Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site
- Wildlife Viewing
Wickliffe Mound has a museum, welcome center, gift shop, trails and picnic areas. Come see us!
A Native American village once occupied the site of Wickliffe Mounds, about A.D. 1100 to 1350. Here, people of the Mississippian culture built earthen mounds and permanent houses around a central plaza overlooking the Mississippi River. Today, this Native American Indian archaeological site features mounds surrounded by abundant wildlife, museum exhibits, a walking trail, welcome center, a gift shop and picnic areas.
Open to the public since 1932, the museum exhibits excavated features with displays of Mississippian pottery, stone tools, artifacts and artwork showcasing their way of life and the archaeological history of Native American tribes in Kentucky. Visitors have a spectacular view of the bluff area on top of the Ceremonial Mound, the largest mound on the site. Special exhibits, hands-on displays, events, demonstrations and educational programs occur at various times throughout the year. For example, one fun popular summer event is an archaeology day camp for kids.
Scientific archaeological research through Murray State University has revealed important information about the Mississippian people here at Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site. This registered archaeological site (15BA4) is on the National Register of Historic Places, and a Kentucky Archaeological Landmark.
Please note: Pets are prohibited on the archaeological site, which encompasses the fenced in area around the mounds, buildings and trails; service dogs allowed. Please call park office for questions regarding the pet policy.
Park Hours—9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site is an Interpretive Center on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway and is part of the Kentucky Great River Road, where you'll find exciting events and happenings in the four KY counties bordering the Mississippi River.
Things to Do
Educational Tours and Programs
Students can explore the mounds, natural environment and museum exhibits of the Mississippian Native American culture and learn about the prehistoric village dating to 1100 A.D. A variety of program options are available that meet curriculum guidelines in Social Studies and Arts & Humanities. Tours can be staff guided or teacher-led; can emphasize your lesson plans in history, art, archaeology, Native American culture; provide a hands-on activity with prehistoric tools and crafts; and some programs provide a “make and take” pottery pinch pot or beaded gorget necklace (your choice). Fees range from $2 to $5 per student, Teachers are free admission with their class, and parents are $3. Activity sheets, Vocabulary and Scavenger Hunt for Knowledge available upon request.
Park is open April to mid-November for groups and Teachers may call or email to schedule their visit and choose their program options.
November is Native American Heritage Month and in recognition all school and scout group rates are $1 per person (self-guided tours only) for the month of November. Call 270-335-3681 for information or e-mail [email protected]
Choice areas for bird watching include the bluff picnic area, Woodswalk Trail, and the Ceremonial Mound. One of our resident birds, the elusive Pileated Woodpecker is most active during the morning hours. Its cackle resonates throughout the park daily and is frequently sighted.
The summer weather, with the riverine environment, provides a splendid habitat for attracting shoreline birds such as Great Blue Heron, Cattle Egrets, Killdeer, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Belted Kingfishers. Late fall, winter, and early springtime are best for viewing Canada geese and a wide variety of ducks including Woods, Muscovy, Mallards, Common Goldeneye, and Hooded Merganser; rare are the Bluewinged and Cinnamon Teal, Redhead and Canvasback Pochards. Bald Eagle sightings are more common during the waterfowl migratory season.
Resident woodland birds include Turkeys, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, and in the woodpecker family Red-headed, Red Bellied, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and the Pileated. Also common to the park are Kestrels, Red Tailed Hawks, and Turkey Vultures.
Books, souvenirs, pottery, baskets, t-shirts, jewelry and replica artifacts highlight the many items in the gift shop which focus on Native American Indian culture, archaeology, history and regional interests. Snacks and soft drinks also available for sale in gift shop. Located in the Welcome Center during regular park hours.
Woods Walk Trail - enjoy a leisurely walk through the woods here on a 200-yard loop trail. Views of seasonal wildflowers, wildlife, trees and bird watching opportunities available. Mississippi river is across the highway from the park. Please visit the Welcome Center during park hours for a trail map and plant information pamphlet.
The museum consists of an excavated mound with archaeological features, site artifacts, a mural of a Mississippian village and exhibits focusing on the archaeological history of the site and Mississippian culture.
Visitors may walk the grounds to view the Ceremonial, Chief’s and Burial Mounds and take an Archaeology Walking Trail tour. A Hands-on activity station in the main gallery gives visitors a chance to use Mississippian tools and learn about their technology in stone, pottery, weaving, and the natural environment.
Admission fees taken at the Welcome Center and interpretive pamphlets and guide sheets are available.
Picnic tables (no grills) are available at the bluff area during park hours for enjoying the peaceful surroundings. More tables and a shelter are located in the paid admission archaeological site area as well.
For a $10 reservation fee and $3 per person, during normal park business hours (10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), visitors can rent the shelter, which is in full view of the Ceremonial Mound and seats 30 people. Perfect setting for a birthday party, wedding, or social gathering. Shelter can be decorated and has access to electricity.
Reservations required in advance and no refunds for fee. Call 270-335-3681 for information or e-mail [email protected]