Seems there are very few kids that have the privilege of visiting a National Park and even if they were to go, they’d probably rather be at home, inside playing video games or watching t.v., but here’s a National Park that even the kids get excited over. If you’re taking an RV adventure through Colorado, this is one park you’ll definitely want to explore.
The Florissant Fossil Beds have been known to have up to 1700 different species that have been described on the 6,000 acres. “A majority of those fossils are fragile, detailed compression and impression fossils of insects and plants. The largest fossils are massive, petrified Sequoia trees – up to 14 feet wide!” You can visit the park anytime of year, but during the summer, kids can take part in ranger guided programs.
The hike through the Petrified Forest will take most people about two hours to get through, maybe longer. There are a total of 14 hiking trails at this park. But what really makes this such a great park for the kids is all the activities. The children are learning about natural resources and how to protect them, but they’re learning in such a way that it’s fun and they don’t even realize the lesson they are receiving. You’ll want to stop by the visitor center to pick up a booklet of activities.
There are three different programs which are separated by age. Pick up the book or books according to your child’s age and start exploring! Go through each activity in the book and once you’re done with your hiking adventure return the completed book of activities to a park ranger and your child will be rewarded with a certificate, sticker, and badge.
There is also a really great feature called the Fossil Lab. You can visit the Shale Fossil Lab between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. daily where you’ll be shown a fossil being release from its imprisonment for over 33 million years! If that excites you, you can even goes as far as to take the “Paleontology 101” course and learn how the Paleontology department excavates the shale beds and how they split the shale to find wonderful fossils. Try to identify a new discovery and learn how we prepare each fossil to become part of our collection.
The park is home to several species of trees such as Ponderosa Pine, Aspen, Fir, and Spruce, and it is also home to many animals, such as: Wapiti (Elk), mule deer, coyotes, foxes, bears, and mountain lions. Birds of prey scan the meadows for ground squirrels and mice.
The park is open year round. The hours are from 9 to 5 during fall, winter, and spring, and 8 to 6 during the summer. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. There is a $3.00 fee for anyone 16 and older. Anyone under 16 is free. You can also buy a one year pass for $15.00.
So, if you head out to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Park, be sure to let us know how you enjoyed it. We really do enjoy hearing about your RV adventures and seeing the pictures!