Connecting the environment of the ancient past with the natural and cultural history of yesterday and today.


The Interpretive Center

News about the renovation and new exhibit installation:

The Interpretive Center closes November 24, 2014 for about nine months. During this time, the building will undergo renovations from stem to stern, including offices, restrooms, galleries, the auditorium, classroom, and halls. New exhibits will be installed over the summer, 2015. We anticipate reopening in September 2015.

Access to the fossil beds will not hampered except during times when construction equipment blocks the road to the rear parking lot. Indoor restrooms will not be accessible to the public during the closure.

School group programs will move to outreach (school-based) and Charlestown State Park. Details on the Educator information page.


Front of the Interpretive Center

Front of Interpretive Center

Parking is behind the building.

This is your guide to the Falls of the Ohio State Park Interpretive Center!

Floor plan of the Interpretive Center.


This page can help you explore our building. Our hours are Monday - Saturday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sunday 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. You may visit the park even when the Center is closed. Park hours are 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM as is open year round.

The foyer contains a scale model of the entire falls area, including the Portland canal and the McAlpine Locks & Dam. It also has a brochure rack with information about other tourist sites in the Louisville Metropolitan area.

Restrooms and water fountains are located to the right of the reception desk, just past the gift shop. For those without a cell phone, a pay phone is located on the right side of the lobby, near the theater entrance.

Visitors may borrow a wheelchair for use in the Center. The theater presentation has closed caption and headsets with an audio descriptive channel for visually impaired visitors. Inquire at the reception desk so we can make your visit as pleasant as possible.

This museum features over 100 different exhibits and an award winning 14 minute movie about the long and exciting history at the Falls of the Ohio. The theater entrance is to the right of the exhibit gallery entrance.

The gift shop hours are 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday - Saturday, 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM on Sunday.

We do not have vending machines or exterior rest rooms. We sell soft drinks and bottled water in the gift shop.

School group under the new lobby exhibit

School under the new lobby exhibits


Lobby exhibit focuses on the content of the Interpretive Center. It shows a taste of geologic history and ancient life, the natural environment, wildlife and the more recent history at the falls. The giant mural shows an aerial view of the falls area before Europeans entered the area.

New lobby exhibits October 2011

Our new lobby exhibits

Exhibit gallery (enter right of the Falls of the Ohio mural)

These exhibits will be replaced with new exhibits in 2015.

The first part of the exhibit gallery features the geology theme.     Students answer questions about life in the Devonian sea.

• First section is Geology and features the Devonian and Ice Age geology and paleontology.

Prehistoric cultures at the Falls of the Ohio is the second interpretive theme.     Students answer questions about prehistoric people at the Falls of the Ohio.

• Next is the Prehistory theme. The native peoples that inhabited this area from 10,000 to just a few hundred years ago follow the geology exhibits.

The third theme in the gallery is the historic cultures in the Falls area.      Students answer questions about pioneer life in the Falls of the Ohio area.

• The rear of the gallery features Cultural History - the history from European settlement to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The part of the gallery focuses on ecology of the Falls and a continuation of cultural history.

Local history from the 19th century to today is featured in the center and left portion of the gallery.

Kids Corner is a play area for our youngest visitors.   Children up to age 5 may us the Kids Corner exhibit space.

• The Kids Corner play area is also in the exhibit gallery.

The wildlife or bird viewing room features a small fish pond with a waterfall, many feeders and lots of plants.

• The hallway behind the lobby mural is our Wildlife Observation Room. Sit and listen to birds at our feeders. Typically, one may observe any of these visitors: sparrows, mourning doves, house finches, goldfinches, chickadees, tufted titmouse, cardinals, blue jays, downy woodpeckers, red-winged blackbirds and others.

   2014 "Ammonites: Ancient predators of the sea" exhibit      2014 Fluorite mineral / mining exhibit in the hall
• The hall features two display cases with exhibits that change out once or twice each year. On the left side of the hallway features a time line of maps of the falls area, which leads to our River Observation Room.


The River Observation Room provides visitors a place to enjoy seeing the river when it is too hot or cold to use the deck.

• The River Observation Room is a great place to watch the river if it is cold, hot or rainy outside. A touchable boulder of coral-bearing Devonian limestone is located in this room (lower right corner in the above photo).


Resource library / classroom is used for indoor fossil labs.   Students learn about ancient life and how to recognize fossils.

Resource library is available for educators, students and scientists / historians with advance arrangement. It is used as a classroom for educational groups throughout the year and may be rented for $50 per half day when not being used for educational programs.


Diorama in the lobby of the Interpretive Center is dominated by a cast of a mammoth skeleton. 

Original Lobby Exhibit (No more...)

Mammoth's shadow on the lobby mural only occurs on January mornings.

Mammoth Shadow on the Lobby Mural

(Occurred on January mornings)

Updated August 4, 2014