We only spent a little more than an hour exploring here. We didn’t realize that you have to pay for the part of the park that houses the fossils so we didn’t plan the best. We figured we’d wander around and explore for a few hours, but we snuck onto the day’s last ranger guided tour of the museum. The tour was as cheap as any other of the national park costs we’ve run into. They all seem to be about $5 for adults.
They had tents and tables set up just outside the visitors center (It’s the tiniest visitors center we’ve ever seen at a park) where you could touch and see replicas. The boys loved it and it made it much easier to realize the size of these monsters!
There are quite a few trails that you can hike and explore which are free. We only walked the paved trail because of time and well, it was Texas in July! We should have visited early in the morning and we could have, but we were rolling the next morning and we try not to plan much so our travel days don’t feel any crazier than they already are. Without paying for the tour you can walk clear up to the museum and stand over the creek bed where the original discovery was made. There are signs with information and the park rangers are a wealth of knowledge too.
Our boys earned another Junior Ranger badge here. It was their second in two days. They (we) learned…
- There was more than one type of mammoth.
- These were Columbian, not Woolly.
- Columbian Mammoths are larger than Woolly Mammoths.
- Columbian Mammoths are not hairy like Woolly Mammoths
- Mammoths had terrible eyesight.
- They often traveled with camels. The camels traded their fantastic eyesight for the protection from predators from the gigantic mammoths.
This picture is to scale (actually it’s 6” short because the light was already mounted when they painted the mural. It’s the male mammoth “Q” that is almost directly across from it in the pit. Jordan doesn’t often feel short, but this guy definitely dwarfs him a bit!
Within the facility that houses the mammoths there is also a saber cat and camel.
They don’t tell you at the top that it’s a museum and no food or drink (including water) are allowed in the doors. We were required to spit out gum our before proceeding in as well. You can leave your items outside the door and exit out the entrance to retrieve it at the end, but they are not allowed in the door.
The city of Waco has great resources if you are a homeschooler or just looking for some supplemental materials for the visit!
Tips & Must Haves for visiting Waco Mammoth National Monument
Visit in the morning so the temperatures are cooler. Especially if you plan on spending a few hours exploring. The museum is air conditioned so plan your guided tour during the hottest time you’ll be in the park.
Bonus Tip: You can get the educators discount if you are homeschoolers so make sure to ask.
We take our National Parks Passports everywhere! There are a few different ones available. We suggest you pick up the one that fits your needs the best, but DEFINITELY pick one up!
Have you bee to Waco Mammoth National Monument? We wouldn’t make the trip to Waco just for this, but its incredibly neat to see. If you are anywhere close we suggest you make the stop.