Filed Under Native Americans

Sams House Nature Sanctuary

A walk through a prehistoric landscape

Explore the earliest landscapes and inhabitants of the Indian River area.

This site offers 2.8 miles of hiking trails that guide visitors through palm hammock, mangrove forest, and marshlands along the Indian River. A short, accessible Discovery Loop provides a fascinating introduction to the Native American history of the area. It features interpretive panels and open-air exhibits describing the dramatic changes in the landscape that have occurred since the Ice Age as well as life-size depictions of the imposing prehistoric animals—mammoths, mastodons, giant tree sloths, and the large, tank-like glyptodonts—that once roamed here. Hands-on exhibits illustrate the lifeways and habitations of the Native American communities that inhabited this area through the centuries. Close to the parking lot a path leads to an ancient Native American burial mound, partially excavated in 1895 by the early archaeologist Clarence B. Moore. It offers a close-up view of one of the many shell mounds that lined the banks of the Indian River.


The Indian Mound at Sams House A view toward the prehistoric shell mound partially excavated by pioneering archaeologist C.B. Moore in 1895 Source: Photo: Coherit Associates
Interpretive panel at Sam's House Nature Sanctuary Source: Photo: Coherit Associates
Interpretive panel at Sam's House Nature Sanctuary Introduction to the landscape and megafauna of the Ice Age Source: Photo: Coherit Associates
Lifesize representation of a Glyptodont Glyptodonts were huge, armored mammals, weighing up to two tons, that roamed this area during the last ice age. Source: Photo: Coherit Associates
Interpretive panel on archaeology Source: Photo: Coherit Associates
Exhibit of various animal species hunted and consumed by Native Americans Source: Photo: Coherit Associates
Outdoor exhibit of Native American building techniques Source: Photo: Coherit Associates


6195 N. Tropical Trail, Merritt Island, FL 32953 | Trail Hours: October through April: 7:00 am - 6:00 pm, May through September: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm Admission: Free Amenities: Parking, visitor’s center, gift shop, museum, restrooms, marked hiking trails, open-air exhibits Phone: (321) 449-4720


“Sams House Nature Sanctuary,” Explore Historic Titusville FL, accessed February 5, 2023,