Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park
4.5
Historic Sites • Science Museums
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This archeological site, revealing prehistoric fossils, is a subdivision of the University of Nebraska State Museum
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The area
Address
86930 517th Ave, Royal, NE 68773-5052
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
130 reviews
Excellent
92
Very good
30
Average
5
Poor
1
Terrible
2

Courteney W
Lincoln, NE1 contribution
May 2021
Having been a member of UNSM for years we have wanted to visit Ashfalls for a few years and finally made it today! Some areas are closed due to COVID restrictions still BUT we had a great visit with Daniel in the Rhino barn. He is an educator at Ashfalls and very knowledgeable. Well worth the visit!

We were there approx 1.5 hours.
Written May 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mary H
Omaha, NE49 contributions
Jul 2020
What an amazing place to visit. A little hard to find, but worth the drive. The area is very neat, the state workers were all very nice. They explained the covid guidelines and how to follow the path. The dig sites were all well marked. When I got to the big shed, with the active dig, there was one intern working, it was his second year and there was not a question he could not answer. He knew all the skeletons by number, so when asked about #13, he would start with their name, gender, year found, etc. He was fascinating to listen to and judged his answers on a low level for kids and more complex for adults. I can't believe what a jewel we have in Nebraska! Also, I was allowed to take my dog along on the tour. The shed was not air conditioned, windows and doors were open, fans on, I was comfortable. Also, very handicapped accessible.
Written July 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Diana W
Pinehurst, TX104 contributions
Jul 2021
This was just amazing to see . Knowing that these animals died right where they still are today and so many of them are full skeletons. Normally if you go to a museum you might see a few bones from large animals, not here you see the entire animal on most of these. You even see a fetus still in it’s mother’s womb when the mother died.

Everything is well explained and marked and if you have any questions the students are more than willing to answer your questions. Everyone was very friendly and the area around there was beautiful as well.

Highly recommend this for anyone. Well worth the trip and something I will never forget.
Written August 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Don Donnie S
Austin, TX10 contributions
Jul 2013 • Couples
We took the time to drive into Nebraska from Sioux City, Iowa to visit Ashfall Fossil Beds State Park. The drive alone was worth it, gorgeous rolling hills of cropland with a hundred shades of green. The fossil park itself boasts 12 million year old preserved three toed horses and many rhino fossils. Extremely educational for the family!
Written July 15, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

crystalkeyng
10 contributions
Aug 2012 • Business
We own and operate the Crystal Key Inn B & B in Newman Grove, Nebraska which is about an hour from this wonderful attraction! We wanted to explore it in order to be able to make recommendations to our guests. It FAR exceeded our understanding and expectations! We have visited twice. The first time we were there we had the pleasure of meeting the man who made the discovery of this amazing piece of history and were able to watch his students work on uncovering the buried treasures. The second time we visited we took my father-in-law who was visiting from Phoenix. He was not disappointed! There is literally something for everyone of all ages! We highly recommend visiting Ashfall Fossil Beds and make sure to give yourself at least half a day!
There is a restaurant called Green Gables only a few miles from the park. Also highly recommend it as well!
Written July 16, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brent C
Omaha, NE340 contributions
Apr 2013 • Family
This is a wonderfully preserved and displayed, active Paleontological Dig Site, a must see in the midwest. This park has fossil remains rarely seen in both condition of fossils and unique way in which dying animal were encased in the volcanic ash of a Super Volcanic eruption from as far away as Idaho, caused by the 'hot spot' that is now under present-day Yellowstone.
Numerous and diverse animal types now extinct or only found on other continents are found here. Many persons are unaware that these even lived in the United States but they are found wonderfully preserved and displayed here. Visitor Center has interpretive displays and the fossil preparation laboratory, narrative guided tours, videos and interactive, informative materials for purchase all add to the unique educational experience.
The covered 'Rhino Barn' building houses the ongoing excavation of fossil remains of Ancient Forbears of Rhinos, small 'three-toed' Horses, Bear-Dogs, Crested Cranes, Turtles, Giant Tortoises and Giraffe-like Camel animals amongst others. Of the seventeen species of vertebrates recovered from the volcanic ash-bed, twelve are mammals. Over 200 fossil skeletons from 12 species of Clarendonian Land Mammal Age have been discovered at the site so far, most of which only live in Europe and Africa today. Displays map out and explain the excavated animal remains and you can actually converse with the Professors and Volunteer Students that are actively working the dig site all Summer long, starting May 1 to October 13, each year. $5 each over 3. There are picnic tables for you to use for brought in picnic lunches and a few walking trails for personal discovery, however, no fossils can be collected or removed from the park!
Written April 28, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

