Summer Destination: Kentucky Derby Museum Now Open For Tours

June 30, 2020

Louisville, Ky. – The Kentucky Derby Museum opened Monday, June 29. The Museum has slightly altered its operating hours and offerings to align with state regulations and Churchill Downs’ schedule.

The Kentucky Derby Museum is located next to Churchill Downs® Racetrack in one of Louisville’s historic neighborhoods just minutes from downtown Louisville. 

Kentucky Derby Museum is proud to be Churchill Downs’ exclusive tour partner. Their knowledgeable and passionate tour guides share the colorful history of the world’s most famous racetrack. For a chance to see Thoroughbreds working out on the track, take the 8:00 a.m. Behind the Scenes Tour which takes you to the rail of the track. Enjoy the many photo ops on all tours, and create new memories from this bucket-list experience!

Regular Specialty Tours of Churchill Downs are now available (see exclusions below).

Historic Walking Tour

Daily, included with General Admission

Take a 30 minute, guided walking tour of historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Learn about past Derby winners and the rich history of this location. Visitors will walk through the property to the paddock and out to the grandstand learning trivia and fun facts along the way. 

Bring your camera!

This tour is wheelchair accessible.

*Also located in the garden terrace are the gravesites of five famous Kentucky Derby winners, Brokers Tip (1933), Swaps (1955), Carry Back (1961), Dust Commander (1970) and Sunny’s Halo (1983). Second place 2008 Derby finishing filly Eight Belles is interred in the Museum’s back garden under a Magnolia tree planted in her honor. 

Historic Walking Tour Details

Free with Museum admission. 

Available year-round* (Historic Walking Tours are conducted through Wednesday of Derby week; then resume the Wednesday after Derby). No reservation needed. Limited to 10 guests per group

Historic Walking Tour Times

Daily, half past every hour

Monday – Saturday 

9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

General Admission includes:

A viewing of The Museum’s epic film, “The Greatest Race,” a 360° 18-minute media experience that will make your heart race and emotions soar. See two floors of family-friendly interactive exhibits. Browse the Museum Gift Shop and sample Kentucky fare in the Derby Cafe Express


Adults (15-64): $16

Seniors (65+): $14

Children (5-14): $10

Children (Under 5): FREE

Discounts are provided for the following:

Active & Retired Military (Proper ID required, in-person only).
Track employee (Racing ID required, in-person only).
Pre-scheduled groups of 15 people or more together.
Organized school groups.

The Museum reserves the right to alter discounts and prices at any time.

Purchase Admission

Please note: All tours are subject to route adjustments and/or cancelation due to inclement weather and special events at Churchill Downs. Be sure to arrive about 10 minutes prior to tour time to allow time to park and take care of admission, tours will leave promptly at times listed above. Check The Museum calendar to view amendments to normal hours of operation.

Bourbon and Bridles Tour

Thursdays, 2 p.m.

Combine two of Kentucky’s most treasured icons: Bourbon and Thoroughbreds. This hour-long experience starts with an exciting tour at Churchill Downs, intertwining the history of bourbon and horse racing in Kentucky. At the end, learn how to make a mint julep, and of course, sip one!

While walking through historic Churchill Downs, learn fun facts about why horse racing and bourbon go together, including what makes a Thoroughbred a Thoroughbred? And a bourbon a bourbon? Pick up facts about distillery owners who have won the Derby, and how some guests imbibed on Derby day during Prohibition.

The tour ends inside the Derby Cafe Express at the Museum, an official stop on Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail where guests can get their Urban Bourbon Trail passport stamped. There, guests will enjoy a bourbon tasting along with an interactive lesson on how to make the famous Mint Julep, and then taste one. Guests will also enjoy Louisville’s Modjeska candy, named after the famous actress who attended the third running of the Kentucky Derby in 1877, and who took quite a liking to the Mint Julep.

Tour Details:

$75 per person, includes general admission to Museum. Thursdays, 2 p.m. 1-hr duration. Includes a gift bag with Mint Julep syrup and recipe, Modjeska candy, a Derby glass, and more! 21+ and over, limited to 10 people

Purchase Tickets

Behind the Scenes Walking Tour

Daily, on non-racing days

This tour gives special access to ritzy areas of Churchill Downs Racetrack, and for the first time ever, Churchill Downs is allowing Museum Guests on this tour to explore The Mansion at Churchill Downs. This invitation-only venue is so exclusive, it isn’t even listed on the Churchill Downs website. The Behind the Scenes Walking Tour will take you inside this gorgeous space where celebrities “do Derby” and offer an insider’s view of other non-public areas including* the Jockey’s Quarters, Millionaires Row and private members-only Turf Club. Bring your camera for iconic views of the fourth floor balcony, legendary Twin Spires, track, and the city. 

