Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park near Royal will open to the public May 1. As part of its 30th anniversary year, the park will host a variety of special activities throughout the season. Full details will be available online.
“The museum is looking forward to celebrating the 30th anniversary of our Ashfall Fossil Beds site this summer,” said Susan Weller, director of the University of Nebraska State Museum. “It seems like only yesterday we were being featured in National Geographic for Dr. Voorhies’ amazing paleontological find.”
Ashfall Fossil Beds will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. A limited number of tickets will be available each hour to continue allowing for social distancing. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance online to guarantee entry at their desired time. Tickets are available here. A state park permit is also required for any vehicle entering Ashfall Fossil Beds. They should be acquired in advance and are available online through the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Some changes in park amenities will be made for the season to promote visitor safety:
The children’s dig area within the Heritage Center, as well as all interactive exhibits within the Visitors Center, will remain closed. However, the exterior fossil sandbox will be open.
The museum’s gift shop will operate with limited inventory and social distancing. Credit cards are the preferred payment option.
The picnic pavilion will open with limited capacity and distancing of tables.
Restrooms will be open.
Water fountains will be inaccessible. However, bottled water will be available for purchase in the gift shop. Guests are encouraged to recycle bottles in provided canisters.
The Hubbard Rhino Barn will be open, and student research interns will be working and available to visit with guests.
The Prep Lab within the Visitors Center will be open, with guests able to watch work.
Guests are encouraged to wear face coverings while on site. Disposable face masks will be available upon request. Donations to cover mask costs are appreciated.
Guests are requested to leave distance between themselves and other parties. Rhino footprints on walkways throughout the park will serve as distancing guides.
“Thirty years of progress makes this a landmark year,” said Rick Otto, superintendent for Ashfall Fossil Beds. “More than 60 skeletons have been exposed in the fossil bed, and we’re still going strong. Every summer, new discoveries take place right before your eyes. We hope everyone will help us celebrate with a visit to Ashfall Fossil Beds this summer.”
Individuals or families with questions should click here or call 402-839-2000.