Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve

Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve

Penn Dixie Visitor Information ►

Things to know before you go!

Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve is owned and operated by the Hamburg Natural History Society, Inc. The dig site is a hidden gem just 10 miles south of Buffalo.

Visitors can find and collect 380 million year-old animal and plant fossils that once flourished in an ancient tropical sea that covered WNY. In 2011, The Geological Society of America ranked Penn Dixie as the No. 1 fossil park in the country.

2023 Best of Rochester Award Winner

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve
Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve

Keep the fossils you find

When we spent the day at Penn Dixie, we rented a bucket of tools ($5 for two hammers, a chisel and a pair of safety glasses) to share among the three of us.

It would have been helpful to bring something to kneel on since the ground is where the action is. A sit-upon we used to make in Girl Scouts would have been perfect! Next time we’ll bring our own tools along since there is always a risk of them all being rented out.

Bring a few containers for fossil-finds since you are able to keep anything you find. You’ve got to have a keen eye to discover the fossils, many of which are smaller than pebbles. It was fun being an amateur paleontologist for a few hours!

Penn Dixie strives to be mobility- and family-friendly, offering five shelters, picnic tables, benches, portable toilets, and over 4,100 feet of paved trails for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers and wagons.

You may not think when you first pull into the lot that you could spend a whole day there among the rocks, but when you are focused on just a small piece of land, searching for the tiniest of fossils, time slips away. It is a simple, engaging experience.

Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve

Penn Dixie’s October Earth Science Day

Every October, Penn Dixie hosts Earth Science Day. From their website:

Learn about Western New York’s natural history, ecology, and resources through interactive exhibits and demonstrations in a family-friendly setting. Experience hands-on learning under the big tent from groups like The Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, Hamburg Library, Reinstein Woods, SUNY Buffalo Geology Department, Past & Present Rock Shop, and many more.There is no charge for admission. Thanks to a generous donation, the first 210 children to arrive will receive complimentary fossil collecting trowels. For those interested in learning more about natural resources, our friends at Earth Dimensions will demonstrate the operation of a drill rig during the event. Plus — stick around or return for a fall stargazing program.

Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth in Ithaca NY
keep the fossils you find!

More information about Penn Dixie

Cost: There is an admission fee

Located in Blasdell, roughly 80 minutes / 80 miles from Rochester (get directions)

More information:

Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth in Ithaca NY

You can learn even more about our fascinating geologic history at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca.

Museum of the Earth

Museum of the Earth focuses primarily on life in New York State beginning in the Cambrian Period, covering roughly 635 million years of geologic record.

Read more

4 Rock Cities Near Rochester

Explore these cool, mossy rock cities near Rochester, like Little Rock City near Ellicottville and Thunder Rocks in Allegany State Park.

Read more

Geologic History of the Rochester Area

These day trips into Rochester’s geologic history will remind you just how amazing our corner of the Earth is.

Read more

Chimney Bluffs State Park

The bluffs in Chimney Bluffs State Park are fragile drumlins, like all of the truncated drumlins along this section of shoreline.

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Have you been to Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

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