If I didn’t know any better, standing outside Louisville Slugger Factory I would have thought there was a Giant living in Louisville who likes to play baseball. The outside of the Factory hosts a six story high baseball bat that leans against the building as though casually left there. 

The factory tour, located at 800 W. Main Street in Downtown Louisville, costs 16 dollars per adult, with discounts for kids under 13 and seniors. The tour of the factor is interesting for baseball fans and non-fans alike. Focusing on the manufacturing elements of the famous Slugger bats, the tour starts with a film showing the forests where the Slugger bats originated. The film ends and you are ushered into the working factory that sits in the middle of Museum Row. 

In the factory, conveyor belts run, and employees stand in front of you dipping bats into varnish. The tour walks you through each step of making a bat, from rounding the wood into cylinders to shaping the cylinders into bats to painting them for players. On the tour, you’ll get the chance to see the cylinders of wood that real major league players have hand-picked to use as their future bats. Specialized painted bats for events hang on display in the factory, and the entire tour is very hands on, allowing you to feel the differences between different types of wood made into bats and even how varnish changes the bat’s feel. On your way out of the tour, you can pick up a wood knob that is cut off a bat in its final stage of shaping. You’ll also get a free souvenir mini-bat. 

Outside the factory is a museum with interesting historical tidbits about baseball players and their bats. A large gift shop finishes out the interior, with bats decorated for every major league team and the option to get a custom engraved bat. 

The Slugger Museum is unique in that you actually walk through the action of the bats truly being created. You aren’t looking at photographs or cliché videos. Instead, the smell of freshly cut wood and varnish floats in the factory air as newly sliced wood shavings crinkle under your feet.

Samara Angel is a freelance writer for xpLouisville. A rising junior at Yale University, she has had fiction published in campus publications and recently was a recipient of the Wallace Prize for fiction. Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Samara is spending the summer in Louisville, and is passionate about the arts and outdoors.