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“Wonderful regional amusement park; many gems here” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center

Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center
Ranked #33 of 168 things to do in Louisville
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Kentucky Exposition Center is one of the top 10 largest public facilities of its kind in the U.S. Home to the Kentucky State Fair, National Farm Machinery Show, North American International Livestock Expo and some of the top tradeshows in the country.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children
Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
147 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Wonderful regional amusement park; many gems here”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2014

In case you aren't aware, KK has been closed ever since Six Flags gave up the lease about 5 years ago. KK is now open again under a the same core group that took over the park in 1989 and made it a success.

Now, after 2 years of refurbishment, KK is back. I have no hesitation in saying it is one of the best regional amusement parks in the country. Headlining is the brand new Chance Hyper GTX Lightning Run, a compact steel roller coaster that is a blast! Thunder Run received over $1M in attention to the track, resulting in vast improvement in ride quality. Among many other new items is a huge expansion to the water park, with a huge body slide and action river.

While all the new additions are a blast, and show the company's commitment to making the park successful, what really impresses me is the attention to detail. Things are newly painted, kept clean, and there is actually landscaping! Check out my pics... KK spent some $$$ on making the park really attractive. I even rode the Tin Lizzies just to check out the landscaping!!!

The water park is a blast, with the new family-friendly wave pool next to the new action river.
Lest you think this is an advertisement, the waits for the new slides was too long... so we couldn't stand the wait in 94 degree heat. It was back to the wave pool and it's awesome Big Kahuna waves.

Even the 5D theater show was fun- it's based on the Rio characters.

However, one of the hidden gems (in addition to the impressive landscaping) is the seal show. Only 20 minutes, but a professionally presented show with rescued sea lions is an absolute pleasure. While the setup is temporary, just drop this show in a custom theater and you easily have the match (or better) of any national marine park attraction. Don't miss it!

TIPS: Get there at least 10 min before park opening. Hit Lightning run first. If they only are running one train, waits can shoot up quickly. Then if you want to hit the water park slides, do so. Thunder Run is pretty steady throughout the day, so you don't have to make a beeline for it.

If you're visiting more than once, get a Season Pass. The discount on drinks and merchandise make it a great deal for repeat visits. The season parking pass from KFEC doesn't make sense unless you are going at least 7 times (it's not valid during Ky State Fair... KFEC wants their pint of blood).
Don't miss the seal show... currently it's at 1P, 3P, and 5P.

They have announced Sept hours, and I'm hoping they announce some Halloween activities. This would make the Season Pass an awesome deal.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Everett S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Glen Carbon, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
65 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Nice venue”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 June 2014 via mobile

My family spent two days in Broadbent Arena at the KY Fair & Expo Center for the US Trampoline & Tumbling Association National Championships (my youngest was competing). There was more than enough seating to accommodating the crowd, which expanded and shrank as the various events took place. Having spent this entire season attending meets in cramped high school gymnasia sitting on old, weathered bleachers, it was a delightful change to enjoy actual individual seats with backs! We had clear sight lines to watch the athletes, the arena was surprisingly clean for a sports facility, and the Expo Center staff was friendly, helpful, and accommodating. There were problems with the event, but that is the responsibility of the organizers. The facility, grounds, and staff were wonderful.
The rates for parking are ridiculous, though. Considering there are "at your own risk" signs everywhere, and that it's $8/car with no re-entry access, I was expecting to see at least SOME security presence patrolling the lots. There were friendly attendants at the parking booths, and there were employees directing traffic, though, so it was easy to navigate the sprawling lots surrounding this enormous complex.
We hope to visit in the future to enjoy a visit to Kentucky Kingdom!

Helpful?
1 Thank Andy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubbo, Australia
Level Contributor
224 reviews
96 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“So huge!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 June 2014

We attended a trade show at the convention centre and found the site so easy to get into and out, staff everywhere to help guide you to where you need to go. Plenty of toilets scattered around the place and food stalls with a vast array of choice.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank Bellsie17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newport News, Virginia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“The New Kentucky Kingdom - Lots of Fun & Potential”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 June 2014

