Falls of the Ohio State Park, Clarksville Indiana

Boasting one of the largest exposed Devonian fossil beds in the world, Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana offers an exciting experience for fossil and nature lovers alike. These fossil beds are approximately 390 million years old and can be seen from the expansive Interpretive Center. While fossil digging is not permitted, visitors are encouraged to explore the area and learn more about the fossils and how the fossil bed formed.

Visitors wishing to explore the fossil beds are encouraged to visit during August as the river area is often at its lowest, allowing for better access. While exploring the fossil beds, visitors may learn about archaeology and the types of flora and fauna that grow in the area, or grew when the fossils were formed. This can make for an exciting field trip for schools as many students are often interested in learning about this period of Earth’s history.

The Interpretive Center in Falls of the Ohio State Park functions as a museum with a focus on natural history and the fossils that are found in the area. Over 100 exhibits are housed within the museum and movies about the history of the area are available to enhance the learning experience. A gift shop within the museum allows visitors to purchase souvenirs and learning toys that will remind them of their visit to the state park. The Interpretive Center also offers wheelchairs for those who may need them.

Bird enthusiasts may enjoy the Wildlife Observation Room within the Interpretive Center. This room features a sitting area where guests may relax and watch or listen to the different types of birds that visit the area. Some of the birds that visit outside of this wildlife observation area include blackbirds, woodpeckers, finches and chickadees. Birds and other wildlife may also be observed throughout the park.

Another feature within Falls of the Ohio State Park is fishing along the river. An Indiana or Kentucky fishing permit is required in order to fish within the park. Some types of fishing may not be permitted, or certain types of fish may be required to be released upon catching them. Those who have questions about which fish may not be captured may inquire at the Interpretive Center or contact their local fishing permit office.

There are over 130 species of fish found in the areas within and surrounding the park, making it ideal for fishing enthusiasts. Some of these fish species include catfish, minnows, perch, sunfish and bass. Freshwater salmon and trout may also be fished through the river areas within the park.

Many gardens are maintained at Falls of the Ohio State Park such as flower gardens. Shrubs and perennial plants are also maintained in gardens around the park and can be sources of inspiration for home gardens or other landscaping. Plants available vary by season, creating a rich display of color as well as attracting wildlife such as butterflies and birds.

Hiking is also available and may be incorporated as part of a guided tour or educational tour. Visitors wishing to hike on their own are encouraged to do so though proper precautions should be taken when hiking near the water. Hiking along the river is also possible though it is important to note that river levels may be higher or lower depending upon the time of year and weather conditions.

Annual park passes may be used at Falls of the Ohio State Park though there is a limit to the number of times a pass may be used per visit at this park. This park allows for five visitors per pass per visit to the Interpretive Center. This is due to the need to collect fees that help to pay for the construction of the facility.

For information on scheduling tours or field trips, contact the park staff by phone at 1-812-280-9970 or via email at park@fallsoftheohio.org. Those seeking more information on the park or its services may visit the official website at http://www.fallsoftheohio.org.