Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site
DescriptionOn October 8, 1862, cannon explosions shattered the rural peace of this tranquil countryside and the death moans of young soldiers. Perryville became the site of the most destructive Civil War battle in the state which left more than 7,600 killed, wounded or missing. The Perryville Battlefield park museum tells of the battle that was the South’s last serious attempt to gain possession of Kentucky.
Jeff Shaara, author of the guidebook Jeff Shaara's Civil War Battlefields: Discovering America's Hallowed Ground, lists Perryville Battlefield as one of the 10 great Civil War places to visit. His national review appeared in USA Today.
This Kentucky battlefield is one of the most unaltered Civil War sites in the nation; vistas visible today are virtually those soldiers saw on that fateful day in 1862. A self-guided walking tour on the battlefield interprets battle events. This is one of the stops along Kentucky's Lincoln Heritage Trail.
Hours of Operation
Park is open daylight to dark seven days a week with self-guided tour information in the information box just outside the museum front doors.
Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site Resources
With the help of a class from Centre College, Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site now has a digital database of more than 5,800 soldiers who died, were wounded or went missing during the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky. Click here to search the database and learn more.
Perryville Battlefield’s School of the Soldier; An Interactive Historic Learning Experience!
Developed for 4th and 5th graders, the program emphasizes the significance of the American Civil War and its effect upon Kentucky. We can modify the program to fit other age groups. The School of the Soldier will allow each child to enter into the world of the common Civil War soldier. Each class will watch a twenty-minute film depicting the history of the battle at Perryville. After an introduction, each child becomes a soldier and is mustered into the army and taught the basic military drill and manual of arms. At this time small-scale, non-firing, reproduction muskets are issued. Children are kepis for the day and officers will be semi-uniformed. Children bring their own lunches and enjoy that at our large picnic shelter and playground. After the break children march along the route of the 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, historical and first person accounts are included in this tour. The program concludes with a trip to the Battlefield Museum and Museum Store (we ask you to allow time for this as it helps keeps the program cost low.) The program generally takes 4 hours, but is modifiable. Twenty students are required to do the program. Teachers are free and students are $4! Please call the park at 859-332-8631 for more.
Although best known for the epic Civil War battle that occurred here, Perryville Battlefield is also a wildlife refuge that features a variety of wildlife and habitats. Approximately 1,000 acres of preserved land contains woodlands, grasslands, open prairie flowered grasslands and dense thickets where dozens of species of birds can be observed. The park has a dedicated “Bird Trail” that meanders through these habitats.
The park has over 15 miles of hiking trails that include both historic trails as well as nature trails. Perryville recently underwent a transformation from large hay fields into 700 acres of pristine habitat. On the park, you will encounter Kentucky native wildlife as well as see one of the most endangered habitats in the United States, open prairie flowered grasslands. These are very rare in the United States and we restored several of these areas within the park.
Numerous rare bird species use the grasslands at Perryville Battlefield for spring nesting habitats. Bobolinks and Henslow’s Sparrows can be seen along the “Bird Trail” as it winds its way along the grassy bottoms of Doctor’s Creek and Donelson’s Run. Migrating waterfowl are very visible on the creeks that run through Perryville during the fall. Winter is a great time to see the many raptor species that hunt in the open fields. One might even catch a glimpse of one of Kentucky’s most threatened bird species – the Barn Owl.
- To report your bird sighting data and upload photos, CLICK HERE.
For a memento of your visit to Perryville Battlefield, visit the Gift Shop, featuring Kentucky handcrafts, souvenirs, and a large selection of Civil War books.
Gift Shop Winter/Fall Hours
Nov 1 – December 23: Wed-Sat 10:00-3:00; CLOSED Thanksgiving Day
After December 23, please call 859-332-8631
Gift Shop Spring/Summer Hours:
March 3 - March 31: Open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
April 1 - October 31st: Monday - Saturday, 9:00 am to 5:00; Sunday, 11:00 pm to 5:00
Enjoy the beautiful and historical grounds of the park on one of the self-guiding walking trails. Over 40 interpretive signs are part of the nearly 20-mile trail system. Pick-up a map at the museum. Thanks to the preservation successes of the battlefield, native plants and wildlife find a protected home here and also thrive. Recently Perryville Battlefield entered into a partnership with the Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife in an effort to return 100 park acres back to its original appearance and re-introduce native habitat. So as you stroll back in time along Doctor’s Creek and past the cannons, you may also stumble upon some wild turkey, mink, deer, and numerous bird species, just as the soldiers did years ago.
The Civil War comes to life in the Perryville Battlefield Museum. Examine actual battle artifacts, a Civil War display, and a map with the layout of the battle. Upon exiting the museum, be sure to stop by the Confederate monument nearby that was erected in 1902 and the Union monument added in 1931.
Call the park office at 859-332-8631 to schedule your group tour.
- Adult Group (10 or More) - $3.50/ea
- Child Group (10 or More) - $2.50/ea
- Military and Senior discount - $3.50/ea
The park has a picnic shelter with rest rooms, tables, grills, and a playground for the enjoyment of visitors.