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Upcoming National Fossil Day Events, Part 3

Howdy folks!

National Fossil Day is this week (October 11, 2017), and with that annual celebration comes many events across the U.S. Dozens of museums are planning events and activities for individuals, families, and educational groups to learn about fossils and fossil resources in the United States.

Below is part 3 of a massive list of events celebrating National Fossil Day. For more events that might be happening in your area, please see Part 1 and Part 2, as well as information on the National Event happening this week in Washington, D.C.

The events listed below are arranged by location. Not all of these events are happening on October 11, so be sure to check the date and institution’s individual websites for hours, admission, and location. Find a local event near you and celebrate the United States’ fossil heritage with fun activities and volunteer opportunities!

A huge thank you goes out to Vince Santucci and John-Paul Hodnett, who have provided this information for me to share with the community via our site here at PLOS Paleo.

Happy National Fossil Day from us at PLOS Paleo!


  • Grand Canyon National Park, October 11th, all day
    • 9-10 am Fossil Walk. Meet at Bright Angel Trailhead. Learn about Grand Canyon’s ancient life through its fossil history. This easy walk along the Rim Trail explores the marine fossils of an ancient Permian Sea.(60 mins)
    • 11am-1pm Fun with Fossils. Discover why fossils are important! Fun fossil games and activities for kids of all ages! Meet outside at Yavapai Geology Museum
    • 12-1pm Ask a Scientist! How do fossils form? What is a Trace Fossil? Meet some of the Grand Canyon’s Scientists and ask your question! Meet outside at Yavapai Geology Museum
    • 7:30-8:30pm Paleontology at Grand Canyon Evening Program. Meet at the Shrine of the Ages. What fossils are found at Grand Canyon? Why are they important? What scientific research is currently happening in the park?


  • Anza Borrego State Park, 200 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, California 92004, October 21st, 1 pm–4 pm; October 22nd, 9 am–12 pm
    • Visit us during Open House to view a portion of our fossil track collection and the bones of the track makers. We will also be showing our work using 3D photogrammetry to create digital images and printable models of these ephemeral fossils. In the Paleontology Laboratory we are preparing our latest Mammoth skull, numerous mammoth bones and a giant land tortoise – all will be on display. Come and find out how we read the tracks and what they tell us. Meet at the ABDSP Visitors Center for the short walk over to the Stout Research Center.



  • The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, October 11th, 1 pm–3 pm
    • Come see local Ice Age fossils from Northern Illinois and Indiana as well as Paleozoic vertebrates from the famous Mazon Creek during our Meet a Scientist event. You can find us at the Science Hub right off the main hall, Stanley Field Hall between 1 pm and 3 pm on October 11th.
  • 606 Fossil Hunt for National Fossil Day: Walk the Bloomingdale Trail Back Through Time, Churchill Field Dog Park, 1825 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, October 11th, 12 pm to 1 pm
    • How better to honor the spirit of National Fossil Day in Chicago than to go hunting for fossils right here on the 606? Of course, these are no T. rex. No, these fossils are six times that old. They are clams, snails, sea lilies, corals, that lived and died here in the Midwest. And were smothered by mud one very bad day some 460 million years ago. We’ll walk a couple blocks of the 606, then stop to explore the fossils all over Park 567. We’ll talk about what we see, what it means, and how today’s Chicago depends on that very history. So change your perspective, get small for an hour, and take the time to get to know your prehistoric legacy. We promise it’ll forever enrich your experience of this city we already know and love.
    • Cost: FREE for National Earth Science Week
    • What to Bring:
      • Please dress weather appropriate– and wear decent walking shoes!
      • Any fossil you’d like identified
    • What will be provided: A hand lens to use on-site
    • MEET on the softball diamond in Churchill Field Park


  • Falls of the Ohio State Park, 201 West Riverside Dr., Clarksville, IN 47129, October 11th, 5 pm–8 pm
    • 5:00 to 6:45 PM Refreshments in the lobby
    • 5:00 to 6:45 PM, Look for these activities:
      • Build a sea lily – Bird Observation Room
      • Design a Devonian Ecosystem – Classroom
      • Fossils of the World – River Room
      • Collecting piles – Outside behind the parking lot
      • Big mammoth tooth from collections, talk to Ron Richards –  Lobby
      • Hike on fossil beds – 5 to 6 pm. Learn more about the Ancient Sea and Changing Lands exhibits
    • 7:00 to 8:00 PM, Indiana’s Ice Age Life with Ron Richards, Senior Research Curator of Paleobiology, Indiana State Museum
    • Contact information (phone numbers, e-mail, and websites): Alan Goldstein, 812-280-9970,,


  • The Natural History Society of Maryland, 6908 Belair Road, Baltimore, MD, October 11th, 7pm–9 pm
    • National Fossil Day with Paleontologist Dr. Stephen J. Godfrey. Join us for a fossil filled evening at the Natural History Society of Maryland. Come explore some of the fossils from our collections with some local experts and enjoy a wonderful presentation by Dr. Stephen J. Godfrey from the Calvert Marine Museum who will be talking about some very cool local dinosaur discoveries!
    • The cost is $10 per person. You can either pay in cash at the event or prepay by following the link below.


