Although many state parks and forests are nestled within the countryside, John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, Ky. is located just off a major highway on the Kentucky – Indiana border. To escape from the bustle of the city’s flashing lights and be within 725 acres of secluded wildlife seconds later is almost unheard of in today’s society.
The park, which welcomes around 300,000 visitors each year, hosts a full calendar of art and nature activities, the GRADD Arts & Crafts Festival, the Ohio Valley Birding Festival, a butterfly migration tagging event and rotating art exhibits by local and regional artists.The park has continued to grow with the completion of the Friends of Audubon Theater and the expansion purchase of neighboring wetlands property opening to the public next year. Recently, the park was named as a finalist in the Impact 100 Owensboro grant program.
In addition to hiking and activities, the park is home to the nationally recognized John James Audubon Museum, which houses a collection of Audubon’s paintings and memorabilia, and an original copy of the world-famous “Birds of America” book. The adjacent nature center’s wildlife observatory gives a front row seat to visiting birds and animals, of which there are plenty. (The park sits on a natural flyway for migrating bird species.)
For more information on Audubon State Park visit www.parks.ky.gov/parks/recreationparks/john-james or call 270-826-2247.
If You Visit:
Birding: The Recreation Lake shoreline provides desirable edge space for fishing species like Great Blue Heron, Green Heron and Belted Kingfishers. Throughout the park, you may see numerous bluebird nest boxes. These are perfect photo opportunities for Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Wrens, Carolina Chickadees, and occasionally Tree Swallows and Prothonotary Warblers. During the spring and summer, these nesting boxes are hotspots for viewing courtship and nesting activities.
Fishing: Cast for largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish from the banks of the 28-acre lake.
Golf: On the nine-hole golf course you can enjoy beautiful scenery as well as a challen
ging game. A pro shop with rental clubs, riding carts, and pull carts, caters to the golfer’s every need.
Hiking: Whether you’re out for a leisurely stroll or really want to work up a sweat, you’re sure to find the 6.5 miles of trails at Audubon State Park to your liking. Trails wind through the nature preserve with variations in difficulty and length, including 2.7 miles of back-country hiking. The Eagle Glen Pet Trail is a one-mile trail where dogs on leashes are allowed with their owners.
Museum: The museum interprets Audubon’s life through his art and personal memorabilia, framed within a timeline of world events. Enjoy year-round, interpretive programs under the direction of a full-time naturalist and museum educator.
Nature Center: The Nature Center comprises three areas: a Wildlife Observation Room; Theater; the Discovery Center; and the Learning Center, where the park naturalist and art educator conduct environmental and art programs. An aquarium with native fish is the centerpiece of the learning center, with hands-on exhibits and educational programs.
Where to stay:
The park has five 1-bedroom cabins and one 2-bedroom cottage available for rental. Price ranges are seasonal from $80.00 – $160.00 per night. Cottages open year round.
Camping is also available at the 69-site campground. A central service building has showers and rest rooms. Picnic tables, grills and a playground are also available in the camping area. Pets are allowed if leashed. Closed Dec 1 – Mar 31.