OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Zion National Park to observe National Fossil Day

Oct 9, 2023, 11:00 AM

The Virgin River flows through through Zion National Park....

The Virgin River flows through through Zion National Park. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)

(Ravell Call/Deseret News)

SPRINGDALE, Utah – Zion National Park will host activities and events to celebrate National Fossil Day on Wednesday.

Activities and events for all ages will give guests an opportunity to learn about the paleontology that takes place inside and outside of Zion National Park, according to a press release from the park. 

National Fossil Day events will include talks from geologists and paleontologists and presentations on current research. Guests also have the opportunity to examine real and model fossils and make fossil-themed crafts. 

Many of the events will take place at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. 

Andrew R.C. Milner, the site paleontologist and curator at the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, will speak at the event. Milner’s presentation will discuss his work with the National Park Service and the future of paleontology. 

According to Zion National Park, Milner will speak at 8 p.m. at the Watchman Amphitheater. 

A detailed schedule of events can be found on the National Parks Service website

Zion National Park & fossils

According to the National Park Service, the resources at Zion National Park have given researchers and educators a look into what the past was like. 

The press release said, “Zion National Park preserves 200 million years of history in the rock that range from the Permian Kaibab Formation to the Cretaceous Dakota and Cedar Mountain formations.”

The rock layers in the park have preserved environments from ancient shallow seas and dry desert sand dunes. According to the park, the life that inhabited the environment has been preserved as tracks, burrows, bones, and fossils. 

The fossils and survey data gathered at the park represent a number of ancient environments; shallow marine, coastal desert sand dunes, rivers, and lakes. The National Park Service said fossilized plants, animals, and tracks range from 270 million to 1,600 years old. 

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Zion National Park to observe National Fossil Day