Mastodon State Historic Site, Imperial

4.4
#38 of 62 in Nature in Missouri
Mastodon State Historic Site is a publicly owned, 431acre archaeological and paleontological site with recreational features in Imperial, Missouri, maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, preserving the Kimmswick Bone Bed. Bones of mastodons and other now-extinct animals were first found here in the early 19th century. The area gained fame as one of the most extensive Pleistocene ice age deposits in the country and attracted scientific interest worldwide.The site was purchased by the state in 1976 following an effort to preserve it from destruction with the construction of Interstate 55. Archaeological history was made at the site in 1979 when scientists excavated a stone spear point made by hunters of the Clovis culture (14,000–10,000 years ago) in direct association with mastodon bones. This was the first solid evidence of the coexistence of people and these giant prehistoric beasts. The Kimmswick Bone Bed was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.Activities and amenitiesA museum tells the natural and cultural story of the oldest American Indian site one can visit in the state's park system. A full-size replica of a mastodon skeleton highlights the exhibits. A picnic area, hiking trails, and a special-use campground offer chances to explore the land where the lives of Native Americans and mastodons once intertwined.
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Mastodon State Historic Site Reviews
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63 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Nice Place to Go Peaceful Would Go There On the Hiking Trail to Get Away to Think about Life or Future Plans to Clear Your Mind of Other Thing  more »
  • We went with three families with 10 kids ranging from 2 to 17. The museum and visitor center was nice - they have a full mastodon skeleton as well as many other bones, with lots of explanations. There...  more »
  • We stopped only to go to the museum and not to do any of the outside things. The museum needs some sprucing up, but the information is interesting! The guide is overly excited to show you around which...  more »
Google
  • Two great hiking trails suitable for almost any skill level. The Wildflower Trail is a quick loop about a mile around with no steep grades, though it does have two fairly significant sets of stairs which must be traversed. The Limestone Hill Trail is a more aggressive loop just over two miles long with some fairly significant hills; as a bonus, it passes by the base of an exposed rock face for about a half mile which presents the opportunity to search for a variety of fossils amongst the chips at its base.
  • We liked it. My two little and I went there for some Saturday morning recreation. They loved the animals. I liked the video. And we all really enjoyed the 1/2+ mile hike down by the "bone bed." Very pleased. I'd go again.
  • A great place to experience the history of Missouri's ancient mastodons. Many bones of the now extinct Mastodon were taken from this site, although none are being excavated currently. The museum offers intriguing displays of Mastodon specimens, from real bones to a cast of a complete skeleton. There's a 14 minute educational video and walking/hiking trails to experience.
  • Fun little park with playground and nice short hikes. Museum was pretty small and interesting for adults, but the kids were pretty bored. Hikes were nice!
  • Walking trails for varied skill levels. Beautiful and scenic. We will make this a regular outing.

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