Our Quarantine Life has mainly consisted of spending as much time outside as possible, as alone as possible. We’ve walked, hiked, and played as many outside games as a family of five can play. We needed something a little different, and we made plans to visit the Mineral Wells Fossil Park for a little fossil collecting! Currently open daily, the park is FREE and you can keep any fossil you find! On my Social Distancing gauge, it’s a perfect place to be outside but away from just about everyone. As I have everywhere we go, I prepared the kids that if it’s crowded, we will just come back, but when we arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, we were the only ones there! We had stopped in Mineral Wells for a bag of cheeseburgers from Woody’s, which is only operating a walk up window (I try to avoid going inside any place right now). We wiped down the picnic tables at the park to enjoy our lunch, then headed down into the old quarry used by the city to search. The fossils usually found in the Fossil Park are from the Pennsylvanian Age, which is estimated to be about 320 – 286 million years ago and characterized in North Central Texas as a time when the area was covered by a shallow sea, thus most of the fossils found here are aquatic in nature. While my daughter has found shark teeth on occasion, we usually enjoy searching for the fossils of columns, a prehistoric plant that can be found in abundance at the park. My daughter likes to make necklaces and bracelets from them. However, today fossilized corals seemed to be our biggest find! Including lunch, we stayed about two hours and left with bags full of treasure!
Some of the finds from our latest visit to the Mineral Wells Fossil Park.
The Mineral Wells Fossil Park is a maintained jointly by the City of Mineral Wells and the Dallas Paleontological Society. If you search online, you’ll find varying information on when the park is open, but the best recommendation is to always call the Mineral Wells Parks and Recreation Department before you go!
On this visit, we had brought our dogs, and while the signs at the park do not discourage pets, our pups were pretty miserable. There’s just no shade, and nothing for them to do. We made it up to them with a visit to nearby Lake Mineral Wells State Park when we were finished.
My Mommy Tips:
Wear good shoes with plenty of traction
Visit early during the summer months, as there is absolutely NO SHADE!
Take plenty of water, sunscreen and bug spray, just in case.
Take bags to hold your fossil finds, or I prefer Home Depot Aprons, the big pockets work very well!
They only have a port-a-potty, do with that information what you will.
There are now covered picnic tables, so pack a lunch!
You will find fossils, they can be found absolutely everywhere you look in the park. However, the best places to look are on the inclines, where the soil is eroding.
With the impending closure of the Ladonia Fossil Park on the Sulphur River in NE Texas, the Mineral Wells Fossil Park is the only FREE fossil park in the state, and one of only a few free fossil parks in the country!
Since the Mineral Wells Fossil Park opened in 2010, my kids have enjoyed visits to hunt for fossils!
More Things To Do in Mineral Wells
The Brazos River runs through Mineral Wells, and it’s a great part of the river to explore by canoe! Rochelle’s Canoe Rental offers shuttling services to take you to the river, bring you back and all the supplies you’ll need!
Mineral Wells earned it’s name from the high mineral content of the spring water found here. Crazy Water has water you can purchase, tours and even a bath house! It’s a definite must in Mineral Wells!
Lake Mineral Wells State Park has really scenic campsites overlooking Lake Mineral Wells, with good hiking, fishing, swim beach, canoe rentals and it’s very popular for rock climbing in Penitentiary Hollow! The Penitentiary Hollow Wild Walk, offered each Winter, is one of the BEST guided hikes we’ve EVER taken, too!