Find Fossils

These resources include information on museums, parks, and other places to find fossils. Are we missing a site? Leave us a comment and we will add it!





Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles, CA
n the Dinosaur Hall, exacavate specimens, discover new dinosaurs you’ve never heard of, and see a T.rex growth series.

San Bernadino County Museum
Redlands, CA
he North American Mammal Hall features specimens as old as 16 million years and as young as the Ice Age. San Bernadino County Museum also features an online exhibit which showcases fossils from the Barstow Fossil Beds.

Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits
Los Angeles, CA
he Tar Pits, in the center of Los Angeles, feature a diverse amount of fauna that has been fossilized in tar. Dire wolves, smilodon, giant sloths, and mammoths are just a few of the many different fossils you can see on display here. All feature the distinctive brownish color caused by fossilization in the tar pits.

San Diego Natural History Museum
San Diego, CA
From dinosaurs to mastodons, travel through 75 million years and dig into the rich fossil history of southern California and Baja California.

California Academy of Sciences: Kimball Natural History Museum
San Francisco, CA
cientists of all ages can use fossils to understand the evolution of life on Earth and maintaining life on Earth.

The Cooper Center: Ralph B. Clark Regional Park Museum of Paleontology
Buena Park, CA
he Regional Park Museum of Paleontology is home to an interpretative center which houses fossils from the surrounding area including mammoth fossils, ring-tailed cats, giant ground sloths, and llamas.

The University of California Museum of Paleontology: it’s not a large “brick and mortar” museum, but it has great collections. Check out their website; it’s where they really shine. Online exhibits help you explore paleontology, evolution, and biodiversity.

The Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology
Claremont, CA
he Alf Museum features something for every fossil hunter–invertebrate fossils of trilobites and crinoids; vertebrate skulls of dinosaurs, mammals and reptiles, eggs, and trace fossils in the form of footprints.

The Western Center Museum
xhibits explore the large extinct fauna of California such as mastodons, Columbian mammoths, and giant sloths. Interactive activities include exploring discovery sites, understanding dating tecniques, and creating your own fossil.


Places to Collect Fossils

Humboldt County Fossil Walks


The Colorado Geological Survey has collected a wealth of information about hunting for fossils in Colorado. For their list, please view the following PDF:



Colorado School of Mine Geology Museum
Golden, CO
This museum features minerals, fossils, and exhibits on Colorado mining. It is located on the School of Mines campus

Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Denver, CO
Visit Prehistoric Journey to travel through Colorado’s ancient history. See an 80-ft long Diplodocus and other beautiful dinosaur fossils, examine a massive Gomphotherium, and interact with volunteers who man the Museum Touch Carts.

Dinosaur Journey
Fruita, CO
The museum is very hands-on and features exhibits on familiar dinosaurs such as T. rex, stegosaurus, and triceratops.

Dinosaur Ridge
Morrison, CO
Dinosaur Ridge features a visitor center with exhibits on dinosaurs along with two different interpretive trails. On the trails, see dinosaur trackways, fossil remains, and learn about what Colorado looked like during the Mesozoic era.

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
Fort Collins, CO
The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery explores the people and animals of Fort Collins’ past and present.

Louden-Henritza Archaeology Museum
Trinidad, CO
Features exhibits on early geological formations, plant and marine animal fossils, and a dinosaur track exhibit.

Morrison Natural History Museum
Morrison, CO
Features exhibits on dinosaurs and fossils.

The Paleo and Pelagica Museum
Walsenburg, CO
Features exhibits on trilobites, shells, and other fossils. Only open every other weekend in the summer. Call 281-728-8926 for details.

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center
Woodland Park, CO
Features dinosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles, pterosaurs and fish from the Cretaceous period as well as a working fossil laboratory.

University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
Boulder, CO
Visitors to the museum can see fossilized clams, dinosaur footprints, skulls of false saber-toothed cats as well as exhibits on paleobotany.


