Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site

Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site

Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site
4.5
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Millions of years ago, this fossil site was a lake rich in plant and animal life.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles63 reviews
Excellent
39
Very good
20
Average
2
Poor
1
Terrible
1

chickadeerachel
Seattle, WA24 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Family
Better than expected. I struggled to sell kiddo on this activity as I didn’t know what to expect but it was pretty cool. Getting ice cream after your done and returning tools helps and there is a great coffee/ ice cream a few shops down. Porta potty at site was in good condition and guy working was wonderful!
Written August 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MarcoFromSeattle
Seattle20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Family
We visited Stonerose from Seattle with our 4 year old son and 6 year old daughter. In particular, our daughter really loved Stonerose.

WHEN TO GO – We arrived on a Friday around 9:00 am and the Stonerose center was just getting ready to start an introductory session for a school group. There was about a 30 minute presentation which we found interesting. One of the center’s staff then accompanied the group up the hill to the dig site and provided some good tips about fossil hunting (but we asked a lot of questions or otherwise probably wouldn’t have been as successful). We called ahead to make sure they would be open and the person on the phone was happy to recommend what to bring and were to stay.

WHAT TO BRING – We basically used a hammer and a chisel. We brought several sets and rented a set as well from the center. They also gave us a cardboard box to hold our fossils.

WHO LIKED WHAT – Our 4 year old son had fun just digging in the dirt. But he also understood which kinds of rocks to look for and would occasionally bring one to us to split open. Our daughter loved it all and wanted to come back a second day, which we did. My wife enjoyed being on the hill with the energy of the school group, but was not so anxious to return the second day. I liked it all.

WHAT YOU MIGHT FIND – We found lots of fossils. Each person is allowed to keep three fossils, and anything more than that is kept by the center so they can send them out to schools. So for our group of 4 we were allowed 12 fossils and in 2 hours had probably found 20. They were all less than 2x2” in size. We found lots of pine needles, but also a piece of a maple leaf, another small complete leaf, a small flower with four petals, and a section of lake-bottom. The leaf and flower we found not by splitting open a rock, but actually by just turning them over on the rock pile. The second day we also found a small fish scale (not much to look at) and some additional plant material. But although small, it was all pretty cool considering it was 50 million years old and we could keep it. After “digging”, you bring what you find back down to the center and they identify and label everything for you.

WHERE TO STAY – The first night we stayed at the Northern Inn in Republic. It was clean and one woman at the front desk was particularly helpful, but otherwise it was nothing special but just like any other motel room. The second night we stayed at Black Beach Resort on Curlew Lake about 7 miles out of town. It seemed like a throwback to the 60s (and even the reservations were all down with pen and paper) and was not as clean, but for the kids it was a lot more fun. And for $25 for a half day (until “the sun goes down”) they rented us a flat bottom boat with an outboard motor and we boated up the lake to another place called Fisherman’s Cove for lunch. Fisherman’s Cove had what appeared to be the nicest cabins (for around $100 a night) but it had been booked when we called.

WHERE TO EAT – We had a great dinner at the Riverside in a small town called Curlew about 20 minutes north of Republic (What’s your house dressing? They are all homemade). The restaurant was only open Friday through Sunday and the night we went it was all locals. Be sure to call a head to make sure they are open. We ate dinner somewhere in Republic as well (not sure of the name but may have been the sportsman – it was the only place open) but it was not memorable (What’s your house dressing? They are all bottled).

