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Dig and Take Home Million-Year-Old Fossils at This Park Right Outside of Phoenix

Suny Errot



Did you know that there’s a town in Arizona just outside Phoenix that was once underwater? Before you come up with a crazy idea that it’s the lost kingdom of Atlantis, it’s not. This town is called Payson and was actually part of the ocean around 300 million years ago. While the waters have been washed up in Payson, you’d find that the several limestone deposits are still there. Fossils like corals, seashells and remnants of other sea creatures can be found. Check out the Indian Gardens Paleo Site now!

Get Ready to See Discoveries at the Indian Gardens Paleo Site!

Imagine going to a town just less than 2 hours from away Phoenix, and finding yourself back in the ancient time? Isn’t that great? There this place in Payson, Arizona called the India Gardens Paleo Site which can be found in Highway 260, 13 miles east near Kohl’s Ranch. You’ll figure out that you have already reached your destination if you see a marker that says Indian Gardens Paleo Site.

It’s open to the public and free of admission charges. So that means you are free to explore the area and admire it for as long as you like. There is also a free parking space, making it more convenient for all visitors.

It doesn’t really matter whether you stay in the place for only a few minutes or be there for hours, we’re sure you’ll have an amazing time! To make things more fun, why don’t you spend your time there with your family and friends? Be in awe of different rocks and appreciate what these earthly items have to offer. You will surely learn a lot about geology when you come to visit. Do you think you should embrace paleontology? That’s not a problem at all. You can role-play being paleontologist with your kids here while unearthing different kinds of fossils. After that, you can just take home million-year-old fossils that you can preserve for the many years to come.

If You’re Not Sure What You’re Looking For, Don’t Expect Any Dinosaur Fossils

Here’s what the digging site looks like: 

Unearthing fossils can be fun, but it is highly unlikely for you to discover fossils of extinct beings like dinosaurs. On the bright side, don’t be discouraged. You might discover something here that isn’t known to anybody yet! Just keep digging, and be patient with your work. You’ll find a fossil that lives up to your standard, and that one will be worth keeping.

You can simply look for fossils just like what you do in treasure huntings or take it step by step by using tools to remove layers in the thin surfaces of the rock forms. Some guests were able to find crinoids, and byrozoans just on the surface of the rock outcrops without even using brushes or digging tools! If you’re lucky, you’ll easily find one too.

Are You Visiting? Keep in Mind The Following Tips:

indian site az

Source: Instagram

  • Bring water and food since there are no restaurants or food marts around. You don’t want to end your day feeling drained and hungry that you no longer have energy to talk, don’t you?
  • Wear protective gear and clothes such as goggles, glasses, gloves, and knee pads, hats, closed shoes since it’s dangerous to dig and find fossils without them. Remember, it’s good to unearth cool stuff. But it’s best if you take note of the safety precautions too.
  • Help save the environment by not leaving your garbage. You may also opt to bring an eco-friendly bag or a bucket where you can store your collected shells and fossils.
  • Be there early since the parking may fill up quickly.
  • Bring some tools like brush, rock hammer, chisel, and screwdriver for a better digging experience!
  • Put on sunblock because you’ll be out there when the sun is high and you don’t want to get burnt.
  • Always be careful while walking or digging because some rocks may be sharp. You don’t want to leave Indian Gardens Paleo Site carrying injuries.
  • Brush off the dirt to clean the fossils you have collected. As much as possible, do not use water, because they could get mushy and crack in the future if you do so.

Indian Gardens Paleo Site

Location: Highway 260, Payson, AZ

Have you ever been to Indian Gardens Paleo Site before? What’s the best fossil you’ve ever collected? If you think this activity is cool, you should check out other activities that allow you to find a beautiful gem. There’s a mountain on the Arizona-Utah border where you can find sparkly gems for free! On top of that, you will also have a great time visiting the 8 rivers in Arizona where you can pan for real gold.