Join us for $7 admission on 7 special Fossil Fridays this summer! Dig, explore, and learn about our natural history at our 54-acre fossil park and nature reserve. Fossil Friday dates are: July 17, 24, 31 & August 7, 14, 21, & 28.
Reservations required. Click here for full info & safety measures. To reserve your discount admission rate, follow this link and select tickets on one of the Fossil Friday dates.
Tool rental is available. Please bring a bucket, bag, or box for your fossils. Penn Dixie members attend for FREE.
Advance booking required for all nonmembers and members visiting for the first time. Tickets are limited. Nonmembers and members enjoy unlimited time at the park during normal business hours.
The first tour is 9:15 am; subsequent tours held every 30 minutes. The final tour is 2:45 pm and the park closes at 4:30 pm. All first time visitors will receive a safety briefing followed by an introductory tour. Make reservations here. If you do not have a credit or debit card to complete your booking, please Contact Us.
New members: contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a code to eliminate ticketing fees. Members who have previously visited do not need to make a reservation but must register upon arrival.
In The Future: We hope we can remain open to the public. Please remind your friends and family to help reduce the spread in our community by following health guidelines.
If you or anyone in your party has flu-like symptoms, please do not come to Penn Dixie. We will gladly reschedule your tour or refund your purchase. Any guest who experiences flu-like symptoms will be required to leave Penn Dixie.
Do not visit Penn Dixie if you recently experienced flu-like symptoms or were diagnosed with COVID-19. If you are ill, research suggests the virus may remain for 2-3 weeks beyond relief from symptoms. Please do not hurry in to see us — we’ll be here in the fall and next year, too!
Our operations will be disrupted if we learn that a visitor or employee has been infected. In this case, we may be forced to temporarily close on short notice. We will make our best effort to notify you as soon as possible if this is the case.
What To Wear
Face coverings are required for guests 3 & up in the parking lot, at check-on, near bathrooms, in our brown pavilion, and on our central paved trail. Face coverings are optional in the rear of the park and on nature trails.
If you do not have a face covering, a mask will be provided for you at no charge. We also have masks available for children.
Face coverings should fully cover your nose and mouth, fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, and be made of breathable material.
When You Arrive
Our parking lot is redesigned to increase the space between vehicles. When you arrive, please park in one of the designated spaces.
If you arrive early, you may use the portable toilets located near the entrance. Toilets are sanitized daily. Otherwise, please remain in your vehicle until 10 minutes prior to your tour’s start time. Please do not allow members of your party to wander the parking lot or mingle with other guests.
Send one person to check-in at our green pavilion while the rest of your party waits in your vehicle. Once checked in, you will be given directions to meet in a staging area. Do not gather our green welcome pavilion.
At this time, we can only accept cashless payment options on site.
You agree to share your name and contact information for contact tracing purposes. This information will be shared only with the Erie County Department of Health.
During Your Visit
Social distancing of 6 feet (2 meters) or more is required at all times. You are welcome to walk/hike/dig at a closer distance with family members and those living in your immediate household, but we cannot allow group gatherings, parties, picnics, or meetings with multiple families. Please do not linger in the parking lot.
We are fortunate that our park has plenty of space. Remind your younger family members and guests that they may explore the grounds but should not get close to guests who are not part of your group.
Though running water is not available on site, hand sanitizer stations will be available in several locations. Portable toilets will also be available.
Please respect any areas, picnic tables, and benches which are closed.
You are welcome to bring your own tools for fossil hunting. We also offer complimentary garden trowels and buckets as well as professional tools to rent. Tools are sanitized after each use. Please see our Frequent Questions page for more information about fossil collecting.
Please Be Advised
These new measures will be strictly enforced by Penn Dixie staff. If you — or those in your party — do not agree to follow all of our safety measures then we ask that you visit Penn Dixie during another season.
For your safety, all guests will be monitored by Penn Dixie staff and wireless security cameras. Regrettably, guests who do not comply with these measures will be asked to leave the park. Refunds will not be available.
Since we do not want to ask you to leave, please review all of the measures with all members of your party ahead of time.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the CDC, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. By visiting Penn Dixie you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
Unfortunately, those at greatest risk from the virus include persons with chronic breathing issues such as COPD. If you have a chronic breathing issue or other medical condition which prevents you from wearing a mask, we encourage you to visit Penn Dixie at another time.