Places to See Fossils

National Parks and Monuments
Please, NO COLLECTING at National Parks! Visit park and monument visitor centers to learn more about the fossils found within the area.
See for more details.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado National Monument

Curecanti National Recreation Area

Dinosaur National Monument

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Garden of the Gods

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Mesa Verde National Park

State and Local Parks

Picketwire Canyon
A 5 mile hike will take you out to one of the largest dinosaur trackways in the United States. Thousands of Brontosaurs and Allosaurs walked along a lakebed millions of years ago, leaving their tracks for us to see today.
Places to Collect Fossils

Creede Formation
Age: Miocene
Collecting: Fossils from shale can be collected by splitting the shale apart. Be sure to ask before prospecting on private property!
Notes: Many fossils have been found at “airport curve” just outside of Creede on Highway 149. Inquire at local rock shops for more information about the best collecting sites, or read up on it here (

Florissant Fossil Quarry
Age: Eocene and Oligocene
Collecting: Visitors are given a short introduction along with tools needed to collect fossils. The cost is $10/hour per person.
Notes: For more information, please call 719 748-3275 or email [email protected]




El Quartelejo Museum
Scott City, KS
The free museum focuses on local interests, from prehistory to the present day. Temporary exhibits highlight contemporary arts or culture. Nearly a third of the museum is devoted to Monument Rocks and the area’s fossil history. Kids can dig for fossils in a fossil box.

Fick Fossil and History Museum
Oakley, KS
The Fick Fossil and History Museum, which was established to showcase the Ficks family’s findings and artwork, allows you to walk through the history of Logan County. Visitors start in the Prehistoric era, amid sharks’ teeth and fossils and end walking the through replicas of the early boardwalks of Oakley during the Dust storms of the 1930’s. Fossils and shells are combined with oil painting to create one-of-a-kind artwork. These folk-art paintings are prominently featured in the museum.

Johnston Geology Museum
Emporia, Kansas
For the price of absolutely free you can see a mosasaur, a giant ground sloth, a mastodon tusk and many other displays! This museum is run by the Earth Science Department of Emporia State University and therefore is open in accordance to the university class schedule.

Keystone Gallery
Oakley, KS
Featuring a mosasaur and a Xiphactinus, this museum is an excellent stop if you are fossil hunting in the Badlands of Kansas.

KU Natural History Museum
Lawrence, KS
At this museum run out of the University of Kansas, see exhibits featuring ancient sea life, dinosaurs, and other paleontological specimens.

McPherson Museum
McPherson, KS
This museum features specimens not found in Kansas, but rather, found at the La Brea tar pits. The specimens were donated to the museum by McPherson College’s first graduate, J.Z. Gilbert.

Museum of World Treasures
Wichita, KS
Visit Ice Age mammoths, Cenozoic fish, and Eocene mammals to understand how they lived!

Sternberg Museum of Natural History
Fort Hays, KS
Explore the Western Interior Seaway that covered much of Kansas during the Cretaceous period. Giant marine reptiles, flying reptiles, and dinosaurs roamed the shores and seas. The Sternberg Museum houses the famous “fish within a fish” specimen.

Places to See Fossils

Monument Rocks National Natural Landmark
The Niobrara Chalk towers up to 70 feet above the prairie, revealing vast amounts of shells and other interesting creatures found at the bottom of the sea. No collecting, please!


Places to Collect Fossils

The Kansas Geological Survey links to four different field trips. These field trips are self-guided. Please call the geologic survey to confirm that these sites are still open to the public!




Clement Mineral Museum
Marion, KY
Showcasing the history of mining in Kentucky, this museum also features a collection of coal plant fossils.

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
Clermont, KY
Offers public programming that includes paleontology and natural history.

Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati, OH
Just across the river in Ohio is the Cincinnati Museum Center which houses an exhibit on the 440 million year old fossils found in the Cincinnati area.

Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve
Goshen, KY
Located close to Louisville, this nature preserve features a Nature Center that is open every Monday and Wednesday from 9am-1pm and every third Saturday from 10am-2pm. The Center features natural history as well as fossils and geological history of Kentucky.

Dinosaur World
Cave City, KY
A good place to stop with children. It features life-sized dinosaurs, a fossil dig site for children, and small museum that has fossils.

East Kentucky Science Center
Prestonburg, KY
This planetarium and science center has public programming that sometimes incorporates natural history.

Explorium of Lexington
Lexington, KY
This children’s museum occasionally has public programming for kids about fossils.

