The Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana is a unique destination for kids and families. There are 386 million year old fossil beds, and visitors are able to enter the riverbed and walk on the rocks. Any child or adult that has an interest in dinosaurs and prehistoric times will love wandering through the riverbeds, unearthing the mysteries of species that came before man.
The park offers fishing, hiking, fossil viewing, bird watching, and areas for picnicking. It is suggested that visitors plan their trip between August and October when the river is at its lowest. This guarantees that guests will see as many fossils as possible. Keep in mind that often the weather is at its warmest during this time and you will be moving among the fossils with no cover. Be sure to wear a lot of sunscreen and bring a hat and appropriate clothing.
There is plenty of parking at the park, and a lot of areas to picnic, hike, and explore. There are a lot of wonderful opportunities for bird-watching and species including the Baltimore Oriole, the Great Blue Heron, the Indigo Bunting, and the Black Vulture. The park offers an annual Earth Day celebration, filled with educational events and fun. There is also a fall festival, and a variety of family events planned throughout the year. The park is open seven days a week from 7 am - 11 pm.
This is a popular destination for field trips, and the park provides educators with a handbook they can peruse prior to the trip. Because the park takes education and natural history seriously, they provide school groups with worksheets designed by grade level prior to the trip. This gives kids a chance to become familiar with the park and get excited about the geological discoveries they will make upon arrival. A trip to the Falls of Ohio State Park is a great chance to give kids hands-on experience with fossils and prehistory.
The park also features an Interpretive Center that is open Monday through Saturday from 9-5 and Sundays from 1-5. The admission fee is $4 for adults and $1 for children under 18. Exhibits at the center include Devonian and Ice Age geology and paleontology, information about the Lewis and Clark expedition, and a 1700 gallon aquarium, filled with fish that are native to the Ohio river. Also at the museum are two large coral reef aquariums, giving kids a chance to explore underwater species as they never have before.
Memberships for the Falls of the Ohio State Park Foundation are available for purchase and offer members discounts to the giftshop, discounted day camp rates, discounts at the Wooded View golf course, a nearby golf club, and a newsletter and walking map. To prepare for your visit, pack a lot of water and sturdy shoes. It is important to remember that you will be climbing on rocks viewing fossils in the hot sun, so comfort and hydration are key. The park is located at 201 West Riverside Drive in Clarksville, Indiana.