My kids love digging: sand, snow, leaves, mud, mulch — they’ll dig and dig for hours! Like most kids, they’re also obsessed with dinosaurs, and are fascinated by fossils and paleontology. So when I heard about Trammel Fossil Park in Sharonville, I knew we had to go!
Trammel Fossil Park is located in an industrial area of Sharonville. From the road, this “park” looks like any other hilly, undeveloped area off the interstate. It’s 10 acres of rocky, rugged terrain, exposed to the elements — and totally rich with remnants from the past.
The park is unique because it’s one of the only places to dig for fossils in the Cincinnati area that’s safe and accessible. Since the plot of Trammel Fossil Park has never been disturbed, there’s an abundance of fossils available at the tip of your fingers (or shovel). Plus: admission is totally free — and you can take whatever fossils you find!
There’s a large parking lot with a pavilion with bench seating and lots of signs explaining what fossils you can find and how those fossils were formed. Along the hillside, signs label each formation name. These layers are rich in fossil shells as much as 450 million years old!
We went on a very hot and sunny day, equipped with our own buckets and tools. The kids were very excited, and approached the hills with gusto.
We found a nice, flat area for digging, and the kids got to work. There were lots of rocks with imprints and markings, and we had fun talking about the different fossils they found.
If you’re planning on an expedition of your own, I have a few pieces of advice:
Go on an overcast day
There’s limited shade, and it gets very hot on the rocks. Wear a hat and lots of suncreen! (Even in the fall.)
Wear gym shoes with socks
The rocks can be difficult to climb, so gym shoes are necessary. Also, there are jagged pieces and some areas with debris where safety is an issue if you’re not wearing appropriate shoes.
Pants are preferable
Notice how the paleontologists in the movies are always in khaki pants. You’ll want to have your legs covered to make kneeling/sitting easier. And, truth be told, pants are best for the inevitable trip or tumble your kids will take on the rocks!
Best for Older Toddlers/Big Kids
If you have a baby, tentative walker or teething toddler, I suggest using a carrier while you’re there (and perhaps another adult for assistance!). A stroller isn’t really an option due to the rocky terrain — and you’ll want to have your hands free for assisting older kids on their dig.
You’ll need a shovel for digging and a bucket for collecting your fossils! Kids will have lots of fun filling their bucket with treasures.
This is a great place to take kids for an active afternoon rich with learning opportunities and fun! And what’s better than digging for real, live, buried treasure?
Trammel Fossil Park is open year-round and admission is free. You’ll find this hidden gem on Tramway Drive in Sharonville, OH 45241. Find out more information by visiting their website.