Gladie Learning Center/Natural Bridge State Park
Stanton, KY
Located in the River Red Gorge, the Gladie Learning Center’s exhibits explore the geologic history of the area as well as display fossils.

Hidden River Cave
Horse Cave, KY
This cave system features a museum about the formation of caves and karst geology.

Kentucky Science Center
Louisville, KY
This hands-on, interactive science center features many different exhibits, including some on natural selection and the prehistoric world.

Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave, KY
The newly-renovated exhibit space explains cave formations and geologic concepts and also offers multiple tours of the cave system.

W.G. Burroughs Geology Museum
Berea, KY
A large collection of fossils, artifacts, and rocks can be seen at the museum, but it is only open by appointment only. Call 859-985-3351 for more information.


Places to See Fossils

Thanks to the University of Kentucky and Kate Bulinski for providing information about some of the sites listed below.

Big Bone Lick State Park
Union, KY
The site of the first paleontological expedition in the United States, Big Bone Lick features exhibits on Ice Age animals which were found at the site.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Stearns, KY
Scenic trails in and along the South Fork, at Yahoo Falls, and Yahoo Arch, contain Pennsylvanian-age sandstones, shales, and coals, and Mississippian-age limestones.

Falls of the Ohio State Park
Clarksville, IN
Although the address is in Indiana, many of the exposed fossil beds are located on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. Collecting is not permitted in the park, EXCEPT at the collecting piles. Please contact the park for more information.

Lake Cumberland State Park
Jamestown, KY
ake Cumberland is a popular recreation area that is packed with huge, well-preserved Mississippian Crinoids which can be found while hiking the trails.

The Parklands of Floyds Fork
Louisville, KY
Four major parks are linked by a park drive and urban trails just outside of Louisville. The parks are home to many streams which are filled with fossils. See this blog for more information.




A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum
Houghton, MI
Located on Michigan Tech’s campus in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum features many different kinds of minerals, but it also displays fossils that have been found in Michigan.

Cranbrook Institute of Science
Bloomfield Hills, MI
At this museum, learn about how birds and dinosaurs are related, explore why the Ice Age occured, and why mastodons didn’t survive

Eddy Discovery Center
Chelsea, MI,4570,7-153-10369_46675_58943—,00.html
Explore the geology of Michigan, and look into the past in an Ice Age cave.

Kingman Museum
Battle Creek, MI
his museum is only open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from noon-4pm. It features exhibits on Michigan fossils and geology.

Lakeshore Museum Center
Muskegon, MI
Explore the 400 million years of history as you visit the “Depths of Time” exhibit where you can see amphibians and reptiles, then travel to the Ice Age and watch as the glaciers recede.

Michigan State University Museum
East Lansing, MI
Learn about evolution, see dinosaur skeleton, and explore exhibits about the past animals and plants of Michigan.

University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology
Ann Arbor, MI
The UMMP provides space and facilities for conserving, organizing, and studying collections of fossil specimens and accompanying information resulting from field expeditions.

Places to Collect Fossils

Lafarge Fossil Park
Alpena, MI
Located in the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan, the Lafarge Fossil Park allows visitors to dig for fossils on their own. Be prepared by bringing all-terrain footgear, a screwdriver-type implement for prying, and a tote to haul home your fossils.

Rockport Quarry
Alpena, MI
This abandoned quarry yields quite a few fossils, but permits must be sought at least a month in advance before you start hunting. See the website for more details.


North Carolina 



North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Raleigh, North Carolina
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is home to a few permanent exhibits. Tread carefully through Terror of the South, where pterosaurs fly overhead as a prehistoric battle wages. The predatory dinosaur Acrocanthosaurus pursues its 50-foot-long prey, a lumbering plant-eater. In Prehistoric North Carolina you can trace North Carolina’s past through authentic specimens discovered in the rich fossil beds of North Carolina’s coastal plains. Highlights include Willo, a remarkably-preserved dinosaur that lived at the end of the Cretaceous, and a giant ground sloth that lived in North Carolina as recently as 10,000 years ago.

The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Gastonia, North Carolina
The Elizabeth W. Robinson Hall of Earth and Man includes dinosaurs, a mastodon, and saber-tooth cats to illustrate a story about the evolution of life and Planet Earth.

Museum of Life and Science
Durham, North Carolina
Walk through the Museum of Life and Science’s Dinosaur Trail into a world of late Cretaceous, North American dinosaurs. Along the way you can check out the Fossil Dig Site. The pit is filled with dirt that has been trucked in from an area in Eastern North Carolina that is rich with fossils, including ancient sharks, fish, corals, and shells.

Aurora Fossil Museum
Aurora, North Carolina
The Aurora Fossil Museum has a wide variety of exhibits, ranging from a Pleistocene mastodon tusk to casts of an associated set of Parotodus benedini shark’s teeth which were found in the local area. North Carolina’s fossil invertebrates are represented by an extensive collection of shells, including the extremely rare Fasciolaria sparrowi. The Video Room is a mine replica where visitors sit 100 feet underground to learn about the paleontology and geology of our state.

Museum of Coastal Carolina
Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina
In the Changing Tides Gallery you can see the fossilized skeleton of Herman the Sperm Whale and the Megabites exhibit, which features shark teeth found in North Carolina. Fossils are also featured in the museum’s Sea Shore Gallery. The kids will enjoy digging for shark teeth in the Museum’s outside fossil pit.

Mineral & Lapidary Museum of Henderson County
Hendersonville, North Carolina
The museum contains a number of small exhibits featuring real and replica fossils from North Carolina and beyond.

Greensboro Science Center
Greensboro, North Carolina
Walk among the ancients in the Prehistoric Passages exhibit! This exhibit features impressive models of prehistoric giants like Tyranosaurus and Triceratops. Skeletons, dinosaur footprints, and other fossils give visitors a glimpse into history and tell the story of what life was like millions of years before man. Petrified wood and amber are just some of the artifacts on display for young paleontologists to explore.

Ruby City Gem & Minerals
Franklin, North Carolina
A number of fossils are on exhibit at this small museum in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Cape Fear Museum
Wilmington, North Carolina
The museum features a spectacular replica Giant Ground Sloth skeleton from the Pleistocene, found at Randall Parkway near Wilmington in 1991.

Colburn Earth Science Museum
Asheville, North Carolina
The Colburn is working to create a permanent paleontology exhibit. Currently, the museum has on display a handful of fossils from the museum’s collection of more than 500 fossil specimens. These include teeth from a mastodon and a wooly mammoth, a large trilobite and a Glossopteris fern fossil.

McKinney Teach Museum, Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina
Exhibits inside of the Rankin Science Center document the geologic history of the Appalachian region, while an outside rock garden allows visitors to walk through impressive rocks from around the state of North Carolina.

Onslow County Museum
Richlands, North Carolina
Exhibits at the museum will take you back millions of years ago as the area now known as Onslow County emerged from beneath the ocean to reveal a geologic history rich in fossils. The Richard Tellekamp Fossil Find allows visitors to participate in fossil hunting, and is a fun and hands-on way of learning about the marine creatures and mammals that once inhabited the Coastal Plain.


Places to Collect Fossils

Please note that the removal, destruction or injury of artifact, rock, or mineral in any North Carolina State Park is prohibited unless with an approved collection permit for scientific or educational purposes.

Lake Waccamaw State Park
Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina
The visitor center at Lake Waccamaw State Park has an exhibit on a rare, 2.75 million-year-old whale fossil that was discovered in the lake in 2008. The fossil is the skull of Balaenula, and is perhaps the most complete of its kind in the world and one of the first discovered in North America.



In 1985, the Ohio government made the trilobite Isotelus Ohio’s official fossil. Isotelus is found in Ordovician rocks around the world, but is especially common in the shales of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Isotelus was one of the largest trilobites of this time, with some of these animals reaching nearly thirty inches in length. For more on Isotelus, see: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources also has a great resource for all Ohio trilobites:

Ohio's state fossil: Isotelus.

Ohio’s state fossil: Isotelus.



