually taking off at the starting gate!
After we finished inside the museum, we headed out onto the grounds to start our behind-the-scenes tour. They take you around the track in a van, and take you back to the stables, and out onto a section of the track itself.
Amazingly, we were able to see the actual starting gate that the horses use for the Derby race! I
t is an incredible narrow space, and it's crazy to think of fitting a person and a horse into each of those starting gates.
The tour gives you a ton of information that you wouldn't learn otherwise! It talked about trainers, which famous horse stayed in which stable, more information on Nyquist, and the other horses who ran with him, and so much more.
The best part of the tour is getting to go down to the track itself!
Most people are never given this close of access to the track, as it is so carefully tended, but the behind-the-scenes tour takes you right there!
Obviously, we weren't allowed to touch it or step onto the part where the horses run, but even being so close to the place where so many champions have been was an amazing experience I'll never forget!
After our tour, we headed outside the museum to an area where the have a paddock. Inside is Unreachable Star, a former racer, (his butt is behind me), and Winston, an adorable mini pony! We spent some time watching them, before heading back inside and making out way to the gift shop!
And before we left, I, of course, had to stop in the cafeteria and get a commemorative Mint Julep! You get to keep the collectible cup when you buy the Julep!
So there's my day horsin' around at Churchill Downs! Now, pour yourself a Julep, and enjoy the race!