Friday, March 24, 2000

Mall's play area: wild and woolly

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FLORENCE — Woolly mammoths will roam in Boone County once again when Florence Mall opens a new play area Saturday.

        The idea is to educate and entertain children, said Elena Miller, mall marketing director. The project was inspired by local history.

        Big Bone Lick State Park in Union is known for its fossils of mammoths and other prehistoric animals that frequented the salt licks at the site.

        Some 10,000 years ago, the salt and minerals at Big Bone Lick attracted woolly mammoths, the saber-toothed cat and the giant beaver. Some sank into the ground, where their bones were preserved.

        The mall play area will feature replicas of the mammoths and information about Big Bone Lick. The Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Museum Center also worked to create the educational area.

        Both venues will participate in Saturday's unveiling, with live animals and games.

        Author Nancy Jordan Blackmore also helped design the play area. She lives a few miles from the park.

        Her children's book, The Story of Big Bone Lick, tells the story of prehistoric animals that once lived in the area.

        In the book, a horse goes back in time to meet the animals.

        Gloria Hargrove, park director, said she hopes the play area inspires families to visit.

        “We've always felt that maybe this park has not got the recognition it deserves for the scientific importance it holds,” Ms. Hargrove said.

        What: Woolly Mammoth play area opens.

        When: 11 a.m. Saturday.

        Where: Florence Mall, Lazarus Home Store wing.


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