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Big Bone Lick State Park

Big Bone Lick State Park - BEST Places to Picnic3380 Beaver Road
Union, KY 41091-9627
Telephone: 859-384-3522

WELCOME to Big Bone Lick State Park

Big Bone Lick State Park is located at Big Bone in Boone County, Kentucky. It is located on Beaver Road and between the communities of Beaverlick and Rabbit Hash. The name of the park comes from the Pleistocene mega fauna fossils found there. 

The mammoths and other creatures are believed to have been drawn to this location by a salt lick. It bills itself as "the birthplace of American paleontology" a term which dates from William Clark's expedition in 1807.

In 2002, the National Park Service designated Big Bone Lick State Park as an official Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail Site. The Park was also listed in 1972 on the National Register of Historic Places.


A new visitor's center was officially opened on November 18, 2004, but this was only the first stage of a much larger project now in quest of funding. The museum center features fossils, American art and a 1,000 pound mastodon skull as well as a gift shop.

The park also features several nature trails, including the Outdoor Museum with Discovery Trail that includes a boardwalk around a marsh bog diorama with recreations of a woolly mammoth, a mastodon, a giant sloth, bison, and scavengers feeding on carcasses and skeletal remains. 

The Discovery Trail winds through several habitats, including grassland, wetland and savanna, and is accessible to the physically-challenged.

A small bison herd is also maintained on-site.

Another attraction to many visitors is the amusing name, which some see as an innuendo.

Picnicking & Playground

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. Year-round.

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