By Anietra Hamper
Posted On: Sep 30, 2020
Being an Ohio native, I spent many days in my childhood exploring creek beds looking for crayfish and tadpoles. Every soaking-wet shoe journey into the shallows also unveiled fascinating and prehistoric treasures hidden within the shale – fossils – lots of them! Those discoveries opened up a world of new exploration and an interest in science I never knew I had.
The Olander Park System in Sylvania has created a fun way to unearth your own prehistoric curiosities at Ohio’s Fossil Park. Get ready for a day in the fossil pit to dust-off and dig-up treasures that have been nestled in shale beds for millions of years.
The fossil digging pit is open by reservation only (reserve a time here), with hours being 8:00AM to 90 minutes before sunset on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The pit is tucked into a 5-acre rock quarry offering endless potential to find trilobites, corals, brachiopods and echinoderms from the Devonian Era.
Just bring a brush and a bucket (to collect your treasures) and hunker down for a day of discovery that was 375 million-years in the making. No tools are allowed in the park, but Ohio’s soft shale is easy to break by hand. All fossil finds are yours to keep.
The rock piles come from a working quarry located about mile from the park. This ADA-accessible park is a safe and controlled setting which makes it great for kids and families. There is no age limit, admission is free, parking is free and there are comfort accommodations like restrooms nearby.
There’s even a great bike trail for those who want to work in a little biking while onsite. And the Quarry Ridge Trail remains open normal operating hours.
The Fossil Park is one of only a few that exist in the country. Kids love digging in the dirt and better yet, returning home with something that they found which will likely spur questions about fossils, prehistoric science and who knows, maybe even a future in paleontology! Park officials suggest that parents outfit very young explorers with an egg carton and pictures in the cubbies to illustrate what they are looking for.
Discoveries like these are irreplaceable experiences whether you're a kid or adult and the Fossil Park is perfect for something new to do. There's an abundance of fossils throughout the state making fossil-hunting a fun and free activity that's unique to Ohio. The fossil park is a perfect way to do it, and you don’t even have to get your shoes wet!
NOTE: Please check directly with places before your visit to stay up to date on all safety precautions and learn more about the guidelines surrounding COVID-19 here.