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USA Parks
USA Parks
River Region Region
River Region Region
Big Bone Lick State Historic Site
Big Bone Lick State Historic Site
3380 Beaver Road
Union, Kentucky   41091-9627

Phone: 859-384-3522
Reservations: 859-384-3522
During the Pleistocene Epoch, over 15-thousand years ago, a huge ice sheet covered the ground all the way from Canada down to the Ohio River. On the edges of this ice sheet, great herds of giant mastodons, wooly mammoths and ground sloths were attracted to the warm salt springs that still bubble from the earth at Big Bone Lick State Park.

The salty marsh that attracted these prehistoric visitors sometimes proved to be a fatal attraction. Animals became trapped and perished in what the early pioneers called "jelly ground," leaving skeletons and interesting clues about life in prehistoric Kentucky.

The fossilized remains of these prehistoric animals were discovered in 1739 and displayed extensively at museums throughout the world. Notable Americans such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin personally examined the fossils, many of which are on display today at Big Bone Lick Museum. The scientific community recognizes the site as the "Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology."
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
CampingWater/Electric Sitesyes
Spacious campground features 62 campsites with utility hookups, grills, a swimming pool and playground. Showers, rest rooms, and laundry facilities are available at a central service building. Campground grocery on-site.

Pets are allowed if restrained. Campground open Year-Round. Campground grocery open April 1-October 31.
September 26
Great Outdoors Weekend
Noon - 4:00 P.M.

Big Bone Lick State Historic Site is known as the birthplace of North American paleontology. Join the Friends of Big Bone for a day of demonstrations, lectures and hikes about local history, archaeology and paleontology. Tours are conducted by scientists from the Cincinnati Museum Center and professors from The College of Mt. St. Joseph and Xavier.

October 18
29th Annual Salt Festival
10:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Journey back in time as Big Bone Lick returns to days long past. There will be numerous hands on demonstrations and activities for people of all ages; including flint-knapping, pioneer life camps, salt making, weaving, spear throwing, storytelling, music, atlatl tossing and lots more. Browse the crafter's corner to see the many wondrous hand crafted items for sale; then refresh yourself and your family at the food court. While you are visiting don't forget to see our bison herd and stop by the Visitor Center.

October 31
Halloween Scare-Fest
7:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.

Help us scare away the evil spirits here at Big Bone Lick by bringing all your little ghouls, ghosts, witches and skeletons to the park for our annual Halloween Scare-fest! Campers will be treated to Halloween games, crafts and special events. Bring the scariest decorations you can find to help set the mood for all our campers during the weekend. Don't forget those pumpkins so you can enter our traditional, no pattern, pumpkin carving contest. Special note: be advised that the scare-fest has a traditional scary setting and theme, parental discretion is advised. Only open to visitors camping in the campground.

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Nearly 40 acres of picnic grounds with tables, grills and a playground are ideal for family outings. The two picnic shelters have tables, grills, water and electric, and may be reserved for rental up to one year in advance.
Area Attractions
Gift ShopA gift shop adjoins the museum and features Kentucky handcrafts and souvenirs of all types. The gift shop will be closed February and March.

Learn the history of Big Bone Lick in our brand new museum with displays of fossilized bones and artifacts from the last 18,000 years. Open year round.

Outdoor Museum - Discovery TrailThe new Discovery Trail addition to the Outdoor Museum at Big Bone Lick gives visitors a glimpse of the drama that unfolded at the springs in pre-history.

Recreated grasslands, wetlands and wooded savannas lie along the trail leading to a "bog" diorama. Shown going into or struggling inside the marsh bog are a woolly mammoth, a mastodon, a giant sloth, bison, various skeletal remains, and scavengers feeding on the carcasses. Visitors approach the diorama on a boardwalk that rises above the floor of the marsh, enabling them to "look history in the eye." An amphiteater upslope from the diorama can be used as an outdoor classroom. The diorama and the Discovery Trail are sited to provide the physically challenged visitors with the opportunity to experience the varied grassland, wetland and savanna environments and the bog diorama.

The outdoor museum continues for a mile past the entrance to the Discovery trail. The paved Big Bone Creek Trail wanders through the original swampland, now growing wild with brush and flowers, and the last remaining salt-sulphur spring. The final portion of the loop, the Bison Trace, brings a live buffalo herd into view. Year-round.

Buffalo Herd: The American buffalo, or bison, is the largest of all North American land mammals. Great buffalo herds once roamed this area and provided food, clothing and shelter for the Indians and pioneers. Hunted to near extinction, the last wild buffalo was seen in Kentucky around 1800. The park?s herd is an effort to reestablish these animals at Big Bone Lick.
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
August 18 get together by Terri F.
we had a family get together on Aug. 18th. we had a blast and plan on getting together again before the coldness comes. Its a great park, family friendly and pet friendly. love it , love it, love it.
May 8 Awesome by colo
Great state park
January 2 Birthplace of Paleontology by StealthHunter
Now...what I am wondering is why are there ball fields, tennis courts, and picnic tables at what is supposed to be a treasure trove of natural history and archaeology???

Area Resources
Crawford County Tourism Bureau - Leavenworth, INTourism
Crawford County consists of over 306 square miles of beauty and outdoor recreation Caves, state parks, rugged terrain, acres of protected forests, nature preserves, and numerous waterways
87.5 miles from park*
Weather Forecast, (41091)

The park is located 22 miles southwest of Covington on KY 338, off US 42 - 127 and I-71 / I-75. Here is an area map.

USA Parks
USA Parks
River Region Region
River Region Region
Big Bone Lick State Historic Site
Big Bone Lick State Historic Site