That time we saw a 3-hour old Bison and ticked off its mom

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    These bison babies at Big Bone Lick State Park are awfully cute, but trust us, you don’t want to get too close…

    It was just a lazy Saturday here in our home base of Cincinnati, and we were a little stir crazy. The sun was shining and we were itching to go somewhere- do something. A little Googling and we stumbled upon an article that said Big Bone Lick State Park, just on the other side of the Ohio River in Union, KY, had real Bison.

    That was enough to get us in the car and on our way.

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    Once we made it to the park, we wasted no time hiking the short trail to the massive green pasture where the Bison roam. Lucky for us, one of their caretakers had pulled up to keep an eye on one of their newest Bison, a little calf just 3 hours old.

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    The presence of the caretaker meant a chance at some extra treats, so the Bison had almost all come to the fence in hopes of a little grain thrown their way giving us an up-close-and-personal view.

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    “Eh, you might want to back away from the fence. You’re making the mama mad,” warned the caretaker as one of the massive mama bison started to shake her head at us. Despite being separated by a fence, we didn’t want that big beast getting any more upset than she already was with us.

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    The caretaker went on to explain how the animals operate, how they alert you that you’re too close for comfort, and all sorts of random tidbits about the animals. Finally, the bison figured out they weren’t getting any extra food and slowly roamed back to the middle of the pasture.

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    To see these huge animals up close is a rare and downright awesome experience. Just seeing how large they are and then imagining herds of them covering this entire country until we hunted them to near extinction.

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    After seeing the once-nearly-extinct animals, we popped into the Visitor Center to learn about the extinct animals that used to also roam the area. The park itself is named for fossils found in the area, particularly the Mammoths whom they think came to the area for a salt lick. The museum inside the Visitor Center helped us to understand the remarkable changes the area had undergone as the planet changed. Of course, there was also a super jovial staff person more than willing to add her two-cents about both the park and the bison.

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    The park also features a fishing lake, full campground, and plenty of hiking trails. With no admission to the park, Visitor Center, or bison viewing area, it’s a great little Cincinnati-area getaway.

    From Big Bone Lick State Park:

    Learn the history of Big Bone Lick in the museum, with displays of fossilized bones and artifacts from the last 18,000 years. The disabled-accessible Discovery Trail, part of the Outdoor Museum, gives visitors a glimpse of the drama that unfolded at the springs in pre-history. The paved Big Bone Creek Trail wanders through the original swampland, now growing wild with brush and flowers, and the last remaining salt-sulphur spring. The Bison Trace brings a live buffalo herd, the park’s effort to reestablish the American bison, into view. For anglers, the 7.5-acre lake contains largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish for bank fishing. Other popular activities include picnicking, swimming, hiking, tennis, volleyball, basketball, softball, and horseshoes. A recreation staff conducts activities Memorial Day through Labor Day, and the annual Salt Festival is one of the most popular events in the area.

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    Big Bone Lick State Park

    3380 Beaver Road

    Union, KY 41091
    Phone: (859) 384-3522
    Campground: (859) 384-3495