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Mastodon State Historic Site, Imperial

#41 of 101 in Nature in Missouri
State Park · Nature / Park
Mastodon State Historic Site is a publicly owned, 431-acre (174 ha) 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.
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Mastodon State Historic Site reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
79 reviews
  • The day was beautiful, which made hiking the short trails even more fun. Great place for a picnic or day trip. We live close by, so will return for more adventures.  more »
  • ... Then when you get there walk towards the right of the direction you pulled in. You'll see shelters and a gravel path that is a circle. Take it either direction and you'll see the creek towards.....  more »
  • Neat place. Couple of dioramas, fossil tusks, teeth, and bones from mastodons, and other animals from that period. Large sloths interesting. There is a fully assembled mastodon skeleton as well. They have a short movie about the area's history, and the mastodon. We didn't go beyond the Visitors' Center today, but they have trails to walk, including to the original dig site. Will go back to walk when it cools off a bit.
  • This Museum and park are absolutely breathtaking. Staff is so friendly and made the experience wonderful for all of us. Museum is very peaceful with so much to look at + a tooth on display that can be touched (my children's favorite part). The park is beautiful and there are so many views we will not forget. Will be back before summer is over :)

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