Courtesy Louisville CVB
You can bet that both mystery tours offered in Louisville will be winners, including the sports-themed visit in the city that is home to the Kentucky Derby.
“The Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs explores all the excitement of the Run for the Roses,” said Kat Gallagher, communications manager for the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The museum offers exhibits about the world’s most famous horserace and experiences that allow visitors to appreciate the excitement, including a view of the track on Derby Day from the middle of the infield.
“Then, you get to see how baseball bats are made, start to finish, at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory,” said Gallagher. “One block away is the Muhammad Ali Center, where groups take a look at ‘The Greatest’ in and out of the boxing ring.”
The second option for a mystery tour is Shoes and Booze, where a stop at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in nearby Bullitt County offers an intimate look at how its bourbon is made.
“Guided tours take you through the entire process, starting with the natural limestone water well and all the way through the mashing, distilling, barreling, storing and bottling,” said Gallagher.
Next, enter shoe heaven at the Zappos Outlet (officially the 6pm Outlet), where shoes from Zappos.com are sold at a 50 percent discount.
Chicago Southland, Illinois
A three-day mystery tour in Chicago Southland, 62 south and southwest suburbs of the Windy City, is aptly titled the Track, Tea and Trains Tour.
Beginning in the Pullman Historic District, an 1880s industrial town built by railroad entrepreneur George Pullman, a guided tour features a historic church, neighborhood row houses and a grand hotel.
“Next, the Pickwick Society Tea Room in Frankfort showcases one of the top-rated tea rooms in Illinois, and groups are treated to a three-course tea tasting and homemade bakery items,” said Scott Bort, public relations manager for the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Shopping in this historic downtown will introduce visitors to one-of-a-kind shops, including a really cool yarn store.”
The Balmoral Park in Crete, the state’s premier harness-racing facility for over 80 years, is not only a beautiful racetrack but also offers visitors the opportunity to bet on a horse for as little as 10 cents, according to Bort.
“You are only 20 feet from betting windows, and then you are so close to the track you can holler at the horses to cheer them on,” he said. “This facility also has fantastic food in a dining room that overlooks the one-mile track.”