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.
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.
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 www.MontourPreserve.org 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!