lincvet27
Lincoln, NE1 contribution
Having heard about the Ashfall Fossil Beds, I looked up the website earlier this summer. Sounded interesting for a day trip with the family. Googled it last weekend, clicked on the link for Ashfall Story, then the link for visitor information, which stated "Open on Sundays from 1-4 PM." Figured it was a 3 hour drive each way , see some nice country, picnic, etc.
We drove from Lincoln, NE to Royal, arrived at the site, and there was a sign "Rhino Barn closed for construction". Yes, you guessed it, the main attraction was closed. On the website, there is no notice of this under the Ashfall Story link or Visitor Info link. When I expressed my dismay to the park officer at the visitor center about this, she acted like this not a problem, as she indicated there is a notice on the website home page. When I Googled, I didn't need to go to the home page, I had been there earlier this summer. I stated that the info about the Rhino Barn should be on the visitor information page, after all that is where you find about how to get there, hours, costs, etc... Silly me.. The visitor center was interesting but not worth the drive. Call before you go, and by the way, the Rhino Barn is closed until May, 2009. They should just close the park until the Rhino Barn is complete. Yes, my family and I were disappointed....
Dr. Jim Himmelberg
Written September 7, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cooperton
Conroy, IA130 contributions
Jul 2014 • Family
This was the best stop on our week long vacation. After visiting Morill Hall at the U. of Nebraska last summer this has been on our radar to visit. It is worth the extra effort to get out this direction. We wanted to eat lunch at Green Gables after seeing it in other reviews but after calling I realized they are not open on Mondays and Tuesdays so we had to go to plan B. We stopped at a grocery store in Norfolk and packed a picnic lunch to enjoy out at the park. That worked perfectly. They had a nice covered picnic area and we had a very nice cool day for July to enjoy the area. We were a group of nine with five kids (ages 13, 11, 7, 7, and 4). The visitor's center was a great place to start. They have a gift shop as well as some nice displays explaining the site. We were also able to talk to a summer intern who was studying to become an paleontologist. My son was thrilled to talk to him about his job and what he got to do during his summer here. He did a nice job answering his questions and helped to grow his enthusiasm about fossils. After that, we took a trip out to the barn to see the amazing dig site. We talked to more summer interns and I was so happy that seemed at ease to talk to us about their work. At this point, I was losing the three younger children but we then moved over to the picnic area and there was a small dig area outside. This pulled this younger kids back into with a hands on activity. They did this while we go out and set up lunch After lunch, we were amazed to find the smaller building next to the picnic area was all for the kids as well. It had puzzles (like taking apart and putting together fossils) and another replica dig area which all five of them enjoyed. Even the big ones got into uncovering the fossils. It was awesome!! We had a long trek to Lincoln that evening so we had to drag everyone out to the car. They would have stayed and played even longer! The site is awesome by itself but the thought that was put into the layout and design of hands on activities for the kids to go with it makes it a great stop for all ages to enjoy. The cost was $5 a person on the day were were there but you also had to have a Nebraska park permit (daily permit was just $5 for the car). We thought it was well worth the cost of admission and park pass.
Written July 24, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

WisconsinWaterwoman
Duluth, MN11 contributions
I had no idea that Rhinos, Saber tooth deer, Shovel tusk elephants and Camels roamed Nebraska thousands of years ago.
These fossils are complete intact animals. Some even carrying their unborn with in them.
There are some very unusual animals that I never knew existed.
Such a great find. So different than most junky tourist attractions.
This is the real deal and worth seeking out.
Written April 4, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

fleabane2
Tucson, AZ42 contributions
Aug 2017 • Couples
I planned to visit this site after viewing the eclipse and wasn't disappointed. In fact, this totally eclipsed the eclipse...

Reading the reviews, the park has definitely improved over the years and may have worked out most if not all of the limitations.

One thing I enjoyed was the exhibit didn't have voice overs. You had to read the description OR one of the employees/interns provided an explanation/interpretation and answered questions. It was like a sanctuary. Thank you, Ashfall Fossil Bed, for the total silence. It provided me with reverence for all that came before us and all that will follow, including you and me.
Written August 23, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park (Royal) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go