Guests with medically documented disabilities may Contact Us to request a reasonable accommodation. Please be prepared to provide 1) Evidence of disability within ADA guidelines; 2) A description of what modification is needed, detailing the safety measure(s) involved; and 3) How that modification relates to the disability. To provide our staff with an opportunity to review your documentation, this request must be made, in writing, at least 72 hours in advance of your planned visit to Penn Dixie.
Due to the above challenges we regrettably cancel these scheduled programs:
Fossil Hunting for Beginners (June 20; July 11; August 15)
Town of Hamburg Weekend (June 27 & 28)
Fossil Hunters Workshop (August 8)
Homeschool Days (June 16; September 22; October 5)
Rock-It (July 25)
Dig with the Experts (August 29 & 30)
Stargazing in Hamburg (June 27; July 13 @ Lake Shore Public Library; July 25; August 22; September 26; October 17)
Erie County Earth Science Day (October 3)
These programs are still planned, with some changes expected:
Fossil Fridays (Fridays in July & August)
Grandparents Day (September 13)
Scouting Rocks (September 19)
Penn Dixie has also added a number of virtual programs and presentations:
Virtual Astronomy Nights (various dates)
History of the Niagara Gorge by Catherine Konieczny (May 27)
Recent Discoveries in the Science of Paleontology by Dan Krisher (June 3)
Pursuant to state and local guidelines, we share our official healthy and safety policies for public access. Policies are subject to change
Reopening is a team effort. We are grateful to the Arts Services Initiative of WNY for a $5,000 grant for protective equipment and cleaning products. The Town of Hamburg donated 1,000 disposable masks. Lois Schultz, mom of Director of Education Dr. Holly Schreiber, sewed 30 reusable masks for our employees in Penn Dixie colors. We also received a loan under the CARES Act to retain staffing during the shutdown. Finally, we acknowledge Erie County and the Town of Hamburg for their continued support.
The advancement of knowledge in many fields of study typically proceeds at a relatively slow and incremental pace. If you were to look back over the years in fields such as economics, engineering, the social sciences, and mathematics you would see a slow progression where one advancement builds upon another. The “hard” sciences such as physics, astronomy, biology, and geology tend to display a somewhat different pattern.
The slow accumulation of knowledge certainly takes place, but these sciences also have an inherent tendency toward rapid and dramatic discoveries and reinterpretations which can dramatically change a given field of study. This talk will touch on some of the recent discoveries and concept changes which have occurred in the field of paleontology over the past year.
Dan is a paleontologist who retired from Ward’s Natural Science a few years ago where he was the head of Geology and Paleontology. Since his retirement, he has had more time to pursue research which is focused primarily on the Silurian and Devonian coral faunas of NYS. He has also been very involved in public outreach in a wide variety of venues and settings including being a volunteer at Penn Dixie for 6 years (as of the 2020 season).
To participate you’ll need to Register Here and download Zoom. We’ll email a link to the talk shortly before 7 pm.
Dig up your unidentified fossil specimens and join us at 4 pm on Friday May 1 for Virtual Fossil ID. Through the magic of Zoom, Penn Dixie experts will identify your fossils and provide some background information about your geological treasures. There is no charge for this program and all ages are welcome to participate. Register below before May 1 to be included in the virtual program.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Computer with webcam, speakers, & microphone/headset; tablet; or smartphone
Fossils to identify
Any information you can provide about where the fossils were found
A ruler or tape measure to show scale
Notepad or paper to label specimens
Be sure that your equipment is up and running and that your space is well lit so we can see the specimens. Capacity is limited. We will do our best to make sure that everyone gets a chance to participate but cannot guarantee that we can look at your entire collection. Please note that we cannot appraise fossils — this program is for educational purposes only.
Support for this program is provided by Erie County and the Town of Hamburg.
Mary Anning spent her youth searching for fossils along the Lyme Regis coast in southern England. At the age of 12, Mary uncovered the world’s first ichthyosaur, which was a previously unknown animal whose discovery paved the way for our understanding of evolution and extinction. During his talk, Dr. Phil Stokes, the Executive Director of Penn Dixie Fossil Park will delve into Mary’s discoveries and illustrate the surprising connections between the ancient histories of southern England and Buffalo, NY.