After we left Arlington, we headed south to Waco, TX. We had been to Waco once before and clearly didn’t see the nice part of town (it was a night and day difference). We went primarily to see the Waco Mammoths.
The Waco Mammoths is a National Monument and a fairly new one at that, it wasn’t designated until 2015 by President Obama. It is super cool. The Waco Mammoth is an open dig site, like they are still working there, for (I think) the only nurse herd of Colombian Mammoths. Colombian Mammoths are the warm weather cousins to the woolly mammoth. They are taller (14ft at shoulder height) and, well, less woolly. You know, because of the heat.
Basically, back in the 1970s a couple of teenagers were in a ravine/creek bed outside of town looking for whatever kids in the 70s were looking for when they stumbled on the bones of a mammoth. They went to a professor at Baylor University and convinced him that this was something special. He checked it out and the Waco mammoths were discovered.
What they’ve done is build a building around a portion of the dig site. Most of the mammoths have been moved off site but a few of the mammoths have been left in situ and a couple of the mammoths have been replaced with replicas. Also inside the building is an archaeologist/paleontologist on duty (I’m not sure of her specific background since we went on a weekend and she wasn’t working) who is actively working on the site. I think it would have been cool (my background is in anthropology) to see what she’s working on or doing or some of the different processes they put the bones through.
In total 24 mammoths have been excavated from the site along with a camel, the tooth of a sabertooth tiger, and some other animals.
It was a pretty neat experience. I really enjoyed it and Mike and I agree that it was totally worth the stop. Plus, we got a cute mammoth magnet to add to our growing magnet collection.
On to the nitty gritty details. For adults it costs $5 a person and there are discounts available if you’re a senior, a student, a child, in the military, etc. That’s for the guided tour but there is no option to skip the tour so it’s $5. Parking was free and there is some RV/bus parking but not a ton and none in shade.
Waco is south of the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is a little bit hotter so we made sure to go early in the morning (as soon as they opened at 9, we were in the first tour group) so that Finn would be ok hanging out in the bus. We were hoping that they would have kennels available like some other national parks/monuments have but, alas, they did not. I do really like having the kennel option because I can evaluate how the temperature is looking throughout the time that we’ll be visiting and the shade situation of the parking lot and decide what would be best for him. The bus is insulated (even if the insulation is not the greatest) so it stays pretty cool especially if we can park in the shade and the bus stays comfortable inside until it gets quite hot outside but I like the flexibility that an on-site kennel gives me until we get our AC situation totally figured out. I’m of the mind that it should be something that all National Parks offer.
I think it would be a fun place to take the family (if we had kids) and they did offer some crafts and activities just for kids which is nice.
All in all, it was a great tour and site and well worth the $10 for the two of us.