Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest offers an experience for those wishing to learn about plant life while enjoying nature. The organization was formerly known as Bernheim Forest and some of that signage remains. It features an arboretum and 14,378-acres of forest preserve. Admission is free during the week and $5 per vehicle on the weekends. Guests can visit the nature center, picnic areas, canopy tree walk and experience the 38 miles of hiking trails and lakes.
Backstory and Context
It began in 1929 when Isaac Wolfe Bernheim purchased more than 12,000 acres of land in Bullitt and Nelson counties in Kentucky. He established a foundation to protect it. It opened to the public in 1951. It is now one of the largest forest blocks in the eastern United States managed by a nonprofit. Its purpose is to connect people to nature and practice conservation and education. Bernheim paid $1 per acre for the land because it had been logged out and stripped for mining ore.
The forest has more than 200,000 visitors every year. The arboretum features gardens, major collections, a nursery and much more. Special programming is offered for both adults and children throughout the year. There are arts programs and even an on-site café.
The facility also offers lots of special events and activities throughout the year. Pavilions, picnic areas and an amphitheatre are available for guests to rent for special events. There’s also a gift shop, art gallery, children’s play area and education center. It now has a strong partnership with the University of Louisville.