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



Park Programs

Activities lasting no more than 2 hours

All begin at 2:00 PM

Free with regular interpretive Center admission


January 1, 2017

Hike from the Interpretive Center to the Clark home site and back on the Ohio River Greenway. Shaunna Graf, Project Director of the Greenway Commission will accompany us and tell the Greenway’s story.

January 8                    Alan Goldstein, Falls of the Ohio State Park

Mines and Minerals of Southern Illinois

North America's most prolific producer of fluorite and other minerals was a small area in southern Illinois and western Kentucky. This presentation focuses on the most famous mines whose specimens ended up in private collection and museums around the world. The mineral collecting pile in the rear parking lot comes from these mines.

January 11                  Alan Goldstein, Falls of the Ohio State Park

Understanding Evolution 

Evolution is a fundament principle in understanding the diversity of life today and throughout Earth’s geological history. This program, a volunteer training class open to the public, explores what it is and aspects of a uniquely American controversy.

January 14                  Paul Olliges, Naturalist at Heart volunteer

Falls of the Ohio Overview 

The Falls of the Ohio is a combination of geology, history, engineering, and exploration. a former Volunteer of the Year created and gives this presentation.

January 18                  Dr. William Andrews, Kentucky Geological Survey

Origin of the Ohio River and the Ice Age  

Did you know the Falls of the Ohio is one of the youngest geological features in the United States? The Ohio River we know today did not exist before the Ice Age. The speaker is featured in our exhibit on the birth of the Ohio River and the origin of the Falls of the Ohio, will present on the nature of the landscape before the Ice Age and how glaciers dramatically reshaped the region, exposing the Devonian fossil beds in the process.

January 22                  Alan Goldstein, Falls of the Ohio State Park

Discovering Geodes

What makes a geode and geode? Where can I find geodes? How many different kinds of minerals can be found inside? What’s the best way to crack them open? These are among the questions that will be answered in this program that is free with regular admission into the Interpretive Center.

February 4                   Alan Goldstein, Falls of the Ohio State Park    

Geology of Kentuckiana  

Why is the Midwestern landscape shaped the way it is today? Why do we find different rocks and fossils from different geological time periods? How have earthquakes impacted the region? Why is geology important to our economy and tourism? This program will answer these questions as we explore the amazing forces of nature that shape our part of the world. The volunteer training program is open to the public with regular Interpretive Center admission.

February 8 & 11 

Volunteer Orientation

Learn about volunteer opportunities at the Falls of the Ohio and Charlestown State Parks.


Consult the Volunteer page for other Naturalist at Heart classes that are open to the public.


Family Nature Club

One Sunday each month at 2:00 PM

See the "Kid's Page" for details.



Outer Fossil Bed Hikes


Will be scheduled for August, September and October 2017

The outer fossils are one of the world's amazing excursions to see Devonian fossils in their natural "habitat." We can only offer hikes in the late summer and fall when the upper gates of the McAlpine Dam are closed. This hike is moderately rugged and without shade, so wear a hat and bring water. You will do a little wading, the worst is about 2-feet deep with a moderate current. There will be a lot of walking on uneven limestone ledges. Wear enclosed shoes for your safety.

Learn about the geology, history, and river dynamics & engineering of the lock & dam and 1870 railroad bridge. You will see birds and other wildlife on this outing.

Hike lasts about 3 1/2 hours. Meets on the deck. It is geared for adults and children 12 and over. Show up with enough time to sign a liability release form and use the rest rooms in the Interpretive Center before you go outside to explore.

Hike depends on river level and weather conditions.

Contact us the day before at 812-280-9970.


Brian Vance and Paul Olliges lead hikes on fossil beds

Secret cache of fossils will be shown on this hike to explain the ancient life that created the fossil beds.

Canoe Hikes

Will be scheduled for Late Summer - Early Fall 2017

Canoe hike on the Indian Chute channel at the Falls of the Ohio.

Paddle the falls and discover a very pleasant way to discover wildlife and seldom-seen fossils.

Canoe or kayak with Falls of the Ohio interpretive naturalist Jeremy Beavin in the unique Falls of the Ohio National Wildlife Conservation Area.

Meet at the boat ramp on Harrison Avenue, in Clarksville, by 9:30 a.m.

We will paddle into the Conservation Area, hike a bit on the outer fossil beds and plan to

return around noon. Call on Friday (812) 280-9970, to make sure the river level is safe

for boating. Bring your own canoe or kayak and PFD (life jacket), water to drink, and

sun protection. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Outings launch from the GRC Boat Ramp 1204 W. Harrison Avenue.

         Paddling below the George Rogers Clark home site cabin.


         Paddling below the Clark Cabin

Public Hikes on the Devonian Fossil Beds

Looking for fossils on the fossil beds


Naturalist-led hikes are offered on the fossils daily from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Whether you are stalking crinoids, trekking for trilobites or creeping over corals, you can learn about the wonderful Devonian fossil beds and learn why they are unique in the world. We encourage you to come and visit the Interpretive Center before going outside.

Saturday hikes are available after Labor Day weekend and go through October November 1. At other times hikes can be scheduled by calling several days in advance.

When you can't come when there is a scheduled hike, we have roving volunteer naturalists who may be found on the fossil beds.  You can recognize one by looking for a brown vest with the Falls logo on the back, or a lanyard (hang-tag) with their name and "Naturalist at Heart" logo. You can also pick up a free "Discovering Fossils" brochure or download one from here.

Watch Facebook or call 812-280-9970 for times.


Updated December 26, 2016