Social Distance Dig

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 phil@penndixie.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.

Adults Seniors 62+ Military Students Children 3-17 Members
$12 $11 $11 $11 $9 FREE

Purchase General Admission


Important New Measures

Before Your Tour

  • 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.
Mask map
Face coverings are required in the parking lot, at check-on, near bathrooms, in our brown pavilion, and on our central paved trail.

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.

Program Notes

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)

Reopening Policies

Pursuant to state and local guidelines, we share our official healthy and safety policies for public access. Policies are subject to change

HNHS-Penn Dixie NYS Safe Business Reopening Plan

Penn Dixie Reopening Plan 6-13-20

Thank YOU!

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.

2020 Homeschool Classes

Learn about earth science with hands-on science programs at Penn Dixie! Our interactive classes are led by trained educators and designed for homeschool students. There are multiple options to choose from with each class consisting of multiple activities. All classes follow New York State science standards.

Please note: There are limited spaces available to maintain a high educator to student ratio. We will make every attempt to offer additional time slots if necessary.

Fall Earth Science Homeschool Series (Tuesdays in September):

Week 1 (Sept. 8): Rocks & Fossils

Week 2 (Sept. 15): Weathering & Erosion

Week 3 (Sept. 22): Weather & Climate

Week 4 (Sept. 29):  Nature & Adaptation

Registration is $95 per student for the 4-week series. Additional registrants from the same household are $75. Registration fee covers four weeks of programming and associated materials and supplies.

Session times:

9 am – 12 pm (ages 5-7)

1 pm – 4 pm (ages 8 and up)

Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the class. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only one adult per student is permitted. We cannot accommodate younger siblings at this time. Masks are required and social distancing will be maintained. In the event of severe weather, classes will be moved to Thursdays.

Please contact Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 to reserve a space. Payment is due at the time of registration.


Space Day (October 6):

Join Penn Dixie educators to learn about all things space during World Space Week! During this 3-hour interactive lesson, students will learn about the Sun, Moon, the planets in our solar system, and much more. Students can register for this stand-alone class by itself or in conjunction with the 4-week series. Rain Date: October 8.

Registration is $25 per student for this class. Additional registrants from the same household are $20. Registration fee covers Space Day programming and associated materials and supplies.

Session times:

9 am – 12 pm (ages 5-7)

1 pm- 4 pm (ages 8 and up)

Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the class. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only one adult per student is permitted. We cannot accommodate younger siblings at this time. Masks are required and social distancing will be maintained.

Please contact Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 to reserve a space. Payment is due at the time of registration.


Dinosaurs! (October 13):

October is International Dinosaur Month! In celebration of dinosaurs, Penn Dixie is offering a stand-alone 3-hour class on all things dino. Students will learn about dinosaurs and other animals that lived during the Mesozoic Era and why they’re not around anymore, using hands-on activities. Students can register for this class by itself or in conjunction with the 4-week series. Rain Date: October 15.

Registration is $25 per student for this class. Additional registrants from the same household are $20. Registration fee covers Dinosaurs programming and associated materials and supplies.

Session times:

9 am – 12 pm (ages 5-7)

1 pm – 4 pm (ages 8 and up)

Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the class. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only one adult per student is permitted. We cannot accommodate younger siblings at this time. Masks are required and social distancing will be maintained.

Please contact Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 to reserve a space. Payment is due at the time of registration.


Refund policy:

In the event of light rain, the program will take place as scheduled. Guests are advised to wear boots and rain gear. If there is heavy rain or lightning, that week’s class will take place on the rain date. We will make this announcement via email if the weekly session is moved to the rain date. If both programs are canceled by Penn Dixie due to weather, all guests will receive a refund for that week’s class. Otherwise, our usual cancellation policy applies.

Looking Up! Virtual Stargazing

Saturday June 6 – 8:30 pm

The Buffalo Astronomical Association, Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve, Explore & More – The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum, and Williamsville Space Lab Planetarium will be presenting another Virtual Stargazing Event on Saturday June 6th starting at 8:30 PM.

Kids: Want to participate? We’re inviting a few science enthusiasts under age 18 to join our program. To participate, email your questions in advance to astronomy@penndixie.org . We’ll select individuals to appear on the program and ask their question directly to our astronomers. A parent or guardian must be present at the time of the event and willing to provide consent for the child to appear on the program. You’ll need Zoom and access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet with camera and microphone. One participant will be randomly selected to win a Galileoscope Telescope kit (https://galileoscope.org). Please submit questions by 10 pm on Thursday June 4th.

Format: Join the Facebook livestream and pose questions in the comment section. Don’t have Facebook? Email phil@penndixie.org and we’ll share a link shortly before the start time.

Penn Dixie thanks Erie County, NY, Township of Hamburg, NY, & Southtowns Regional Chamber of Commerce for their support!

The History of the Niagara Gorge

Wednesday May 27, 7 pm – Virtual Presentation

By Catherine Konieczny, School Programs Manager, Buffalo Museum of Science

Niagara Falls is one of the most recognizable waterfalls in the world, it also happens to be in our backyard. Learn what makes this geological wonder so dynamic.

Explore the historical and cultural significance of the oldest state park in America and how it impacts us today. Journey down through time to discover how Niagara Falls got its shape, how it’s still changing today, and what secrets lay beneath.

Key topics:

-Historical significance: Native Americans and early development

-Geomorphology: The last ice age, weathering and erosion

-Geology: Stratigraphic column and fossils

-Human mitigation: Hydropower and Dewatering the Falls

To participate you’ll need to Register Here and download Zoom. We’ll email a link to the talk shortly before 7 pm.

Recent Discoveries in the Science of Paleontology

Wednesday June 3, 7 pm – Virtual Presentation

By Dan Krisher, Retired Fossil Hunter

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.