Source: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Website (outdoornebraska.gov) Print this page

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park

 
Park Snapshot

4 E, 6 N of Orchard
360 acres (0 water)

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(AreaID: 279)

Contact Information:
Ashfall Fossil Beds SHP
86930 517th Ave.
Royal,  NE  68773
Phone: (402) 893-2000

Summary

Nearly 12 million years ago, volcanic ash engulfed this ancient watering hole, entombing innumerable animals. National Geographic has called it the Pompeii of prehistoric animals. Because of its scientific importance, the 360-acre historical park between Orchard and Royal was acquired in 1987 and is a joint project of the Game and Parks Commission and the University of Nebraska State Museum. See paleontologists "dig" the site and prepare fossils unearthed. Interpretive facilities, include a visitor center and rhino barn. Picnicking is available at Grove Lake WMA near Royal. Admission is charged in addition to the Park Entry Permit.

Attractions

Located 6 miles north of U.S. 20 between Royal and Orchard in northern Antelope County, Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park is a joint project of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the University of Nebraska State Museum.

Your first stop should be the Visitor Center to see the interpretive displays and the working fossil preparation laboratory. You are invited to ask the paleontologists about their work. Educational programs are presented on regular basis. From the Visitor Center, it is but a short stroll to the Rhino Barn, where new discoveries continue to be unearthed.

The park offers a fascinating and educational experience for the entire family and a chance to step back in time to see what Nebraska wildlife was like long before modern man ventured onto the Great Plains.

Visitors are invited to watch the ongoing excavation of this unique "time capsule." A "Rhino Barn" protects part of the deposit, where skeletons are uncovered and displayed exactly where they are found. Walkways give visitors a close-up view as paleontologists carefully brush away the volcanic ash from the massive skulls of native American rhinos and the delicate side hooves of tiny ancestral horses.

Ashfall is situated on 360 acres of rugged rangeland in the scenic Verdigre Creek valley. Nature trails are being developed to help interpret the geology as well as the flora and fauna of the area. Picnicking is permitted on the park, and campers can use nearby Grove Lake Wildlife Management Area near Royal.

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park is a joint project of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the University of Nebraska State Museum. The park offers a fascinating and educational experience for the entire family a chance to step back in time and see what Nebraska wildlife was like long before modern man ventured onto the Great Plains.

Visit the University of Nebraska's State Museum Website at
Ashfall.unl.edu



Camping: No

Water: Yes
Modern Restroom: Yes
Dump Station: No
Showers: No
Laundry: No

Lodging: No

Cabins: 0
Rooms: 0
Dorms: 0
Food Service: No

Trails: Yes

Hiking: 1 miles
M. Bike: 0 miles
Horse: 0 miles
Trail Rides: No
Allow Horses: No

Picnicking: Yes

Picnic Tables: 12
Grills: 0
Shelters: 1
Shelters w/ elec.: 0

Boating: No

Types:
Ramps: 0
Docks: 0
Fuel Avail.: No
Boat Rental: No
River Access: No

Fishing: No

Cleaning Stations: 0

Swimming: No

Pools: 0
Beaches: 0

Concessions: No

Visitor Center: Yes

Ashfall Fossil Bed Visitor Center
Hours: May 1 up to Memorial Day weekend;
10am 4pm Tuesday through Saturday, Closed Sunday and Monday
Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day;
9am 5pm Monday through Saturday & 11 am 5pm on Sunday
After Labor Day Second weekend in October;r
10am 4pm Tuesday through Saturday & 1pm to 4pm on Sunday. Closed Monday.
By Reservation
School and tour groups may make special arrangements To visit Ashfall between April 1 and Oct. 20 with Advance reservations. For details and to make reservations, Call the park at 402-893-2000.

Office on Site: Yes

Ashfall Fossil Bed Visitor Center
Hours: May 1 up to Memorial Day weekend;
10am 4pm Tuesday through Saturday, Closed Sunday and Monday
Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day;
9am 5pm Monday through Saturday & 11 am 5pm on Sunday
After Labor Day Second weekend in October;r
10am 4pm Tuesday through Saturday & 1pm to 4pm on Sunday. Closed Monday.
By Reservation
School and tour groups may make special arrangements To visit Ashfall between April 1 and Oct. 20 with Advance reservations. For details and to make reservations, Call the park at 402-893-2000.

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