We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“History at its finest!”

Kentucky Derby Museum
Ranked #9 of 163 things to do in Louisville
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Kentucky Derby Museum, where every day is Derby day, is the official tour provider of historic Churchill Downs. When you visit the Museum, you will find yourself immersed in the next best thing to actually being at the Derby! As the exclusive tour provider for the track, various tours are offered throughout the year even when the track isn’t in session with live racing. General admission includes two levels of family-friendly interactive permanent & temporary exhibits, "The Greatest Race," a 360-degree immersive sound and visual experience that'll get your heart racing and emotions soaring, Historic Walking Tour of Churchill Downs Racetrack, access to the Gift Shop, Kentucky fare in the Derby Cafe Express and much more!
Useful Information: Stroller parking, Stairs / elevator, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We visited the museum and booked in advance the "Inside the Gates" tour. The museum is very small but has some interesting exhibits. My wife in particular enjoyed the 'hat' display of famous hats and outfits worn by celebrities at the Derby. They also have some interesting historical exhibits regarding all the Triple Crown winners. But the tour was what it was all about. Hannah, our tour guide, was very young and this was only her 2nd time giving this tour, but she did a fantastic job. We got to visit all the areas of Churchill Downs including Millionaires Row and other dining and viewing locations. For Churchill to me, it's all about the history. The twin spires, the track, and the history of what has occurred there. But I must say it felt old and lacked a modern feel, as opposed to say Keeneland. I expected the upper level areas to be more modern and rich, but it didn't feel that way. For example, the TV's you see everywhere are probably 15 year old Gateways, and in most places aren't even flat screens. The furniture appeared old and decrepit, but I guess this is what the operators want it to feel like. We prefer modern amenities and it didn't feel that way at Churchill. Even the area where it's located doesn't look all that great. You are sort of driving in this really bad part of town, and suddenly there is Churchill Downs. It is certainly nothing like Keeneland. If I had to go watch live racing, I think I'd like Keeneland more, although if I did that I wouldn't be able to say that I've seen racing at Churchill Downs. Sometimes I think some places put all their laurels on their name, and in this case that is Churchill Downs to me. I still enjoyed the tour and was glad I went.

Date of experience: July 2013
Thank launcher69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (2,814)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"kentucky derby"
in 423 reviews
"churchill downs"
in 723 reviews
"walking tour"
in 240 reviews
"degree movie"
in 94 reviews
"racing fan"
in 97 reviews
"behind the scenes"
in 158 reviews
"backside tour"
in 87 reviews
"starting gate"
in 43 reviews
"the barn"
in 92 reviews
"race track"
in 133 reviews
"interactive exhibits"
in 100 reviews
"triple crown"
in 45 reviews
"van tour"
in 55 reviews
"love horses"
in 32 reviews
"tour of the grounds"
in 37 reviews
"horse lover"
in 34 reviews
"basic tour"
in 28 reviews

2,306 - 2,310 of 2,810 reviews

Reviewed July 22, 2013

In our family my wife is the big sports fan. She watches the Kentucky Derby every year and she was thrilled with being at Churchill Downs. The tour of the grounds and the museum give the thrill of being part of the action -- and you don't have to lose your shirt betting on a horse to get that thrill.

Date of experience: July 2013
Thank DRLeeII
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

Yes, it's hokey. I wanted to go here when I was a little girl but my dad refused to stop. I finally got to see the museum as an adult and it was worth the stop. There is a short tour of churchill downs included which is very interesting. I loved being here and we will go back to take the kids to a race when they're older.

Date of experience: July 2013
Thank rachelbo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2013

We made an eBay purchase which required us to drive to Louisville. Decided to make a long weekend of it and began looking for things to do. I sort of expected a museum to be boring. I was completely wrong! It was great. We got to see horses on the track with jockeys, had great tour guide and enjoy a beautiful museum! Wish we had time to stay longer!

Date of experience: July 2013
Thank Tammy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed July 19, 2013

It's a wonderful place to visit but get there early or call ahead to book the tours as they fill up fast.

Date of experience: July 2013
Thank reannsmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Kentucky Derby Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing