FREE Private Tours for Healthcare Heroes

We are extremely proud of the Healthcare Heroes who protect our community! To thank them, we’re offering private tours for these heroes and their immediate family members during our 2021 season at no charge. The Penn Dixie mission is to promote the study of natural sciences and we cannot imagine a more inspiring group of professionals.

Each tour features:

  • Guided 30-minute private family (2-8 guests) fossil hunt
  • All-day admission for the entire party (park closes at 4:30 pm)
  • Fossil collecting tools and fossil containers

Eligible workers include:

  • Medical doctors and doctor assistants
  • Nurses
  • Specialists
  • Health care aides
  • Nursing home workers
  • Paramedics
  • Hospital staff, including janitorial
  • Physical therapists
  • Medical researchers
  • Morticians and funeral home workers
  • Health department employees
  • Medical office workers

Private tours must be booked at least two weeks in advance. Tours are available on weekends beginning May 1 through September 26 and weekdays from June 14 through September 16. Professional credentials (ID badge, proof of employment) are required along with valid photo ID.

To book your tour, email Director of Education Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org.

Remembering Robert Kresse by Catherine Konieczny

Remembering Robert Kresse by Catherine Konieczny

It is with a heavy heart that we inform our members of the recent passing of Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve supporter and local philanthropist Robert J. Kresse.

Mr. Kresse was a champion for the community. Everything he did propelled his vision of educational equity forward. He will be remembered at Penn Dixie for his involvement with the Wendt Foundation and for securing the funding in 2014 for the Director of Education position (hi Dr. Holly!). 

My personal involvement with Bob and the Kresse family came before my time here at Penn Dixie. I worked closely with youth at his former church turned second home – the former St. Mary of Sorrows Church, which he purchased and turned into Buffalo’s first charter school, at the King Urban Life Center. 

For a long while, I hadn’t personally met Mr. Kresse – I had only heard whispers of him for a year or two through my afterschool time with the Academic & Technology Success Program (S.T.E.A.M. Team) and Saturday Story Time. It wasn’t until 2018 holiday season that I met Mr. Kresse. He came shuffling into the King Urban Life Center wearing a Santa hat, accompanied by his daughters Claire and Mimi, and a flock of grandchildren. He was beaming because he was about to watch all of the afterschoolers open their wish list Christmas items that he was able to secure for them. 

Mr. Kresse was beaming, everyone was. He made sure to check in with every child, ask them if they got what they wanted, and if they were happy. He was most excited to talk to Performing Art’s student Brandon Knox, who had requested a new bow for his violin. Brandon broke it in, right there and then, for all of us, but especially Mr. Kresse who sat intently under the glow of the Christmas tree and listened to Brandon with a smile of contentedness the whole time.

Members of the KULC Take Flight Space Program presenting their honorable mention project at the Central Library downtown during Black History Month (Above). Brandon Knox, a student at Performing Arts High School, playing his violin for Mr. Kresse, his daughter Mimi and grandchildren, and other members of the King Urban Life Center, at the annual holiday celebration (Top photo).

I ran into him a couple of more times, a board or community meeting here or there, in passing at the KULC when he came in to check in on the progress of various programs, and once at the Buffalo Museum of Science where he even got to meet my Mom. I was so happy for that encounter because I was able to introduce my Mom to the man who had ultimately been the reason for so many smiles and good memories in my life and so many others. 

And in all the people I’ve spoken to regarding Mr. Kresse’s recent passing, they all say the same thing. They all say. “Man, if it weren’t for him…” He was involved in so many things and ultimately made them better. Mr. Kresse embodied the word ‘community.’

We here at Penn Dixie are so thankful for his support and lasting vision of what it means to be a good member of the community and a kind person. Mr. Kresse gave so many opportunities and smiles to those around him, his passions will not be forgotten.

Hops ‘N Rocks Virtual Gala

Thursday November 12, 7 pm

In these trying and unprecedented times, we’ve come up with some safe and creative ways to celebrate Penn Dixie’s 25th season. Since it’s not a party without you, we hope you’ll join us for our virtual gala. You can partake in some or all of the festivities leading up to our big virtual event on November 12.

Virtual Gala & Award Ceremony: Join us virtually for a special presentation from Dr. Melanie Hopkins, Associate Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. And, be a part of Penn Dixie history as we present the Gordon C. Baird Visionary Award to Dr. Gordon C. Baird.

Program: View the official Hops N Rocks 2020 Program and Hops N Rocks 2020 Donors

Silent Auction: The auction is closed, but you can still check out the amazing prizes donated by our community supporters.

Blasdell Rod & Gun Club

2020 Homeschool Classes

Learn about earth science with hands-on science programs at Penn Dixie! Our interactive classes are led by trained educators and designed for homeschool students. There are multiple options to choose from with each class consisting of multiple activities. All classes follow New York State science standards.


Space Day (October 6):

Join Penn Dixie educators to learn about all things space during World Space Week! During this 3-hour interactive lesson, students will learn about the Sun, Moon, the planets in our solar system, and much more. Students can register for this stand-alone class by itself or in conjunction with the 4-week series. Rain Date: October 8.

Registration is $25 per student for this class. Additional registrants from the same household are $20. Registration fee covers Space Day programming and associated materials and supplies.

Session times:

9 am – 12 pm (ages 5-7)

1 pm- 4 pm (ages 8 and up)

Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the class. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only one adult per student is permitted. We cannot accommodate younger siblings at this time. Masks are required and social distancing will be maintained.

Please contact Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 to reserve a space. Payment is due at the time of registration.


Dinosaurs! (October 13):

October is International Dinosaur Month! In celebration of dinosaurs, Penn Dixie is offering a stand-alone 3-hour class on all things dino. Students will learn about dinosaurs and other animals that lived during the Mesozoic Era and why they’re not around anymore, using hands-on activities. Students can register for this class by itself or in conjunction with the 4-week series. Rain Date: October 15.

Registration is $25 per student for this class. Additional registrants from the same household are $20. Registration fee covers Dinosaurs programming and associated materials and supplies.

Session times:

9 am – 12 pm (ages 5-7)

1 pm – 4 pm (ages 8 and up)

Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the class. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only one adult per student is permitted. We cannot accommodate younger siblings at this time. Masks are required and social distancing will be maintained.

Please contact Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 to reserve a space. Payment is due at the time of registration.


Refund policy:

In the event of light rain, the program will take place as scheduled. Guests are advised to wear boots and rain gear. If there is heavy rain or lightning, that week’s class will take place on the rain date. We will make this announcement via email if the weekly session is moved to the rain date. If both programs are canceled by Penn Dixie due to weather, all guests will receive a refund for that week’s class. Otherwise, our usual cancellation policy applies.