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“Flood Reveals Ancient Fossils”

Devonian Fossil Gorge
Ranked #3 of 26 things to do in Iowa City
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Iowa City, IA, USA
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Flood Reveals Ancient Fossils”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2013

The flood of 1993 did a tremendous amount of damage to a number of structures. However the waters which overran the spillway exposed a Devonian Fossil Gorge. Probably every school kid within 100 miles came to see it after it had been discovered. It is now open with clear markings and well worth a visit.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank J E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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87 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Level Contributor
72 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Glad it is close to home”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2013

Thought this would an interesting trip for my kids to go to. While older one thought it was sort of interesting, younger two ages 10 and 8 were bored. You do have to look close for fossils, markers were not easy to find. I love this type of thing, but it was a bit of a let down.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Tricia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prior Lake, Minnesota
Level Contributor
32 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great for amateur geologists”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2013

If you are in the area and are into geology this is a great place. Nice hike great place to let the kids run. There was (before the flood in 08) an interpretive display to help identify the fossils. I would imagine it's been rebuilt by now. Once you have a good idea what to look for head Lake McBride and look around. The coral the area is named after is everywhere, much of it unearthed by the flood of 2008.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Skuppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Something different near Iowa City”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2013

I have lived in Iowa City for 20 years and take all out of town guests to see this small outcrop of rock that is covered with Devonian fossils (older than the dinosaurs). It is so different seeing fossils in their natural place rather than behind a glass in a museum. There are scattered fossils all around the gully with one small area of layers of rock covered in fossils You will need a car to get there, but once you are there , you don't need a guide, there are good explanatory posts all around the main fossil bed.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank sarah T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
258 reviews
83 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Need to get back here”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2013

We visited last fall, with friends. Started our tour by watching the video in the ranger station, which also includes a small gift shop (you are not allowed to chip out your own fossils from the gorge!!) The video was very helpful in understanding what we were seeing, and I'd recommend it to make a visit more meaningful.

We've had flooding again earlier this year, so I do want to go back and see if the are has changed. The gorge was originally carved out and the fossils made visible after severe flooding a few years ago.

This is not a destination for anyone who has significant mobility issues. Lots of walking on uneven surfaces.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Solotravel-lover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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