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.
We’re teaming up with our friends at Paul Sawyier Public Library for another edition of Salato Storytime, a chance for your little ones to enjoy a story and meet real life scaly and feathery representations of characters! Paul Sawyier Library card holders are admitted free for this program, and receive complimentary admission into the center for the day (the program is otherwise free with general admission into the center). Storytime begins at 11am!
September 15th: Wildlife Feats of Strength
Bring your little athletes to Salato for the Wildlife Feats of Strength! From 11am to 2pm participants can test their strengths and abilities at various outdoor exhibits while learning about the abilities of some of Kentucky’s native wildlife. Did you know that a bald eagle can squeeze 1,000 pounds of pressure with each talon?? Score sheets can be picked up at the Front Desk, and participants can “compete” (just for fun!) in the following categories:
Raptor Grip Strength
Bobcat Long Jump
Deer Dash Race
Quail Obstacle Course
(Participants encouraged to wear closed-toe shoes and clothing comfortable for athletic activity.)
Do you want to improve your woodlands but not sure how to start? have your past questions been met with answers too general to implement? Join Jody Thompson of The Habitat Workshop and Deb White of Woods and Water Land Trust for a woodland primer on getting things done. We’re going to give you the ABCs on improving your woodlands, and teach you the techniques necessary to apply them. This free workshop runs 10am to 2:30pm, and registration is required.
Join Franklin County Extension Horticulture agent Adam Leonberger for an introduction into rain gardening. Learn how to manage your property’s water runoff using this green, low-impact gardening solution that also produces habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. This workshop runs 10am to 12pm and is free with general admission into the center, but registration is required. Call 502-892-4460 to secure your spot!
Have you ever wanted to get an up-close look at one of the center’s non-releasable raptors? Well now’s your chance! One of our educators (and birds!) will be on hand at the Raptor Aviary at 10:30am to answer all of your burning questions.