Hidden Treasure: Trammel Fossil Park

My kids love digging: sand, snow, leaves, mud, mulch — they’ll dig and dig for hours. Like most kids, they’re also obsessed with dinosaurs and are fascinated by fossils and paleontology. So when I heard about Trammel Fossil Park in Sharonville, I knew we had to go!

Trammel Fossil Park is located in an industrial area of Sharonville. From the road, this “park” looks like any other hilly, undeveloped area off the interstate.

Related Article: 6 Attractions for Kids with Dinosaur Fever

This hidden treasure is 10 acres of rocky, rugged terrain, exposed to the elements — and totally rich with remnants from the past.

The park is unique because it’s one of the only places to dig for fossils in the Cincinnati area that’s safe and accessible. Since the plot of Trammel Fossil Park has never been disturbed, there’s an abundance of fossils available at the tip of your fingers (or shovel). Plus: admission is free — and you can take whatever fossils you find!

Off the large parking lot you’ll find a pavilion with bench seating and lots of signs explaining what fossils you can find and how those fossils were formed. Along the hillside, signs label each formation name. These layers contain fossils up to 450 million years old!

The terrain is rough and rugged, but my kids were up for the challenge. We found a nice, flat and shaded spot for digging, and they got to work. There were lots of rocks with imprints and markings, and we had fun talking about the different fossils they found. We brought buckets and they eagerly filled them with their findings. (The fossils are now buried in various parts of our front yard.)

If you’re planning on an expedition of your own, I have a few pieces of advice:

Go on an overcast day
There’s limited shade, and it gets very hot on the rocks. Wear a hat and lots of sunscreen!

Wear gym shoes with socks
The rocks can be difficult to climb, so gym shoes are necessary. Also, there are jagged pieces and some areas with debris where safety is an issue if you’re not wearing appropriate shoes.

Pants are preferable
Notice how the paleontologists in the movies are always in pants. You’ll want to have your legs covered to make kneeling/sitting easier. And, truth be told, pants are best for the inevitable trip or tumble your kids will take on the rocks!

This park is best for preschoolers and older kids
If you have a baby or toddler, I suggest using a carrier. A stroller isn’t really an option due to the rocky terrain. My newly walking one-year-old wanted to be like her older siblings, and we were able to find flat spaces for her to dig, too. I helped her around and carried her when necessary.

BYOB (Bucket)
You’ll need a shovel for digging and a bucket for collecting your fossils! Kids will have lots of fun filling their buckets with treasures.

Trammel Fossil Park is a great place to take kids for an active afternoon rich with learning opportunities and fun! And what’s better than digging for real, live, buried treasure?

Trammel Fossil Park is open year-round and admission is free. You’ll find this hidden gem on 11935 Tramway Drive in Sharonville, OH 45241. Find out more information by visiting their website

Click here to download the Trammel Park User Guide for helpful information about visiting the park.

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