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.
May 21, 2022
10 am – 5 pm
Mark your calendar for the annual Founders’ 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! Scheduled for May 21, 2022!
Check out the Lex Fun 4 Kids Review of Founders Day!
Celebrate Lexington’s official “birthday” at the annual Founders’ Day celebration and experience the frontier life of 1775 for yourself. Concessions are available on-site, with proceeds benefiting McConnell Springs programs.
Activities for the day include:
- Traditional live music and dance;
- Guided tours of the park’s 27 acres of woodland trails;
- Colonial crafts such as woodworking, quilt making, weaving and gun-smithing;
- Exhibits of colonial tools and Indian artifacts;
- Demonstrations of pioneer cooking and blacksmithing;
- A special frontier living history area around the primitive log cabin; and
- Children’s activities include bow & arrow, tomahawk throw, and pioneer kids toys and games.
This free event will be held rain or shine. Sunscreen, rain gear and insect repellent may be needed. Visitors taking guided tours are encouraged to wear hiking shoes.
Enjoy an enchanting Halloween experience at McConnell Springs featuring hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins as they light up the night. In addition to marveling at the glow of the pumpkins, there will be campfires and s’mores, live owls from Critters in the Classroom and tasty fall food and beverages. Perfect for all ages, this night hike will be a great event for all.
Jack-o-Lantern Trail Hike Nights
Thursday, Oct. 27 | Friday, Oct. 28 | Saturday, Oct. 29 | Sunday, Oct. 30
6:30 – 10 p.m.
Admission | $5 per person at the gate (children 12 and under free)
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 or visit ONLINE
Registration typically opens 2 weeks prior to the event.
2023 Events REGISTER ONLINE
January 1, 2023
2 pm – 3 pm
Enjoy an afternoon walk to ring in the new year. Pre-register online.
1 pm – 2 pm
Participants will learn skills and tips to help them become better nature photographers. Bring your own camera and join an experienced photographer on a walk through the park to get the best shots possible. Registration is required.
January 8, 2023
2 pm – 3 pm
Birding is one of the most popular outdoor activities across the country. Join Park Staff to learn the basics from using binoculars to identifying common birds of Kentucky. Binoculars are supplied but space is limited. Registration is required.
Tracking Down Nature
January 11, 2023
3:30 – 4:30 pm
Enjoy a winter nature program. Pre-register online.
Story Walk: Jenny’s Winter Walk: A Kids Yoga Winter Book
January 14, 2023
10 am – 4 pm
Story walks are a combination of the fun of a story with the added excitement of a hike through the park. Pages of children’s stories will be posted along the trails for a self-guided activity for the whole group. No registration is required and you can go at your own pace.
Pre-K Nature Class: Nature Detectives
January 18, 2023
10 am – 11 am
For ages 2 – 5 years old, Park staff lead students through activities related to the monthly theme, must pre-register.
Tree Walk – Winter Tree ID
January 29, 2023
2 pm – 3 pm
A guided walk through McConnell Springs discussing different trees and how to identify them. Pre-register online