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Discover the Hidden Jewels at KY State Parks



Want to learn about Kentucky history? Head to a Kentucky state park. More than a dozen state parks feature museums interpreting the history and culture of the regions in which they are located.

The crown jewel of these museums is located in Henderson at John James Audubon State Park. Audubon, the first artist or ornithologist to depict life-size birds and animals in their natural surroundings, lived in Henderson in the early 19th century. The museum houses the world’s largest gathering of Audubon memorabilia and an extensive collection of his original watercolors, oils and engravings.

The Audubon Museum’s Learning Center offers art and environmental programs under the direction of a naturalist and art educator. The museum store features gifts that explore the wonders of nature. The museum and store are closed Monday through Wednesday from January to mid-March.

Explore 18,000 years of history at the museum at Big Bone Lick State Park at Union in northern Kentucky. Indoor and outdoor sections display fossilized bones and models of mammoths, mastodons, scavengers and other creatures that roamed the region. The outdoor museum features a boardwalk around a marsh bog diorama, and a small bison herd is on site. Inside, a wide-ranging collection of art and artifacts from various epochs reveal this area’s evolution.

Big Bone Lick is a National Natural Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, call 859-384-3522 or e-mail

Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park at Carlisle features the Pioneer Museum, which retells the story of the Blue Licks area from prehistoric times to the park’s dedication in 1928. View a short video presentation and examine mastodon bones, Native American and Kentucky pioneer artifacts. The area was also the site of a Revolutionary War battle, and memorabilia from this period is on view. Learn about the “healing waters” of the local spring through the story of Blue Licks’ early years as a travel destination. More information at 800-443-7008 or

Other state parks and historic sites with museums or historic homes include Fort Boonesborough,  Richmond; General Butler, Carrollton; Lincoln Homestead, Springfield; My Old Kentucky Home, Bardstown; Old Fort Harrod, Harrodsburg; Perryville Battlefield, Perryville; Waveland, Lexington; White Hall, Richmond; William Whitley House, Stanford; Levi Jackson Wilderness Road, London; Columbus-Belmont, Columbus; Jefferson Davis, Fairview; and Wickliffe Mounds, Wickliffe.

To learn more about all the museums in the Kentucky state park system, log on to, click on “Things to Do” and select “Museum.”