Hops ‘N Rocks

smiling headshotOur Board of Directors is proud to host Hops ‘N Rocks at 6 pm on Thursday November 7 at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery at 76 Pearl Street in Buffalo. The event features dinner, auctions, prizes, a cash bar, and more to advance our nonprofit mission of science and outdoor education.

Spectrum News Meteorologist Kaylee Wendt will serve as the Master of Ceremonies at Hops ‘N Rocks, a benefit for hands on science and outdoor education at Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve. Kaylee, a highly visible scientist and Western New York native, is excited to support local STEM education.

All are welcome to attend. Tickets are $50 at the door.

Auction prizes include sports tickets and memorabilia, prizes from community and cultural groups, and gift baskets with food and drink. Join us for exciting Penn Dixie and informal education news. Hops ‘N Rocks is made possible by our great sponsors: Blasdell Rod & Gun Club, Evans Bank, RP Oak Hill Building Company, West Herr, and Phillips Lytle.

Want to pay by check? Contact Dr. Phil Stokes at phil@penndixie.org or call 716-627-4560.

2019 Fall Hours

Penn Dixie is open to the public on weekends from September 7 through October 20, our final day of the season. During this time we are open 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday. We welcome schools and private tours on weekdays.

We are open daily to the public from Monday June 17 to Friday September 6. During this time we are open 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday and 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday.

Holidays: Penn Dixie is open to the public from 9 am to 3 pm on Labor Day (Monday September 2).

Adults Seniors 62+ Military Students Children 3-17 Members
$10 $9 $9 $9 $7 FREE

Purchase Tickets

Admission tickets are available online or at our check-in station. We do not charge for children under age 3. Senior, military, and student discounts offered with valid ID. Veterans may visit for free if they present a valid Erie County ‘Thank A Vet’ Discount Program card. Please see our cancellation and refund policy. On site, we accept cash or credit cards.

Groups can contact us directly for rates and are welcome year round — even when we are closed to the public! Penn Dixie is accessible and has over 4,100 feet of paved trails for wheel chairs, walkers, strollers and wagons. We also offer Private Expeditions and a premium fossil collecting experience through IfOnly. New to Penn Dixie? Please see our Frequent questions.

Members may collect fossils at any time. If members wish to visit outside of normal hours, please sign-in using the on-site form located inside the green box on the Penn Dixie gate. Be sure to park outside the gate on the lawn or gravel area so that your vehicle does not impede driveway traffic. As always, please carry your membership card with you at all times. And, be sure to observe our rules and procedures found at the bottom of our FAQ.

Fall Homeschool Day

Tuesday September 24, 10 am to 1 pm

Rain date: Thursday September 26, 10 am to 1 pm

Update: We have reached capacity for this program and will no longer accept registrations. We will offer another homeschool program in spring 2020. Thank you for your interest.

Learn about the geological history of Western New York with a hands-on science program at Penn Dixie! This special program for homeschoolers includes a complete educational tour of Penn Dixie led by our trained educators. All participants are welcome to take home all the fossils they find.

Registration is $6 per student. There is no charge for children aged two and under. Program is for grades 1-12; please specify your child’s grade when registering.

Check-in begins at 9:30 am. The program begins promptly at 10 am. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Younger siblings of students are welcome. One free adult/chaperone is included with every registered student. Siblings and additional adults are welcome at $6 per person.

Guests are encouraged to bring their own bucket or durable bag to store fossils.

If you are unable to register online, please contact Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 to reserve a space. For these guests we will accept cash and credit card payments at the start of the program. Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate late registrations.

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, Fall Homeschool Day will take place on Thursday September 26. We will make this announcement via email and over our social media. If both programs are canceled by Penn Dixie due to weather, all guests will receive a refund. Otherwise, our usual cancellation policy applies.

Scouting Rocks!

Join us Saturday September 21 for a FREE day of science funblast!

  • Fossil collecting at the #1 fossil park in the U.S.
  • Commemorative patch for first 100 scouts
  • Nature walks at 11 am and 1 pm
  • Solar viewing, weather permitting
  • 9 am to 4 pm, rain or shine
  • No registration needed; arrive any time

Some form of official scout apparel/insignia is required for free admission. Non-scouts are welcome to participate at our regular admission rates. All children must be accompanied by an adult. No charge for Penn Dixie members.



Erie County Earth Science Day

On Saturday October 5 join us from 9 am to 4 pm, rain or shine, to learn about Western New York’s natural history, ecology, and resources through interactive exhibits and demonstrations in a family-friendly setting. Experience hands-on learning under the big tent from:

Thanks to the generous support of Erie County and our sponsors, Earth Science Day is FREE to ALL. All ages welcome. This event is accessible to those with mobility impairments and we recommend the use of a reach tool for fossil collecting.

2016 Earth Science Day 4
Our famous fossil hunting is FREE on Earth Science Day!

In the spirit of reducing plastic waste, our first 500 Earth Science Day guests will receive a complimentary reusable fossil collecting bag. Additionally, complimentary fossil collecting trowels will be available to all guests during the event.

