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.
July Special Events
Kentucky is home to over a dozen species of turtle, and most of them are aquatic. You’re invited to watch some of our water turtles beat the heat and learn more about these interesting creatures on July 13th at 10:30am!
July 20th: Pollinators in Your Garden!
Did you know that one out of three bites of food that you eat would disappear without bees, butterflies, and birds? Come find out how they work, and what you can do to help them do their jobs. Programs will run 10:30am to 2:30pm and include:
Fun demonstrations by beekeeper Mary Sheldon
Children’s activities and a bug hunt by pollinator educators Linda Porter & Vicki Reed
Native Pollinator Plant Sale: Alicia Bosela, Ironweed Nursey
July 26th: Salato Storytime
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 Public Library card holders receive complimentary admission into the center for the day (card must be present during visit; program is otherwise free with paid admission into center). Storytime begins at 10:30am!