This Gorgeous State Is Getting A New State Park And History Buffs Are Going To Love It

When travelers plan a trip to Las Vegas, they frequently do so with visions of casinos, sparkling performances, and fantastic food. However, if you happen to be making your way in this direction after the beginning of 2024, you'll also be able to enjoy the unveiling of Nevada's newest state park. It's a grand opening that history buffs can certainly get excited about on January 20 when Ice Age Fossils State Park is finally accessible to the public for the very first time.

Located in North Las Vegas along North Decatur Boulevard, Ice Age Fossils State Park will join the 27 other state parks currently managed by the Nevada Division of State Parks. It's designed to be a place where fossil enthusiasts and those with a passion for the prehistoric past can find their fill of fascinating landmarks, activities, and attractions to enjoy. In total, Ice Age Fossils State Park will span 315 acres of terrain. The park's opening has been in the works since 2017, when it was first announced as part of Governor Brian Sandoval's initiative titled "Explore Your Nevada," which aims to create spaces of education that double as protection of important resources.

Step into Nevada's prehistoric era

There are fascinating landmarks to discover across America's state and national parks, but Ice Age Fossils State Park has some unique features in place that will allow it to really stand out in a crowd. Here, you'll be able to step foot on a dry riverbed known as a wash that was once home to a variety of mammals that thrived during the Ice Age. As you trek through the park, you'll be following in the historic footsteps of the now-extinct ground sloths, American lions, dire wolves, Columbian mammoths, and even camels that once freely roamed North American terrain.

A visit to Ice Age Fossils State Park is an opportunity for guests to admire a variety of sculptures that are designed to bring the dimension and wonder of these extinct species back to life. The discovery of many of the fossils found here is documented among park trails, with a focus on a scientific expedition known as the "Big Dig" that happened in the area between 1962 and 1963. During this time, a team of interdisciplinary scientists made up of archeologists, biologists, researchers, and more, honed in on the North Las Vegas landscape to unearth its prehistoric secrets. They were wildly successful in their pursuit; and today, park visitors can view trench walls that remain intact from their excavations.

Explore the visitor center and park trails

Currently, admission is set at just $3 per person at Ice Age Fossils State Park. Begin by making your way to the visitor center, where you can browse a variety of displays showcasing fossils, models of extinct species that once roamed the area, and interactive digital exhibits. There's even a 9-minute video that covers the history of the park to give you a better sense of your surroundings before you head out to explore. The visitor center also hosts a gift shop as well as outdoor seating for guests to enjoy.

If you're up for trekking your way to adventure, Ice Age Fossils State Park has three primary trails to check out during your visit. The Megafauna Trail covers less than half a mile of ground but includes the large metal sculptures that breathe life into the area's rich past. The Big Dig Trail is slightly longer at 1.2 miles and provides views over the archeological trench sites on the park's east side. The Las Vegas Wash Trail is the longest of the bunch, giving guests access to a scenic 1.5-mile loop. After your hike, feel free to enjoy a picnic at one of the many shaded structures located throughout the park. You can sit back, relax, and revel in the fact that you're sitting in a place where history and modernity go perfectly hand-in-hand.