Mahan Manor was originally built from 1806-1808 as a two-story log cabin (the original structure is shown above between the chimneys). The home was given as a wedding gift to Virginia and Howard in 1921, by Virginia’s family.
The bare logs were showing, however, since this represented a low income status, the Mahans covered it with cedar clapboards. The original logs are still found under the current siding! They added a kitchen, breakfast room, and indoor bathroom upstairs, and a bedroom and dressing room on the first floor. They even turned the livestock holding area into a modern hallway! They named the farm Hill O’Content Farm, and raised cattle, ducks, saddlebred horses and many more animals.
The springhouse just below the manor was the original water source for the farm. It was built in 1803 with locally quarried limestone as the first building on the property. The family would store milk, fruits and vegetables in the springhouse to keep them cool, since there was no other source of refrigeration. The active spring still runs today, flowing underground to the blue spruce tree nearby, and feeding many other streams in the area. A storm blew the roof off, so a new roof of authentic cedar shakes was built in 2008.
Please call (502) 228-4362 to schedule a tour.
The Nature Center is the Nature Preserve’s main educational facility, offering four dioramas: wetlands, woodlands, Native American life and artifacts, and Kentucky fish. Additional learning areas include fossils and geology, animal tracks, an herbarium, wood identification, bird nests and birds, and a one-way viewing window overlooking the bird observation area and native plant garden.
The Nature Center is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every third Saturday of the month IF there is an Open House Saturday! It is a rich resource for students, teachers, and parents who want to learn about Kentucky’s biological diversity and natural environment.
Younger children will love playing in new Magical Forest Imagination Station. It is just their size and all the animals are guaranteed to be child-friendly!
The Nature Center will also be open every Monday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Nature Center is a wonderland of exhibits and discoveries for adults and kids! Take a close-up look at woodland creatures, fossils and rocks, Kentucky fish, a wetland display, a Native American setting, and hawks and owls (stuffed). There’s even a “bird blind” where you can view the birds, but the birds can’t see you. Volunteer Charon Morales will offer nature crafts for youngsters and fun activities for everyone. Try our scavenger hunt and see if you can find everything on the list!
Maximum Occupancy: Theater style 150 people or classroom style 75 people (divided into three rooms)
Anyone who may be interested in having a tour or scheduling a field trip, please call the office at (502) 228-4362 or email Info@KYNaturePreserve.org .
NEW “Forest Friends” Play Area!
Judge David Voegele and representatives from Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve were joined by a crowd of enthusiastic supporters of the Nature Preserve to see some images and share ideas for a new nature-themed play area on May 28, 2015. We want you to share your thoughts and suggestions!
The Nature Preserve has been thrilled to have been the site of the City of Goshen’s Harmony Park Playground for the last 13 years. However, the playground equipment is being moved to a new location in the City of Goshen (around October 2016), so we are dreaming big for a new playground. This is an opportunity to offer something new, different, and hopefully exciting to you, our wonderful visitors.
We are working with Miracle of KY & TN, a company from Leitchfield, Ky, that specializes in kid safe, creative, handicapped accessible playground equipment. We plan to have fun equipment for kids of all ages and sizes. Of course, we will need your support, both financial and in volunteer hours to make this dream come true. We hope to have the new playground ready for family fun by Spring 2017. We will keep everyone advised of our progress.
Along Mahan Lane, just past the arbor into the forested trail area, visitors will notice our spectacular garden centerpiece for the area! The Woodland Garden encompasses a 2-acre area, with room to grow. When completed, this garden will be one of the largest native wildflower and fern gardens in the United States.
The majority of wildflowers, ferns, shrubs and trees will be native to Oldham, Jefferson, and Henry counties. Displayed separately from the native “natural” garden area will be a demonstration garden containing other plants and varieties that perform well and that may offer special interest to gardeners. It’s exciting to explore the beds and see what is coming up each day. On any given day, the visitor may count up to 70 species of ferns and over 80 species of wildflowers. There are shaded benches and picnic tables at which to rest and enjoy the scenic view.
Many changes will be coming each year. We have planted almost 3,200 plants, installed a small stream and a hoop-house (like a green house). Please be respectful of the garden area, keep your dogs on leash and pick-up after them.
