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The Kentucky Derby: Kids or No Kids?

Viewing The Kentucky Derby, the most famous annual horse race, was on our bucket list. Are you interesting in attending “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” this May? If so, are you considering traveling with your children? Is the Kentucky Derby kid-friendly?

Here is my advice on bringing your kids to the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby

Attendance includes the opportunity to view multiple races with the culmination of the Kentucky Derby. Occurring every May, ticket prices range from less than $100 for general admission to seats on Millionaire’s Row costing thousands. The Kentucky Derby is attended by around 150,000 people each year.

My husband and I without our kid at the Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby 2019: Before the rain!

How much does it cost to attend the Kentucky Derby?

According to Kentucky tickets for the upcoming Derby will start at $70 per person. Seated tickets start at $565 for two day access.

Should You Bring Your Kids to the Kentucky Derby?

Everybody deserves an adult only vacation. There are some things in life that should not include your children. The Kentucky Derby is one of those events where you should leave your little ones at home. Why? I have listed just a few of the many reasons:

Kentucky Derby: Kids or no kids?

  • The Kentucky Derby is a crazy party. I would equate the Derby to Mardi Gras in fancy dresses and big hats. People get crazy. When I say crazy, I mean they are drunken messes. This is not something your children should witness.
  • Though children 12 and under are complimentary during the racing season, they are NOT free on Derby Day. Save the money you would pay for their ticket and buy a few more Mint Juleps!
  • There is absolutely nothing for your kids to do. The horse races will not be something that will entertain your kids so do not bore them with it.
  • The event is extremely crowded. I saw only a few children when I was at the Kentucky Derby 2019 and they all looked to be crying. Those who were not crying were being pushed through mud by their tired looking mothers in strollers. Mud? Well the weather the last few years has proven to be nothing less than wet. In fact, it rained and rained and rained. Though playing in mud is a kid’s dream, heed my advice and do not drag your screaming kids through the mud.
  • There are no real bathrooms, only port-a-potties. Do I really need to elaborate on this one or do you get the picture?
  • The Kentucky Derby is an all day affair. Kids who need naps should be left at home to take their scheduled naps.
The Finish Line of the Kentucky Derby
The finish line of the Kentucky Derby.

In summary

Attending the Kentucky Derby is the most fascinating, fun, party you will ever have the opportunity to attend. It is a once in a lifetime trip that you will always remember. Instead of dragging the kids, tell them all about it when you get home. You deserve a kid-free vacation so call Grandma and book her as a babysitter.

I would not recommend bringing your kids to the Kentucky Derby. Do they even make a southern belle hat in a kid size? If you are looking for the Kentucky Derby experience in an atmosphere your kids will love, visit the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Have you been to the Kentucky Derby? Would you agree with my advice? Drop me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Ashley

    What a fun post! I love your outfits and it looks like a ton of fun. 🙂

    1. Chris | Tourist With Tots

      It was a great trip. Who knew we would attend the only Kentucky Derby where the winner was contested and the decision on the winner would be changed.

  2. Jacquie

    This is good to know. Sometimes you’re never sure whether kids should come along or not, but there’s no harm in leaving them home sometimes and having a fun day without them!

    1. Chris | Tourist With Tots

      We all need a kid-free vacation!

  3. Julia Bocchese

    I’ve been wanting to go to the Kentucky Derby, but I never really thought about it being kid friendly or not! This is so helpful, and I’ll make sure I go kid free when I get to go!

    1. Chris | Tourist With Tots

      Everyone deserves a kid-free vacation!

  4. Angela

    What a great post. Seems like a really fun event to attend.

    1. admin

      Thank you for your comment.

  5. Reina E Conboy

    Great advice for people curious about whether or not they should bring their kids. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read that the small number of children that WERE there were crying and being pushed through the mud. Doesn’t sound like a happy place for children.

    1. Chris | Tourist With Tots

      It was not a happy place for the kids nor the mothers having to deal with the children!

  6. Claire

    I never thought of the Kentucky Derby being a crazy party – that’s really good to know!

    1. Chris | Tourist With Tots

      Oh yes, especially in the “cheap” seats. It is like a big ole tailgating party!

  7. Erica

    Wow! I had no idea the Derby was attended by over 150,000 people per year. I can’t even wrap my head around what those crowds would look like. It looks like such a fun affair though. I love any excuse to get dressed up. I appreciate your advice regarding not bringing children. I don’t have children (or plan to have children), so it doesn’t impact me personally, but I have a friend who has always wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby, so I’ll tell her to leave her little one at home when she goes!

    1. Chris | Tourist With Tots

      The number of people was crazy. Waiting for a drink or using port-o-potties was the worst part of the crowds.

  8. Brian

    Don’t have kids but I would agree, if I did, this wouldn’t be something I would bring them to. Some events are just best suited to be adults only occasions and this would be one for sure.

    1. Chris | Tourist With Tots

      Thank you for your comment. Though the trend is to bring kids traveling, it is definitely better to explore some locations kid-free.

  9. Stephanie

    Wow, oddly enough I’ve been looking for this exact post. My husband and I have a nine month old baby, so travel for us is a little different now. I’m always unsure of where I should bring him. I’ve been dreaming of going to the Kentucky Derby, but was unsure if it was good to bring him. This exact dilemma has actually been on my mind all week. Guess I’m not bringing him. However, a drunken party sounds like a good time for hubby and I!

    1. Chris | Tourist With Tots

      Leave your son at home and have fun!

  10. Linda Purcell

    The Portapotty part doesn’t even sound great for dressed up drunken grownups. Yikes.

  11. angelina

    I have always wanted to go to the Kentucky derby! I would prefer kid free

    1. Chris | Tourist With Tots

      It was definitely a wonderful experience and kid-free made it even more wonderful!

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