Horse racing fans everywhere are breaking out their big hats and preppy attire for the 142nd annual Kentucky Derby on May 7. Horses such as Nyquist, Gun Runner and Brody’s Cause will compete in the first leg of what could possibly be their Triple Crown title. This legendary race is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where one horse and jockey will be presented with a garland of roses at the Winner’s Circle.
Although you might be thinking about placing bets and sipping on mint juleps, it’s important to plan the rest of your weekend stay in Louisville. The Kentucky Derby has been known to draw approximately 150,000 people – so you’ll want to find places to stay, eat and visit in advance. We’ve got the inside scoop on some eco-friendly spots around the city!
Located in downtown Louisville, the 21c Museum Hotel was created in 2006 by art collectors and preservationists Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown. This isn’t just your average hotel – it’s also a restaurant and contemporary art museum. During your stay, you can explore the hotel’s latest art exhibit or enjoy hotel amenities such as the spa or fitness center. With “always strive to be green” as its motto, the hotel has valued sustainability from the beginning. Some eco-friendly initiatives include encouraging energy and water conservation, recycling and providing guests with a farm-to-table dining experience.
Right across the Ohio River, Jeffersonville’s DuPont Mansion Bed & Breakfast is another eco-friendly lodging option to consider. As the former home of affluent industrialists, the restored B&B is home to rich Louisville history. DuPont Mansion Bed & Breakfast has a Green Lodging certification from the Bed & Breakfast Association of Kentucky (BBAK) Green Lodging Certification Program. To achieve this certification, BBAK assesses green practices in seven categories – some of which include air quality, energy efficiency, water conservation and environmentally sensitive purchasing.
Indulge in a variety of international foods and surround yourself with global art and artifacts at Ramsi’s Café. With entrees such as Moroccan lamb chops, East Indian paella and Shanghai stir-fry on the menu, you’re bound to experience bold flavors from around the world. Also, the café has plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. Over the years, Ramsi’s Café – with help from local urban and organic farming experts – developed its very own USDA Organic farm called Raising Hope Organic Farm. The farm supplies the café with the majority of its produce, truly providing customers with locally grown ingredients.
Sicilian and Creole dishes are a specialty at Selena’s Restaurant. Ingredients are fresh and new dishes are served almost daily, according to the restaurant’s site. Whether you’re grabbing Sunday brunch with the family or enjoying a glass of wine on the outdoor patio, you’ll experience the restaurant’s eco-friendliness. Selena’s Restaurant uses compostable cups and containers as well as utensils that are made out of corn and sugar cane.
Heine Brothers’ Coffee was founded 21 years ago and serves 13 different locations across Louisville. It’s known for roasting 100% organic and fair trade coffee from areas such as Central America, South America, Africa and Indonesia. The coffee shop’s roaster is eco-friendly in that it emits less pollutants and uses less fuel than other commercial coffee roasters. Also, Heine Brothers’ Coffee has a seasonal drink on its menu just in time for the Kentucky Derby: a “vint julep” that’s made with espresso and mint julep and bourbon sugars.
Caring for more than 1,500 animals, the Louisville Zoo works with endangered species and is passionate about animal conservation. If you and your family visit the zoo, you have the opportunity to contribute to its Conservation Partners program. Each admission ticket contributes 25 cents to wildlife conservation efforts. The Louisville Zoo’s current partners include the International Elephant Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society, Polar Bears International and more.
From April 14 to May 6, Louisville natives and visitors can join in on pre- and post-race celebrations at the Kentucky Derby Festival. From fireworks and hot air balloon rides to concerts and wine tastings, the Kentucky Derby Festival has activities for all ages. The festival implements eco-friendly practices through its Go Green! Initiative each year. One of many festival activities – Kentucky Proud WineFest – has become a zero waste event! The Go Green! Initiative program’s green efforts consist of composting event food waste, donating leftover food and encouraging recycling and carpooling.