Bird Watching

Visit Waco Mammoth National Monument for a Journey Through Prehistoric Times | Through the fort


WACO – Did Dinosaurs and Other Legendary Prehistoric Creatures Really Exist?

Well, the proof is in the pudding – or in this case, in the floor of Waco’s Mammoth National Monument, a 108-acre park along the Bosque River where visitors can “glimpse a Texas Ice Age that wasn’t. not terribly cold, a habitat for many species such as roadrunners and raccoons, and a river that has been used by Colombian mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and camels for thousands of years.

Around 265 million years ago, experts say, much of the great state of Texas was underwater, covered by the ocean, and a few thousand years ago, Colombian mammoths – creatures standing 14 feet tall and weighing 20,000 pounds – roamed what later became the Lonely. State of the stars.

According to the park’s website, two men were searching for arrowheads and fossils near the Bosque River in the spring of 1978 when they came across a “large bone eroding in a ravine.” They took the unusual-looking bone to Baylor University for examination and it was identified as a femur (thigh bone) from a Colombian mammoth, which lived in the Ice Age in North America. , from southern Canada to Costa Rica.

A team of volunteer excavators was quickly assembled and between 1978 and 1990 the fossilized remains of 16 mammoths were discovered. Over the next seven years, six more mammoth fossils were excavated, along with a Western camel, a dwarf antelope, an American alligator, a giant tortoise, and the tooth of a young saber-toothed cat.

The cause of the mammoths’ death remains a mystery, although no evidence of human involvement has been found, and many remains have not been disturbed by scavengers. One theory suggests that the animals all died in a flash flood caused by the rapidly rising waters of the river.

The remains excavated until 1990 are kept at the Mayborn Museum complex in Baylor, but other fossil specimens remain in their original location, protected by a temperature-controlled excavation shelter, allowing public viewing and study keep on going.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the park is “working to improve access on a phased basis.” The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

Free access to the Dig Shelter is 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Dig Shelter access fees are required.

For more information on Waco Mammoth National Park – which was named part of the National Park System in 2015 – visit

Face masks are needed where physical distance cannot be maintained and inside all buildings. Park operations are based on local public health conditions, so be sure to check the website for the current operating status.

Meanwhile, back home in Killeen-Fort Hood, BLORA (Belton Lake Outdoor and Recreation Area), at the intersection of North Nolan Road and Cottage Road, offers a number of family activities. available including camping sites, picnic lodges, hiking, sightseeing, bird watching, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, paintball, 53 foot outdoor climbing wall and shooting range bow. Admission for military clients is $ 3 per car; all others cost $ 10 per vehicle.

The Recreational Equipment Control Center, located in the Garrison 14 miles southwest of BLORA, is available to family and authorized MWR customers, and offers rental of equipment such as kayaks, canoes, wakeboards, skis, knee pads, tubes, camping gear, pop-ups / travel trailers, accessories and more. Visit for more information.

The Fort Hood Apache Arts and Crafts Center is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for those interested in DIY projects, including picture frames, ceramics and ceramic birthday parties for children. In the center, 761st Tank Battalion and 62nd Street, Building 2337, also offer screen printing, embroidery and a carpentry workshop.

The center has a Resilience Through Art program that provides a quiet space with art materials for soldiers to create “whatever comes to their mind.” It is available free of charge to all active duty soldiers during the week until 5 p.m. Soldiers can take their work with them or leave it in the center for display to others. For more information, contact MWR.