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!

Salato (1)

2020 Reopening Information

For your safety and to comply with local, state, and federal health guidelines the following changes have been made to our current operations.

As of July 7:

  • The Salato Center, consisting of indoor exhibits and an outdoor animal habitat trail, is open to the public through the on-line ticket system only.
  • ALL admission sales are online only. Tickets are NOT available for purchase at the door.
  • All visitors (including current members) must reserve a two-hour block of time in advance and purchase tickets online. Upon arrival at the Center, visitors will present an entry code. Visitors MUST enter and exit the Center within their reserved two-hour period.
  • Hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday to allow for additional cleaning and sanitation.

Modified operations continuing in Phase 2 (effective JULY 7 until further notice) include:

  • Social distancing required throughout the facility. Please maintain at least 6 feet of distance between family groups.
  • Touch carts, animal encounters, and large group events and programs are not available.
  • All guests over the age of five are required to wear face coverings while inside or waiting in line to enter. Masks are required while in outdoor spaces only when visitors cannot maintain physical distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of the same household. Please refer to Executive Order, July 9, 2020, for more details.
  • Water fountains will be closed. Please bring water bottles for use outdoors.
  • A one-direction traffic flow is established throughout the facility to minimize contact between visitors.

These precautions are subject to change at any time based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Kentucky’s COVID-19 task force, or Franklin County Health Department. Please be patient as we continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments to help keep our guests, staff, and animals healthy. Thank you for your cooperation!

Reserve Tickets


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 *See Current 2020 Hours above

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.

Upcoming Events

*Closed July 3rd

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