Special thanks to WIVB News 4 Buffalo and the Buffalo Association of Professional Geologists for supporting Erie County Earth Science Day.

news4_logo    BAPG 2018 image

2016 Earth Science Day 3
Lloyd Taco Truck will return as our official lunch vendor!

Teachers: Download our Earth Science Day Flyer or contact us in advance to schedule your group. There is no charge for unguided group tours on Earth Science Day but we request advance notice to help with our parking planning. Guided group tours are available at our usual rates.



This FREE event is made possible by Erie CountyTown of Hamburg, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of WNY. Donations are welcome through the day of the event and will support Penn Dixie’s community education efforts.

Major Membership Update

By Dr. Phil Stokes, Executive Director


A Big Change

After 24 years, we are renovating our membership program. These changes are the direct result of member feedback that identified areas of improvement.

Beginning today, all new memberships purchased will include benefits for a 12-month period. In other words, a membership purchased on July 15, 2019 will be good until July 15, 2020.

Previously, our memberships were valid for the calendar year. This system was necessary because we did not have the means to track individual membership expiration dates. The old system frequently caused confusion and occasionally drew concerns about memberships purchased late in the season.

Now, thanks to our investment in software, we can send you an email reminder when your membership is about to expire. With over 1,200 members, this is an invaluable resource to Penn Dixie.

New Membership Levels

We have also greatly reduced the numbers of membership levels available; there are now just three: Individual; Dual; and Family. Individual membership ($40) includes benefits for one (1) named adult age 18 and up; Dual membership ($50) includes benefits for two (2) named adults age 18 and up; and Family ($60) includes benefits for two (2) named adults age 18 and up plus up to four children/grandchildren under age 18. To make sure that we can expedite your check-in at Penn Dixie, please carry your membership card with you along with a photo ID that we can use to verify your name.

Special discounts ($5) are available for seniors (62+), military, students, and teachers with valid ID. These discounts do not stack and are not available for new members online. Current senior and student members should find the discount already applied to your account.

Guest Policy

For members who wish to bring a guest to Penn Dixie: we have you covered! At all three levels members may purchase a PLUS enhancement ($20) which will allow one (1) guest to visit each time the member visits. This may be a different guest each time.

In addition, guests are welcome to visit after hours if 1) they are accompanied by a card-carrying PLUS member; and 2) follow our rules and procedures. Members are accountable for guest behavior as well as the safety of our flora and fauna. We will be diligent about enforcing our rules. Per our updated policy, members who visit after hours must sign in at the gate prior to entering Penn Dixie.

Final Thoughts

Finally, I am pleased to report that there are no major changes for current members. While we will update the database with our new levels, your existing card is valid until the written expiration date. Afterwards, your membership will renew at a level based on the table below.

Any questions, comments, or concerns? Please do not hesitate to reach out (phil@penndixie.org). I look forward to an improved membership experience! We’ve got some great things in store for the future and, on behalf of our entire organization; I thank you for your ongoing support.


Current Level             Updated Level

Individual                    Individual

Student                         Individual: Special Discount

Senior                           Individual: Special Discount

Family                          Family

Grandparents              Family: Special Discount

Associate                      Individual

Patron                          Individual

Sponsor                        Individual

LIFE                               LIFE (not available for sale)

Corporate                    Corporate (not available for sale)

An Eyecatching Trilobite

By Dr. Phil Stokes, Executive Director

I’m always elated when a guest finds a really neat fossil and 2019 Dig With The Experts provided enough excitement to carry me forward for a long while! Many collectors uncovered large, excellently preserved specimens from the newly-excavated portion of Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve. Complete trilobites were on the menu, and the dig did not disappoint hundreds of enthusiastic diggers like Jimmy Cyrus from Kentucky.

Jimmy large phacops 1
The unprepared trilobite as found by Jimmy Cyrus at Dig With The Experts.
Jimmy large phacops 2
Preparation a little further along.

Jimmy submitted these photos of this beautifully-prepared Eldredgeops (Phacops) rana trilobite. As you can see, the carapace is entirely intact and all of the distinctive Eldredgeops features are visible. Malcolm Thornley — one of Penn Dixie’s amazing volunteer experts — did an incredible job preparing this specimen.

Finished 1
Ta-da! Great job, Malcolm!

My most favorite attribute of our trilobites is the eyes. Once prepared, you can — with a magnifier — count the dozens of eyelets on each compound eye. But, that’s not the weirdest thing. Did you know that the eyes were located on turret-like organs which could swivel? Trilobites could rotate their eyes in nearly 360 degrees!

Even the trilobite name — ‘Rana’ — refers to the eyes. In Latin, it means ‘frog’ due to the frog-like nature of the eyes! But, maybe there’s one more language connection to make. In Arabic, Rana is a somewhat common name. The meaning? Eyecatching.