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Hatfield Marine Science Center Brings Famed Fossil Fest Back to Central Oregon Coast

Published 01/27/23 at 6:10 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Hatfield Marine Science Center Brings Famed Fossil Fest Back to Central Oregon Coast

(Newport, Oregon) – Rockhounds and fans of the million-year-old finds can rejoice: One of the faves of rock nerds from all over the Pacific Northwest returns to the Oregon coast next month, as the Hatfield Marine Science Center brings in yet another Oregon Sea Grant's Fossil Fest to Newport on February 11. (Fossil photos courtesy Hatfield Marine Science Center)

It's the first time in two years the public has been able to go, with 2020's event happening just shortly before the major COVID shutdowns.

Now that it's back on the central Oregon coast, hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lectures from fossil experts at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Fossil displays and fossil ID'ing will be available throughout the day.

The event is free with entry to the Visitor Center, which is $3 for ages 5 and up. Tickets can be purchased only online at the center's link.

People are encouraged to bring their questions and any fossils they want identified. It's a popular feature at every Fossil Fest. You'll also learn how to find fossils, and there will be hands-on activities for all ages.

Mike Full, a local Pleistocene fossil hound, will be setting up additional exhibits of amazing fossils, along with others. Children's activities will be offered by the North America Research Group, as well as tips on how to prepare fossils. Other tables will host activities, more fossils and other kinds of displays.

Among the intriguing displays in the past have been Full’s “Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project," which captured a glimpse of 50,000 years of prehistory in Oregon's own backyard. Giant bison and woolly mammoth fossils have been on display in other year's events, so they're a good possibility this time around.

Full will do the 11 a.m. presentation with "In Search of Ice Age Giants,” about finding ice age fossils in the Willamette Valley.

William Orr, a professor emeritus of geological sciences at the University of Oregon, will give a talk at 1 p.m. He'll dig into the past with “Dinosaur Wars.” No, this won't involve the Transformers, but it will give a fascinating glimpse into the prehistoric lifeforms on this planet – and maybe touch on the small amount of bones found on the south Oregon coast.

Orr and his wife Elizabeth have coauthored numerous books together, including Geology of the Pacific Northwest, Second Edition and Oregon Water: An Environmental History – along with the Oregon Fossils.

Hatfield Marine Science Center. 2030 Marine Science Dr. Newport, Oregon. 541-867-0167

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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