Give me a (Spring) break; Nature calls at Bernheim, Salato, Louisville Nature Center

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Give me a (Spring) break! Nature calls at Bernheim, Salato, Louisville Nature Ce

Clearly, "Spring" Break 2013 is shaping up to be much different from last year's Spring Break. Last year, I remember taking my kids to play in the creek at Big Rock, flying kites at Joe Creason, and even setting up a tent in the backyard to pretend camp. This year, I'm just hoping not to have to wear a hat and gloves.

Think I'm exaggerating? Check out the photos below that Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest posted on their Facebook page. Both photos—of the same crabapple tree—were taken on March 26; the beautiful flowering pink one is from 2012 and the depressing, bleak, snowy one is from this week.

But if you're sticking around Louisville this year for Spring Break, don't give up on outdoor adventures. There are still beautiful sights to be seen around town. Maybe you could make it a game to see who can spot the first crocus or examine a wintry twig just beginning to sprout its springtime buds. Let's find the silver lining, people.

Bernheim Forest is always a hit. Start off in the welcome center where the friendly staff will provide you with maps and a personalized forest tour, depending on the ages and interests of your kids. Each day next week, the free Spring Break at Bernheim program offers guided hikes and nature programs. Check the website for more information. And don't forget to leave time for your kids to play in the living sculpture by Patrick Dougherty—they'll feel like a fairy in Pixie Hollow or Peter Rabbit in his burrow.

Or you could take a day trip to Frankfort to the Salato Wildlife Education Center. Here, animal lovers can enjoy getting up close and personal with a snake, owl, frog or bobcat. Salato is home to other (bigger) animals as well, such as a bear, deer, bison, elk, plus turkeys, a flying squirrel, and an eagle. If it's too chilly outside, kids can warm up as they learn about Kentucky animals in the nature center, but if the weather is nice, the Salato Center has free loaner fishing rods for a fun family fishing excursion as well as hiking trails and picnic areas. Salato, operated by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, is located 1.5 miles west of the US 127 intersection off of US 60. Hours are 10:00 am-5:00 pm on Tuesday-Friday (closed on Monday!).

If you'd rather stay closer to home, Louisville Nature Center near the Louisville Zoo off of Trevilian Way offers pleasant walking trails and picnicking opportunities. Usually, the wildflower gardens are beautiful and allow kids to see birds, butterflies, and dragonflies in a natural environment. This would be a great place for the kids to go on a "Signs of Spring" scavenger hunt! Louisville Nature Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm and admission is free. Check the website for more information and special programming.

Let's hope for good weather over Spring Break so you can get outside and enjoy yourself some beautiful nature, Kentucky style.

Photos: courtesy of Bernheim.org (1 and 2) and Louisvillenaturecenter.org (3)

| Image 2 of 3 |
The same Bernheim crabapple tree 3-26-13
About Anna Frye
After living in Chicago, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Colorado, my husband and I made our (hopefully? probably?) final move back to Louisville, where I was born and raised. Ahhh...it's nice to be home. Now I'm busy making sure my three little ones learn to love the quirks and traditions of their new hometown: Kentucky Derby Festival, no school on Oaks Day, grits and hot browns (not necessarily together), monograms, parks, festivals, and even our seasonal allergies.
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