Earth Notes: National Fossil Day

Sep 19, 2018

On Oct. 17 this year, the National Park Service and more than 300 partners are celebrating National Fossil Day.  This is the eighteenth year of the annual event, part of Earth Science Week.

The Quetzalcoatlus logo
Credit National Park Service

The day is designated to recognize the value of fossils, and educate people about their importance.  An art contest each year results in a chosen logo—this year’s it’s a Cretaceous-aged Quetzalcoatlus in flight.

The Colorado Plateau boasts an immense and diverse storehouse of fossils. Plants, fish, insects, mammals, and of course the most famous—dinosaurs—entombed and preserved in the region’s many rock layers, dating from the earliest lifeforms to creatures that roamed during the last Ice Age.

National parks and monuments, museums, and other institutions around the Plateau will be hosting hikes, special programs, and exhibits throughout October.

Grand Canyon National Park will have morning and afternoon talks and walks at the Yavapai Geology Museum on the South Rim. At Petrified Forest, people can make a fossil cast, tour the fossil preparation lab, and meet park paleontologists.  At Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the younger set can become Junior Paleontology Rangers.

Exhibits at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff showcase various finds. And the second Saturday of the month is Fossil Day with hands-on programs for kids and families.

The “Dinosaur Diamond” is a scenic driving tour through western Colorado and eastern Utah—featuring a wide range of fossil sites. 

For a current list of activities and locations, go to nps.gov/subjects/fossilday.