Fossil and Prairie Park Rockford Reviews
Free fossils! All you have to do is find them Apr 29, 2008
The Fossil and Prairie Park near Rockford, Iowa, is one of the few public parks where you can collect and keep fossils for free! The Devonian fossils include brachiopods, pelecypods (clams), gastropods (snails), horn coral, crinoids (water lilies), bryozoans, and cephalopods (similar to squids). The fossils weather out of the soft shale, clay and limestone and can easily be picked up by hand!
The park used to be a clay pit for a brick company. The slopes of weathered shale dip into the pit filled with beautiful blue-green water. You'd almost think you were in the Caribbean!
The best time to fossil hunt is after heavy rains where the fossils wash right out of the hill side! You don't need a rock hammer, but a simple screwdriver can help pry out stubborn fossils. Be sure to bring something to carry your fossils in! You might also want to consider leather gloves. The slopes can be steep and slippery and those fossils are sharp if you land on them. The clay can also be sticky if its really wet.
The park has a visitor center that is open 1-4 pm daily Memorial Day through Labor day and on weekends in May, September, and October. The park also features walking trails through the prairie and has a picnic area. But the best part, of course, is finding fossils! It is fun for the whole family!
Part of the Upper Midwest travel blog
Part of the list Stops for the geologist
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