Thursday, May 1, 2014

Run for the Roses #TBTStories

In honor of the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, I'm sharing my Throwback Thursday Stories photos from our trip to Churchill Downs in 1995. Our stop in Louisville was at the end of our fall break trip, which included the Beaumont Inn, Shakertown, Keeneland, and a celebration of Adam's 5th birthday.

I have been researching trips forever, or at least long before the internet was a thing. My research tools included  AAA Tour Books and brochures I ordered by mail. Mail! Books in hand, I would read to the kids in the car as we approached an attraction, to optimize the tourist experience. In 1995, the internet was coming into popular use. It was slow and cumbersome, and I still remember the sound of the dial-up modem as it tried to establish a connection. I may have used the internet to make the plans for this trip, and to determine that the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs was a stop we wanted to make.

The kids loved the museum. They always love museums, but they found this one to be fun, interesting, educational and interactive. There was a scale to weigh in, just like the jockeys.
Sometimes, I think getting into that starting gate might be the trickiest part of the whole race.
The museum admission included a track tour, and the tours left the museum every half hour. Each time they called for the next tour, I encouraged our little group to move to the tour line. They were not interested in leaving the fun of the museum, and we probably spent three hours exploring every single exhibit before they were finally ready to see the track. There were video monitors where we could choose a year and watch the Derby from that year. I think we watched all of them at least once, and watched our favorites multiple times. It was fun. We always bet on the winner. :)
Finally, we were ready to move to the track, to watch some real horses, on a beautiful fall day in the shadow of the famous twin spires.
Our trip to the museum inspired Jonathan to make his own model of the twin spires for his 3rd grade state project. It included a drawing of the track, photos from our trip, and information from brochures we picked up while we were there. He did such a nice job, that I encouraged him to insisted that he write a letter to the Derby Museum, thanking them for our great experience, and including the photo below of him with his project.
A short time later, I received a call from the secretary at the elementary school. She had received a call from the museum, raving about Jonathan's letter, the project, and the darling young man in the photo. :) They were so impressed that they asked (and I gave) permission to post the photo on their (still new) website. (It's not there anymore. I checked.) It was quite exciting, and we were very proud of Jonathan. It was a good lesson in the power of a simple letter of appreciation.

Just for fun, in case you are in the mood to watch a horse race now, here's a clip of one of the greatest, Secretariat. After winning the 1973 Derby, he went on to win the Preakness, and was in a position to win the Triple Crown if he could hold on for the win at Belmont Park. And hold on he did!

Linking up with Jessica at The Mom Creative for #TBTStories.


AKA Jane Random said...

Neat! I went to the Derby in 97! It was so much fun. I didn't know about the museum - wish we'd gone!

Terri D. said...

I really enjoyed this TBT story and the photos are so precious! Love seeing your kids at those ages, and (because I work at a museum) I can agree that letters like the one your son sent are always appreciated - even today! Awesome post!!