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“Never thought rhinos lived here”

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Royal
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This archeological site, revealing prehistoric fossils, is a subdivision of the University of Nebraska State Museum
Reviewed 19 August 2017

The Ashfall Fossil Beds are a Nebraska State Park and designated as a national natural landmark. Visiting Ashfall is an opportunity to learn about and see animals most of never thought would have been here. The dig is located in a building and is actively being worked. We spoke to archelogy students while they were busy unearthing the fossils. There is a cost per person ($7) as well as for a one day pass to Nebraska State Parks ($8). Ashfall seems like it is very remote but roads are good and the place is easy to find. Highly recommend to anyone but especially familys.

Thank BobUpNorth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"rhino barn"
in 17 reviews
"watering hole"
in 3 reviews
"prehistoric animals"
in 4 reviews
"educational displays"
in 2 reviews
"visitor center"
in 7 reviews
"educational experience"
in 3 reviews
"ask questions"
in 3 reviews
"students working"
in 3 reviews
"large building"
in 2 reviews
"rolling hills"
in 2 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 3 reviews
"all ages"
in 5 reviews
"university of nebraska"
in 2 reviews
"gift shop"
in 4 reviews
"great stop"
in 2 reviews
"on display"
in 3 reviews
"active dig site"
in 4 reviews
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14 - 18 of 106 reviews

Reviewed 17 August 2017

I am on my second generation of taking kids to Ashfall Park. The scenery is really pretty, the museum is VERY informative and it is interactive for kids of all ages. Including my 28 year old son who had his picture taken while riding the giant tortoise! The only reason I gave it a 5 is because the two staff we encountered were VERY GRUMPY! ON the day we went, an archeologist was assessing bones that were brought in by visitors. The entrance to the museum was jam packed so I told my 6 year old grandson to hurry in so as not to impede traffic. I didn't realize he still had half a cookie in his hand and the gentleman at the door rudely told him no food was allowed. When I went to buy a t-shirt, I asked to see if they had any children's sizes and the women at the cashier did not acknowledge me. She also didn't speak while checking us out. I never understand why people who don't like children or people for that matter, work in customer service!!! Hopefully they weren't getting paid!

1  Thank Alicia E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2017

Plenty of signs on the farming roads to help you find this location. Was very interesting to see the fossil beds. People working in the rhino barn were very friendly and informative. Took lots of questions as they worked. The staff in the visitor center were also friendly too. Had our small dog with us. And she was allowed on he grounds with her leash. The kids (teens) liked it too. And that's saying something ;)

Thank Kmpenate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2017

If you want to see geology come to life, this is a good place to go. The visitor center was interesting and informative. There were two people looking for tiny fossils, who were available to answer questions. The large building was breathtaking! Interns spend the summer working here. There is another building where kids can dig for fossils. There are two short trails to hike. My husband, who is a geologist, was really hoping to take a closer look along the exposure. That trail is no longer open to the public. We enjoyed our picnic lunch in the pavilion before heading down the road.

Thank Donna R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 July 2017

The interns really make this location a gem. The visitors center is informative but is fairly small and therefore was crowded. There are numerous microscopes to look at fossils and dirt of the different ages but again this is hard if people are breathing down your neck to use the equipment. The first encounter with an intern from the University of Nebraska was in the visitor center. She was very friendly and was looking for micro-fossils. Imagine looking through particles slightly larger than grains of sand found at a beach and you get the idea. She explained that these micro-fossils are actually far more common than the big fossils and provide more to the history of the area than the big fossils as these micro-fossils include teeth, pieces of bone, etc.

The rhino barn is very cool and features complete skeletons of rhinos and camels and dogs and horses! There is even a baby rhino that died nose to nose with its momma which is very interesting to see and more interesting to imagine how this happened eons ago. You can also clearly see how scavengers pulled apart the animals after they died. The display is well set up and shows the current level of soil (sod) and how far down the ash is located and where the fossils are found in the ash level as there is actually a level in the ash which is a dead zone in which no fossils are found and another layer below the dead zone in which the fossils may be found. There were two interns who were slowly scraping to search for additional fossils. They quickly demonstrated that finding a large fossil is very rare and even if found, the effort to uncover a small bone can takes multiple weeks to months.

The last major display included an intern working on a skeleton that is encased in plaster. She was working with a paintbrush, toothbrush and small scraper to "unearth" the bones. She explained that the fossils are actually extremely delicate and care must be taken so as not to damage anything while uncovering the bones from the solidified ash.

All in all, it is a fun site where you can really learn a great deal from students studying to become a paleontologist. The number of full rhinos that can be viewed was actually amazing to me as was the diversity of animals that once lived in the area.

Thank MarkDr777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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