Tremendous trees with 12-foot-wide trunks towered a hundred feet into the sky 36 million years ago, dominating the landscape for centuries before succumbing to the passage of time. An ancient river carried them halfway across the continent and deposited them in a logjam in Mississippi, where they slowly turned to stone. Though the river is long gone, the site thrives today as registered national landmark. The Mississippi Petrified Forest showcases the lifecycle of these primordial trees turned petrified logs.
A shady six-block nature trail winds around the site and ends at an earth-science museum, which contains a collection of dinosaur footprints, whale bones, and a prehistoric camel. Patrons can also screen rocky samples in a water flume for rough gemstones that they can take home or use to save their neighborhood from land developers.