Falls of the Ohio State Park
We may have been able to fool ourselves up until this point, but winter has officially arrived. The days have been warm and sunny, and even the nights have been bearable. Most of us have been able to get by with a light jacket, and even those mornings of frost that cover your car usually melt away long before noon. It’s nice to think we might make it until spring like this, but I think we all know that sleet and snow will soon be upon us. If you, like me, are asking yourself, “How should I spend these last few days of warm weather?”, then here’s your answer.
Just over the bridge into Indiana (quite literally: take Exit 0 off Interstate 65) is the Falls of the Ohio State Park. It’s a rare gem among parks, as well as Devonian fossil beds - 390 million year old Devonian fossil beds, to be exact. As some of the largest, naturally exposed fossil beds in the world, the Falls of the Ohio boasts 220 acres of fossil viewing year round. The best time to visit is from August to November, when river levels are typically at their lowest. The park is open every day from 7am to 11pm, so if you want to explore this waterfront spectacle of nature, you have plenty of time in which to do it.
Though fossil and rock collecting is not allowed, there is an amazing gift shop for you to browse in the Interpretive Center, which is open year round, too (except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, as well as Christmas Eve). There are several rocks, fossils, and minerals you can purchase there, from insects and corals to gypsum and quartz. For those who may like to like to fossil hunt but aren’t really into the collection side of it, there are handcrafted items, tee shirts, and books to take with you as souvenirs. The park also offers picnic areas with grills for family and friends (this area can be reserved for school visits, too!), as well as a few trails for a nice work and good spots for fishing.
There is a $2 parking fee, but if you plan on visiting the Interpretive Center, you only have to pay the admission fee ($5 for adults 19 and over, $2 for adults 18 and younger). Falls of the Ohio State Park receives over half a million visitors annually, so you can imagine how amazing the view must be to draw in such numbers. The stunning things you’ll witness at this award winning park can only come second to being a volunteer at the park, where you’ll get to eventually lead in hands on projects (like trail development), and work with school/scout groups throughout the year, just to name a few activities. There’s no better way to spend the last golden days of the year than at one of the most unique parks around, so visit Falls of the Ohio State Park to enjoy a little sun and a little nature!
Where: 201 West Riverside Dr., Clarksville, IN 67129
When: State Park is open 7am to 11pm, Interpretive Center is open Mon. thru Sat. from 9am to 5pm, and 1pm to 5pm on New Year’s Day.
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