Field Trips

Dr. James C. Salato Wildlife Education Center

The Dr. James C. Salato Wildlife Education Center (Salato) is located in Frankfort on the grounds of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) Game Farm complex. It features an indoor interpretive center with large aquariums, native snakes and amphibians, dioramas, and interactive computers, all highlighting Kentucky’s native wildlife resources. Outdoors, paved, accessible trails lead to bald eagles, bears, elk, bison, and more in large, natural enclosures. In addition, the Game Farm complex includes two large fishing lakes, picnic tables, and two picnic shelters. Shelters may be reserved in advance. Salato is open year-round and is free of charge!

Educators may call in advance to schedule interpretive tours for their students, or sign up for one of many special programs being offered by our staff on Kentucky mammals, snakes, birds of prey, native plants, or native people. With enough advance notice, programs can be adapted to fit an area of study you are covering in class at that time.

Hours: Tues-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 10am-5pm.
Closed Sunday, Monday and state holidays. We will close for the season Dec. 11th – Feb. 12th.
Call 502-564-7863 for more information!

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy looks to work closely with local, state and federal governments as well as other businesses and organizations to conserve and preserve natural lands throughout the United States. Here in Kentucky, TNC oversees over 40 unique preserves that accounts for over 45,000 acres, helping protect endangered species, allowing for public use and insuring that the generations that follow will still be able to enjoy the beauty of Kentucky.

Contact The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky to learn about potential field trips and events!
Contact information:
114 Woodland Avenue
Lexington, Kentucky 40502
Office phone:  859-259-9655
Office fax:  859-259-9678

McConnell Springs

McConnell Springs is a 26-acre natural pocket within an industrial area in Lexington.  Also an important historic site, McConnell Springs was settled in 1775 by William McConnell and is heralded as the site where Lexington was named.  Two miles of trails wander around the sinking springs, vegetation, stone fences, and vestiges of historical buildings.  McConnell Springs boasts more than 130 species of plants and numerous species of urban wildlife that reside at or visit the park.  The mission of the park is to protect the unique geological, natural and historic features of McConnell Springs and to provide natural, cultural and historical education opportunities through quality environmental education and interpretation.

The park is open daily year-round, Dawn to Dusk
The Education Center is open
Monday-Saturday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday: 1-5 p.m.
McConnell Springs offers programming for school field trips, scouts, clubs, and other special groups.  For more information McConnell Springs programs call (859) 225-4073.

Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate

Located in Lexington, The Henry Clay Estate invites you to visit the historic mansion, 20 acres of wooded grounds, original outbuildings, walking paths, and formal garden.  Learn about and see how environmental conservation put into place by Henry Clay has been realized through 200 years of history.

Hours and Ticket Prices
Guided tours begin on the hour and last approximately one hour. Tickets may be purchased in the Museum Store in the mansion.
10:00 am – 4:00 pm Tuesday – Saturday
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Sunday
The last tour of the day begins at 4 pm
January: Closed
February: Open for groups of fifteen or more by appointment only
Closed Mondays and major holidays

$10 Adults
$5 children (ages 6 – 18), children 5 and under free
Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more and school groups.  For groups larger than 20, a deposit is required in advance.

Check out the Ashland Estate web site at:

Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate
120 Sycamore Road
Lexington KY 40502

Natural Bridge State Resort Park

The park’s staff of professional Naturalists is available year-round to provide interpretive programs for groups of all sizes and ages.  A variety of topics are available, including botany, geology, zoology, ecology, and Kentucky history.  Natural Bridge programs range from 30-minute lectures to moderately strenuous one hour guided hikes to challenging 10-mile overnight backpacking trips, and everything in between!  The park staff also conducts programs in the adjacent Red River Gorge National Geologic Area, Clifty Wilderness Area, and Daniel Boone National Forest in conjunction with the United States Forest Service.

Natural Bridge has 20 miles of hiking trails on over 2,000 acres of mature mixed mesophytic forest, one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America.  There are more than a thousand species of plants and animals, many rare and a few found only in this area.  There are also over 200 sandstone arches within 5 miles of the 900 ton Natural Bridge, the park’s namesake.