  • University of Montana Paleontology Center, C.H. Clapp Bldg., Missoula, MT, October 11th, 5 pm–8 pm.
    • Activities include fossil identifications; tours of the displays and the Research Collections, which only happen once a year; watch a selection of the new PBS Digital Studios YouTube show – EONS. Kids can check out the Junior Paleontologist Table.
    • Cost: Free
    • Contact: Kallie Moore/ (preferred)/ 406.243.5406


  • Waco Mammoth National Monument, 6220 Steinbeck Bend, Waco, TX 76708, October 21, 9 am–5 pm
    • WMNM is celebrating each day of Earth Science Week, and then on October 21, we’ll have our annual Fall Fossil Festival. This free event includes fossil-themed games with prizes, arts and crafts, pumpkin decorating, a photo booth, face painting, and lots of family fun. The Dallas Paleontological Society will be on-site for fossil identification. Guests can purchase a $5 wristband at the gate to enjoy access to the dig site and unlimited trackless train rides. Event runs from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Waco Mammoth National Monument.


  • Dinosaur National Monument, Jensen, Utah, Multiple Dates and Times
    • 2017 Rocktoberfest
      • Celebrate Earth Science Week, National Fossil Day and International Archeology Day at Dinosaur
      • Rock Art Caravans: Meet at the Quarry Visitor Center for a 1.5 hour ranger-led caravan along Cub Creek Road for short talks at two rock art locations, followed by an optional hike. Bring water and good shoes for a half-mile round-trip hike on a moderate trail. You will drive your own vehicle.
      • Paper Petroglyphs: Pick up supplies at the Quarry Visitor Center to explore your creative side and capture a memory of your visit using images and symbols.
    • Every Day, All Month
      • Discovery Table, Junior Ranger & Junior Paleontologist Books
        • Discovery Table: There are 23 different geologic formations exposed at Dinosaur. Take a closer look at a few of the rocks and fossils found within them. On display at the Quarry Visitor Center all month (and outside all year).
        • Be a Junior Ranger or Junior Paleontologist: At any time for any age: Request a free Dinosaur Junior Ranger or National Junior Paleontologist activity book, complete the activities recommended for your age, and earn a different badge for each book.
    • Wednesday, October 11
      • 10:00 am – Quarry Talk: Paleontology
      • 3:30 pm – Quarry Talk: Introduction
    • Saturday, October 14
      • 10:00 am – Rock Art Caravan
      • 2:30 pm – Quarry Talk: Geology
      • 3:30 pm – Quarry Talk: Introduction
    • Sunday, October 15
      • 10:00 am – Quarry Talk: Introduction
      • 3:30 pm – Quarry Talk: Introduction
    • Saturday, October 21
      • 9:30-11 am – Paper Petroglyphs
      • 10:00 am – Rock Art Caravan
      • 2:30-4 pm – Paper Petroglyphs
    • Sunday, October 22
      • 9:30-11 am – Paper Petroglyphs
      • 2:30-4 pm – Paper Petroglyphs


  • Fossil Butte National Monument, Kemmerer, Wyoming, October 14th, all day
    • Fossil Butte National Monument Hosts National Fossil Day Events Kemmerer, Wyoming – On Saturday, October 14, 2017, monument staff and volunteers will host events in celebration of National Fossil Day. We will be observing National Fossil Day from 8am-4:30pm with all day activities including hands-on demonstrations, arts & crafts and exhibit tours of the Monument Museum, geared for children and adults.
    • From 11am-1pm, the public can learn how to prepare fossils at the monument. Visitors are invited to learn more about the art of fossil preparation and try it themselves. Park staff will train participants in our Fossil Preparation Lab using tools like a microscope, air scribe and air abrasive to uncover fossils which have never been seen before!
    • For more information on current conditions and updates on park activities, visit, call 307-877-4455, or follow FossilButteNPS on social media.

Featured Image: Courtesy National Park Service, Waco Mammoth National Monument. 

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