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Indoor Exhibits

Aquatic Turtles  

Most of Kentucky’s turtles make their home in the water, and can be spotted sunning on logs or at the water’s surface during the spring and summer. The Salato Center houses a number of aquatic turtles in two aquariums, just at the right height for our little visitors who love them best!

Kentucky is home to a great many frogs and toads. This exhibit highlights a handful of our state’s native species, including gray and green treefrogs, American toad, American bullfrog, and more. Hop on over and learn some fascinating facts you probably never knew about native frogs and their habitats!

This exhibit is supported by funding from East KY Power Coop - Touchstone Energy Coop (

Listen to the Animal Tracks Audio Tour for the frog exhibit.

Frogs of Kentucky


Keeping Kentucky’s fish populations healthy and thriving involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work! In this exciting interactive exhibit, kids can experience what it’s like to be a fisheries biologist. Enter the exhibit through the mouth of a huge Kentucky spotted bass into a fish hatchery where eggs are hatched and fish grow to stocking size. Next, try studying fish in the wild from the exhibit’s “shocking boat”, where stuffed fish can be measured, weighed, and returned to the lake. Who pays for this work? Anglers do! Have fun while learning how money flows from fishing poles and licenses to conservation and restoration of our native fish in an interactive “Plinko” game. Finally, have your photo taken for the cover of Kentucky Afield Magazine holding your trophy striped bass – guaranteed fun for kids young and old!

This exhibit was funded through grants to the Sport Fish Restoration Act and the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Get on Board Fisheries Exhibit  

How big do you think a catfish can get? Believe it or not, the current state record is a blue catfish that weighed 104 pounds! This exhibit features replicas of real record fish caught in Kentucky waters – often by amateur anglers. Did you know that many record-sized fish can be caught in farm ponds? It’s true! And that prehistoric-looking fish with the funny nose – they aren’t extinct. The paddlefish, or spoonbill, can be found in many of Kentucky’s warm rivers and lakes. Do we have your attention now? Dust off that pole and let’s go fishing!

Kentucky Record Fish  

Have you ever wondered what a beehive looks like inside, but were afraid to get too close? In Salato’s bee tree, you can safely watch honeybees busily at work collecting pollen, feeding their larvae, tending the queen, and communicating to one another using the famous “waggle dance”. Two clear plastic tubes allow the bees to come and go through the hive at will, and you can watch them from safety through one of several wildlife-viewing windows.

Listen to the Animal Tracks Audio Tour for the bee exhibit.

Rainbow Trout  

One of the more challenging fish to catch is the rainbow trout, but many anglers will spend their weekends and holidays slowly wading cold-water streams, rods in hand, trying to trick them into biting a fly or other small lure. Though trout are not native to Kentucky (our streams are mostly too warm for them to reproduce), they are such a popular game fish that this agency stocks designated trout streams across the state for anglers. This sometimes means hiking into Red River Gorge or other remote areas carrying a backpack full of fingerlings in water for release! Ready to try your hand at trout fishing? Don’t forget to buy your license and trout permit!

Habitat destruction, unregulated hunting, and chemical pollutants have caused the decline or extinction of numerous species of wildlife across the globe. In the early 1900’s, concerned naturalists and outdoorsmen and women started the modern conservation movement by passing legislation like the Migratory Bird Treaty, and suggesting restrictions on the unregulated hunting of species that had become rare. Today, many of the species that had disappeared from the state are back! This exhibit highlights several of the species that have been successfully restored to our state by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (with help from state, federal, and civic organizations), including the elk, white-tailed deer, river otter, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, peregrine falcon, and more.

Restored Species of Kentucky  
Venomous Snake of Kentucky  

Kentucky is home to 32 species of snakes, and only four are venomous. Do you know which ones? Come to Salato and find out! The center houses three of the venomous snakes native to Kentucky and highlights the importance of all snakes for their role in pest control and as a vital part of Kentucky’s native ecosystems.

Listen to the Animal Tracks Audio Tour for the venomous snakes exhibit.

Non Venomous Snake of Kentucky  

Although the venomous snakes get more attention, you are far more likely to see one of our state’s 28 non-venomous varieties! The Salato Center rotates these snakes on exhibit, and houses a number of them off exhibit for use in educational programs or by volunteers.

Alligators in Kentucky?? Yes, you heard right. The warm water aquarium is home to two interesting Kentucky species: An alligator snapping turtle and alligator gar. Learn more about these seldom-seen species, including where they can be found, how big they can grow, and what they eat!

Listen to the Animal Tracks Audio Tour for the warm water aquarium exhibit.

Warm Water Aquarium  

Want to attract more wildlife to your backyard? Then garden using native plants! This exhibit demonstrates three types of attractive water features and a variety of native plants, shrubs, and trees you might use to provide year-round beauty in your own backyard habitat. Visitors can view this exhibit from a comfortable sitting area indoors. Expect to see numerous birds, butterflies, and mammals enjoying the habitat that we’ve created. This exhibit is sponsored, and the water features constructed by H2O Designs, Inc.