Contact Information
Natural Bridge State Resort Park
2135 Natural Bridge Road
Slade, KY 40376-9701
Phone: 606.663.2214

Environmental Education Camping Opportunities for Schools

The UK Cooperative Extension Service, through 4-H, has an opportunity for students to participate in an Environmental Education Camping Program. There are four 4-H Camps in KY that are equipped for an overnight experience, during which students will attend classes in the outdoors studying the environment in a rural camp setting. The camps are located in Carlisle, KY; London, KY; Nancy, KY; and Dawson Springs, KY.  Each site has trails, a bird observatory, ponds and streams, as well as other outdoor and environmental educational opportunities.  All camping experiences are planned locally through the school’s county Extension office with the local 4-H Agent, are tailor-made for the grade level, and are designed to align with the school’s curriculum.

For more information or to schedule a camping experience for your students, contact your local 4-H agent or:
Jennifer Lynn
State Specialist for
N. Central 4-H Camp

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is a 470-acre natural area located just 15 miles from downtown Lexington and is an easy drive from Madison, Jessamine, Woodford and Scott counties.  Raven Run has ten miles of hiking trails that traverse the meadows, trails and creeks of the area.  Approximately 5,000 people attend educational programs at Raven Run each year, and most of these participants are school children attending field trips.  Raven Run is an excellent place to spend the day with students.  The learning opportunities are endless!  Popular programs include Kentucky habitats, adaptations, food webs and predator/prey relationships, plant taxonomy and identification, insects and spiders, Kentucky history and many more!  Teaches are encouraged to call with program ideas.  Raven Run is happy to provide classroom pre-visit and post-visit activities for any program.  The Naturalists and staff are also happy to visit the classroom if a field trip cannot be arranged or to lead pre-visit and post-visit activities.  Raven Run can typically accommodate up to 100 students at a time, and there are picnic facilities available for lunch. If you are interested is scheduling a program please call 859-272-6105.

Yuko-En on the Elkhorn

Yuko-En is a blend of Kentucky’s Bluegrass landscape in a Japanese style garden located on the north fork of Elkhorn Creek adjacent to Georgetown’s historic Cardome Centre.  It is in the heart of the Elkhorn Trail corridor.  This 5-acre garden is the ideal place for environmental, historic or cultural programs and events.

  • Individuals are welcome to stroll the paths and enjoy the garden throughout the four seasons.
  • Groups may call to schedule their own specialized tour of the garden.  Tour highlights include discussion of typical Japanese garden elements, Kentucky’s native plants and a variety of Bluegrass landscapes.  Presentations may focus on: cultural information, Elkhorn Creek wildlife, a history of the area and more.
  • New programs and community events are being established.  Visitors are invited to attend the annual Earth Day at Yoko-En on the Elkhorn.  This event focuses on increasing awareness about the environment and enhancing outdoor skills.  All activities are designed for the purpose of enjoyable, life-long education and recreation.
  • In addition, Yuko-En is available for groups to host their own programs or special events.

Reservations Number: 502 316.4554

For public events at the Garden or scheduled workshops please call: 502.863.0026.

Physical Address:
700 Cincinnati Pike
Georgetown, KY 40324

Mail only:
c/o The Georgetown/Scott County Chamber of Commerce(mailing only)
160 East Main Street
Georgetown, Kentucky 40324

The Living Arts & Science Center

The Living Arts & Science Center (LASC) was created as a not-for-profit organization in 1968 to “provide creative and unique opportunities for exploration and education in the arts and sciences.” Since that time, the LASC has not only moved with the times but has become a trusted creative resource and a stimulating force that makes Central Kentucky a better place.

Each year, the LASC presents an extensive and diverse array of programming including:

  • Over 400 classes and workshops for children 18-months old to adults;
  • Seven to nine art exhibits of original work by local and regional artists;
  • Hands-on Discovery exhibits exploring relationships between art and science;
  • Performances and workshops with local and regional musicians,  storytellers and puppet companies;
  • Free community arts programs provided to numerous social service agencies and neighborhood and community centers;
  • Field Trip programs focusing on Kentucky’s core content in the arts and sciences;
  • Discovery Night programs featuring guest artists and scientists sharing their work and collections; and
  • Free arts activities at community events such as MayFest, the High Hope Steeplechase, the Latino Festival, Famrmer’s Market, Back to School Rallies, and at our own Family Fun Day at the LASC.

The Living Arts and Science Center is located at 362 N. Martin Luther King Blvd. between 3rd and 4th Streets in downtown Lexington.  For more information or to schedule a program for your school group, call Katherine Bullock at the Living Arts and Science Center at 252-5222 or 255-2284.  Check LASC out on the Web at!

