Posted in: Highlands, Louisville Information, Louisville Neighborhoods, Louisville Real Estate, What to do in Louisville, Author: Younger Group (October 30, 2010)
With plenty happening above ground with the opening of YUM Center, Louisville residents can gain an interesting view of underground Louisville by visiting the Mega Caverns under the Louisville Zoo. Just five miles from downtown, located in the Belnap-Poplar Level neighborhood in the Highlands of Louisville, the Mega Caverns will be open for its second year of holiday fun with Lights Under Louisville. Take your family for a 30-40 minute ride through part of 17 miles of underground passageways, now featuring twice the lighted displays from last year with three times the animation. Lights Under Louisville is a great way to move toward the Christmas holidays once Halloween festivities are done – and to view Louisville’s commitment to be green in action.
The caverns, site of Lights Under Louisville, are not just for holidays. School children and other visitors examine the site throughout the year and view its wonders via SUV-drawn trams. Interestingly, the caverns are not just another man-made theme park but are a classic example of Louisville recycling and restoration. Originally a limestone quarry in use until 1972 by Louisville Crushed Stone, the quarry and its buildings were acquired in 1989 by investor who want to develop a portion of the cavern as an environmentally-conscious high security commercial storage facility. Since, as noted on hellolouisville.com, enough stone was blasted out of the quarry to build three pyramids, the cavern extends over 4 million square feet (100 acres)
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the caverns served as bomb shelter – at least for those lucky enough to have a reservation. Over the past 20 years, recycled concrete, brick, block, car parts, non-organic waste rock and dirt have been dropped off and been used to fill in holes and create floors and internal roads in the cavern. This effort has minimized the amount of non-biodegradable waste sent to Louisville landfills
The cavern is used as weather-proof, earthquake-proof shortage center for items as diverse as cars, boat, road salt, documents, and even priceless items like original Hollywood movie prints. (The Wizard of Oz and many original Disney films are stored there.) Owners of Louisville Underground, which manages the warehousing facility, note with pride that the facility is so safe that it would withstand a tornado or direct hit from a 747 off-course from nearby Louisville International Airport.
The caverns constitute the largest “green building” in Louisville -and the city’s largest building. Additional offices and storage space are being carved out of the walls.
If you just to see some beautiful lights, sans the history lesson, Light Under Louisville at the Mega Caverns is still for you. The spectacular event runs from November 19 through January 2, 2011, so you will have time to enjoy the seasonal lights every weeknight from 6pm -10pm, with an extra hour on weekends. Admission is $25 per car, truck, SUV, or minivan, $35 per van, $50 per limo, and $50-75 per bus. Discount coupons are available at Wendy’s and 5/3 bank throughout the area.
For a good family trip, you might want to catch The Light Before Christmas at the Imax Theatre at the Louisville Science Center. The holiday film is shown daily from November 13 – January 2 at 2pm and 4pm; the timing of later show makes it perfect to go right to the caves. Or, for a different kind of day, you can start at the Louisville Zoo, built over some of the caverns (though you cannot enter the caverns from there) before taking in the lights.
There’s always something happening in Louisville, a great family city that is also committed to living green. For ideas about the best place to settle in the Highlands or other parts of Louisville, contact Mollie Younger of Younger Group Real Estate. We know Louisville!