Thunder Day Information

Get excited about Thunder! Check out the information below to plan your perfect Thunder Day – whether you’re coming with a family or with a group of friends. 

Got a little one? Don’t forget to download a “Gus” Pegasus Coloring Page for Thunder! Download the Thunder Coloring Page HERE


This applies to ALL viewing areas within the Thunder Over Louisville venue on the Kentucky side – which goes south from the Ohio River to Main Street between Clay Street and 10th Street and includes Thunder Chow Wagon, Meijer Family Fun Zone on the West Belvedere and North Great Lawn viewing area.

  • All persons and parcels are subject to search.
  • No Drones – The FAA has established a no-fly zone around the Thunder venue. Unmanned aircraft, such as drones, won’t be allowed within 5 miles. Any drones on site could shut down the air show. Violators face confiscation and up to an $11,000 fine. This will be strictly enforced.
  • No Tents or Canopies of any kind will be allowed within Waterfront Park. Structures of ANY kind will be required to be taken down. This will be strictly enforced.
  • No taping or roping off of larges areas will be allowed. This will be strictly enforced throughout the Thunder venue.
  • No overnight camping allowed in Waterfront Park or the overall event area. Waterfront Park officially closes at 11PM on Friday Night and will open at 9 AM on Saturday morning.
  • Plastic containers, cans and food are permitted. Beer is also available at the Chow Wagon at Waterfront Park, North Great Lawn, Meijer Family Fun Zone on the West Belvedere and Big Four Lawn.
  • No grills are allowed within the Thunder venue.
  • No bikes, skateboards or skates are allowed in the event venue, including rental bikes and scooters. You will be asked to walk them in for pedestrian safety. If you ride your bike to Thunder, please bring a lock and use the bike parking available at Bingham Way and Witherspoon Street, the corner of Preston and Witherspoon Streets and the base of the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge (on both sides of the river).
  • Please leave any pets at home.
  • A picnic blanket or tarp (limited to 10’x10′) and lawn chairs are allowed inside the Thunder venue (including the North Great Lawn viewing area).
  • FOOD or DRINK is permitted in the North Great Lawn viewing area, Meijer Family Fun Zone on the West Belvedere, and other areas of the Thunder venue. But there are plenty of concession food and soft drink stands throughout the venue to take care of any needs you may have.

The Louisville Metro Police Department advises Thunder patrons to plan ahead when determining a parking strategy for Thunder Over Louisville. Park as far away as you can comfortably walk and plan on parking in areas that will get you headed in the direction of town you intend to go.

DOWNTOWN LOUISVILLE: there are more than 52,000 public parking, off-street spaces within a 10-block walk to the River.  For more information on garage and lot locations visit one of these websites at: or or contact the Parking Authority of River City (PARC) at (502) 587-PARK.

SOUTHERN INDIANA:  Public and private parking is available in Southern Indiana. Contact the Clark/Floyd County Convention and Tourism Bureau more information (812) 282-6654. Water Tower Square (Jeffersonville) – RV & Car Parking available. For more information on costs and location call (812) 288-9057.

RV PARKING: RV and camper parking is available! We recommend renting space in the Lot (Blue Lot) on Thunder Day for the best views and closest parking.

Riverside Parking: $200.00 to $300.00 per RV/Camper. Call (502) 584-2459.

TARC in partnership with Humana will be offering fare-free service for the full day of Thunder Over Louisville, Saturday, April 22.

In an effort to get people home as quickly as possible, five Post-Thunder Boarding Stops have been designated within downtown Louisville—most within blocks of the waterfront. These stops will be available for passengers to board immediately following the event, and will be the only downtown boarding options (please see the detailed list and map below).

An additional 68 TARC buses will be added to Saturday’s service to improve the frequency of buses on the street, and better serve the expected increase of passengers to the event. A shuttle service from Shawnee Park to Union Station will also run throughout the day to accommodate an expected increase of passengers heading downtown.


Thunder Tips:

  1. Wear your Pegasus Pin. Show your support for the Kentucky Derby Festival, plus you’ll need it for the Thunder Chow Wagon, Meijer Family Fun Zone on the West Belvedere and North Great Lawn viewing area.
  2. Park as far away from event venue as you can comfortably walk. Refer to the LMPD Traffic Plan to help choose the best place to park and exit route.
  3. Dress in layers. The temperature can vary a great deal throughout the day. Bring sunglasses & sunscreen.
    Know your limits and your children’s limits for the day. Seven hours can be a long day for toddlers. Consider picking air show OR fireworks.
  4. Bring a roll of toilet paper (Thunder Pots can run out!)
  5. Please do NOT bring pets, tents or materials to rope off/section off areas of the venue.
  6. You can bring food and drink to the venue (except in the Thunder Chow Wagon). Vending is also available throughout the venue. (All parcels subject to search.)
  7. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings AND be aware of the Thunder services around you…EMS, Lost Child Stations, General First Aid.
  8. Make sure your car has plenty of gas for the exit traffic delays.

If you’re planning on bringing along the whole family, you’re in for a day full of fun and excitement. There are plenty of family friendly activities to do to keep you and your little ones entertained all day. Though the list could go on and on, we’ve made it simple for you and narrowed it down to the top five things to do with your family at Thunder.

Ford’s Thunder on the Ground

Head over to the South Great Lawn to enjoy the epicenter of family fun at Thunder. Here, you’ll find interactive displays and kids’ activities that will keep the entire family happy. You can take a walk through the Ford X-perience, take a photo with the Idaho Potato Truck, try your best at a chin-up challenge with the U.S Marines, navigate a 4D virtual reality rescue mission with U.S. Navy, and so much more. If you somehow manage to complete all the activities, no worries, there are a variety of rides you can choose from. The little ones can enjoy rides like the Fun Slide, Hampton, and the Lil’ Wheel. If you have adrenaline junkies in the family, they will love rides like Alien Abduction, Ali Baba, Drop & Twist, and more. Ford’s Thunder on the Ground is open from 11am – 11pm and is free admission with a Pegasus pin.

