There are four museums at Trailside–all built of native granite. Trailside Museum at Bear Mountain was the second Trailside Museum. The museum that is now known as the Herpetology House was built in 1927. The first Trailside Museum was built in 1924 at Yosemite Glacier Point. The third Trailside Museum was built in 1928 at the Grand Canyon Yavapai Point. All three museums were created through the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Foundation.
The Herpetology House is home to a variety of native turtles, snakes, frogs, toads, salamanders and skinks as well as many species of fish.
The Nature Study Museum houses specimens originally collected by the Museum of Natural History to educate people about animal identification.
Geology Museum introduces visitors to the geologic formations of the Hudson Highlands and industries that have tapped natural resources.
The History Museum provides an introduction to human occupation of the region from the earliest Native American settlers to European and their desendants who made the area their home. The History Museum houses a collection of Daniel Carter Beard (1850-1941). Beard was an illustrator, author, social reformer and youth leader. He was an illustrator for authors, including Mark Twain and Ernest Crosby. Beard founded the Sons of Daniel Boone in 1905, and subsequently merged it with the Boy Scouts of America in 1910.
Native American History in the Park Beyond the museums, learn more about the prehistory of Native Americans who resided in and around Bear Mountain by reading Edward J. Lenik’s book Lost Arrowheads and Broken Pottery. For many decades, archeaologist Lenik has excavated Native American sites and interpreted Indian cultural history in the Bear Mountain area, including Fort Montgomery, Fort Clinton, Wanakawaghkin (Iona Island), Dunderberg Mountain and Doodletown. Lenik’s book and others about natural and human history of the region are available at the Palisades Visitor Center Bookstore located on the Palisades Interstate Parkway between Exits 16 and 17 and the Gift Store of the Bear Mountain Inn.