Poricy Park Conservancy is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization. Donations are tax deductible.

732-842-5966  -  P.O. Box 36 - 345 Oak Hill Road - Middletown, NJ 07748


Fossils of Poricy Brook


If you will be attending a community fossil bed hunt, please meet at the Nature Center first for directions and to check in. 

 

The Poricy Brook Fossil Beds are well known to fossil collectors in the Northeast. The fossils are from the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era, 145 to 65 million years ago. Although the dinosaurs were at their peak, the first mammals and birds had begun to appear. Tree ferns, ginkos, and pines were being joined by flowering plants like oak, magnolia, and grass.

 

During the Cretaceous period, the area of Poricy Brook and the rest of the Atlantic Coastal Plain was a shallow ocean. When the ocean animals died, they were buried in the bottom. While their soft parts decayed, the harder parts, like bones, teeth, and shells, were preserved. Over millions of years, the ocean level rose and fell to form different layers of deposits with the remains of different animals. The layer exposed by the cutting action of Poricy Brook is called the Navesink Formation and is approximately 72 million years old.

 

Although fossils of many animals have been found in the Poricy Brook Fossil Beds, most are of shellfish.



Visiting the

Fossil Beds

The Poricy Park Fossil Beds are located on Middletown-Lincroft Road in Middletown, across from Crawford Road. There is a large dark red sign at the parking lot entrance. There is no access to the Fossil Beds from the main entrance to Poricy Park on Oak Hill Road.

 

Families

Families are welcome to come seven days a week to experience our fossil beds from April through October. Equipment rentals are available at the Poricy Park Nature Center on Oak Hill Road Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm. All rentals must be returned by 4pm. Please call ahead for weekend hours and holiday schedules.


In addition to weekend programs and scheduled events, the Nature Center will be open on Sundays, 11am-4pm (11am-2pm on Father's Day). It is advisable to call ahead to check on the availability of equipment and the fossil beds.


Rentals cost $5 per set, plus a $5 refundable deposit per set. Families may also bring their own equipment and visit the fossil beds at no charge. Special arrangements must be made for groups of 10 or more. We ask that you kindly call head to confirm the availability of the fossil beds. 


Brachiopods are solitary marine animals that have a shell and two asymmetric valves. Several kinds can be found in Poricy Brook.

Prehistoric shark's teeth like this one, can be found in Poricy Brook's Cretaceous sediments.

Schools, Camps, and Other Organizations

We welcome groups of up to 75 students ages 5 and up to our fossil beds for guided and self-guided fossil hunts from April through October on Monday – Friday. Special arrangements must be made for weekend fossil hunts.

 

Please call the Nature  Center to find out more about programs and to make your reservation.

 

Reservations must be made 3 weeks in advance to ensure instructor & fossil bed availability.


Boy and Girl Scout Groups

We welcome scout groups to our fossil beds between April and October. The scout fossil hunt program is 90 minutes long and takes place Monday through Fridays. Special arrangements must be made for weekend fossil hunts.

 

Please see the Scout Activities page for information on fees and other scout programs that include a trip to the fossil beds.

 

Refund Policy
Poricy Park Conservancy (PPC) makes every effort to ensure that programs take place as advertised. However, PPC reserves the right to cancel programs that fail to meet minimum enrollment requirements. If we must cancel a program, a refund will be issued. If you are unable to attend a program, or you are a "no-show," no refund will be given. If you notify us at least one week in advance that you are unable to attend, credit will be given less a non-refundable deposit of 20% of the program cost or $5.00. Credits are valid for one year and may be applied toward any PPC program or membership (Credits may not be used for gift shop or bird seed purchases.) 

Community Fossil Hunts

Bring the family out to Poricy Park and let our experienced guide prepare you for your journey back in time 72 million years!

 

Our community fossil hunts are held one Sunday a month from April through October starting promptly at 3pm. Check our Programs/Special Events page for the upcoming fossil hunt. Please meet at the Nature Center.

 

We will provide the trowels & sifters. Registration is needed so that we have enough supplies! Please call or e-mail to register.


Fee: $8 per participant, $32 Family Special (2 adults, 3 children)

Please note these guidelines before you visit our fossil beds:

  • Poricy Brook is a natural flowing stream and we cannot be responsible for fluctuations in stream depth and conditions. We regularly inspect and maintain the area to keep it as safe as possible.
  • Wear old clothes, sneakers, or boots, as you'll be hunting in the stream-bed. We recommend bringing a towel and a change of shoes or clothes. Flip-flops, slip-on footwear, and bare feet are prohibited.
  • Use trowels and screens. Rock hammers, picks, shovels and excavating tools are not allowed. You will be asked to leave if such equipment is in use.
  • The stream continuously exposes new fossils,
    so feel free to take home a few of your best finds. Please limit yourself to five fossils. Remember to bring a small container or Ziploc bag!
  • A picnic area is located at the Nature Center. You are welcome to return here to have a picnic lunch outside (we have no indoor lunch facilities).
  • Please leave the Fossil Beds and the picnic area clean and litter free.
  • Though fossils may be found lying loose along the stream, the best way to find them is by sifting the sand and gravel of the stream bed.
  • Do not climb on the banks. They are steep, slippery and hazardous in some areas.
  • Please do not dig in the stream banks, even though you may see holes dug by others. This action hastens erosion of the banks and does not yield the number of fossils which digging in the stream bed does.