Travel back in time to prehistoric Nebraska when you and Fido visit the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park! Designated a National Natural Landmark in 2006, this pawsome 360-acre site in the picturesque Verdigre Creek valley is home to the skeletons of hundreds of extinct animals. It's a puptastic experience for the whole family, including four-legged members!
Situated on rugged rangeland between Royal and Orchard, Ashfall is the only known place in the world where full, three-dimensional skeletons of large prehistoric animals lie undisturbed. You and your pup can see these pawmazingly well-preserved bones at the park's 18,000-square-foot Hubbard Rhino Barn, where the skeletons of rhinos, horses, camels, and other animals are displayed exactly where they were discovered. Witness an ongoing excavation from the building's walkways as paleontologists brush away the volcanic ash that killed these creatures 12 million years ago.
Not far from the Rhino Barn is the visitor center, which features interpretive displays and a working fossil preparation laboratory. Don't be shy about asking the paleontologists about their work—questions are very much encouraged! The park also includes a mile-long nature trail where your pooch can stretch their legs while you learn about the geology, flora, and fauna of the area. After your walk, dig into a packed lunch at the picnic area, which comprises 12 tables and a covered shelter.
Bring any essentials for a day out with your pup, such as water to share and clean-up bags. Remember to keep your pooch on a leash at all times and stoop and scoop as needed while you're at Ashfall.
Ashfall is open to the public from May 1st to early October, and open days and hours vary throughout that time. Note that in addition to the entrance fee of $7, a Nebraska Park Entry Permit is required to enter the park, which runs $6 for state residents, and $8 for non-residents. You can get the permit at the visitor center, or purchase it online for faster check-in when you arrive.
For an unfurgettable experience in northeast Nebraska, look no further than the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park!