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Fossil Hunting in Your Cincinnati Parks

french park creek with rocks and trees

Fossil Hunting in Your Cincinnati Parks

As the days get warmer and kids are itching to get outside, it is time to go fishing, Ordovician Fishing that is.  You might wonder what does Ordovician mean?  What does it have to do with living in Cincinnati?  The Ordovician Period is a geologic time between the Cambrian and Silurian Periods starting over 480 million years ago! Where we live today was covered in a shallow sea with many weird and unique creatures.  Today we can still see those creatures in our local creek beds and other exposed rock beds.

Fossil Hunting is a great pastime at your local Cincinnati Parks.  Thanks to the Cincinnati Arch, we have exposed Ordovician rock that allows us to see fossils older than dinosaurs! Many of the ancient sea creatures left behind shells during the fossilization process.

Today we can find seashell like creatures such as brachiopods and pelecypods. There are also ancient corals such as bryozoans and horn corals.  You might even do a double take and find a snail shell that looks like it’s made of rock that would be called a gastropod.  Tiny rings are segments of a crinoid. Occasionally you might find a conical end to a cephalopod.

We also have the all time favorite trilobite which resembles a pill bug or horseshoe crab.   Cincinnati Parks, such as Stanbery Park, French Park, California Woods, McFarlan Woods and Caldwell Preserve, all have nice creeks for fossil hunting.  Collecting is allowed, but within reason.  Please leave the large rocks in our creek beds for the wildlife and others to enjoy.  Be considerate of the macro-invertebrates that call our creeks home.