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.

Spring Cleanup

Saturday May 14th, 10 am to 12 pm

Join our team of volunteers as we perform the annual cleanup of Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve!

Helpers are needed for various beautification projects including debris pickup and general maintenance. Waterproof boots are strongly recommended; please dress for the weather as we will be outdoors for several hours. Work gloves are helpful, too. We will have a limited supply of gloves on hand for those who do not bring them.

There is no charge for admission and lunch will be provided! All volunteers are invited to stay after the cleanup ends for some free fossil hunting fun.

Contact Sydney Mecca at sydney@penndixie.org to register or use the form below.

Two Penn Dixie employees promoted; full time staff doubles in two years

Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve announces two staff promotions: Dr. Holly Schreiber has been promoted to Associate Director and Sydney Mecca has been promoted to full time Marketing & Development Coordinator.

“I’m thrilled that my new role will allow me to continue to help Penn Dixie grow in new and exciting ways. I’m eager to find and work with new community partners to bring the organization’s mission of hands-on science education to even more people” says Dr. Holly Schreiber. A paleontologist by training, she previously served as director of education after joining Penn Dixie in February 2017. Her new role includes administration, grant writing, and program management duties in service of our nonprofit’s science education mission.

“I’m excited to be a part of an organization that connects our local and international communities with the wonders of the natural world” says Sydney Mecca. Prior to the promotion, Sydney worked as a seasonal naturalist for the Niagara Region Park Interpretive Programs Office in 2020 and 2021. During this time they created and led public nature programs, updated nature center displays, and assisted with virtual field trip videos. They also worked in a part time capacity for Penn Dixie in a marketing role, handling social media and website development. Sydney’s new role will focus on engaging new audiences via marketing and promotions, coordinating organization fundraising activities, and creating new STEM program offerings.

Sydney becomes the fourth full time employee at Penn Dixie, doubling the number of full time positions at the organization since February 2020.

Dr. Holly Schreiber leading a fossil dig at Penn Dixie.
Sydney Mecca at Eighteen Mile Creek.

We’re Hiring!

Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Natural Reserve is a top-ranked destination for science enthusiasts of all ages. With a mission of hands-on science education, we encourage our visitors to learn about the natural world in an outdoors setting. Our programs emphasize natural history — including geology and paleontology, ecology, astronomy, local history, and other STEM fields. We serve 18,000 guests annually, including many who travel across the country to dig our fossils and explore our park.

We are hiring part-time Educators for the 2022 season. The Educator is the initial interface between Penn Dixie and guests and is responsible for all admissions and retail transactions. The ideal candidate is driven to provide an outstanding learning experience for visitors of all abilities and backgrounds. Educators are expected to be friendly, helpful, and consistently maintain a positive attitude despite the challenge of working outdoors with large groups of visitors. We expect the best from our staff at all times. Candidates do not need a formal background in geology or paleontology, but must be willing to learn.

Essential Functions

  • Demonstrate enthusiastic and welcome behavior at all times.
  • Provide excellent customer service and be knowledgeable in Penn Dixie’s science, history, and programming.
  • Facilitate positive, memorable experiences for our guests by sharing with them your knowledge of the natural world and your enthusiasm for the process of scientific discovery.
  • Explain and promote Penn Dixie programs, membership, gift shop merchandise, summer camps, birthday parties, and special events.
  • Respond to guest needs immediately, including issues requiring first aid.

Experience, Skills and Personal Qualities Required

  • All Penn Dixie staff are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule including weekends, holidays and evenings
  • A ‘people person’ with a friendly, outgoing personality
  • Must have your own reliable transportation to/from work
  • Interest or knowledge in science
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize
  • Work independently and proactively
  • Strong teamwork and collaboration skills
  • Familiarity with educational, nonprofit, or retail sector is a plus
  • Able to perform well under pressure
  • Detail oriented, organized, motivated, responsible and dependable
  • CPR and Basic First Aid training are required for all staff

Physical Demands

  • Speaking in small and large groups
  • Walking and standing outdoors, sometimes for extended periods
  • Bending/stooping frequently
  • Dealing with highly variable weather conditions
  • Ability to lift/carry up to 40 lbs

The application can be downloaded here: 2022 Educator Application.

Candidates must email the completed application, a resume/CV, and a cover letter to Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org by March 18th.

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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