One of my first tips – bring snacks and food, or plan to go to a store to get some! When I first thought of Louisville, Kentucky, my thought was – big city in Kentucky – many things will be open. And even driving into downtown – big city, but probably not compared to places like Baltimore, etc.
However, with the last year of COVID and all of the unemployment bonuses, etc. and rising gas prices – many restaurants, fast food, especially are closed anywhere from 4 pm – 8 pm in the evening and many of the restaurants like Texas Roadhouse are closed by 8 pm due to staffing shortages.
So, trying to eat was interesting, to say the least. We arrived on Friday evening and we were in Louisville by around 7 pm – but wasted a good hour driving around in circles in downtown Louisville while trying to charge my phone back up to see if we could get a correct address. There was some confusion about that – and someone said they saw 4 different addresses listed in different places, just by ARBA.
I am going to back up a little here and say – order the printed catalog early, like as soon as it is available. I really wanted to save that $5 – but when you are in another state with limited internet and a dead phone possibly – kind of hard to open that digital catalog and we forgot to print the pages we wanted before we left.
Also, book your hotel early with the cancellation feature. You pay a little extra per night for the room, but you can cancel up to the day before. It is still way cheaper though than waiting until the month before. We booked our hotel, which was on the outskirts of Louisville, (so about a 20-minute ride) in June for an October convention. If we decided we didn’t feel we had anything convention worthy – we could cancel right after entries closed when you knew you would not be going. The nice thing about cancellation is that if you would have a family emergency, yes, you are out your entry fees, but you can cancel the hotel, and not eat that money as well. We offered to share our room with a friend who discovered she was still going to pay a good bit even with all of her points.
We may look for something a bit closer next time, but I’m not sure if we will look for right at the convention center because those hotels all seem to be really pricy because you are so close to it and the parking lots were kind of small if they are really booked.
Another recommendation – is just in case not much has changed in the economy or you just like knowing what you are eating – be sure your hotel has a microwave and a mini-fridge. You can get by with a cooler – we still used our cooler and most hotels offer free ice, so it works. We put our breakfast and supper to cook items in the mini-fridge and kept our cold drinks/snacks in the cooler – so that helped with getting going in the morning and I just used our rabbit cart to take it in and out of the hotel as well.
I’m not a fan of microwaving everything so we take a two-burner plug-in unit and a pan and simple utensils. We heard others complaining and some were at the pricier hotels close to the convention center that there was no fridge and no microwave.
Also, be sure whether your hotel offers complimentary breakfast if that is a deal-breaker for you because this was another complaint I heard from other breeders about their hotel. I kind of chuckled about it because I said, “well, you might not be missing much, because ours offered a complimentary breakfast, but the only things we found edible were the mini-muffins and the yogurt.” The sausage was like cardboard with no flavor, the eggs were too salty, biscuits were hard and the gravy had no flavor either.
On Saturday evening, we went to Walmart and even picked up some breakfast items and just made ours. Sunday morning I went to Aldi and bought a couple of items for supper.
Like I said, many fast food places were closed by 4 pm and the ones you did find open had a line that was extremely long, and sitting in a line for too long makes me road rage! I will say this, many of their fast food places had very reasonable prices compared to PA, so there was that!
Now, onto more, be sure to have wire cutting pliers and regular and needle nose pliers along. Also, have rings and ring pliers along. You never know what you are going to have to modify to make it work.
Also, if you want to do some sightseeing – do it before heading to the convention center – with the exception of show day, of course, and if you want to see your breed’s auction – possibly that day as well. We just found once we were at the convention center – we couldn’t escape lol. You would start talking to other people and walk around a bit and before you knew it – it was 3 pm. And the problem with that – is that many of the things to go do, close at 5 pm. The convention center is open until Midnight – so you have plenty of time in the afternoon or even if it is heading for the evening before you get there to feed rabbits and socialize!
The nice thing is that many of these things are within 10 minutes of the convention center – so it won’t take long once you are done with whatever you go to see to get to the convention center. We did 2 sightseeing things – one was the Louisville Zoo and the other was Church Hill Downs. In both instances we left around 2:45 – 3 pm – and so we only had 2 hours and it felt rushed and like we didn’t really get to see everything, or if there were things to read about what you were seeing, you didn’t have time. Kind of a bummer when you pay full price to get in and feel rushed and like you are running through.
We also did the walking bridge over the Ohio River which is free. You walk across and when you get to the other side you are in Indiana. We would do this again, possibly closer to evening to see the city lit up. I will be writing posts about at least Church Hill Downs and Louisville Zoo. Not sure I can make a whole post on the walking bridge. One of the places we would like to see the next time we go is the Louisville Slugger Museum.
I also heard great comments for the food at Mark’s Feed Store and Tumbleweed – so we will have to add them to our list of “must do’s” when in Louisville again.
There are also fast food places around the convention center which makes hitting one of them convenient and they seemed to be open. McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell at least.
Bring creature comforts, like your favorite blanket, or favorite local tea.
Bring layers! We did do that because we had checked the weather multiple times and weather can be fickle. We heard others say, “we packed all t-shirts because we were heading south and figured it would be warm!” We had brought t-shirts, long-sleeved, sweatshirts and light jackets. I don’t think we used any of our t-shirts! It was cooler there than in Pennsylvania for those six days!
So, to summarize – Louisville, Kentucky Specific:
- Order the printed catalog as soon as it is available.
- Book your hotel early with cancellation.
- Check on items with hotel that are important to you. (microwave, mini-fridge, pool, complimentary breakfast)
- Have a back up plan and be prepared with food in case places are closed when you are hungry!
- Cutting Pliers and zip-ties – very helpful, especially at convention.
- Plan sightseeing for morning. (except for show day and maybe auction day)
- Bring your creature comforts – we did and it was great to have those things along.
- Pack clothes in layers.
- Bring extra cash in case you decide to buy a rabbit!
These were tips I thought of – we pretty much did many of these things. We were missing cutting pliers and we bought zip-ties and bungee straps to hold carriers in vehicle and cart because we forgot ours.
Do you have tips to share for a large rabbit show or convention?