On a warm and sunny morning Garrett and I left Cincinnati for a day trip to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. Located in the town of Chillicothe in southern Ohio, it took about 2 hours for us to drive there from Cincinnati. The park is open 7 days a week and was a fun educational experience for us both. We started our visit at the Visitor Center where we watched the park orientation video and picked up a Junior Ranger packet for Garrett and I to work on together. We then explored the exhibits inside the center which explained what is known about the huge earthworks found throughout the Scioto River valley region. The large geometric mounds are a mystery to researchers as their purpose remains largely unknown and little is known about why the Hopewell people left the region and stopped building the earthen mounds.
After touring the Visitor Center, Garrett and I walked out among the mounds and read the various signs explaining them. The mounds themselves just look like small grass covered hills but researchers have found large amount of artifacts buried inside of them dated as far back as 200 B.C. Made into various shapes and sizes, the mysterious mounds have been found as tall as 30 feet and as wide as 1000 feet. It is a mystery that had confounded researchers for centuries. It was a nice walk and we enjoyed looking around the park.
We also took the short trail through the woods down to the Scioto River. We only saw a couple of other people the entire time we were there but there were many squirrels chattering at us and we saw several different kinds of birds. Once finished with our walk, we headed back to the Visitor Center to turn in the completed Junior Ranger packet and receive our badge. The park is pretty and serene and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon. Combined with a stop at a Dairy Queen on the way home, it was a great day! If you are ever in the area, make a stop at the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. We definitely learned a lot and enjoyed our day together.