WHAT ELSE TO DO - On the drive over from Seattle, we toured the Grand Coulee Dam. In Curlew (20 minutes from Republic) there is the Ansorge hotel from the early 1900’s run by the historical society which was very nicely done (http://www.ferrycounty.com/activities/museums/ansorge-hotel-museum/) – admission was free and we received a guided tour by the granddaughter (now old herself) of one of the traders who set up the first general store there in the late 1800s. And just outside of Curlew there was a car museum which was fine but it also had a fully restored sawmill from the early 1900’s which was something different – again free admission but call ahead or ask at Stonerose and they can probably provide further info. Also nearby was the Ghost Town of Bodie http://www.ghosttownsofwashington.com/Bodie.html which had about 6 buildings you could wonder around. The locals all recommended going hiking and camping.
Written May 27, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Discerning67
Spokane126 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Family
Housed in a rather ramshackled building, this center has a lot more going for it than first impressions suggest. After paying to go to the nearby digging site we thought we had surely fallen into a classic tourist trap, because we seemed to be finding no fossils. But we brought all the rocks back to the office as requested and imagine our surprise when the experts there told us that we had fossils of fish scales and bones, carbonized wood, seeds and a branch of dawn redwood. The lesson is be sure to take all your rocks back to be checked!
Written August 29, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Quisty
Spokane, WA3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Perhaps if you have been fossil hunting before and know exactly what to look for, then this might be fun. However we had never gone fossil hunting before and the brief explanation given at the visitor center was not helpful. The dig site is large piles of sharp broken rock which is hard to walk on and kids will slip all over, and I was never sure it was stuff other people had already tried or if it was ready to be opened. It wasn't very clear. The people at the center never did stop by the site to make sure people were digging in the right place, or finding the correct rocks or even to give a few tips. After two hours of work with a seven year old and two adults; we had 1- 1 inch x 2 inch fossil of a lake bed. Basically it looked like sticks with specks around it. When we brought our one pathetic fossil back to the center, they took pity on us and gave us some small leaf fossils to take home. But honestly, the fun is suppose to be digging it your self, I could have just bought them from the gift shop and saved myself 2 hours. Probably would have been cheaper too. When we left I said that based on the poor result we got we were probably trying the wrong rocks. The person at the center told me "Yeah, a lot of people do that". Hmmm..so this is a common problem that they are aware of and could have corrected by stopping by the site every once in a while and giving tips or advice, or at least let us know that we were doing it correctly or incorrectly. Instead we stumbled around for 2 hours on sliding sharp rocks trying to figure it out what exactly we were looking for and how to get the rocks open without having them crumble into gravel.
Written July 24, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TechMarine_01
Vancouver, WA27 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Couples
Splitting rocks in the hot (June) sun was not all that much fun, but the "finds" were interesting. My grand daughter (10) had fun and made new friends at the same time.
Written June 30, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lynden-Tom
Lynden, WA218 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Couples
We wanted to find fossils and as it is not legal to remove almost anything from any public lands in our state, this was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. It was a 5 1/2 hour drive from home, so we drove one day, spent the morning the next day at the site and came home on the third day. The cost is nominal and you are allowed to keep up to 3 fossils each that you may find. We found nothing spectacular, but over 5 hours we did find a few pine needles and leaves. One way to look at it is that whatever you find by chipping away at the rock layers is something no human has ever seen before.
Written July 26, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Deb G
Philadelphia, PA143 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2016 • Family
This is a must do for families of all ages. We had a blast with grandkids digging and hammering for archeological treasures. Super friendly educational staff got us started and we searched for several hours. Reasonably priced entrance fee (only $5 for seniors and teens) and you can rent the necessary hammer and spike for another $5.

When you're done digging, you take your finds back to the education center and a talented staffer explains what each contains and provides a reference sheet so you can identify it again when you get home. Each person gets to keep 3 fossils and a few other pieces. Our "tween" granddaughter can be a hard sell and we knew we had hit gold when she said "I could stay here forever".
Written June 9, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JKevinM
Seattle, WA4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2011
(A kid's review) I dig this fossil site! My dad and I have been coming for almost three years, and now we are members. The kinds of fossils you can find there (in sequence from most common to least common) are plants, insects and fish. They even found about 20 bird feathers, 1 bird carcass, 1 bird wing (in the Burke Museum collections), about 5 crayfish, a spider, 10 globs of amber and 2 snails. Hunting there is a true delight. With a hammer and screwdriver or a hammer and chisel you can open up rock on the ground. I found a fossil within 1 minute on my first trip; when I took it back to the Interpretive Center they told me it was a fossil leaf that had been cut by an insect millions of years ago - I felt a shiver of excitement pass up my spine! It is a little hot and dirty but with a little patience you can find something spectacular! Diggers are allowed to keep three three fossils per person per day but the people at the Interpretive Center reserve the right to take anything significant to science. The people at the Interpretive Center inspect your finds and identify them for you. They are friendly and helpful and take time to answer my questions. I can't wait to go back!
Written October 26, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

gellyrole
Seattle, WA41 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Family
I have gone fossil digging before but not in Washington, and my 8 year old really wanted to try - so I looked for a place and was glad I found one! By 10 am it was already pretty hot, and most of the site is exposed (no trees really for shade). But there are tables with little roofs that give you a shaded place to sit down and crack open likely looking rocks. I wish I had brought my own hammer and chisel - completely forgot in the rush to leave the house - but the center rents them out for $5. We were there for about 2 hours and found several fossils - and got to take them all home!
Written July 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

007DAWG
Renton, WA728 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017 • Family
Would be a better place to visit in the summer when you can be involved in the fossil digging. Kind of run down, but some interesting mining and archeological displays.
Written April 13, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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