Volunteers wanted! If you like to plant, weed, mulch, water, and be part of a great group of people, join volunteers from the Jefferson County and Oldham County Master Gardeners to learn a lot and have fun! Email Info@KYNaturePreserve.org or call the office for details.
With over 9 miles of winding trails, there is a walk for everyone! Hike through lush forests, white pine stands, native grass meadows, wetlands, springs, and meandering streams. From quiet forest paths to broad grassy avenues, Creasey Mahan is ideal for local hiking, trail running, and nature exploration. Benches and picnic tables provide ideal spots for birding, wildlife viewing, and picnicking. Friendly dogs on leash are welcome (bring pick-up bags). No bikes allowed.
Trail Maps are available at the Office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and at the main kiosk as you enter the wildlife area near the fire pit.
Click the trail guide below to view a larger version as an Adobe PDF file.
For a printable version of the map only, click here.
You may have noticed nesting boxes with blue roofs and initials in a heart around the Preserve. This is our Bluebird Trail sponsored by the Louisville Audubon Society. Click for a printable version of this map. When the boxes were installed, people who made donations got their names or initials painted on the box. Although the boxes are all posted in prime Bluebird habitat, other cavity nesters use them too, such as Tree Swallows, Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, House Wrens, and (unfortunately) House Sparrows.
The female Bluebird makes a cup-shaped nest in the box, using pine needles or dried grass, whichever is closer to the box. A Chickadee put a soft layer of moss at the bottom of the box before building her nest. The blue eggs take 12-14 days to hatch, the the young will fledge (leave the nest) when they are 18-21 days old. The parents will then start another brood if there is a good food supply in the area. This winter was very hard on the Bluebirds, who do not migrate to warmer locations in the winter, and there aren’t as many this year as last year. Enjoy watching our Bluebirds as they enter the nest boxes, but try to resist the urge to open them. We don’t want the young chicks to jump out prematurely, nor do we want predators to be attracted to the boxes. Learn more about Bluebirds here. Learn more about Bluebirds here .
In 1975, the Mahan family gifted their 170-acre farm to create the Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve. Once primarily horse pasture, with patches of woodland along waterways and ravines, Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve is now a living example of how good stewardship and community involvement can restore a healthy forest ecosystem.
A. Mahan Lane—Enjoy an easy stroll down the old farm-lane. Pass by the frog pond and take in the broad, open, native grass meadows. Provides access to several other trails. Easy.
B. Huckleberry Creek Path—Follows Little Huckleberry Creek between low wooded hills. The most mature part of the forest, be sure to visit the Hidden Springs wetland, where trickling streams merge and meander. Moderate.
C. Turkey Trot—Winds through the woods from Mahan Lane to the forests edge, passes a sunny pond and hidden meadows. Moderate.
D. Cross-Country Trail—Broad grassy paths are perfect for trail-running. This trail climbs up and down hills to overlooks, past native meadows and pine stands. Moderate.
E. Watershed Trail—This favorite wildflower footpath travels through the most mature and delicate forest, down the shady side of Little Huckleberry Creek, and past stony waterfalls. Moderate.
F. Sycamore Crest—This multi-branched loop trail takes you past old sycamore trees, including a towering giant with four trunks! Moderate.
G. Frog’s Leap Trail—The perfect trail for little ones, this nature exploration trail leads from the Frog Pond past the outdoor classroom and meanders in the forest. Easy.
Mature woodland along streams and waterways, hills crowned with white pines, sunny wildflower meadows and shady stony ravines–varied topography and stages of woodland growth makes CMNP a magical place to learn and explore. White-tailed deer, foxes, hawks, owls, the occasional coyote, and an abundance of birds frequent the area, along with many more. CMNP is rich in diverse flora, and is working on ongoing native plant restoration.
Stop by our office for more info, or to find out about upcoming events, classes, and guided tours! Also, be sure to check out the restored historic spring house, Mahan Manor, and the two hundred year old barn that now houses the Mahan Library.
And please, walk softly, leave no trace, and respect the plants and animals you meet… Enjoy your visit!