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Outdoor Exhibits

Exhibit Map

Animal Exhibits:

Bald eagles are ‘birds of prey’ with sharp talons and hooked beaks for catching and eating meat- especially fish! Male and female bald eagles are identical in color but female eagles will grow larger than males. Their wingspan will grow up to 8 feet and their eyesight is so well adapted for hunting during the day, they can spot a meal from a mile away! Both male and female eagles take care of their young, which they raise in a nest that they build that can reach over 5 feet wide. For many years, Bald eagles were considered an endangered species, but thanks to the hard work of state and federal wildlife agencies and private conservation organizations, they have recovered. The US Fish and Wildlife Service “delisted” them in June 2007. Bald eagles are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. In Kentucky, we currently have more Bald eagles then we have in recorded history.

Listen to the Animal Tracks Audio Tour for the bald eagle exhibit.

Bald Eagle  

Bison or Buffalo? It is bison. The commonly used word buffalo may have come from the French word boeuf, meaning beef or meat. Both male and females have horns, which are made of the same material as your fingernails: keratin. Though deer and elk shed their antlers every year, bison keep their horns for life. The huge hump on its back is a muscle, used to hold up their enormous heads! Bison initially carved out many of the roads we use today (like the Wilderness Trail) and lent their names to many places throughout the state, such as Buffalo Trace Distillery - the sponsor of this exhibit!

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


North American Black bears are omnivores meaning they eat plants and meat. Black bears will consume 15,000 calories a day of nuts, roots, berries, insects, small animals and garbage. That would be like you or I eating 25 Big Macs a day! Though it is true that black bears love honey, it is not true that they hibernate. Instead, bears in Kentucky go through what is called ‘torpor.’ It means that they may sleep for several days or weeks at a time, but not through the entire winter. Black bears are coming back into Kentucky and expanding their range as the population grows. So if you see one, use common sense: respect its territory, never approach any wild animal, and no matter how hungry it claims to be, please do not feed the bears! Be Bear Aware!

Black Bear  

Bobcats, also known as bay lynx, catamount, or wildcat are nocturnal and very shy but they are extremely effective predators. They are able to jump 8 feet high and 12 feet across to catch their prey; even Michael Jordan can't top that! Their favorite meal? Small mammals like the cottontail rabbit. Though they may look and act like overgrown house cats, they are not! These cats can easily remove a finger… and would thank you for the meal. Remember: wild animals are always wild.

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


What is a wapiti? Wapiti means “white rump” in Shawnee and is another name for elk. Elk disappeared from Kentucky in the mid 1800’s due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss. Now, thanks to a successful reintroduction program by the KDFWR and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Kentucky boasts the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi! ... And people think Kentucky is just about horses… Elk are the noisiest members of the deer family. The bulls bugle, the calves bleat, squeal, and the cows bark, grunt and squeal to communicate. Like deer, only males have antlers and they shed them each winter and grow a new pair.

White Tailed Deer  

White-tailed deer and wild turkey are two of Kentucky’s biggest conservation success stories. Not so long ago, it was rare to spot one at all. Thanks to the efforts of concerned hunters and the establishment of regulations to prevent over-harvest, we now have a robust population of both and are considered one of the top states in the nation for hunting. Deer and turkey eat a mixed diet of grasses, acorns, and other items found in deciduous forests and fields, and as a result, they tend to be found sharing the same habitats. They even warn one another about danger! If the deer’s tails go up and they begin to run, turkeys know to take flight as well to be safe. Likewise, a spooked turkey is a sign to deer to get out of harm’s way. Hunters truly do pay for conservation as the sale of hunting licenses, a great deal of which are used to hunt deer and turkey, fund programs at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife which benefit all species.

Listen to the Animal Tracks Audio Tour for the white tailed deer exhibit.

Other Exhibits:

Bluegrass Prairie Exhibit  

How does habitat help wildlife? In this hands-on interactive exhibit, you will hatch from an oversized quail egg, then face several kid-fun obstacles – including a giant hawk flying overhead – as you try to reunite with the mother quail. Visitors must decide which path to take: the prairie, which provides cover in the form of play tunnels; or the open, mowed field, featuring a balance beam and tire obstacles. The missing mother quail is located in a large, walk-through aviary containing several live quail.


Wetlands provide habitat for many of Kentucky’s native plants and animals, as well as critical rest stops for migratory waterfowl. Depending on the time of year, you may see red-eared sliders basking on a log, hear spring peepers calling for mates, or watch a great blue heron take off from the shore. Close your eyes and listen… this marsh is full of living things!

Listen to the Animal Tracks Audio Tour for the dragonfly marsh.

Dragonfly Marsh  

As you walk around Salato you will notice that the trees and plants around you change. This is because Kentucky is home to a number of different forests- from a cove forest, oak hickory forest, prairie, and a wet meadow. Stop and read some of the signs around Salato talking about what plants and animals live in different habitats in Kentucky.


Cove Forest  

This huge, outdoor aquarium is modeled after the Elkhorn creek in Georgetown, and features a large waterfall, rock cliffs, and a tunnel within which you may view many of the aquatic species that make the Elkhorn their home. The Living Stream continues below the falls past riffles, cascades and backwaters, ending in a large pool. You can get a good look at the pool from our mock bait shop- come remember earlier times getting bait with your grandparents/parents and going out to spend time fishing.

The Living Stream is sponsored by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Georgetown, a major corporation which helps assure the quality of water in Elkhorn Creek, and in the process benefits all of the creatures who depend upon it for life.

Click here to listen to a sample of the new Animal Tracks Audio Tour for the Living Stream.

The Living Stream  
Raptor Aviary and Weathering Area  

The Salato Center manages several non-releasable birds of prey, which are used in interpretive programs. Their off-exhibit habitat is called a mew, but thanks to the hard work of the Frankfort Plant Board and Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Georgetown, the birds have an on-exhibit area to train and spend time. This weathering aviary is used depending on weather, health and staff. This aviary provides our visitors with an opportunity to view these majestic animals up close.