Craving Dole Whip

Disney & museum obsessed, homeschooling mom of 3, parenting to focus on experiences, not possessions. Sharing Disney tips, educational adventures and a few reviews. Constantly craving Dole Whip.

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Fossil Pit Hunt At Montour Preserve–Experience Adventure 34 of 100


After a super fun morning enjoying all things maple-y sweet at the FREE maple sugaring family program at the beautiful Montour Preserve, my family and I headed over to the fossil pit.



Visitors must park their car and then walk down this beautiful path that leads to the fossil pit.


I decided to break our trip to the Montour Preserve into two different adventures because both could easily stand alone and fill a family day full of fun and excitement.

So, for our 34th experience, we spent several hours searching for fossils at the Montour Preserve Fossil Pit.



The Montour Preserve Fossil Pit


This hillside fossil “pit” found on the grounds of the Montour Preserve showcases exposed shale and siltstone of the Mahantango Formation.  The fossils found here lived in the Kaskaskia Sea, a warm, shallow body of water, during the Devonian Period, between 400 and 350 million years ago.



Most fossils found in the pit need to be unearthed by gentle taps with a geologist’s hammer.  **Bring safety goggles.  My daughters also enjoyed looking for treasures on the surface, which resulted in a few finds.


Brachiopods make up two-thirds of all fossils found at the pit.  The Montour Preserve provides a free fossil hunter’s field guide if you stop at the visitor’s and education center first.  **Use the bathroom there before you head to the pit.

Cehpalopods, corals, gastropods, pelecypods, brachiopods and trilobites are all found on the guide, which features detailed drawings to help with identification.  **The guide is very helpful, but we never found the elusive trilobite.  (BUMMER!)


We also read the very informative sign which marks the entrance to the pit.



**There is little to no shade at the pit (no trees and no man made structures.  There are also no restroom facilities at the pit–you must use the restroom found in the visitor’s center.

We recommend wearing closed-toe shoes, with a thick sole, preferably rubber boots.  The ground is made of shale, sharp edges and rocks.


Helpful items for your fossil hunt:

Sunscreen, lots of water, small hammer, goggles for eye protection, a small, soft brush, bucket, containers and baggies, newspaper or foil to wrap treasures, closed-toe shoes, long pants so you can sit down on the rocky shale semi-comfortably and the field guide–study it before you start hunting.  🙂


The fossil pit can be found on the grounds of the Montour Preserve located at 374 Preserve Road, Danville, Pennsylvania, 17821.  For more information, visit or call 507-336-2060.

To read about our morning adventures at the Montour Preserve maple program, read this!

Are you fossil fanatic like me?  Here is a post all about my favorite spot to find fossilized shark’s teeth!  Read it here!


Hunting For Fossilized Sharks’ Teeth in Florida–Experience Adventure 16 of 100


One of my daughters loves paleontology and she collects all kinds of things–seeds, nuts, leaves, bones, feathers, fossils, rocks and crystals.  My other daughter wants to pursue a career in marine biology–her current passion focuses on cephalopods and a desire to discover a reversal for tetrodotoxin poisoning.  Yep, I can’t make that up.

Read all about my unique family here.

And here.

And here.



We chose to homeschool 6.5 years ago–it provides the freedom for my children to study and pursue their unique passions on their own timelines.

Read this.

And this.

And this, too.


The freedom to do education “our way” partners with the freedom to travel and explore some super cool things, hence our crazy attempt to complete 100 adventures in just 6 short months.

My daughters and I recently took a 3 week road trip that included awesome experiences in Richmond, Virginia, Savannah, Georgia, Jacksonville, Florida and some much needed “playtime” at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

What did we do in Richmond?  Read this.  And this. Oh!  And this, too.

Curious about what we did Savannah?  Hint:  It’s a museum with a speakeasy!  WHAT?!?Click here.

Before we headed to Orlando, I booked a few days of hunting in Nokomis, Florida.

What were we hunting???



Searching for fossilized sharks’ teeth is the perfect activity for both of my daughters.  Obviously, it connects one of my daughters to the ocean, but it also fulfills the need to be connected to the past so prevalent in my other daughter.  A WIN/WIN!  This mom RULES!


Surprise, surprise–Before hitting the road, I did some extensive research looking for the best beaches to find sharks’ teeth.  Venice Beach kept coming up, so I joined a Facebook page for that area of Florida.  I asked the locals for personal recommendations and Nokomis Beach was the winner.  Next, I booked a hotel within walking distance of the ocean.  Done and done.


Nokomis Beach sits on the Gulf of Mexico, south of Sarasota and north of Venice, near Casey Key, an 1.6 miles barrier island.




This particular area of Florida features an abundant amount of fossilized sharks’ teeth because the Gulf coast tides carry ancient sediment and the converging currents deposit the treasures on the beautiful shore.  Significant storms and hurricanes erode the beach, so the city dredges sand from the ocean floor to replace and replenish what is lost.


What sinks down into the sand at the bottom of the ocean becomes fossilized over millions of years.   That’s right my friends.  I am talking about dead sharks. 

Most sharks possess 4 rows of sharp, triangular teeth and the state of Florida was once under water.  Those amazing creatures swam on top of what we now call Nokomis Beach and only the fossilized teeth remain.  Millions of them.  Millions of years old.




We found 311 fossilized sharks’ teeth in 2 days.  The most common of these were from sand sharks, reef sharks, lemon sharks and extinct species such as giant makos and snaggletooths.  These teeth represent current and prehistoric sharks that lived during the Cenozoic Era–66 million years ago to present time.


Unfortunately, we never found a megalodon tooth, much to my youngest daughter’s disappointment, but it is not unheard of in the area.  (It was certainly not from a lack of trying.  LOL)

We visited several beaches along the Gulf of Mexico:  Venice, Casey Key, Nokomis and Sarasota. We only found sharks’ teeth at the Nokomis public beach, which also offered a breathtaking ocean view and access to free parking and clean restrooms.  I appreciate that!  Thank you Nokomis public beach!  🙂


Nokomis Beach gives visitors a beautiful ocean view, with a peaceful and relaxing small-town vibe.




At Casey’s Pass, we found a plethora of beautiful seashells. (But, no sharks’ teeth.)







Views at Casey’s Pass are mesmerizing.



So, how did we find so many sharks’ teeth?



Quite honestly, it was super easy.  🙂

We took buckets and Ziploc baggies to hold all of our treasures.  Those were our only “tools”.  Some people prefer to use a large scoop, sometimes called a Florida snow shovel, but we never needed that.

Of course my daughters tackled the experience in a scientific manner, marking off the searchable areas.  LOL



This method proved quite effective while searching in the drier areas of the sandy beach.

They also looked in the water, which mostly resulted in discovering shells, not teeth.


I prefer to search at the water’s edge in the collection of tiny shells brought in by the gentle waves.




The three of us “trained” our eyes to only seek dark, triangle-shaped objects.  Once our eyes committed to the search, the hunt was on and the sharks’ teeth were unbelievably easy to spot.




We really enjoyed the thrilling (and oddly relaxing!) experience and hope we can return when it is a tiny bit warmer.  🙂



Where have you found fossilized sharks’ teeth?

Share your proven methods!



Curious about what we did in Jacksonville, FL?  Click here.

Check out this museum in Florida!  Click here!

How about a company that hires refugee women?  Yep.  That is pretty awesome!

Read this!

This is cool.  Read this.