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“Muddy! But great!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Fossil Park

Fossil Park
Ranked #1 of 11 things to do in Sylvania
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Attraction details
Owner description: This geological park, one of only two of its kind in the world, contains thousands of fossils hidden among the rocks.
Malvern, Ohio
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Muddy! But great!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2014

We took our 3 yo to this, not sure what to expect. It turns out that after a few days of rain, and at 9am on a Friday morning, we had the place mostly to ourselves! One older gentleman drove in from Cleveland (he was visiting a brother but originally from LA, and had been on a dino dig in MOntana) While my hubby and I were looking for actual fossils, our little guy had a blast playing in the ¨toothpaste¨ mud (they had told us to bring toothbrushes to clean off the fossils) and would look at the fossils and then go back to ¨cleaning¨ others. We were impressed with the place, although the fossils were small fragments, we did find a few complete shell looking ones (they have names listed...brachiopod maybe?) and filled our egg carton. Family at home were impressed with out findings, and our little guy asked to go back a few times. The man who was from LA was actually quite interested in what we had found and found an ancient ¨roly poly¨ specimen he showed us and told us about. He was amazed this place was free. The only advice I have is, especially if it has been raining, is to wear boots and old clothes so you can get into the mud to find them!! I highly recommend this to anyone with little boys who love dinos and digging in the mud.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Megan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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41 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Timing is everything”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2014

I have been to this park twice over the last three years. I have two elementary age school children who are really into fossils. In my experience, EVERYTHING hinges on the timing of when they dump a load from the quarry. For obvious reasons, this is done unannounced and at random. If you are fortunate enough to be there shortly after a dump, it is a great experience. My son split open a rock and found a trilobite fragment with the impression on the other side. It was a hit at school when they where studying fossils

However, if you go there and there hasn't been a fresh load delivered for weeks or months, there is nothing much to find. The shale hardens after it gets wet and packed down and since you are not allowed to bring tools, it is really difficult to excavate anything with just your bare hands. All you can do is look for loose fossils that may have been overlooked and not picked over.

Regardless, if you go, bring along a bucket - the fossils show up better when wet. They have a big water tank on site but it's a pain to keep walking back and forth to rinse the rocks off. Also, an old toothbrush for cleaning, a box of tissue paper for packing (these are very fragile specimens) and a container to carry them home. Before I went, I showed my children what kind of fossils we were likely to find so they wouldn't be disappointed if we didn't find a full T-Rex skeleton.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
12 Thank Dreamcruiser313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Trebfath
Level Contributor
47 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Impossible to find any meaningful fossils, just fragments”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 October 2013

We took 3 grandkids, and the 6 and 8 year old enjoyed it because they had no expectations. But the place is just a few piles of hard-packed clayish mud with a scattering of rocks here and there, not many. Looking closely, you can find many small, dime-sized or less bits of fossils, most unrecognizable as to what they were originally. We drove 2 hours from Columbus, OH, had a great time at a Holiday Inn with an indoor-outdoor poll in Perrysburg, but the Cincinnati that we will search out the next time we want a trip with grandkids.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank rfathman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Flint, mi
Level Contributor
1,137 reviews
224 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 570 helpful votes
“Prepare to get muddy and be disappointed”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 August 2013

I guess it all depends on what your goals are when you come to this place. As a park with trails to hike with decent restrooms and adequate parking, this is a nice little park. However, if it is your intention to find the elusive trilobite fossil, you are most likely to be very disappointed.

To really understand the reason for my disappointment, you need to know the back-story of my childhood fossil experiences. When I was a kid growing up around Louisville, Ky. during the school grade levels of 4th and 5th in elementary school, my friend and I were exploring the area around the subdivision where we grew up. Our usual intention was to fish for bluegills or find crawdads... not searching for fossils. To us, these things were as commonplace as rocks. We'd trudge along the stream beds looking for crawdads, and under every second or third rock we'd find a crawdad. Almost all of those rocks also had fossils in them. Usually trilobites about a half-inch in size. Some of the larger rocks would have 4 of 5 of them. We thought nothing of taking some of these home because they were so commonplace.

Ok, back to this Fossil Park in Sylvania. There are fossils to be seen here. There are some large boulder size rocks with lots of shell fragment fossils to look at. I guess, to a kid growing up in a digital world, seeing these for a first time would be a cool experience, but if you were looking to take home some fine specimens without getting muddy, you will be disappointed. To try and chip out the fossils in the boulders, you are going to need tools, and they are not allowed here.

On a completely different note, I should comment about Jo Jo's Pizza across the street from Fossil park. I visited Jo Jo's about a week ago and found the pizza to be just average, however the Gyro sandwich at Jo Jo's is $5.99 and huge. If you are gonna go fossil hunting and work up an appetite, I'd suggest Jo Jo's to satisfy the hunger, but order from the non-pizza part of the menu for some good food at cheap prices.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank flintjarvis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stow, Ohio
Level Contributor
26 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Free & educational”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2013

If you have a budding young paleontologist, this is the place to visit. Free fossil hunting with lots of fossils to find. The specimen are not very big, but gives a young child (or adult) the experience of finding a fossil. No tools are allowed, but the fossils break out of the sediment pretty easily by hand. Fossils can be washed off on site. There is no shade in the fossil area, so come prepared with sun hats or on a cloudy day. There is a picnic area, but it is small. Restroom facilities are great!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Craig M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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