Breakfast with Bernie and Holiday Fun at Bernheim

By Bernheim

Bear’s Den Bazaar, Holiday Open House, Wreath-Making & more

With the holidays just around the corner, the Bernheim calendar is full of events to celebrate with nature this December. With the exception of Christmas Day, Bernheim is open the entire month with activities for every age.

There are several special events at Bernheim this month to help everyone get in the holiday spirit!

Bernheim’s Holiday Open House takes place on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Visitor Center. Kick off the holiday season with shopping, drawings for free gifts, holiday specials, music and refreshments. Local artisans will also be on hand displaying their unique gifts, which will be available for purchase. Additionally, Mark Schneider, local photographer and author of Snow Bunny the Deer will be available to sign books from Noon – 2 p.m.

The gift shop offers a variety of books and nature guides on subjects ranging from birding to horticulture to growing and harvesting your own food as well as children’s storybooks. They also feature Kentucky Proud™ canned foods and apparel for adults and children. Handmade jewelry, walking sticks, birdhouses and feeders are all on hand for your nature lover. Drawings for free gifts take place throughout the Open House. Bernheim members also receive 30 percent off during the Open House.

Another opportunity to shop for the holidays is available on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. with Breakfast with Bernie and the Bear’s Den Holiday Bazaar. Enjoy a great breakfast in the company of Bernheim’s own black bear, Bernie. Dine on his favorite “bear” pancakes, complete with fruit for decoration and sausage or bacon, along with juice and chocolate milk. Breakfast will be between 9 and 11 a.m.

The Bear’s Den Holiday Bazaar runs between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., where kids can do their holiday shopping for their teachers, friends and family. Everything in the Bear’s Den will be under $10.

Breakfast is $10 per person and seating is limited, so be sure to make your reservation soon! Registration and payment are due by 4 p.m. on the day prior to the event by calling (502) 955-8512.

There are many more ways to celebrate the season at Bernheim during December. See below for more information on these nature-filled events and other activities throughout the month.

Smart Gardens and Landscapes: Holiday Wreath Making with Nature
Make your own wreath on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. with Holiday Wreath Making with Nature. Decorating for the holidays can be fun, easy, and inexpensive when you use found objects in nature. All materials will be collected from Bernheim, and supplies and tools will be provided.

The cost for Bernheim members is $40 and $50 for non-members. Registration and payment are due by 4 p.m. the Wednesday before. Call (502) 955-8512 to register.

ECO Kids Discovery Days
The E-C-O stands for Every Child Outside, and that’s exactly where kids can be found during ECO Kids Discovery Days. Discovery Days take place the first and third Saturday of each month at Bernheim’s Visitor Center and include:

On Your Own Challenge from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Discovery Stations from 1 – 4 p.m.
Hike of the Day led by a Bernheim guide, starts at the Visitor Center at 2 p.m. and runs 45 – 60 minutes.

Children and their families are invited to Nature Ornament Making on Saturday, Dec. 1. Use the day’s On Your Own Challenge to transform nuts, seedpods, pinecones and other nature treasures into holiday ornaments. Kids and their families will have fun creating ornaments and then exploring hands-on Discovery Stations and the Hike of the Day during the afternoon.

The fun continues on Saturday, Dec. 15 when families are invited to Bernheim for a Hot Chocolate Hike. Participants can earn a free cup of hot chocolate by completing the On Your Own Challenge and then turning in a worksheet at Isaac’s Café. During the afternoon, kids will enjoy exploring hands-on Discovery Stations and the guided Hike of the Day.

Pollywog Play Party
Pollywogs (infants to five-year-olds) are invited to the Education Center on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10:30 a.m. – Noon for a morning of great fun. Early learners will participate in Pollywogs Keeping Cozy, where they will explore winter survival strategies by comparing fur and feathers, snoozing in the hibernation cave, making bird feeders, and more. Pollywog Play Parties combine music, art, language and outside play to encourage infants and children through the age of five to learn about nature.

Registration for the Pollywog Play Party is required by 4 p.m. on the day prior to the program by calling (502) 955-8512. The cost is $10 for Bernheim members and $15 for non-members. The fee covers one caregiver and one child. Non-members are required to pay a $5 per car environmental fee at the gate.

First Sunday Nature Hike
Meet a Volunteer Naturalist at the Visitor Center on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 2 – 3 p.m. for an engaging 45 to 60-minute nature walk. Registration is not required for this free event and all ages are welcome. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes. Non-members are required to pay a $5 per car environmental fee at the gate.

Lunch & Learn: Hidden in the Hollies
Meet Volunteer Naturalist Corinne Mastey on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Visitor Center and celebrate the holiday season with a visit to Bernheim’s renowned holly collection. Participants will learn of the legends and lore growing inside Bernheim’s hollies. The program will run from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Bernheim Lunch & Learn programs are designed for those who enjoy spending time outdoors in the company of other adults who love learning about nature. Each program includes group introductions, a short-themed hike, and a fabulous lunch from Isaac’s Café.

Registration and payment are due the day before the event at 4 p.m. and the cost is $15 for Bernheim members and $20 for non-members. Call (502) 955-8512 for more information and to register.

The Hillside Hustle
Run a 5k, 10k or 13.1-mile half-marathon through the beautiful hills of Bernheim in The Hillside Hustle on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 8 a.m. -12 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Fort Knox Santa’s Workshop (a non-profit organization designed to help active-duty military families at Fort Knox provide Christmas gifts to their children during times of financial hardship.)

The cost is $30 for the 5k; $40 for the 10k, and $65 for the 13.1-mile half-marathon. Register at

Fall Star Stories and Sky Watch
Join Bernheim on Friday, Dec. 14, from 6 – 8 p.m. and be enchanted with the stars in a special Fall Star Stories and Sky Watch. Participants will observe the evening sights and sounds with Bernheim’s knowledgeable and engaging Volunteer Naturalists in cooperation with the Louisville Astronomical Society. Stargazers can meet at the Garden Pavilion. If overcast, a virtual astronomy program will be presented inside the Garden Pavilion. Ages 8 and up. No pets please.

Bernheim at Night programs are $10 for Bernheim members and $12 for non-members. Registration and payment is due by 4 p.m. the day prior to the start of all-night programs. Call (502) 955-8512 before 5 p.m. on the day of the program for last minute updates and changes due to weather. No pets please.

Muddy Boots Play Group
Bernheim’s Children at Play Network offers another opportunity for children to play outside this spring. Muddy Boots is a forest play group for children ages 3 to 6 which runs from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Woodland Pavilion. Children will enjoy free play in the forest and self-directed exploration in an all-weather adventure under the trees. Space is limited. For more information on the Children at Play Network visit

Registration is required by noon on the day prior to the program by calling (502) 955-8512. The cost is $15 for Bernheim members and $20 for non-members.

Reminder: Bernheim Closed for Holiday
Please note that Bernheim will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday, and will close at 2 p.m. on Dec. 24 and at 4 p.m. on Dec. 31.

Recycle Your Tree
When your holiday tree has given you the best of its seasonal cheer, extend its life by sharing it with Bernheim. We will turn it into mulch that will be used in the arboretum. The collection point is at the turnaround on the left at the front gate from Dec. 26 – Jan. 31.

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