Meijer Family Fun Zone

If the South Great Lawn isn’t enough to keep you busy, head over to the Meijer Family Fun Zone now at the Big Four Bridge for even more entertainment. Kids can play in bounce houses, get their face painted, play golf, get creative with crafts, and more. Then, when hunger strikes, not to worry, there are plenty of food options and snack samples that everyone can enjoy and a Beer Garden for mom and dad. Then, when the night winds down, take a seat, look up, and enjoy the show. The Meijer Family Fun Zone is open from 11am – 11pm and is free admission with a Pegasus Pin.

Big Four Bridge Lawn

If you’d like a more quiet spot to watch the fireworks, the Big Four Bridge Lawn is the perfect place for you and your family. Here, you can take advantage of the wide space, enjoy food vendors, and take part in activities all while avoiding the crowds. You’ll have plenty of space to set up your viewing spot and relax while taking in the air shows and firework display. Admission is free with a Pegasus Pin.


  • Designate a driver if you plan on drinking in the only beer-vending areas of the event: Thunder Chow Wagon at Waterfront Park, Meijer Family Fun Zone at the Big Four Bridge, North Great Lawn and the Big Four Lawn.
  • Identify a location to regroup should you lose any in your party.
  • Bring your patience. This is not an event for the crowd-shy. Remember the event is for fun – try to have some!
  • Don’t count on cell phones working 100% that day. With that many folks and phones, service can be unreliable.
  • Know what your children are wearing. Snap a photo of them on your phone, so you have it with you. Make sure they know to find a police officer and know your phone number and address. Thunder Lost Child Stations are set-up throughout the venue at all First Aid Stations.
  • If you plan to bring young children (toddlers and infants) to the venue, bring ear plugs for them. The loud noises from the air show and fireworks frighten some children. Plus, it will help protect their tiny ear drums.
  • Entertain restless children in the kid’s interactive areas or playgrounds in Waterfront Park and along River Road.
  • ThunderWear (official Thunder merchandise) can be found in several locations.
  • You can tune into the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport Command Center and complete Air Show commentary on MIX 106.9
  • Stay up-to-date by following Kentucky Derby Festival on social media @KyDerbyFestival and download the Derby Festival App.
  • NO-NO’S – Keep glass bottles, grills, tents, stakes, pennant lines, caution tape, alcohol, skates and pets at home.

Thunder Station 1. West Wharf in Joes Crab Shack Parking Lot

Thunder Station 2. Waterfront Park in South Great Lawn (South west corner of lawn)

Thunder Station 3. Waterfront Park in North Great Lawn (South center)

Thunder Station 4. Waterfront Park in Orange Parking Lot (near East River Road)

Thunder Station 5. Waterfront Park at Big Four Lawn

Thunder Station 6. Clarksville in Ashland Park near entrance of Park

Thunder Station 7. Jeffersonville at base of Big 4 Bridge

Saturday, April 22nd

11:00 AM – 11:00 PM: Venue Open

3:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Family Friendly Activities

Meijer Family Fun Zone is at the Big Four Bridge

Admission is FREE with a 2023 Pegasus Pin.  (NO TENTS, STAKES, TAPE OR PETS.) Coolers are permitted. Food/Beer for purchase are also available in the area.

Activities include:
Kids Zone featuring bounce houses, face painting, craft area and photo opportunity.
Putting Challenge and Plinko
Meijer’s Food Truck sampling popsicles
Special Meijer Promotions throughout the day
The Bubble Bug


1. Examine your Boat

Check all safety equipment before getting underway. Don’t forget to check your navigation lights; these must be displayed between sunset and sunrise. Check river conditions at

2. Don’t Drink Alcohol on the Water

According to Kentucky state code, both the drinking of alcoholic beverages and being intoxicated on a boat are prohibited, and the State of Kentucky’s jurisdiction extends across the width of the Ohio River. This law and others that prohibit drinking on the water will be strictly enforced.

3. Wear a Lifejacket

Federal law requires children under the age of 13 to wear lifejackets at all times and for every adult there must also be a lifejacket on-board and easily accessible. Remember, people float better when they wear a lifejacket.


Please be prepared for the following potentially hazardous conditions:

Strong River Currents – High water associated with melting snow and spring rains significantly increase river currents.

Debris – Debris and drift are both difficult to see, especially at night, and they can easily foul a propeller or cause severe damage to a boat.

Low Water Temperature – The average river water temperature during this event is expected to be 50° Fahrenheit. At this temperature, hypothermia can quickly occur.

Fatigue – Many boaters enjoy the event from before noon until after the fireworks display, and spending that much time on the water can both be tiring and lead to serious mistakes.

Navigable Channel: The navigable channel is from the Kentucky shoreline to the center of the river. No vessels may anchor or loiter in the channel. Anchoring is not permitted from the Big Four Bridge to Towhead Island.

No Entry Zone: At 11:00 AM, the Coast Guard will establish a “No Entry Zone” from river mile 606.8 to 602.7 (from McAlpine Lock and Dam to 200 yards up river of the Big Four Railroad Bridge). All spectator boats shall stay away from the no entry zone.

No Wake Zone: A No Wake Zone will be in effect from river mile 602.7 to 598.0.

USCG Sector Ohio Valley – Louisville

LT Michael W. Metz
Waterway Management
(502) 779-5344 (desk)
(502) 715-1429 (cell)