I said fossils, you dig?
During our trip to Utah, we took a side trip waaay of the beaten path to a place called U-DIG Fossils. It was quite a drive to get out there, including 20 miles of dirt road, but the weather was great and the kids were EXCITED.
The travel channel had done a feature on this place that we just happened to see while flipping channels one day. Seemed like a pretty cool concept. Lots of fossil-rich rock, you just need to come split it apart. It wasn’t cheap – $80 for the family to dig for 2 hours (sounds short, but was plenty of time). The memories and fun that the kids had was priceless.
The fossils are mostly trilobites (invertabrate marine animals). No T-Rex’s… The rock was limestone/shale that consisted of several layers. So it was fairly straightforward to split if you hit it just right – then peek to see if there was anything inside. Natalie found several small specimens in the parking lot right after she got out of the van. It was going to be a good day!
It turned out to be some pretty hard labor, chipping rock and hauling it around in 5 gallon buckets – and there were some stretches where it seemed like you weren’t going to find a thing. Then – jackpot! A discovery was made.
In all, we came away with around 5 shopping bags full of fossils. Lots of small, imperfect ones, and a few really nice ones. All the kids were successful in finding a bunch and were very proud of their share.
The drive home had a little bit of drama as we happened upon a Range Rover that had rolled a few times. Turns out a family was going out to dig fossils and their teenage sons were a few miles ahead in the Rover. Going waaay too fast on the dirt road (we had been doing 50-60 ourselves). The parents and rest of the kids were following in a van and had just gotten to the scene a few minutes before we arrived. Thank goodness none of them were hurt very badly. I was pretty scary looking…