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 is currently closed to visitors. Please watch for announcements regarding a time they will reopen after COVID-19 precautions end.
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.
Special Events March 2020
March 7th: Meet-A-Critter
We’re kicking off the 2020 season with a fan favorite Meet-A-Critter program! Join us at 2:30pm to enjoy an up close and personal look at some of the animals that reside at the Salato Center. Those hoping for a hands-on interaction will have the opportunity to touch turtles and snakes, while the birds of prey can be admired from a close distance – no binoculars needed!
March 21st: Raptor Encounter
Have you ever wanted to get an up-close look at one of the Salato Center’s non-releasable raptors? Well now is your chance! One of our educators (and birds!) will be on hand at 2:30pm to answer all of your burning questions.
Salato Reopens for Season: 9am
Black Bear Training: 11am
Meet A Critter: 2:30pm
Black Bear Enrichment: 10:30am
Raptor Encounter: 2pm
Black Bear Training: 10:30am
Raptor Encounter: 2:30pm
Black Bear Enrichment: 11:30am