American Fossil
American Fossil
5
Nature & Wildlife Areas • Geologic Formations
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8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
American fossil is giving you the opportunity of a lifetime. We have the only quarry in the world where you have the opportunity to keep every fossil you find. We have recently acquired the South Dempsey Quarry, in the Green River Formation and want to make it the most exciting destination in the world for families and everyone who loves fossils or the outdoors. Our quarry is open May 30-September 30th.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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5.0
168 reviews
Excellent
158
Very good
6
Average
1
Poor
1
Terrible
2

Dale O
Hilo, HI10 contributions
Jun 2021
Did the group package with my kids and grandkids. We had our own pile of material to go through on the side away from everyone which was nice. I think we took 4-5 hours of continuous work to get through almost all of it and found about 100 really nice pieces. It’s like Christmas opening the rock to see what’s inside. What makes this place special are the people. They genuinely love explaining everything and are all over to help identify, how to get your fossil out correctly and show you how to do everything. They had at least 10 rock saws to cut your own pieces down to size. I highly recommend coming here. It’s like being a fossil hunting scientist with loads of support and all the tools you’d need. Bring food and drinks if you stay long and I don’t recommend long digs for really young ones. My 4 and 6 yr old grands were finished within an hour. My 9 yr old did the whole 4-5 hours. Some of my adult kids didn’t even break for lunch they were having so much fun.
Written June 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We are glad you enjoyed your visit.
Written June 23, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ruttar
2 contributions
Jun 2022 • Family
It was exciting to dig/uncover fossils with the family and you keep what you dig up! We bought a two hour package which gave us plenty of time to find lots of fossilized fish, poop (yes, I am excited over fish poop lol) and my husband got a rare(er) fish and I even got a fossil of wood! The workers there are very knowledgeable and gave us tips on how to transport them (fossils are fragile)..., such as standing them on end and if you cut them at home, do not use a wet saw, it will destroy the fossil.... Which I never would have thought of. Don't be afraid to go, you won't leave empty handed.
Written June 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

toobugs
Redmond, OR15 contributions
Aug 2020 • Family
We came from Oregon to do this, we have always wanted to and it did not disappoint! We were a little disappointed by how roped off we were to actual fossil digging, it seemed to take the ambiance away and seemed a little too structured.

BUT.... After being there a little while you understand why it has to be done this way. Piles 6 feet apart roping you into a section that you can only pick from. You obviously cannot roam free around the quarry like you see in your vision. But that is dangerous! And you could never did out chunks from that wall yourself. We had a 12 yr old and 11 yr old and they had great time, although the heat was a bit much for 4 hrs.

Tips:
Bring more water than you think you need!
Bring camp chair without arms
Sunscreen and hat!
Plan to be there at hour or more AFTER your time is up packing your Fossils
We didn't know the larger fossils had to ride vertical, they can't lay flat or risk breaking.
Buy a large roll of bubble wrap from Home depot, cheap and works great/tape gun

Staff was very helpful and we found lots of cool fish! 2nd day our daughter found a stingray!!! We will be back someday but will bring our trailer for a week of fossil digging! Thanks to the staff for helping, was a experience us and the kids won't forget!
Written September 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DMC
1 contribution
Aug 2020
I highly recommend American Fossil to anyone with an interest in natural history or anybody just looking for something fun to do. We drove 7 hours just to go fossil hunting for the day and it was well worth it. We found many intact fish and a complete shrimp fossil.

The staff was quite friendly and very helpful. One of the employees used a saw to assist us with the excavation of two large fish.

We had the best success by turning large boulders on their sides and then splitting them repeatedly. Some of the rocks split easier than others. If you find a boulder that doesn’t split easily, then it’s probably best to move on to another one. Set aside large slabs containing fossils to be trimmed down later with a rock saw. Don’t try to break them into smaller pieces with your hammer or you’ll risk damaging the fossil.

You should plan on arriving early before everything has been picked through. Don’t bring your own tools as American Fossil provides a rock hammer and a chisel for your use and they won’t let you use your tools.

Unless you’re a serious collector, four hours should be enough time to find plenty of fossils. Allow some time to trim off the rock surrounding your fossils using one of the four available rock saws at the site. Be sure to wear a dust mask when using the saw as they kick up a lot of dust.
Written August 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mark M
Sidney, NE10 contributions
Jun 2021 • Friends
Awesome experience snd awesome helpful staff. My 11 yr old son did the research for this trip and picked American Fossil in case we find a stingray as they are the only quarry that will allow you to keep it. I warned him it was a long shot but booked an 8hr dig for him, his buddy and me.
Definitely follow their directions snd not the Google machine. Road are fine if you are used to country driving.
It was awesome where the boys were able to be boys and explore on their own, with guidance from the guides, just to be sure they were respecting the resource. But the boys were able to do their own thing and got the hang of splitting the rock on their own.
The private 8 hr dig is a nice option for a group, and you can find all you need in 4 hours. After 6 hours we were beat (but all the rock in the roped off area was but all done yet!). I figured I had 3 min of work in the saw but instead spent 2 hours cutting all of our finds if that tells you how many we found .
Our best finds came after the morning crew left And I began to re split the rock where people stopped or it had been too wet in the morning…and low and behold I found a stingray!!! It was one of 3 found that day but don’t count on one, however my son reminded me that he called it. Shortly after he found a large intact miopylosus as well…so the trip was really special but it got more expensive as the ray and the mio are getting professionally prepped by Robert at Western Fossil in town while we will prep the tons of small fish on our own. Don’t go for the stingrays as that is a needle in a haystack but go for the people and the experience - hats off to the guides for all their efforts.
Quick tidbits
4 hours is enough
Allow time for sawing and packing
You will get filthy- plan on it! Prepare for it!
The wind will blow and it will get hot in the afternoon.
Written June 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We are happy you enjoyed your visit. Thank you for the many kind words. American Fossil Staff
Written June 16, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

