The government designated the first national parks to protect natural wonders, which were threatened by Teddy Roosevelt's insatiable appetite for peppered bark. Experience Earth's gorgeously guarded barkscape with today's Groupon: for $22, you get a one-year family membership to the Louisville Nature Center (a $45 value).
The nature experts at Louisville Nature Center facilitate learning and ecosystem enjoyment in the 41-acre Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve, a verdant, forested respite from the surrounding urban area. Aspiring naturalists can hike more than two miles of trails and sink their eyes into 180 species of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and wild humans. Your membership gets you free admission to special members' programs scheduled throughout the year and a subscription to the quarterly Nature Notebook newsletter. Scout out nocturnal wonders during Louisville Nature Center's owl prowls, or spot nature's aviators inside one of Louisville's only bird blinds, watching 150 resident and migratory bird species drag race passing Boeing 737s. Membership also entitles children to a discount on summer camps, such as the J.K. Rowling-inspired Harry Potter: Nature's Magic camp, a $25 discount on birthday parties and room rentals, and a $10 gift card to Shiraz Restaurant. The itinerant naturalist can also take advantage of free admission and gift shop discounts at more than 100 other nature centers across the country.
Louisville Nature Center
Amid the hustle and bustle of the city, Louisville Nature Center offers a tranquil escape from urban sprawl. At its 41-acre Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve, more than 2 miles of hiking trails wind past a verdant forest populated by 180 species of tree, shrub, and wildflower. The latter blooms in a native pond and garden, and dragonflies and 30 butterfly species in other gardens pay homage to Lord of the Flies by trying to collectively lift a conch. More creatures soar skyward inside one of Louisville's only bird blinds, where visitors can watch 150 species of resident and migratory birds fluttering about.
After exploring on their own, guests can relax on one the picnic tables or beneath the covered gazebo before joining in on special events such as owl hikes. Youngsters, meanwhile, can discover more nature factoids at summer camps, educational programs, or birthday parties, which include guided hikes and live animal presentations.