The former Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom is re-opened with new management and a bunch of new rides. We went there on a Sunday, a traditionally slow day for amusement parks, and the park was PACKED. Since the park sat abandoned for several years, some parts of it are still closed off, and the roller coasters T2 and Twisted Twins are not yet up and running. However, they have a brand new steel roller coaster, Lightning Run, which is fast, smooth, intense, and a whole lot of fun! Thunder Run, the park's wooden coaster, has been completely re-tracked and is running great. The water park has a lot of new slides and includes 2 wave pools and 2 lazy rivers. I could spend the whole day in the water park! They have a great variety of slides including a water coaster Deluge which propels the rafts uphill. Another thing I really liked about the park was the funnel cake. The thicker parts were soft and tasted like real cake. They make the batter right in front of you, mixing the flour and other ingredients in a huge mixer. They were also very upfront about the two coasters that were not open. They were labeled on the map as opening in 2015 and 2016. The only drawback is the fact that the parking lot is not owned by Kentucky Kingdom - it is shared with the convention center and you do not have in/out privileges, you have to pay $8 every time you enter the parking lot. Luckily, our hotel (La Quinta Louisville Airport) was just down the road and had a free shuttle there. I would love to go back in a few years and see how they are doing, they're off to a great start!

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
8 Thank Nicole T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pataskala, Ohio
Level Contributor
380 reviews
146 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 265 helpful votes
“Reopened but a LONG way to go”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 June 2014

When a disagreement between the Kentucky Fair Board and Six Flags caused the park chain to withdraw from this amusement park about four years ago, this park remained silent. A couple different groups attempted to purchase the property and/or lease it to reopen it, but all fell through.

Last year, a bright spot was that someone finally did work things out to reopen the park after being shut for four years. The grand reopening was something anticipated amongst many amusement park and roller coaster enthusiasts. And judging by the crowds on the opening weekend, the people in the area were excited to have their park back.

However, there is still much to be done. I know it takes time for any business to recover from being closed for a while. But clearly management was NOT ready for the overwhelming response its reopening brought. Lines to get into the park were chaotic at best. With Six Flags being gone (they took the rides they put into the park with them when they left), the amount of rides remaining are at a minimum. Only three coasters were on the board to operate this year. The other coasters that are standing are awaiting refurbishment and a reopening the next two seasons.

A couple spinning rides were installed to replace some of the ones that are no longer there, and there was an addition to the water park.

The new coaster looks nice, but the operation of it is extremely slow. To make matters worse, ride operators PIN riders into the seat so you cannot move. The ride crew on this coaster and many of the other rides are NOT friendly at all. You don't have to have a conversation with people, but SMILE! Ride operators tell riders they have to push the lap bar down as you are not allowed to do that yourself. Most other parks in the country do NOT do this practice. They check the lap bar once it is down. Before the operators push the lap bar down, they were bracing their feet against the coaster train and yanking as HARD as they could on the seat belt to where most people were letting out a yelp of pain. Totally uncalled for. I believe in safety, but this is going overboard! Then the ride operators jam the lap bar down onto riders so you cannot move period. Riders cannot even loosen the belt a little to breathe since the belt is now smashed against their bodies. Many riders who could fit in the safety seat out in front of the ride to see if they could ride it could NOT fit while in the station as they lap bar had to be mashed down to a certain length. The coaster itself is not to bad, but the last few bunny hops in the track throws riders up against the lap bar and bruises their thighs because they have NO room to move. I have ridden more violent coasters than this but did not bruise because I had room to move in my seat to adjust for the negative g forces those bunny hops create. Management, if you are reading this: FIX THE PROBLEM!!!! You need to give riders some room to breathe and move with the coaster forces. You will get more injuries by doing something stupid like pinning people into their seats. If you don't believe me, ride the coaster while pinned in the way I was pinned in.

Food lines were incredibly long. The workers were not ready to handle such an influx of people. Those taking orders were not very nice. I know how it is working at an amusement park. I used to do that years ago. But when I was employed by a park, I was told to be friendly even when the patrons were not having a good day as it helps with guest relations and return visits by patrons.

Speaking of the food, it was mediocre at best. The price for the food was way too high for the quality. And park admission was way too high for what was available to do. I paid much less and had a better time at Beech Bend Park, about an hour and a half south of this place. For a similar price, people can drive to Cincinnati and go to Kings Island and have a much better time.

Though I am glad you are open, and I hope you remain open for many years, you do need to make some necessary improvements immediately. People who are happy to have you reopened may not come back if they feel as if they have been treated poorly. As a result of my experience, it will be several years before I return, despite living only three and a half hours away. I remember the Kentucky Kingdom of old, and I do wish to have that one back. It was operated much better.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Amusementparkguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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