songsparrowwildl2018
Kansas City, MO3 contributions
Sep 2021
We made the 14 hour trip to American fossil this past week to fulfill my childhood dream of finding vertebrate fossils and American fossil didn't disappoint. We did an 8 hour dig and went straight through; had it not been for the 75F weather with a nice breeze, it would have been miserable. Colder in the morning and hotter towards the end of the day. The staff were excellent and always ready to help or give information and answer any questions!. Tools, racks and saws were available for everyone. You can go at your own pace as well and you never feel "pushed". The area is small and you are restricted to what is provided- all of which keeps safety as the number one priority and helps focus on plenty of rock to explore. That, and finding fish! We found many intact fish and innumerable partials, as well as a small plant (a less common fossil), coprolites, scales, etc. which make for interesting conversation pieces! One very small concern was that it appeared we sifted through shale that was already worked over the day before by other patrons- not a big deal, as they opened a smaller section late in the day, whereupon we found many more fossils!!. We will be back with other family next year!
Written September 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mark B
1 contribution
Sep 2022
My two teaching colleagues and I visited today (30 Sept) the last open day of the year. I have dug fossils throughout the west for decades and I have to say that our visit to the American Quarry was the best experience I have ever had. Patrick took time to teach us everything from how to properly split a rock to the current thinking regarding the ecosystem of fossil lake. He is a teacher first and cannot resist sparking more curiosity in us that we really realized we had. Generous man, both with expertise and his time.

The quarry supplies the proper tools and has rock saws available for trimming. This place is more about education and having a quality experience than making money.
American Fossil is a must for curious families to do real science and have fun at the same time. Sorry to gush but all I said is legit.
Written September 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Curt
4 contributions
Jun 2022
This place was designed for the diggers. They generally had enough new material lined up to work on. It got hard towards the end of the day to find good rocks to split in the roped off area. I purchased the all day package. By 3:30pm, I was getting tired, so it was time to cut rock on the provided saws and pack up. The staff there was great. They were always helping people answer questions and use the hand saw to cut out fish. I prefer this quarry (much better than Warfield). Warfield makes you feel like you are digging for them (and paying to do so). Best items I brought: Folding chair, folding wagon, canopy on my jeep, lunch and lots of water and Propel water, and a good hat. The knee pads helped. I will be back. Maybe camp on the BLM land next time.
Written June 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kris B
30 contributions
Sep 2021
Fantastic day digging fossils. I booked a full day and came away with so many great pieces. Extremely well run operation. Due to some personal time conflicts, I had to reschedule a couple times - Patrick Hogle was great to work with me on changing dates, recommending hotel & camp areas as well as other rockhounding areas to look at while I was in the area. Highly recommend this as an activity for the whole family, The staff was always available to offer tips on splitting, identifying your finds, and background of the geology of the area. Bonus was a line of cutting saws so you could properly trim the rock as needed.
Written September 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

tawnyasojourn
Sedalia, MO84 contributions
May 2021 • Couples
American Fossil is a real dig site and quarry in Kemmerer, WY. You will be digging Eocene age material from what was once large lakes. You drive into the quarry and slabs of shale are dumped into a sectioned off area for you to split open using a rock hammer and chisel. Fossils from the Green River formation include several types of smaller fish, spoon bill and gar, freshwater stingray, crocs, turtles, various birds, 3 toed horses, bats, other mammals etc. There are several fossil gift shops in the area. Research "Green River fossils" for pictures and more fossil info. We mostly found fish and coprolites on our dig. You get to keep what you find unless it is paleontologically significant or incredibly rare. Things you need to know if you aren't a local: 1. It is hard to get to this site, dirt roads, rutted roads, rain makes it worse, 4wd or truck would be useful. 2. It is hot and you will burn so bring sunscreen. 3. Bring lots of water and maybe snacks if you are staying all day. 4. Did I mention you will burn? Bring an overshirt or long pants to cover with and hat, maybe sunglasses. 5. Boots or sports shoes are fine but no sandals or flip flops due to walking amongst rock slabs and fragments. 6. Toilets are port a potties, be aware.
The people who work here are super duper knowledgeable and nice! Thanks Patrick, John, and J'Nae.
I highly recommend doing this dig at least once. It will give you a great experience, a rare and unique experience, but also more appreciation for prepared and complete fossil specimens.
Written June 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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American Fossil (Kemmerer) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about American Fossil

American Fossil is open:
  • Sun - Sat 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM