Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 50,000 acres in 3 counties (Jefferson, Jennings, and Ripley) and overlays that portion of the former Jefferson Proving Ground that lies north of the historic firing line where munitions were once tested. The Indiana Air National Guard operates an air-to-ground bombing range on the remaining 1,033 acres of the former proving ground north of the firing line and this property is surrounded by but not designated as part of the refuge. Jefferson Proving Ground was established by the Army in 1940 as an ordnance testing installation and closed in 1995. Beginning in 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed the wildlife resources of the proving ground. Big Oaks Refuge was established in June 2000 as an “overlay” national wildlife refuge through a 25-year real estate permit from the U.S. Army. As an overlay refuge, the Army retains ownership and the Fish and Wildlife Service manages the property as Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge.
Know Before You Go
Because of the past use and history of the property as an ordinance testing facility, all visitors must view a safety video and sign an acknowledgement of danger form prior to entering the refuge. You can view the safety video and purchase an access permit at the refuge office on public use days (Mondays, Fridays, and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month mid-April through November) closed on federal holidays. During hunting seasons, the safety video will be shown at 7:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. on public use days and the day before the hunt.
Ripley County, Indiana is home to two covered bridges: Busching Covered Bridge and Otter Creek Bridge. The Busching Bridge, near Versailles at the Versailles State Park entrance, was built in 1885. Otter Creek Bridge, near Holton, was built in 1884. The bridges are listed on the Ripley County Map. Contact the Ripley County Tourism Bureau for more information 812-689-7431.
Retrace the steps of infamous John Hunt Morgan's raid through Indiana, the only Civil War battles in the state. Relive the times as you travel through Ripley and six other Indiana counties. Maps available at the Ripley County Tourism Office/ Welcome Center, 220 East U.S. 50, Versailles.
Enjoy all seasons of the year driving the back roads of Ripley County. The paved roads will take you through peaceful countryside adorned by nature and into small towns where you can stretch your legs or check into an inn or B&B for the night. Stop by the Ripley County Tourism Bureau Office, 220 East U.S. 50, Versailles, for a map.
Fri 11am-5pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm
Over 40,000 sq ft of boutique shops in one of the nation's oldest case good furniture factories. Manufacturing began in 1879 in our 450,000 square foot complex, which includes one of Batesville’s oldest buildings, built by the Greeman Brothers in 1863.
Our boutiques include antiques, jewelry, clothing, accessories, original art, home decor, garden essentials, food court, game arcade, and more! Check our website and theirs for a list of special events!
Built in the late 1870s and 1880s, Ripley County is home to many stone arch bridges. Ripley County is one of very few counties that still have handcrafted stone arch bridges in use. They are located on a 4-color Ripley County map provided by the Ripley County Commissioners. The maps are available in many county offices, as well as at the Ripley County Welcome Center, 220 E. U.S. 50, Versailles, Indiana.
Call Ripley County Tourism Bureau at 888-747-5394.
Spend a day, or two, traveling the countryside and learning about the history of the Underground Railroad throughout Ripley County, as well as other places of historic note. Five driving tours are outlined in a free booklet that you can follow, mile by mile. The trails all begin on the Ripley County Courthouse Square in Versailles. Brochures are available at the Ripley County Historical Society (on the Courthouse Square in Versailles), OR the Ripley County Tourism Bureau located at 220 E. US 50 in Versailles. Brochures are located outside the Tourism Bureau/Welcome Center so they are available 24/7.