Excited to see one of our country’s newest national monuments, I road tripped up to Waco. I knew it was about mammoth fossils, and my friend David’s mom helped build the place, but really didn’t have any other ideas about what I was about to learn.
our park ranger/tour guide Shawn Perry gives us an overview of the size and history of the Columbian Mammoths.
Waco Mammoth National Monument, in conjunction with the City of Waco and local Baylor University, are excavating and protecting the only found fossilized herd of Columbian Mammoths in the United States. Named for Christopher Columbus, not the country, Columbian Mammoths were a matriarchal herd that traversed the lower part of North America and a bit of Central America - the warmer climes dating back 10,000 years and further. These 14 feet tall giants were larger than their well known Wooly Mammoth cousins.
the site is small, but has a lot of interesting scientific history
The site is small, but the hour-long ranger guided tour is excellent. Our ranger got very excited about the forensic science of the 24 mammoth fossils found just off a local creek bed on a former dairy farm.
Plan to go: The monument site is about 4 miles west of downtown Waco, an up and coming college town in central Texas. There are no refreshments immediately near by, but there is a nice selection downtown to choose from. The site is closed on Sundays, and Saturdays during football season can prove traffic logistics a bit tricky. The welcome center just off the parking lot (and the only restroom is in the welcome center.) Hourly tours are $5 for adults at the time of this publication, but check their website for events, pricing and other information.
Mammoth W has been named Wanda and has lots to tell the scientists investigating her bones.
can’t forget my cancellation stamps.