Cumberland Falls during normal water flow. Here, the Cumberland River has cut through the resistant Pine Creek and Rockcastle Sandstones to create a beautiful cliff-lined gorge that extends for many miles upstream and down. Image Copyrighted by Don Chesnut, 1996.


Area Natural Science Museums

Big Bone Lick State Park

Kentucky Salato Wildlife Education Center

Covington, Kentucky

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

Daniel Boone National Forest

Henderson, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Marion, Kentucky

Natural Bridge State Resort Park

Pine Mountain State Resort Park

Wickliffe, Kentucky

Cumberland Gap National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park

Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, Ohio


Please let me know if there are other museums, parks, or forests that I should add to the list; contact me at webmaster and type "Attn: Don Chesnut" in the subject line.



Big Bone Lick State Park

Big Bone Lick State Park is the site of one of the nation's first paleontological sites. Many thousands of Pleistocene mammal bones have been dug there since 1739. The state park has picnic facilities, a small herd of bison, and a small museum exhibiting Ice Age fossils. The museum/gift shop is open April through October for seven days a week at 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; for November, December, February, and April it is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but open rest of the week at 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; the museum is closed for the month of January. For more information, contact the museum at Big Bone Lick State Park, Union, KY 41091-9627 [telephone 606-384-3906].


Covington, Kentucky

The Behringer-Crawford Museum contains exhibits on the natural and cultural heritage of northern Kentucky. It is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm. For more information, contact Laurie Risch at 606-491-4003.


Cumberland Falls during flood. Image Copyrighted by Don Chesnut, 1996.

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

This state park is centered around geologic features including Cumberland Falls and the cliff-sided canyon of the Cumberland River. These features owe their existence to the sandstones of the Pennsylvanian age Lee Formation which are resistant to erosion. For more information, contact the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Corbin, KY 40701-8857 [telephone 606-528-4121].


Daniel Boone National Forest

This is a large national forest running northward from Tennessee to northeastern Kentucky along the edge of the Cumberland Plateau.  It is well known for its rugged scenic beauty comprised of cliff-lined canyons, rapids, arches, and waterfalls.

Daniel Boone National Forest: webpage created by Great Outdoor Recreation Pages


Henderson, Kentucky

John James Audubon State Shrine

This state shrine contains many of the paintings of naturalist/wild-life artist John James Audubon as well as personal items and family memorabilia. The museum/gift shop is open 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, but they are closed for the week of Christmas. For more information, contact the museum at John James Audubon State Shrine, 3100 US 41N, Henderson, KY 42420-0576 [telephone 502-827-1893].


Lexington, Kentucky

William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology

This anthropology and archaeology museum is located on the University of Kentucky campus, 201 Lafferty Hall, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0024 [telephone number is 859-257-7112]. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. 

Hudnall Museum of Geology

This small museum on the second floor of Bowman Hall, University of Kentucky consists of one room of fossil exhibits and one room of mineral exhibits. The museum is only open by appointment made with Dr. Frank Ettensohn [telephone 859-257-1401].

Explorium of Lexington

This children's museum consists of hands on exhibits for children that include aspects of social, physical, and natural sciences as well as history and technology Explorium of Lexington, Victorian Square, 440 W. Short Street, Lexington, Kentucky 40507 [859-258-3253].


Louisville, Kentucky

Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center, Indiana [near Louisville]

201 W. Riverside Dr., Clarksville, IN 47129 [telephone 812-280-9970]. The interpretive center offers easy access to the famous Falls of the Ohio fossil beds in the Ohio River. A modern museum, restrooms, picnic tables, and gift shop are available. The first Falls Fossil Festival was held there in the fall of 1995 and may become an annual event. Alan Goldstein is the curator.

Louisville Science Center


Marion, Kentucky

Clement Mineral Museum

The Clement Mineral Museum is one of the best collections of the mineral fluorspar in the world, and western Kentucky is one of the few places in the world where fluorspar has been mined. This museum is undergoing development, but is open to the public upon request. For more information, contact John May, county Judge Executive [telephone 502-965-5251].


Natural Bridge State Resort Park

This state park is centered around geologic features including many natural bridges and cliff-sided canyons. These features owe their existance to the sandstones of the Pennsylvanian age Lee Formation which are resistant to erosion. For more information, contact the Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Slade, KY 40376 [telephone 606-663-2214].


Owensboro, Kentucky


Pine Mountain State Resort Park

This state park is centered around geologic features including Pine Mountain, a hundred-mile long ridge created by the Pine Mountain Thrust Fault. The ridge is composed of resistant sandstones of the Pennsylvanian age Lee Formation. The gap in Pine Mountain at Pineville was cut by the Cumberland River and owes its existance to the Rocky Face Fault which intersected Pine Mountain at Pineville. For more information, contact the Pine Mountain State Resort Park, Pineville, KY 40977-0610 [telephone 606-337-3066].


Wickliffe, Kentucky

"Wickliffe Mounds, a residential and ceremonial center for several thousand people, was a thriving community from around A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1400. People from hamlets and farmsteads in the surrounding countryside came together at the mound centers for important occasions. They constructed and maintained the mounds under the guidance of the community chiefs."
"Located in Wickliffe, Kentucky, Murray State University runs Wickliffe Mounds as a research center. The site is open daily from March to November. The small admission ($3.50 adult, $3.25 senior citizen; $2.50 ages 6-11; under 6 free) helps maintain the museum, so that the results of ongoing research can be presented to the public. For more information contact Lisa Engen at 502-335-3681."
The Kentucky Heritage Council co-sponsors archaeological weekends each spring at Wickliffe Mounds Research Center. For more information, contact Kit Wesler at 502-335-3681.
"The Kentucky Junior Historical Society, with Murray State University's Wickliffe Mounds Research Center, holds a week-long field school for high school students each summer. Students live at the field headquarters and participate in all aspects of the ongoing investigation of Wickliffe Mounds. For more information contact Susan Hughes at 502-564-2662."


Cumberland Gap National Park

This park is the site of one of the most important mountain gaps in American history. Much of the frontier migration west of the Appalachians was on the Wilderness Road which crossed Cumberland Mountain through this gap. This national park is centered around geologic features including Cumberland Mountain, a hundred-mile long ridge created by the Pine Mountain Thrust Fault. The ridge is composed of resistant sandstones of the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian age. The gap in Cumberland Mountain was created by erosion at a weak spot along Cumberland Mountain where the Rocky Face Fault intersected the mountain ridge. See also the GORP site for Cumberland Gap.


Mammoth Cave National Park

The Mammoth Cave system is by far the longest mapped cave system in the world. This is a world-class natural history site. A full program of events and led tours are available as well as camping, cabins, hiking, and picnicing. Many privately owned caves are also available for tours in the area outside the park. Everyone should visit this park.

Mammoth Cave National Park:  a webpage constructed by Great Outdoor Recreation Pages


Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science

This excellent museum has recently moved from the old Gilbert Ave. site to the renovated Union Terminal. Newly constructed exhibits have to be seen to be believed and include walk through environments such as the cave world and Pleistocene Ohio Valley. This is a "must see" museum. Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203 [telephone 513-287-7020].