Cincinnati Museum Center (Cincinnati Museum of Natural History)
Cincinnati, OH
The Museum of Natural History Science at the Cincinnati Museum Center houses important invertebrate collections from the middle Ohio Valley (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana), that include Ordovician through Pennsylvanian fossils ( Strengths of the vertebrate paleontology collection are local Pleistocene and Holocene fossils, including material from Big Bone Lick, Kentucky (the birthplace of American vertebrate paleontology) as well as Jurassic dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation (Montana & Utah) (

Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Cleveland, OH
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is home to the Kirtland Hall of Fossils, as well as important collections and an active research program. The Vertebrate Paleontology ( and Invertebrate Paleontology ( collections emphasizes the Paleozoic, particularly from local Devonian rock. Highlights of the collections include Dunkleosteus terrelli (16-foot-long armored fish), as well as holotype specimens of the dinosaurs Haplocanthosaurus delfsi and Nanotyrannus lancensis.

Orton Geological Museum – Ohio State University
Columbus, OH
xplore fossils from Ohio, such as trilobites and from around the world, such as giant sloths.

Karl E. Limper Geology Museum – Miami University
Oxford, OH
his museum is currently being renovated and will not open again until 2016.


National Parks
Please, NO COLLECTING at National Parks!
See for more details.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial


Places to Collect Fossils

Caesar Creek State Park
Age: Ordovician
Collecting: Rules apply
Notes: A permit must be obtained at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center, which also features a display of fossils found at the park. For more information about fossil hunting at Caesar Creek, call (513) 897-1050.

Cowan Lake State Park
Age: Ordovician
Collecting: Rules apply
Notes: Special permission to collect fossils must be obtained from Ohio State Parks. For more information, call (513) 897-3055.

East Fork State Park
Age: Ordovician
Collecting: Rules apply
Notes; A permit must be obtained at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center. For more information, call (513) 734-4323.

Hueston Woods State Park
Age: Ordovician
Collecting: Rules apply
Notes: For more information, call (513) 523-6347.

Oakes Quarry Park, Fairborn
Age: Silurian
Collecting: Rules apply
Note: For more information, call (937) 754-3090

Stonelick State Park
Age: Ordovician
Collecting: Rules apply
Notes: For more information, call (513) 734-4323.

Trammel Fossil Park, Sharonville
Age: Ordovician
Collecting: Yes
For more information, call (513) 563-2985.

Olander Park, Sylvania
Age: Devonian
Collecting: Rules apply
Notes: For more information, call (419) 882-8313.




Crater Rock Museum
Central Point, OR
Featuring fishes from the Green River Formation as well as ammonites and other fossils found in Oregon, the Crater Rock Museum educates visitors about the paleontological history of Oregon.

Douglas County Museum of History and Natural History
Roseburg, OR
Children can become Junior Naturalists through explorations of fossils and other specimens. The Douglas County Museum of History and Natural History also tells the story of native Oregonians who lived in the area during the Ice Age. Open Tues.-Sat. 10-4, Sun. noon-4, closed Mon.,

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Kimberly, OR
The beds contain a 40-million-year record of plant and animal life in the John Day Basin in central Oregon near the towns of Dayville, Fossil, and Mitchell. The Cant Ranch Visitor Center at Sheep Rock on Hwy. 19 includes museum exhibits of fossils. Open every day 8:30-5:00.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Portland, OR
Open Thurs. & Fri. 9:30-9; Sat. through Wed. 9:30-7 summer hours; 9:30-5 rest of year. Visiting exhibits often feature paleontology and visitors can see permanent exhibits on geology and paleontology in the Earth Hall.

Oregon Paleo Lands Institute
Fossil, OR
The Oregon Paleo Lands Center will help you discover Oregon’s past and explore its present landscapes. With the John Day Basin as the “home base,” the Oregon Paleo Lands Center provides information on trips, classes and adventures throughout the region. There is an exhibit on fossils from the area within the center.

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals
Hillsboro, OR
The home of the Northwest Fossil Fest, put on by the North American Research Group, the museum also is host to petrified wood, dinosaur bones, ammonites, and other fossil finds.

Thomas Condon Collection at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon
Eugene, OR
The collection features fossils from all over Oregon, including the John Day Basin and the Oregon coast.

Places to Collect Fossils

Fossil collecting is not permitted on state or national park lands! Collecting on private property is permitted with the permission of the land owner.

Wheeler High School Fossil Beds
Fossil, OR!wheeler-high-school-fossil-beds/c17uw
Individuals can collect fossils for a nominal fee. Fossils that have been found include a diverse variety of plant fossils from the Oligocene.