The Interpretive Center
Front of Interpretive Center
Parking is behind the building.
Highlights of the Falls of the Ohio State Park Interpretive Center!
New hands-on exhibits can be seen at the Falls of the Ohio State Park Interpretive Center. The center reopened in 2016 after a $6-million renovation that improved the 16,000 sq. ft. facility from stem to stern.
The exhibits revolve around four themes that connect the center and the park’s fossil beds to history and nature. They are: An Ancient Sea, A Changing Land, Converging Cultures and The Falls Today. Visitors enter a time tunnel showing the placement of continents throughout earth’s history and walk through a Devonian sea with a huge projection like you are scuba diving. Media can help you learn more about fossils and how the glaciers help create the Falls of the Ohio. The careers of an archaeologist and paleontologist are compared. Explore evidence of prehistoric people through dozens of artifacts. Listen to a rare conversation in the Shawnee language inside a bark-thatched wegiwa. Watch the story of Lewis and Clark’s journey unfold from the Falls of the Ohio to the Pacific Ocean, and discover the wildlife, river and the importance of environmental stewardship.
The galleries feature specific exhibits and activities for young children, such as fossil rubbings and putting together a mammoth puzzle. A graphic of a great blue heron in the exhibits direct visitors to those hands-on activities. The old exhibits were largely text and objects behind glass, whereas the new exhibits offer an immersive learning experience with state-of-the-art audio, video and interactive elements. iPods are available to aid those with hearing or visual disabilities at the admissions desk.
Visitors may borrow a wheelchair for use in the Center.
This museum features hands-on, immersive exhibits. Our original 14- minute movie about the long and exciting history at the Falls of the Ohio is shown in the auditorium.
Gift shop operates from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday - Saturday, 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM on Sunday.
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.
Our new lobby exhibits
An Ancient Sea
What's it about? Devonian sea life and fossils
Hands-on activities, touchable models, a media-based "Undersea Investigation station" and more!
A Changing Land
What's it about? How the Ohio River and Falls were created, the Ice Age connection, differences between a paleontologist and an archaeologist, interpreting early people with artifacts and models
What's it about? The arrival of Europeans, conflicts with Native Peoples, George Rogers Clark and his campaign in the Northwest Territory, and the three-screen Lewis and Clark Theater focusing on the connection of the expedition with the Falls of the Ohio and its people.
The Falls Today
What's it about? Life at ecosystems and types of animals found at the Falls of the Ohio.
The giant "virtual aquarium" explores life in the Ohio River.
A large "trash sculpture" highlights the impact of humanity on the Ohio River.
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.
Tufted Titmouse on Feeder Baby Groundhog by pond
River Observation Room
This is a room to sit or stand and contemplate the power of the Ohio River when the gates of the McAlpine Dam are open (typically December through July). Watch a variety of birds in the air or in the water.
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.
The Old Lobby
Original Lobby Exhibit (No more...)
Mammoth Shadow on the Lobby Mural
(Occurred on January mornings)
Updated January 26, 2017