Salato Wildlife Education Center is part of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and is located in Frankfort. Just a short drive off I-64 you can find their wonderful education center and acres and acres of habitats and live animals! Kids can get up close to elk, bison, a black bear, bobcats, and more!
Start your visit at Salato with a walk through the education center. There are numerous interactive exhibits, animal species to see, animal pelts (skins/fur) to touch, a bird watching area, bee hive, and more. Learn about native species and ecosystems as well as ways the Department of Fish and Wildlife is working within our state. My boys love to ‘fish’ for a catfish hidden among the water (balls) using the huge net!
Explore inside for a bit then step right outside and you’ll find what my kids love about Salato! Salato features various ecosystems native to Kentucky and offers real wildlife as part of each habitat exhibit. Visit the pond and living stream and see native fish, waterfowl and insects. A walk through the trails in the park leads you to live bison, elk, deer, turkey, a bear, quail, and wildcats! Get up close to the animals and be sure to check out the information offered at each exhibit.
My children love to spend a few hours walking the trails (many are paved and easily navigated by strollers or wheelchairs), picnicking, and exploring the indoor center. We pack a lunch and take a break mid-day at one of the many picnic tables located just outside the visitor’s center. Parking is free and there are plenty of spaces available.
There are two stocked ponds on the property for fishing and since it’s the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife you can pick up your fishing license right on site! Fishing poles are available to check out (just leave your driver’s license) for you to use at the ponds. Bring some bait and let the kids fish! Kids under the age of 16 can fish without a license. Adults without a license can’t cast the line but you can assist in baiting hooks and removing fish. My boys frequently fish with their papaw and are very good at casting so I was able to offer the help they needed without having my own license.
Hours and Admission
Salato is open Tuesday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m and Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is closed on Sunday and Monday. They close for the winter each year from late November – early March.
The admission fee for adults is $5.00, youth (5 to 18) – $3.00, children 4 and under – free. They also offer Annual Memberships for an individual – $20, family – $35 (includes all members of the immediate family), and a friend Membership – $55 (family and 5 guests).
Scheduled school groups and chaperones – $3.00/person (age 5 and older)
To purchase a membership, stop by the Salato Center during regular operating hours (link to hours), or call 502-564-7863 to purchase using a credit card and they will mail your card to you. To learn more about Salato or get driving directions click here.
Have you ever been curious about volunteering at the Salato Center? Do you have questions about our volunteer opportunities? Now is your chance to learn more and speak with our volunteer coordinator! Conservation Educator Tiffany Laracuente will be available to answer any and all questions about volunteering at Salato at 2:30pm, so don’t miss out!
Nothing beats a spring run through the woods! Join us for the Running Wild Trail Run on Saturday, March 24th. Registration is $25 and all proceeds benefit the Salato Center. Register by March 9th to receive a complimentary race t-shirt (shirts may be purchased for $20 after this date). Runners can register online at www.headfirstperformance.com or www.frankfortstriders.com. Race day registration is at 9am and the race begins at 10am.
Bald Eagle Talk: 9:30am
Black Bear Enrichment: 2pm
Volunteer Coordinator Meet & Greet: 2:30pm
Black Bear Enrichment: 11:15am
Raptor Roving: 11:30am
Groundhog Training: 3:45pm
Black Bear Training: 11am
Bobcat Enrichment: 3:30pm
Bald Eagle Talk: 9:30am
Bird Flight in Raptor Aviary: 3pm
Running Wild 4-mile Trail Run
Bobcat Training: 11am
Black Bear Enrichment: 10:30am
Bird Flight in Raptor Aviary: 10:45am
Groundhog Training: 4pm
Raptor Roving: 11am
Bobcat Enrichment: 3pm
Spring Break at Salato
If you’re looking for an entertaining and educational stay-cation for the family this spring break, look no further than the Salato Center! We’ll be offering the following programs that are sure to provide fun and learning for all:
- Tuesday, April 3rd: Weird & Wonderful Wildlife at 2:30pm – learn more about some of Kentucky’s more interesting and unsual wildlife species!
- Wednesday, April 4th: The Bats & the Bees at 2:30pm – learn about the decline of pollinators and bats, and what we can all do to help!
- Thursday, April 5th: Be Bear Aware enrichment at 10:15am
- Friday, April 6th: The Great Migration Challenge at 2:30pm – an interactive game that helps illustrate the life of a migratory bird!
April 14th: How to Diagnose Sick & Healthy Trees workshop
Take part in this unique workshop and learn how to assess tree health in your own landscapes and woodlands from professional forest ecologist and horticulturalist Jody Thompson. Participants will learn how to better identify and diagnose issues that woodland and yard trees may face. This workshop will run from 10am to 12pm and registration is required.
April 21st: Earth Day Program
Celebrate Earth Day at the Salato Center with a special program that will feature a handful of your favorite program animals! This program will highlight some of the wildlife diversity that can be found in Kentucky and will run from 2:30 to 3:30pm