Mastodon State Historic Site, Imperial

#39 of 103 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.
A 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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74 reviews
  • This is a really nice park. There is a small, yet very intersting and informative, museum. The park is free. The museum costs $4 per adult and is free for children 12 and under. It includes a short (1...  more »
  • Great field trip! Staff was really nice! Great free place to visit with nice playground and pavilion.  more »
  • I've been going to the upper side of the park for two years and never realized this part of the park existed! Nice flat trails so I can keep up with my ever-pulling dog, pavilion, and jungle gym. Will definitely be coming back to this side of the park.
  • Limestone trail was a great hike. Two miles, doable in about an hour at a moderate pace. The trail has some big hills and parts of it are pretty rocky, so make sure you can handle that and have the right footwear.

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