Indiana’s hidden graveyard

It was a dark and stormy night…

Heh, just kidding. 🙂

But It seems like a fitting intro when I read a pamphlet about the Indiana State Museum’s newest exhibit Ice Age Giants: The Mystery of Mammoths and Mastodons. It starts with: “Underneath Indiana’s soil lies a hidden graveyard of Ice Age giants.”

I was surprised to learn that mastodon bones have been discovered in most of Indiana’s 92 counties. I was even more surprised to see how FREAKING LARGE these animals were. I was expecting an elephant-sized animal. I was wrong. This is a picture I took of the rib cage of a mastodon that was found in Indiana:Mastodon rib cage

I tried to get Lucas to stand in front of it for scale, but he wasn’t cooperating. But this was probably 10 feet tall by 7 feet wide. It’s a RIB CAGE.

And look at a single tooth from a mammoth! Lucas didn’t think it would fit in his mouth. 🙂 Maybe because it was AS BIG AS HIS HEAD.mastodon tooth

I was completely amazed the whole time I was in the exhibit. Totally in awe at the size of these animals and even more in awe that all of these bones and fossils were found in Indiana. These huge animals lived (and died) In my state!

The exhibition explores the animals and their environments, what happens at a real dig site and the research that helps us to understand prehistoric mammals. The exhibit also features real mounted skeletons and casts of Ice Age animals, as well as fossil tusks and skulls. You can:

  • Dig in a terraced, hands-on worksite.IMG_5755 (1280x960)
  • Explore Ice Age forensics as you determine mastodon from mammoth, male from female, age and cause of death.
  • See the wonder of these creatures first-hand as a mammoth and Fred the Mastodon tower over you. (Oh! And Fred is on Twitter! You have to follow him. He’s a hoot.) big mammoth

The Ice Age Giants exhibit runs through August 17, 2014 so you have plenty of time to visit and visit again. Admission is included with your Indiana State Museum membership or general admission to the museum.

There are two other special exhibitions at the Indiana State Museum right now too. When you visit the museum for the Ice Ages exhibit, you should also check out The Fiery Trial: Memorial Prints of the Civil War (through March 2, 2014) and Fearless Furniture (through May 27, 2014). The latter is one of my favorite exhibits in the museum and I left wanting all new furniture in my home. (Like this chair that is held together only by friction and weight!)chair

The museum is also getting ready for its annual Celebration Crossing exhibit that runs from November 29 through December 31, 2013. (More info coming on that next week! I can’t wait to go to this one for the first time!!)

For more information about the special exhibits, special events, online ticket sales and more, call 317.232.1637 or visit


Disclosure: The boys and I were hosted to a sneak peak of the exhibit prior to opening and my family was also provided with admission on opening day to visit the exhibit and museum. I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.

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