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is America’s largest restored Shaker community, with 34 carefully restored buildings and 3,000 acres of preserved farmland. The village is also home to more than 25 miles of striking rock fences, the most extensive collection remaining in Kentucky today.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill offers a variety of naturalist-led activities for school groups. Shaker Village’s Naturalist has 28 years of experience as a biology teacher on the high school level. The village contains approximately 30 miles of hiking trails, a bird observation blind, Shawnee Run Creek and village ponds for the study of aquatic life, as well as a native grassland and wildflower area.
The Nature Preserve at Shaker Village actively manages, protects and shares 3,000 acres of original Shaker countryside covered by restored native prairies, woodlands, fields, canebreaks, shear cliffs and diverse plants and wildlife – all perfectly framed by miles of hand-laid rock walls.

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
3501 Lexington Road
Harrodsburg, KY 40330
Toll Free: 800.734.5611
Local: 859.734.5411


Floracliff was established as a nature sanctuary by the late Dr. Mary Wharton, former botany professor and Biology Department head at Georgetown College.

Dr. Wharton began acquiring the Floracliff property in 1958. The property is located on the Kentucky River in Fayette County. The Floracliff Board of Directors owns the preserve and jointly manages it with the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. This area was dedicated on March 15, 1996. Floracliff is 287 acres of old field upland and second-growth forest dominated by maple, oak and hickory. In addition to having a rich and diverse wildflower display, Floracliff also harbors a significant geological feature. Below Elk Lick Falls is a tufa formation, which resembles a frozen waterfall. It is considered one of the best tufa formations in the eastern United States. Similar to stalagmites in caves, tufas are formed when minerals within dripping water are deposited on a surface. Travertine is the primary mineral composing this tufa. The formation is 61 feet high and 8-12 feet in diameter. The rich flora, ravines, cliffs, and waterfalls of Floracliff make it one of the more scenic areas in central Kentucky.

Visitation to the preserve is by appointment only and is restricted to small groups led by approved leaders.

For more information contact Beverly James at (859)351-7770 or e-mail at

Life Adventure Center of the Bluegrass

Charged with the motto of “Engage, Educate, Empower”, The Life Adventure Center of the Bluegrass looks to teach and challenge in a variety of manners on their beautiful campus in Versailles, KY. Programs offered include equine education and instruction, environmental education, team-building activities such as ropes course and many more.

For more information contact:
Physical Address: 570 Milner Road, Versailles, Kentucky 40383
Mailing Address: PO Box 447, Versailles, Kentucky 40383
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm
Phone: (859) 873-3271
Fax: (859) 873-2410

The Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge

The Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge is a 500-acre preserve, located 13 miles from Danville in the Parksville knob land bordering a stretch of the beautiful North Rolling Fork.  The refuge is open to all as a protected area for the enjoyment and study of nature in its many fascinating forms.  This area of Boyle County is set aside as a permanent sanctuary for plant and animal forms native to Central Kentucky.

The refuge provides ample opportunity for nature viewing and environmental learning experiences.  The bird blind near the caretaker’s home provides close-up views of feeding birds for study and photography.  Birds commonly seen include purple finches, house finches, evening grosbeaks, cardinals, towhees, Carolina chickadees, flickers and nuthatches-just to name a few.  In the spring and fall, hundreds of wildflowers grow in profusion, such as lady slippers, blue bells, bird’s foot violets, bloodroot, trilliums, and trout lilies.  Ferns, mosses and lichens can also be found. Throughout the year, wildlife and signs of wildlife can be seen.  Common critters at the refuge include deer, foxes, squirrels, muskrats and woodchucks.

To arrange a visit to the Refuge for your school, church or special interest group, including access to the Cheek Nature Center, please contact:
J.P. & Jane Brantley (Education Directors)

Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort

Blue Licks is home to the federally endangered Short’s Goldenrod. This plant is protected in the 15-acre nature preserve at Blue Licks. Short’s Goldenrod is historically linked to the Buffalo Trace hiking trail-the trampled remains of an ancient buffalo path. The River Trail is a one-mile loop to the Licking River, near the site where Shawnee Indians captured Daniel Boone and his men on a saltmaking expedition.

For more information contact:
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park
10299 Maysville Rd.
Carlisle, KY 40311
Phone: (859) 289-5507
Toll Free: (800) 443-7008

Park Manager: Michael Schwendau

Web site: