About the Louisville Nature Center

What is the Louisville Nature Center?

The Louisville Nature Center, Inc. (LNC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire stewardship of our urban forest through environmental education. We provide educational programming for children through field trips and day camps, as well as a variety of workshops designed to encourage people of all ages to “Explore Nature Nearby.” In addition, LNC manages the adjacent 70 acres of urban forest, which includes the Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve.

What is there to do at the Nature Center?

Visitors to the Nature Center can view birds through our bird blind, engage all their senses in our sensory garden, see native wildlife up close in our discovery room, or browse the field guides and children’s books in our library. Kids will love exploring our outdoor Nature Play Area. Visitors can also hike 1.75 miles of trails in the Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve.

Where are you located?

LNC is located on Illinois Avenue, just off Trevillian Way. We are across from the Louisville Zoo and adjacent to Joe Creason Park. Get directions here.

What is the price of admission?

Admission to the Nature Center is always free. Donations are welcome to help maintain the facilities.

How are you funded?

LNC does not receive any government funding. We rely on the generosity of individuals, via donations and memberships, to support our mission.

How can I be notified of upcoming events and programs?

The best way to keep up with LNC is to subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Do you help with injured or orphaned wildlife?

LNC is not a wildlife rescue facility. Although we keep a few resident animals for educational purposes, we are not equipped to accept or care for injured, orphaned, or abandoned animals. If you have found an injured or orphaned animal in the wild, consider reaching out to Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, Second Chances Wildlife Center, or the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.

Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve

What is the Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve?

The Beargrass Creek Preserve is the only urban nature preserve owned by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. It consists of 41 acres of protected urban forest and 1.75 miles of trails.

Who maintains the forest?

LNC manages the Beargrass Creek Preserve under an agreement with the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. Our management goals include preserving biodiversity, restoring habitat quality, and maintaining safe trail conditions. This work is done almost entirely by volunteers. You can support LNC’s forest restoration efforts by volunteering or making a donation.

Why aren’t dogs allowed in the Preserve?

Our furry friends are natural hunters and diggers, so they pose a threat to plants and animals in the forest. They may also disturb other human visitors who come to enjoy the peace and quiet in the woods. There are many other places in Louisville where people and dogs can enjoy the outdoors together, including nearby Joe Creason Park. Please help us to protect local wildlife by walking your dog in these areas rather than the Nature Preserve.

Why were some of the trees in the forest cut down?

These trees were infested with emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle native to parts of Asia. They were already beyond saving and posed a risk to hikers, as they may have fallen or dropped branches on the trails. LNC is committed to responsible stewardship of our urban forest, and visitor safety is our highest priority.

Rentals & Birthday Parties

How much does it cost to rent the Nature Center?

A four-hour rental is $225 for LNC Members and $250 for non-members, plus a refundable deposit of $30. If you need the facilities for longer than four hours, each additional hour is $50. 

What facilities are available to renters?

Our facility includes kitchen accommodations (refrigerator, sink, toaster oven and coffee machine), folding tables and chairs, and indoor and outdoor seating areas. Reach out to inquire about our rental packages!

How many people can LNC accommodate?

LNC’s rental space has room for as many as 62 guests with tables and chairs or 100 guests standing.

Is there parking available?

Yes, there is a parking lot in front of the building.

Can I bring food and alcohol when I rent?

Renters have access to our refrigerator and can bring their own food or have it delivered. We do not have any restrictions regarding catering or food. Alcohol MUST be served by a licensed bartender. We require proof of your contract with a bartender, as well as a copy of their liability insurance.

Can I visit the space before I decide whether to rent?

Absolutely! You are welcome to stop in and check out the rental space anytime during our regular hours of operation (9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday).

LNC Membership

What are the benefits of membership?

All LNC Members get discounts on facility rentals, birthday parties, and registrations for programs. Members of the Family level also receive $25 off each camp registration.

How much does a membership cost?

Memberships start at $70 for the Individual level. You can also join at the following levels: Individual Plus ($100), Family ($125), and Family Plus ($175). Each membership lasts one year from the date of purchase.

How do I become a member?

The easiest way to become an LNC Member is to sign up online. You can also sign up in person at the Nature Center during regular hours of operation (Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm). Cash, check, and credit card are accepted.

Volunteering at LNC

What volunteer opportunities are available at the Louisville Nature Center?

Volunteers help support LNC’s mission in a variety of ways: assisting with field trips and day camps, maintaining the forest, cleaning, taking photographs, doing office work, and more. View the full list of volunteer opportunities here.

What is the time commitment?

The time commitment for volunteering varies. Some volunteers can only help at occasional special events, while others prefer to volunteer on a weekly basis. For most volunteer opportunities, you can participate as much and as often as you like. We are happy to work with you to set a schedule that fits your needs.

How do I become a volunteer?

The first step to become an LNC volunteer is to submit a volunteer application, available in the lobby of the Nature Center or on our Volunteer page. If you would like to work with kids as an Educational Assistant, you will also need to submit a background check. Instructions for the background check will be sent to you via email. Once we have your application and background check (if applicable), LNC staff will follow up with you to schedule an in-person orientation.