*Areas are subject to change based on availability.

Tour Details

1 hr. 30 min. $20 per person in addition to Museum admission. Limited to 10 guests per group. Suggested to purchase in advance. Children under 5 FREE

Tour Times 

Monday – Saturday

8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m.


12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.

Arrive at the Museum’s Visitor Services desk at least fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled departure tour time as all tours leave promptly.

Purchase Tour Tickets

Race Horse Workout Tours at Churchill Downs

Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m.

Did you know Thoroughbreds weigh around 1,000 pounds? Or that they can reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour? Come see for yourself! The Workout Tour gives the thrilling experience of hearing hooves hitting the dirt early in the morning as these magnificent horses exercise right in front of you. Guests will meet at the Kentucky Derby Museum, then walk to the Churchill Downs grandstand where a tour guide will discuss the action on the track, including the ins and outs of training Thoroughbreds, as well as handicapping the races. Get ready to take pictures and videos because seeing these animals working out beneath the historic Twin Spires is an experience you will want to hold onto forever!

Tour Details

$15 per person (in addition to general admission). 60 minutes in duration. Limited to 10 guests per group

Tour Times 

Monday – Saturday

7:30 a.m.

Tour Tickets Coming Soon

Churchill Downs After Hours Tour

Monday through Saturday, 5:00 p.m.

The Churchill Downs After-Hours Tour is a memorable way to end your day or begin your evening. Take a stroll through the courtyard, paddock, Millionaire’s Row, the Stakes Room, a stop on the balcony next to Twin Spires™ overlooking the track, and the exclusive Churchill Downs Mansion. Bring your camera for the many picturesque views you will spot from all points on this tour! This tour offers a truly insider view of the non-public areas of Churchill Downs.

$20 per person (does not include Museum admission). Limited to 10 guests per group. Monday through Saturday 5:00 p.m. 90 minute duration. July – September 30 (excludes race days at the track)

Visiting in October? Don’t miss the nighttime Horses & Haunts Tour! This tour must be purchased in advance!

Arrive at the Barbaro Statue in front of the Museum at least fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled departure tour time as all tours leave promptly.

Purchase Tour Tickets

All times shown are in Eastern Daylight Time


Gallery Talks 

Offered Daily (times and programming topics vary)

Thoroughbred Care Program

Offered Daily

Barn and Backside Tour

Temporarily suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions

Derby Season Tours

Temporarily suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions

Race Day Golf Cart & Walking Tour

Temporarily suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions

Around the Track Golf Cart & Walking Tour

Temporarily suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions

Groups of 15 or more

To view tour and pricing options for groups of 15 or more, visit Group Tour Information

General Museum Information

Museum and Gift Shop* Hours 

Wednesday – Saturday & Mondays: 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Sunday: 11:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

Closed Tuesdays

*Note, you do not need to purchase a General Admission ticket to visit our Gift Shop.

Derby Cafe Express Hours 

Wednesday – Sunday: 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

Closed Mondays & Tuesdays.


Free parking is available on-premise year-round.

Address and Phone Number

704 Central Avenue, Louisville, KY 40208
(502) 637-1111

Kentucky Derby Museum COVID-19 Protocol 

Kentucky Derby Museum has been working diligently to reconfigure all of our operations, including tours, Gift Shop and Derby Cafe Express, to ensure the health and safety of our guests and employees for our reopening. Our COVID-19 plan and protocols meet or exceed the social distancing, capacity, and health and safety guidelines outlined by local, state and federal authorities. Below are highlights of these protocols and what you can expect during your upcoming visit.

As information pertaining to COVID-19 is ever-evolving, please be sure to check back to this page for updates prior to visiting.

For more information on planning a visit, review our General Information page.

Here is what you can expect during your visit:


All Museum employees are required to undergo a temperature check each day and wear masks while at work. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be permitted to enter. Guests are strongly encouraged to wear masks. All employees are required to participate in regular handwashing breaks throughout their work day.


Thorough, commercial-grade cleaning of the Museum, exhibits and all surfaces will be conducted continuously throughout the day. The Museum will be closed on Tuesdays for deep cleaning throughout. Hand sanitization stations are widely available throughout the property for the use of our guests and employees.


Tour capacity is limited to 10 people to allow for proper social distancing. The Greatest Race, our movie about the Kentucky Derby, shows every hour and will be limited to 40 people per viewing.


We encourage guests to purchase their tickets online in advance. Guests will be given sanitized stylus pens to use for our interactive exhibits.

Exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present; we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed during your visit.

Past The Wire Staff 

Photo: Kentucky Derby Museum

@jonathanstettin you are clearly not human!!!! Thanks for the zillionth time for #membership and @Tracking_Trips! 💰💰

Kevin West @KFWest003 View testimonials