McConnell Springs is the birthplace of Lexington and is a wonderful hidden gem. We have a 26-acre historic and natural city park right under our noses!
McConnell Springs is located just inside New Circle off Old Frankfort Pike. You turn on Rebmann Lane and follow the signs that weave through industrial lots before stumbling upon the visitor’s center and picnic area.
In June 1775, William McConnell and his fellow frontier explorers camped at a natural spring in the wilderness of the Virginia territory known as Kentucky. Word came from nearby Fort Boonesboro that the first battle of the American Revolution had been fought in Lexington, Massachusetts. In honor of the battle, the group named their future settlement “Lexington”.
To register for an event call 859-225-4073
McConnell Springs welcomes visitors with an information center, complete with educational activities for children, tanks with live animals, and artifacts to touch. There is a staff working in the center available to answer questions. The center is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays, 1-5 p.m. The park is open from dawn to dusk every day. To register for programs call 859-225-4073
Once you depart from the Visitor’s Center, there are 2 miles of trails, and many are paved. This makes it a perfect area for families with strollers or those requiring wheelchair accessibility. You can head back to “The Boils” and see a real spring in action (check it out after a good spring rain to guarantee it bubbles). Walk the trails and stop at a bench along the way to enjoy the sights and sounds, discover the remnants of the old buildings that were part of the original settlement, and check out the critters and insects that call the McConnell Springs’ pond home.
It’s a great place to pack a picnic and enjoy for a few hours. My boys love to wander the trails, stop by the pond and watch for a groundhog to pop up, and touch the cool water flowing through the streams.
Mark your calendar for the annual Founder’s Day Celebration planned each May. Experience life as it was in 1775. Enjoy demonstrations, educational activities, period music, storytelling and Native American Programs. It’s free!
Check out the Lex Fun 4 Kids Review of Founders Day!
Little Goblins Galore
Another annual event is Little Goblins Galore. This Halloween event is $5 per child and includes great trick or treat fun throughout the park.
Kids get little treats, snacks, prizes, there are games to play, characters in costume, dancing, and more.
For more information on events throughout the year click here.
For more information about McConnell Springs click here.
To register for an event call 859-225-4073
May 1 | 1 p.m. | Pollinator search | Guided search for butterflies, bees, beetles, caterpillars and any other pollinators.
May 1 | 8:30 p.m. | Night hike (night rangers) | A guided night hike through McConnell Springs. All ages are welcome.
May 8 | 7 a.m. | Guided bird walk | Join local bird enthusiasts for a guided bird walk through McConnell Springs. These walks are for everyone: experts, novices, and people who have never gone birding in their entire life. Sanitized binoculars will be provided but please bring your own if you have them.
May 14 | 8 a.m. | Archery certification course | The USA Archery-certified course allows participants the opportunity to achieve level 1 archery instructor certification upon successful completion.
May 15 | Junior naturalist | 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. | With hands-on activities, kids will learn about daily life on the American frontier. For youth K – 5th grade.
May 21 | 3 p.m. | Intro to fishing | Jacobson park | The intro to fishing course will cover the basics of casting, reeling, setting, baiting, lures and rod maintenance.
May 22 | 10 a.m. | Sunrise archery | Hisle park farm | This program provides participants with the opportunity to utilize compound bows at an archery range with instruction prior to purchasing their own gear to continue development in the sport.
May 22 | 10 a.m. | Weekend Workout | Volunteers will help clean up the nature park. Dress appropriately for the weather and be sure to bring your work gloves and wear sturdy shoes. All other tools will be provided.
May 28 | 3 p.m. | Intro to canoeing | Jacobson park | This course is designed to give participants the opportunity to engage in paddle sports on calm water, with instruction, before pursuing river or stream paddling.
May 30 | 2 p.m. | Tree ID walk | Guided walk to identify and discuss common trees of McConnell Springs.
May 29 | 9 a.m. | Intro to backpacking | This basic outdoor skills program will help you get trail-ready. Topics covered include what gear to pack, what types of clothing/shoes to wear, safety tips, navigation and more.
June 5 | 7 a.m. | Guided Bird Walk | Join local bird enthusiasts for a guided bird walk through McConnell Springs.
June 5 | 8:30 p.m. | FireFly Viewing | Come out to the nature park and watch fireflies light up the night sky with their amazing light displays.
June 12 | 10 a.m. | Beginners Digital Photography | Come out to McConnell Springs for their beginners digital photography class to learn the basics of digital photography and camera operation.
June 12 | 8:30 p.m. | FireFly Viewing | Come out to the nature park and watch fireflies light up the night sky with their amazing light displays.
June 18 | 8:30 p.m. | Night Hike | Park staff will guide visitors on a night hike to explore the park and learn about nocturnal animals and how our own senses help us in the dark.
June 19 | 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. | Junior Naturalist | This free program includes a theme-related craft and is designed for youth K – 5th grade. This session’s focus is on Monarch butterflies and pollinators.