Join us on April 29th for the opening day of Penn Dixie’s 28th season! Celebrate spring with the #1 fossil park in the U.S., collect Devonian Period fossils, and enjoy a day exploring the outdoors.
Penn Dixie is open from 9 am – 4:30 pm. The first tour departs at 9:15 am; subsequent tours are held every 30 minutes. The final tour is 2:45 pm and the park closes at 4:30 pm. Final entry for non-members is at 2:45 pm. Tickets can be purchased day-of on site, but we recommend booking tickets online if you have a specific tour time that you would like.
The park is open weekends-only from April 29th to June 12th. We are open daily from June 12th to September 4th, then return to weekends-only until mid-October. Full information regarding hours and rates can be found here: https://penndixie.org/hours-and-rates/
New to fossil hunting? Not quite sure what to expect from Penn Dixie? Wondering what to bring? Check out our frequently asked questions page:https://penndixie.org/faq/
Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve is generously supported by Erie County and the Town of Hamburg.
Saturday June 3rd, 9 am -4 pm: $90 for members, $100 for non-members. Sunday June 4th, 9 am – 4 pm: $60 for members, $70 for non-members. Weekend pass: $130 for members, $145 for non-members, includes a DWTE 2023 t-shirt. Note: weekend passes are listed under June 3rd.
Monday June 5th, 9 am -4 pm; Free day for any Dig participants & members. Limited staffing.
Tool rental kits can be reserved on a first-come first-served basis by emailing email@example.com. Tool rental kits are $5/each and must be paid for day-of on site. Very limited quantity.
Join us on June 3rd and 4th for our signature fossil dig — Dig With The Experts! This is our very popular, once yearly opportunity to unearth the best, most complete, and most unexpected fossils at Penn Dixie! We’ll have equipment do the heavy lifting and scientific experts on site to help with locating and identifying the best fossils. You’ll have to do your share of splitting and digging, of course, but you’re guaranteed to find something cool and interesting.
Expert volunteers — including scientists, leading fossil collectors, and experts on local geology — will lead the dig in a freshly excavated section of the Lower Windom Shale and will demonstrate how to find Devonian Period trilobites, cephalopods, fish remains, brachiopods, corals, wood, and a range of other marine invertebrates. Thanks to our experts — all volunteer collectors and paleontologists who travel to Penn Dixie to share their time and knowledge — we are celebrating our 18th dig in 2023!
This program will sell out — please reserve in advance to guarantee a spot. We do not recommend that children under age 10 attend this program due to the technical and safety requirements of splitting rocks. During Dig With The Experts, other areas of Penn Dixie will be open to fossil collectors of all ages and regular tours will be available. There will be a food truck on site each day.
Tickets are electronic and will not be mailed.
Director’s Notes: Regrettably, we are forced to significantly increase the ticket price for this program. In 2016, Penn Dixie spent $1,700 per day for site excavation necessary to generate hundreds of piles of fresh shale. Presently, the cost has climbed to $7,000 per day. An event of this scope requires 2-3 days of excavation work, and so the impact of this cost increase is substantial. And yes – a 300% cost increase in 7 years is shocking, especially for a small nonprofit that relies on donations, grants, and program revenue. However, we felt that the event should continue as it is a unique and fun way to kick off our summer season. We enjoy meeting fossil enthusiasts from around the country and are grateful for all of the experts who travel – on their own dime – and volunteer their knowledge and time to make Dig with the Experts such a wonderful program.
Dig With The Experts draws collectors from around the globe for this unique opportunity, which was developed and is currently co-led by our friends from the Cincinnati Dry Dredgers. Bring a hammer, chisel, safety glasses, newspaper, and paper towels to wrap your fossils. Extra water is recommended, plus bring rain gear just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages, as well as a small cart to transport personal items and specimens. Chairs and umbrellas may also be brought to this event.
Learn the tricks of the trade while touring the site with one of our trained educators! During this two hour tour, we’ll teach you how to find, dig, and preserve all the fossil treasures you find. Bring your own tools or rent from our limited supply.
No experience is necessary. All ages welcome — this program will run rain or shine, dress for the weather.
Dates and times: Saturdays throughout the season starting at 10 am and lasting until 12 pm.
May 20th, 10 am – 12 pm
June 10th, 10 am – 12 pm
June 24th, 10 am – 12 pm
July 8th, 10 am – 12 pm
July 22nd, 10 am – 12 pm
August 12th, 10 am – 12 pm
August 26th, 10 am – 12 pm
September 9th, 10 am – 12 pm
October 14th, 10 am – 12 pm
Included with admission or FREE for Penn Dixie members. Select the “Fossil Hunting for Beginners” tour-time option when registering online, for no additional charge.
Our attempt to set the first-ever GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the World’s Largest Fossil Dig on August 25, 2018 is certified. Thanks to 905 fossil diggers who participated, Penn Dixie is now the inaugural record holder for this category! The number one fossil park in the U.S. is now also the official home of the largest fossil dig in the world!! We thank the many community members, partners and business organizations, and media outlets that made this event possible.
“It’s incredible how well things came together for our record attempt. This new recognition cements Penn Dixie’s place in the geologic and paleontologic community, and we’re confident that we can provide an immersive educational and scientific experience, even in our new socially-distanced world.”
Keith Wesolowski, Penn Dixie Director and Chair of the Guinness World Record Event Committee.
The event provided a unique logistical challenge. In addition to being the largest fossil dig attempted by any group on the planet, this event was also the second largest program in Penn Dixie history. We had to recruit and organize dozens of unaffiliated volunteers (stewards) to monitor hundreds of participants. We had to prepare our park for the attempt by designating multiple collection zones and ensuring that all participants would be digging in a coordinated fashion for 30 minutes with proper collecting tools and attire.
Briefing nearly 1,000 participants prior to the attempt was another challenge that we achieved thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers and staff. Following the attempt, we needed to collect specimens from all participants and have them reviewed by unaffiliated professional paleontologists on site to make sure that the fossils were acceptable to the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ review committee.
Participants from the dig are eligible to purchase an official certificate from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ to show that they were part of this record-setting day. Certificates may be purchased here for approximately $28 plus shipping by selecting the date (August 25, 2018) and location (USA) of the attempt. Official certificates may be purchased here.
Our attempt was made possible by Evans Bank, Phillips Lytle LLP, and RP Oak Hill Building Company Inc. Penn Dixie also thanks Erie County and the Town of Hamburg for ongoing support of our organization.
Penn Dixie members: Join us from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday April 24 to kick off the season! Our staff will be on-site to show you what we’ve been up during the offseason. Remember to bring your membership card and ID to show upon check in.
Unlimited fossil collecting for all members
1 free (non-member) guest is allowed per cardholder as a thank you for your support
Free tool rentals while supplies last
Free take home container for your fossils
Individually wrapped snacks and light refreshments
Complimentary educational tours are available upon request