Saturday, June 10, 2023 - 5:30am to 6:30pm


Age Limit: Ages 12 and up (attendees under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult)

Cost: Cranbrook Institute of Science Members: $225/person; Non-Members: $250/person
Registration: Tickets go on sale to Institute Members at 8:00am on March 10. Tickets for Non-Members go on sale at 9:00am on March 24.

All-inclusive cost includes bus transportation to and from dig sites, boxed lunch, water and snacks, protective eyewear, a commemorative water bottle, a fossil hunting bucket, a hammer, and a chisel.

About the Fossil Dig
Fossil enthusiasts are invited to join the Institute for a day-long adventure in Alpena, MI to search and dig for their very own fossils! Learn dig site etiquette, tools of the trade, dig site safety, how to find and identify fossils, digging techniques, and the history of the area where they will be digging. Join us for a fun and educational day with “Paleo Joe,” an award-winning paleontologist, author, and storyteller. Cranbrook Institute of Science fossil experts will also be on hand to provide insights and expertise.

Transportation and lunch are included. Registration will open on March 10h for members, and on March 24th for the public.

Agenda 5:30am – Meet at Cranbrook Institute of Science

6:00am – Depart Cranbrook Institute of Science on Charter Bus (bus will have a restroom on board)

9:30am – Arrive at McDonald’s Restaurant in Alpena, MI, and meet up with Paleo Joe

10:00am – Travel to Site # 1 - Middle Devonian site that is in the Potter Farm Member of the Alpena Limestone Formation (5-minute drive)

Our guide, Paleo Joe, will briefly describe the area during the Devonian 350 million years ago, including some of the beautifully preserved fossils you will find here, which are from a storm deposit. No tools will be needed at Site 1 – participants can just bend over and pick up fossils. Fossil identification papers will be handed out to aid you in identifying the fossils you find, and there is also an additional nearby site within 100 yards of the first location (across the road).

11:00am: Travel to Site # 2 - Rockport Quarry Limestone Formation.

11:30am: Lunch and briefing at Rockport.

12:00pm: Dig at Site #2

This is a larger site with much larger fossils, and some light rock breaking may be needed. It is a 1-mile walk to the quarry and back to the car at this site, so be prepared to carry what you need in and out. There are several dig locations within the Rockport Quarry, including a deposit of Bell Shale and a deposit of the 4 Mile Dam Formation.

2:30 - 3:00pm Dig ends, walk back to the bus, and depart.

6:30pm – Arrive at Cranbrook Institute of Science.

What to Bring

  • Hiking shoes - sneakers are ok but NO OPEN-TOED SHOES are allowed. Steel-toed shoes are preferred.
  • Water bottle and additional food items if you wish.
  • Sun Block, hat, and sunglasses.
  • Long pants. We will be in a quarry, and knee scraping is a possibility.
  • Small first aid kit for scrapes and scratches.
  • Poncho in case of rain.
  • Newspaper if you wish to wrap fossils for transport.
  • Backpack
  • Whistle
  • Dress for the weather. This is a rain-or-shine event. However, heavy rain may require the event to be rescheduled. Make sure to check the weather in Alpena that morning! The temperature in Alpena may be quite different from the temperature in Bloomfield Hills.

Food/Beverage Provided with Your Registration

  • Morning: Water, coffee, and pastries will be available on the bus for the early ride. When we arrive at the McDonald’s around 9:30am, guests are welcome to purchase additional food on their own before we depart for the first dig.
  • Lunch: Boxed lunches from Subway will be provided. Please indicate if you need a vegetarian option on the registration page. Choice of Turkey, Ham, Italian B.M.T., Cold Cut, Spicy Italian, Tuna, or Roast Beef, a bag of chips, and a cookie.
  • Afternoon: Snacks and beverages will be available on the bus ride back. •
  • All Day: Water and snacks will be available throughout the day.

Additional Items Included with Registration

  • Commemorative bucket, chisel, and hammer set
  • Protective eyewear
  • Cranbrook Institute of Science water bottle

Important Notes

  • Registration closes on April 21, 2023.
  • Ages 12 and up only.
  • Attendees under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Cancelation Policy: Full refunds are available before registration closes on April 21. After April 21, 50% refunds will be available until May 10. No refunds will be available after May 12th.
  • In the event of cancelation by Cranbrook Institute of Science, every effort will be made to reschedule the event. If participants are unable to join during the rescheduled date, or a new date cannot be identified, a full refund will be issued.
  • Transportation: All attendees are required to ride to/from the Fossil Dig in the Institute of Science bus. Attendees may not drive separately.
  • All attendees must sign the “Alpena Dig Waiver” form from PaleoShows, LLC.
  • All attendees must provide emergency contact information to Cranbrook staff.

Questions? Contact Taylor Travnik at or call 248-645-3245