Sunday, September 09, 2007
Fossil Park in Sylvania, Ohio
Fossil Park, just south of the Ohio-Michigan border, is a great place to take your kids on a fall weekend. It's free, you get to keep all the fossils you find, and all you need are some buckets and old toothbrushes (and maybe sunscreen, drinking water, and mosquito spray). They supply the fossils (crinoids, tons of different species of brachiopods, horn corals, and some trilobites) from the Devonian seas, portajons, and a couple of friendly college students who are knowledgeable about local geology and ecology.
Even a five year old can break apart the chunks of shale and recognize the shells within, though they may not have the endurance needed to keep going long enough to find a trilobite. Every time we've been there, though, one of the regulars has shared some broken trilobite bits with my enthusiastic ten year old, who in turn shares his knowledge of paleontology with anyone who will listen.
-edited in Aug 2009 to fix the park system's link, and to add that Google Maps doesn't take you to the right location when you enter "Fossil Park, Sylvania, OH" in their search box. The park is located at 5705 Centennial Rd. (just south of where it says "Silica Quarry #1 on the Google Map), down a little gravel road on the right when you're heading south, just past the Mayberry Square stripmall (which is on your left). If you're coming from Michigan, exit US-23 at Sterns Rd. - the last exit before the Ohio border - and take Sterns Rd. to Clark Rd., which turns into Centennial Rd. in Sylvania.