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.

Alternatively, participants may purchase a certificate of participation from Penn Dixie for $5.99 plus tax. These certificates are locally designed and printed. Preview here. Once purchase is made, we will contact you via email to verify the name(s) you would like printed on your certificate(s). Order deadline is August 6, 2021. Order 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.

Stargazing in Hamburg

Join us at Penn Dixie for an out-of-this-world experience! Our astronomers will map the night sky — including stars, planets, constellations, and deep space objects — for you using a variety of telescopes and specialized equipment. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, warm clothing, blankets, and food/beverages. We’ll have plenty of telescopes, but you can bring yours along, too, if you’d like some expert advice.

2021 Dates – Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve

  • Friday July 16th, 8pm (rain date: Saturday July 24th)
  • Saturday August 14th, 8pm (rain date: Saturday August 28th)
  • Saturday September 11th, 8pm (rain date: Saturday September 25th)

Cost

Thanks to the generous support of the Town of Hamburg and Southtowns Regional Chamber of Commerce, there is no charge for our evening astronomy programs. No reservation is needed.

Programs run for 2-3 hours depending on viewing conditions. Check our social media for weather-related updates. All ages welcome. Registration is not required.

A solar eclipse viewed through Penn Dixie telescopes.

Thinking about purchasing a telescope? This telescope guide offers some great suggestions from Penn Dixie astronomer Ernie Jacobs. You can also download our Astronomy Night guide — also prepared by Ernie Jacobs — to learn more about our programs.

WKBW Presents Fossil Friday

Fossil Fridays are back! Join us for $7 admission and unlimited fossil hunting on Fridays from June 18 to September 3. Dig, explore, and learn about our natural history at our 54-acre fossil park and nature reserve.

Reservations strongly recommended to avoid waits. To reserve your discount admission rate, follow this link and select tickets on one of the Fossil Friday dates.

Basic collecting tools provided at no charge; hammers and chisels may be rented for $5. Penn Dixie members attend for FREE.

Science Talk Doubleheader

Monday August 23, 7 pm

Get ready for Dig With The Experts with two science talks on one night!

First, Executive Director Dr. Phil Stokes presents Britain to Buffalo: The Fossil Connection. His talk will provide an overview of the local rocks and Devonian Period marine fossils found at Penn Dixie. For context, he will discuss the history of geology, Mary Anning, William ‘Strata’ Smith, and their stories connect to the rocks and fossils found in Western New York.

Our second and keynote speaker is Paleontologist Joe ‘PaleoJoe’ Kchodl of Midland, Michigan. PaleoJoe’s talk, Trilobites: Arthropods of the Ancient Seas, will highlight Penn Dixie’s famous fossil — the trilobite — and its cousins from around the world. Learn about the life and death of trilobites and how the Cambrian period became known as the Age of Trilobites.

This is a FREE virtual program thanks to the support of Erie County and the Town of Hamburg. Register here by 6:30 pm on the day of the talk to receive a Zoom invitation. Space is limited to the first 100 participants.


Register Here

Fossil Hunting for Beginners

New to fossil hunting?

Learn the tricks of the trade from Director of Education & 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 15th, 10 am-12  pm
  • June 5th, 10 am-12 pm
  • June 19th, 10 am-12 pm
  • July 3rd, 10 am-12 pm
  • July 17th, 10 am-12 pm
  • August 7th, 10 am-12 pm
  • August 21st, 10 am-12 pm
  • September 4th, 10 am-12 pm
  • October 2nd, 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.

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