Waco, Texas is already home to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum and other noteworthy attractions such as a world-class zoo, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame & Museum and the Dr Pepper Museum, but city leaders are hoping the area’s newest addition will draw in even bigger crowds.
Waco tourism officials want massive crowds to experience a new park that features mammoth artifacts—literally. The Waco Mammoth Site is home to the skeletal remains of the gigantic creatures that walked the region 70,000 years ago. The attraction is currently on track to become part of the National Park Service, and that, says park officials could be what it takes to attract a mammoth amount of people to the area. City leaders are hoping the new park will bring in between 50,000 and 250,000 visitors a year.
The mammoth site is located along the Bosque River and was originally discovered in 1978. It is where the largest known concentration of prehistoric mammoths perished from a single event, in this case a massive mudslide. In addition to the 24 Columbian mammoths, site excavations have also revealed a prehistoric camel and a large cat.
The National Park Service recently announced the site meets its criteria to be included in the park system, but it’s not a done deal yet. National Park officials say questions remain about who will ultimately oversee the site and how. Also, once the park gains national park status it will need to add a new visitors center, additional roads and a climate-controlled pavilion to protect the bones.
Currently, Baylor University’s Mayborn Museum serves as caretaker for both the remains and the site. But that will likely change if the site is admitted into the National Park Service. City tourism leaders say if and when that happens people from around the world will be able to see more of what Waco has to offer.
One unique draw is that the Waco Mammoth Site is easy to reach. City leaders say once the National Park Service sign goes up it will pull people off Interstate 35. What’s more, tourism officials say the site will generate even more excitement if Baylor continues to perform research there.
I’m just curious–how many of you would plan a trip to Waco, Texas just to see these unique fossils?