Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Shelbyville, KY

  • Published 2022/10/26

The unassuming city of Shelbyville is a little slice of authentic Kentucky beauty, located near the bustling Louisville metropolis.

It’s known as the Saddlebred Capital of the World, an equestrian stronghold with more than 80 horse farms in the rural outskirts.

Within the city, you’d feel the history emanating from the old buildings and landmarks that line the streets.

There are also many natural features surrounding the destination, such as undulating plains, more creeks that you can count, and large patches of woodland.

There’s something for every preference here, whether you’re a nature lover, an intrepid adventurer, or a pleasure-seeker.

So for your next weekend getaway, make this place your top choice!

Here are the 20 best things to do in Shelbyville, KY:

Watch a Thrilling Race at the Shelbyville Horse Show

Daniel Boone, the great American Pioneer known for his explorations in Kentucky, traveled to the general area where Shelbyville will eventually stand.

He was riding “American Horses,” which were beautiful breeds that played an important role during the American Revolutionary War.

These animals eventually evolved into the majestic American Saddlebreds, and Shelbyville happens to be the home to the most pedigreed specimens.

To preserve and showcase this heritage, the town holds the annual Shelbyville Horse Show.

It’s a gathering of the finest horses, along with the farmers and breeders who raise and care for them.

Watch as they strut around town, showing off their glistening coats and muscled bodies to the crowds.

And no horse festival would be complete without amazing races.

There are plenty of those during the show, allowing the audience to witness the speed and endurance of these animals.

Enjoy the Modern Amenities of Clear Creek Park

One of the largest and oldest green spaces within Shelbyville is the verdant Clear Creek Park.

Sitting next to the eponymous body of water, this destination attracts residents and visitors for some fun under the sun.

Within the 130 acre-space, you’ll find a wide range of recreational facilities for the whole family.

There’s the 40,000-square-foot Clear Creek Family Activity Center, which has its own lap pool and outdoor pool with slides.

You can also play with friends on its basketball courts or work up a sweat in the weight room.

On one end, you’ll see the verdant Clear Creek Course and its rolling fairways.

The farthest end contains Lake Shelby, which really is just a wide segment of Clear Creek.

These are just a small portion of the many things to see while at this bustling park, so make sure that it’s on your list of must-see attractions.

Join the Celebrations at Shelby County Fairgrounds

As one of the chief venues for the Shelbyville Horse Show, Shelby County Fairgrounds maintains beautiful scenery that impresses everyone who visits for the festival.

But it’s not the only celebration held here.

The vibrant Shelby County Fair, which has been around since 1860, takes place on the fairgrounds.

You’re welcome to join this event, showcasing the bountiful harvest from nearby farms, healthy livestock, and artisanal products made by local businesses.

You can also expect live music and thrilling entertainment brought by talented artists from all over the state.

During the off days of the fairgrounds, it becomes a tranquil green space in the middle of town.

So if you miss the horse show or the country fair, you can still make a stopover and enjoy the quiet scenery.

Play Disc Golf at Red Orchard Park

The scenic Red Orchard Park was once a private farm until it was donated to the Shelby County’s Parks Department.

The organization immediately went to work and created the space into a verdant attraction spanning 131 acres.

So there’s plenty of space for various outdoor activities.

On its southernmost end, where Clear Creek passes, is a disc golf course frequented by enthusiasts and casual players alike.

There’s also a playground, dog park with two sections, picnic benches, and other amenities for the whole family.

Across the pastoral land, there are winding trails that you can explore on foot, bike, or horseback.

These bring you to small patches of forests and waterfront lookouts offering views of Clear Creek.

Dare to Enter the Black Orchard Haunted House

Just across Red Orchard Park is a spine-chilling attraction that will have you screaming for your life: the Black Orchard Haunted House.

This seasonal destination is set in a nondescript barn standing on the edge of the forest.

Just seeing the looming facade at night is already an intimidating experience, but the really twisted fun happens inside.

Every weekend from September to October, the ghouls, ghosts, and other scary creatures come alive and haunt anyone who dares enter the door.

The realistic sets, awesome effects, and enthusiastic actors all create a hair-raising adventure that will complete your Halloween.

Every year, there’s an overarching storyline that will keep visitors on their toes.

So if you happen to visit Shelbyville during the fall, make sure that this attraction is part of your itinerary.

Trek the Gorgeous Clear Creek Greenway

For those who want a quick escape from the bustling streets of Shelbyville, head to the Clear Creek Greenway.

This scenic trail runs parallel to the eponymous body of water, with some routes branching to other sections of the city.

