For Campers: Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky

3380 Beaver Rd., Union, Kentucky Tens of thousands of years ago, when the glaciers of the last Ice Age blanketed

Big Bone Lick State Park, Kentucky
At this intriguing park, woolly mammoths and other lifelike models of prehistoric mammals are seen at various points along the mile-long Discovery Trail. These animals roamed southern Kentucky at the end of the last Ice Age.

3380 Beaver Rd., Union, Kentucky

Tens of thousands of years ago, when the glaciers of the last Ice Age blanketed northern Kentucky, this 525-acre park was a marshland with a sulfur spring. Prehistoric mammals, including giant mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, tapirs, and arctic bears, driven south from their natural habitats, were attracted to the salt licks around the spring. Many of these very big animals became mired in the bog and perished, thus converting it into the vast prehistoric graveyard from which the park today takes its descriptive name.

A mile-long self-guiding Discovery Trail winds through the swamp area, leading to a “bog” diorama. Visitors approach the diorama on a boardwalk that rises above the floor of the marsh, enabling them to “look history in the eye.” The final portion of the trail, the Bison Trace, brings a live buffalo herd into view. A small museum offers further educational displays about the history of the giant mammals.

Other enjoyable features include a 62-site campground with electrical and water hookups; a swimming pool (for campers only); a small man-made lake stocked with bluegills, bass, and catfish for anglers; a playground; and a recreation area with facilities for tennis, volleyball, and basketball. A pleasant footpath meanders around the lake.

Park open year-round; campsite closed mid-Nov. – mid-Mar. Museum open daily Apr.–Dec. Admission charged.

www.parks.ky.gov

(859) 384-3522

Did you know?
Eighteenth-century explorers found the prehistoric bones from which Big Bone Lick State Park derives its name, but they were much more interested in the discovery of salt at the site, which supported a thriving salt industry for several years.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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