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“Timing is everything”
Review of Fossil Park

Fossil Park
Ranked #1 of 13 things to do in Sylvania
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Attraction details
Owner description: This geological park, one of only two of its kind in the world, contains thousands of fossils hidden among the rocks.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Timing is everything”
Reviewed February 16, 2014

I have been to this park twice over the last three years. I have two elementary age school children who are really into fossils. In my experience, EVERYTHING hinges on the timing of when they dump a load from the quarry. For obvious reasons, this is done unannounced and at random. If you are fortunate enough to be there shortly after a dump, it is a great experience. My son split open a rock and found a trilobite fragment with the impression on the other side. It was a hit at school when they where studying fossils

However, if you go there and there hasn't been a fresh load delivered for weeks or months, there is nothing much to find. The shale hardens after it gets wet and packed down and since you are not allowed to bring tools, it is really difficult to excavate anything with just your bare hands. All you can do is look for loose fossils that may have been overlooked and not picked over.

Regardless, if you go, bring along a bucket - the fossils show up better when wet. They have a big water tank on site but it's a pain to keep walking back and forth to rinse the rocks off. Also, an old toothbrush for cleaning, a box of tissue paper for packing (these are very fragile specimens) and a container to carry them home. Before I went, I showed my children what kind of fossils we were likely to find so they wouldn't be disappointed if we didn't find a full T-Rex skeleton.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
12 Thank Dreamcruiser313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Trebfath
Level Contributor
49 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Impossible to find any meaningful fossils, just fragments”
Reviewed October 28, 2013

We took 3 grandkids, and the 6 and 8 year old enjoyed it because they had no expectations. But the place is just a few piles of hard-packed clayish mud with a scattering of rocks here and there, not many. Looking closely, you can find many small, dime-sized or less bits of fossils, most unrecognizable as to what they were originally. We drove 2 hours from Columbus, OH, had a great time at a Holiday Inn with an indoor-outdoor poll in Perrysburg, but the Cincinnati that we will search out the next time we want a trip with grandkids.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank rfathman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Flint, mi
Level Contributor
1,162 reviews
235 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 582 helpful votes
“Prepare to get muddy and be disappointed”
Reviewed August 25, 2013

I guess it all depends on what your goals are when you come to this place. As a park with trails to hike with decent restrooms and adequate parking, this is a nice little park. However, if it is your intention to find the elusive trilobite fossil, you are most likely to be very disappointed.

To really understand the reason for my disappointment, you need to know the back-story of my childhood fossil experiences. When I was a kid growing up around Louisville, Ky. during the school grade levels of 4th and 5th in elementary school, my friend and I were exploring the area around the subdivision where we grew up. Our usual intention was to fish for bluegills or find crawdads... not searching for fossils. To us, these things were as commonplace as rocks. We'd trudge along the stream beds looking for crawdads, and under every second or third rock we'd find a crawdad. Almost all of those rocks also had fossils in them. Usually trilobites about a half-inch in size. Some of the larger rocks would have 4 of 5 of them. We thought nothing of taking some of these home because they were so commonplace.

Ok, back to this Fossil Park in Sylvania. There are fossils to be seen here. There are some large boulder size rocks with lots of shell fragment fossils to look at. I guess, to a kid growing up in a digital world, seeing these for a first time would be a cool experience, but if you were looking to take home some fine specimens without getting muddy, you will be disappointed. To try and chip out the fossils in the boulders, you are going to need tools, and they are not allowed here.

On a completely different note, I should comment about Jo Jo's Pizza across the street from Fossil park. I visited Jo Jo's about a week ago and found the pizza to be just average, however the Gyro sandwich at Jo Jo's is $5.99 and huge. If you are gonna go fossil hunting and work up an appetite, I'd suggest Jo Jo's to satisfy the hunger, but order from the non-pizza part of the menu for some good food at cheap prices.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank flintjarvis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stow, Ohio
Level Contributor
26 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Free & educational”
Reviewed July 30, 2013

If you have a budding young paleontologist, this is the place to visit. Free fossil hunting with lots of fossils to find. The specimen are not very big, but gives a young child (or adult) the experience of finding a fossil. No tools are allowed, but the fossils break out of the sediment pretty easily by hand. Fossils can be washed off on site. There is no shade in the fossil area, so come prepared with sun hats or on a cloudy day. There is a picnic area, but it is small. Restroom facilities are great!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Craig M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
239 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
“Small area, hard packed mud, NO tools allowed”
Reviewed July 13, 2013

We drove 3 hours from Columbus specifically to visit this park. The drive was nice, the park however, not so good. On the positive, they have ample parking, its free and they have nice restroom facilities. The park however is extremely small, only 3 table stations, a water barrel and about 5 small piles of hard packed sediment. Now, if you were allowed at least a small hand shovel or other small instrument to dig a bit, things might have been easier. As it was, we found a couple shells and gave up quickly. To sum up: if you are driving through Sylvania, stop and take a look. However, If you are making a special trip, don't do it. Go to Ceaser Creek, just north of Cincinnati. Tons of fossilized items and a huge area to mill about. If this info has helped, click yes below.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
15 Thank Cleanhotels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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