So via this route, you can visit some of the key attractions, such as the Red Orchard Park, Clear Creek Park, and Lake Shelby.

And since no motorized vehicles are allowed in the trail, it remains peaceful and undisturbed.

You can explore the concrete path by walking, jogging, biking, or even jogging.

Every now and then, slow down and appreciate the views of the gleaming creek, tree-lined borders, and historic homes on either side of the trail.

Catch a Show at Shelby County Community Theatre

Even though most of the city’s residents prefer working on farms or with horses, Shelbyville still has a small population focusing on human creativity.

Most of them gather at the Shelby County Community Theatre, the hub for performance art in the region.

Having been around since the 1980s, this theater has produced a wide variety of shows that enthralled locals and visitors alike.

And because of the quality of these shows, Shelby County Community Theatre has won state and regional awards.

So you’re in for a real treat when you visit the attraction.

Come over and catch intriguing plays, entertaining children’s shows, bombastic musicals, and other productions.

To get an idea of upcoming shows of the season, check out their calendar today!

Go Fishing at Clear Creek

Clear Creek has already been mentioned a few times with the other city attractions, so you might be curious why it’s in so many places.

Well, this body of water meanders around most of Shelbyville, thanks to its elaborately curved path.

It’s one of the most significant geographical features in the area and traces its headwaters to the farms north of the city proper.

But more than being a source of irrigation and nutritional sediment, this body of water serves as the main destination for water-related activities.

Many people like to explore the more isolated bends farther from the city, which can be done on small watercraft.

Swimming is also fun, especially in Lake Shelby, where the water runs clear and calm.

And for those who like to test their angling skills, the creek has freshwater species like brown trout, sunfish, and crappie.

Play a Few Rounds at Weissinger Hills Golf Course

There are several panoramic golf courses in Shelbyville, and one of the most popular ones is Weissinger Hills Golf Course.

Set amidst the gentle plains south of the city proper, this sporting facility takes advantage of the natural scenery by incorporating it into the course’s design.

The result is a lush, 18-hole course with verdant fairways, manicured greens, and small patches of trees.

There are also well-placed hazards and bunkers that add a level of difficulty to your gameplay.

But the layout is fairly manageable, so even beginners will enjoy their rounds on the course.

And since the attraction is a public golf course, you can simply book a tee time and come over if you have a few hours to spare.

Cruise the Calm Waters of Guist Creek Lake

Another favorite water attraction in town is the tranquil Guist Creek Lake, located east of the city proper.

With an area of 317 acres, this body of water is the biggest in the whole county.

It was created when the eponymous creek was impounded, creating a deep reservoir frequented by locals.

Yes—it’s mostly just locals since this little-known attraction is considered one of the best-kept secrets in the area.

So know you’re in the know!

Some activities you can try include kayaking or canoeing to the isolated sections, fishing large game, or viewing the wildlife that frequent the lake.

Camping is also a great option if you plan to stay longer, with Guist Creek Marina and Campground as the premier site for RVs and traditional tents.

Test Your Accuracy at Shooter’s Roost

If you like to pull the trigger and hit the target right on the bull’s eye, make a stopover at Shooter’s Roost.

This spacious indoor shooting range is the top attraction for gun enthusiasts in the area, thanks to its many services.

The most prominent, of course, is the 12-lane shooting range where you can aim, shoot, and hit targets.

But they also have a shop offering guns, ammo, and accessories for sale or lease.

So even if you came to the location empty-handed, you could still enjoy the thrill of shooting.

For those who want to learn more about gun safety and or earn permits to carry concealed weapons, you can join the classes offered at the range.

Sample Premium Drinks at Talon Winery

To cap off your tour of Shelbyville, visit Talon Winery and sample their fine drinks.

Thanks to the fertile soil and mild climate of this region, the company could grow lush grapevines along with other farmers.

Talon Winery distinguishes itself from the rest by producing award-winning wines, some of which have won the state-wide Commissioner’s Cup.

So visit their tasting room during your trip and try their Cabernets, Moscatos, and reds.

And don’t forget to bring home a bottle or two for special celebrations and events!

Admire the Displays of Wakefield-Scearce Galleries

The stunning 200-year-old Historic Science Hill is home to Wakefield-Scearce Galleries.

Antique enthusiasts and those who value exquisite vintage furnishings should not miss these Shelbyville landmarks.

This 78-room old educational institution now houses one of the United States’ best collections of English antique furniture and silverware.

The gallery is home to the property’s retail antiquities business.

At the same time, the Courtyard features five boutiques selling high-end clothing, silver, linens, and other decorative items.

You may unwind at the Science Hill Inn Dining Room just beyond the main structure via the brick courtyard after a day of sightseeing in this quaint area.

See Lovely Plants at Tim McClure Botanical Gardens

The Tim McClure Botanical Gardens, situated at Clear Creek Park’s main entrance, are a great place to enjoy the changing seasons.

You may find over 80 gorgeous trees and eye-catching plants throughout the garden’s serpentine walks.

Many people visit the garden because of the beautiful perennial flower collection.

Admire the stunning columbines, coneflowers, daylilies, and other gorgeous flowers and plants growing in the garden.

The trails will bring you to seats where you can enjoy the scenery and scents at your leisure.

The garden’s name was a tribute to Tim McClure, the park’s previous Extension horticulture agent.

This place is a fantastic educational and recreational resource for everyone who frequents Clear Creek Park.

Learn and Enjoy Farmlife at Gallrein Farms

The Gallreins have owned and operated this farm since 1929.

Dairy farming was the focus of the family for two generations until land diversion in the 1970s.

They opened this farm market opened to the public in the 1990s.

As with every farm, Gallrein Farms has several activities and adapts to the changing seasons.

For example, in the spring, visitors may peruse nine greenhouses full of flowers.

In the summer, you can pick strawberries or purchase freshly harvested vegetables.

Fall has many family-friendly events, including hayrides, a corn maze, a tractor train, and a pumpkin farm.

The farm’s petting zoo is open from spring to fall, and visitors may pet donkeys, cows, chickens, lambs, horses, and llamas.

Pick Peaches and Apples at Mulberry Orchard

Take a day trip to Mulberry Orchard to relax and fill up on farm-fresh fruit in gorgeous natural surroundings.

The family-owned orchards harvest 17 peach kinds and 16 apple varieties each summer.

Try to schedule your trip between June and October so you can pick some right off the trees and eat them fresh.

Kids will enjoy the hay ride and may run off steam in the play area after meeting the farm animals and learning about their food source.

The Mulberry Kitchen provides light meals and snacks.

Also, it sells locally sourced meats, veggies, honey, preserves, cider, and berries to take home.

Tour and Sample the Spirits of Bulleit Distilling Co.

The Bulleit Distilling Co. has been producing premium Kentucky bourbon since 1830 using a secret family recipe.

Thomas E. Bulleit Jr. founded the company in 1987.

Its robust and spicy bourbon, with plenty of flavors and a silky finish, is at the center of the firm and its famed product.

The bourbon undergoes maturity in charred American oak barrels, which gives it a unique flavor.

When you visit the Shelbyville distillery, you may participate in the 1-hour Frontier Whiskey Experience and learn everything about the distillation process while enjoying a guided tour and interactive tasting.

Other Things to Do Nearby

After your adventures in Shelbyville, why not check out these other attractions just a few minutes away?

Visit the Native Animals at Salato Wildlife Center

Flags and a bronze statue at Salato Wildlife Center.

Theodore P. Webb /

In neighboring Frankfort, you’ll find a seasonal attraction with creatures of all kinds, the magnificent Salato Wildlife Center.

This destination is just 26 minutes away from Shelbyville, so you can quickly drive to it during your spare time.

Here, several native species from Kentucky’s forests and rivers live in relative comfort and freedom.

An eagle on a branch at Salato Wildlife Center.

Theodore P. Webb /

You’ll see black bears, raptors, large omnivores, and a few reptiles endemic to the region.

Aside from visiting these animals and learning about them, you can go fishing and hunting within the center’s territory.

Just follow the regulations and guidelines to avoid accidentally catching protected species.

An animal behind a fence at Salato Wildlife Center.

Theodore P. Webb /

Bring the Family to Malibu Jack’s Louisville

Neighboring Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, so you can expect many attractions to visit.

But for now, let’s focus on one that can accommodate the whole family: Malibu Jack’s Louisville.

This destination is also near Shelbyville, so you can reach it in as fast as 25 minutes.

Upon arrival, you’d immediately feel the electric energy of this amusement park.

It boasts various sections, each with its own attraction: a mini-golf course, indoor rides, bumper cars, laser tag arenas, so much more.

And for those who like to snack between games, the facility has an in-house restaurant offering energizing meals and drinks for all.

It really is the ultimate family destination in the region.

Final Thoughts

The fusion of Midwest and Southern heritage make Shelbyville a culturally rich place, teeming with festivals, agricultural traditions, and equestrian practices.

It’s also surrounded by natural attractions like creeks, lakes, and vast plains, making it a nature lover’s playground.

Reference this list when making your itinerary so you won’t miss all these gorgeous destinations!

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