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!


Montour Preserve Maple Sugaring–Experience Adventure 33 of 100

As soon as I learned of our Pennsylvania-6-month-sabbatical opportunity, one of the first thoughts that popped into my hands-on-learning, homeschooling-momma brain was MAPLE SUGARING!


Obviously, I like maple syrup.

I find it so fascinating that sweet, edible magic comes from these trees that do not produce fruit.  As a vegetarian, eating an almost entirely plant-based diet, I use maple syrup A LOT for baking and to sweeten up my goodies.  Maple is good stuff. 🙂


So, it was a no-brainer that one of our awesome experience adventures would certainly occur during the small window of time that is the maple collection season in Pennsylvania.

For our 33rd of 100 experience adventures, we visited the Montour Preserve during a maple sugaring open house and program day!


Set among a beautiful and natural setting, the Montour Preserve offers visitors a host of family-friendly activities, more than 10 miles of trials, fishing, boating, an environmental study pond, fossil pit, children’s play areas and environmental education opportunities within a wonderful visitors’ center.


Open year- round to the public (and FREE), visitors experience all kinds of events and activities at the Montour Preserve–all centered around the beautiful 165 acre Lake Chillisquaque.


On-site historical buildings and a museum-like visitor center full of displays and informative presentations offer families a chance to learn about the area and the history of the preserved land.





The breathtaking environment is reason enough to spend the day exploring and enjoying the natural setting.






My family visited the Montour Preserve during one of the early March, weekend maple sugaring programs offered for free and open to the public.



The family day began with a very informative lecture and movie about the maple sugaring process.  Outdoor programs featured maple sap collection and hands-on activities, maple sugaring demonstrations and the opportunity to watch the process in action.






Of course, we taste-tested everything to make sure we properly understood the process.  LOL 🙂



A little village-like setting, with maple goodie selling vendors, rounded out the maple experience.  We bought super yummy maple sugar candy and fresh maple cream!  DELICIOUS!





We all learned a great deal about the process of collecting, processing and creating maple syrup and maple products.

Visit the Montour Preserve during one of their maple weekends to learn all about (and taste!) the delicious syrup we all take for granted… AND visit to enjoy the beautiful, natural setting any day of the year!  It is a delightful Pennsylvania treasure!


OH!  One last exciting find:  The Montour Preserve offers a wonderfully inclusive Braille Trail, with a rope lead and stations featuring Braille and three-dimensional shapes to feel and trace.  Excellent job, Montour!




The Montour Preserve is open and free to the public.  It is open from sunrise to sunset and the visitor’s center is open Monday-Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and closed on Saturday and Sunday during the winter months.

For more information, visit or call 570-336-2060.

Montour Preserve, 700 Preserve Road, Danville, Pennsylvania, 17821

Get out there and explore!


For another fun, outdoor adventure in Pennsylvania, read my post about day hiking the Appalachian Trail here.

Are you a museum lover like us?

Visit these awesome museums in Pennsylvania:

The National Watch and Clock Museum

The State Museum of Pennsylvania

If you like cheese, you gotta read all about our super cool, cheese experience #32!  Click here!