Opening Day Fossil Hunting

Saturday April 30th, 2022 – 9 am to 4:30 pm

Join us on April 30th for the opening day of Penn Dixie’s 27th 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. Make reservations here. 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 30th to June 13th. We are open daily from June 13th to September 5th, then return to weekends-only until October 16th. Our hours are 9 am – 4:30pm. 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.

Dig With The Experts 2022

SOLD OUT

Saturday June 4th, 9 am -4 pm; Sold out
Sunday June 5th, 9 am – 4 pm; Sold out
Monday June 6th, 9 am -4 pm; Free day for any Dig participants & members. Monday will have limited staffing.

Join us on June 4th and 5th 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 17th dig in 2022!

Director’s Notes: 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. Children are welcome to attend at the event rate on Saturday, and there is discounted child admission available on Sunday. 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. Tickets are electronic and will not be mailed.

Eldredgeops rana.
Bellacartrightia, found and prepped by Alasdair Gilfillan.
DWTE 2021 participants picking their piles.

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.

Additional information:

Penn Dixie Frequently asked questions

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Fossil Hunting for Beginners

New to fossil hunting?

Learn the tricks of the trade from Associate Director & Paleontologist, Dr. Holly Schreiber and/or Director of Science, Catherine Konieczny, M.S. Tour the site and learn all the best spots to hunt for fossils. 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 borrow from our limited supply.

No experience 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 21st, 10 am-12 pm
  • June 11th, 10 am – 12 pm
  • June 25th, 10 am – 12 pm
  • July 9th, 10 am – 12 pm
  • July 23rd, 10 am – 12 pm 
  • August 13th, 10 am – 12 pm
  • August 27th, 10 am – 12 pm
  • September 10th, 10 am – 12 pm
  • October 8th, 10 am – 12 pm

Included with admission or FREE for Penn Dixie members.
Select “Fossil Hunting for Beginners” tour-time option when registering online, for no additional charge.

Register Here

Penn Dixie Claims World Record

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.

Member Appreciation

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
  • No reservations needed

RSVP Here

Additional non-member guests may pay our normal rate of admission upon arrival with credit card. Guests must be accompanied by a card holding member at all times.

If you would like to stay past 1 pm, please visit out Member Guide at https://penndixie.org/member-guide/