Park Brochure

This page provides access to all version's of the park's brochure. This includes: print, braille, audio, and online text.
Rectangular brochure with black bar across top has white words that read Agate Fossil Beds. Fossil skeletons of mammals stand in a diorama with grassland and hills in the backdrop visible through large glass windows.
Print Version of the Agate Brochure.

NPS Photo

Print Version

Request a paper copy be mailed to you.

White spiral bound booklet. Across the top: Agate Fossil Beds; 2020 Braille transcription of visitor information brochure. Across the bottom: This edition is a Unified English Braille transcription. Center in Braille: Agate Fossil Beds.
Braille version of the Agate Brochure.

NPS Photo

Braille Version

Logo of a solid brown, block-style, letter D. The usual center space is filled with a line of orange blocks of various heights on the top and a symmetrical line of blue blocks on the bottom.
Audio Described version of the Agate Brochure.

NPS Photo

Audio Description Version

  • Download the UniDescription app. This includes all park brochures audio described under the UniDescription partnership project with the University of Hawaii. The app is free and available on the iOS platform and Android platform.
  • Download a folder of audio files to listen with your preferred mp3 player (10.1MB zip).

Text-Only Version

Below is a text only version of the brochure. This version is compatable with most screen reader software.

OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Agate Fossil Beds National Monument visitors receive. This audio version has been divided into twenty-three sections as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections one through three provide overview information about the park and its accessibility. Sections four through thirteen cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding the geologic history of the site, descriptions of the now-extinct animals that once lived there, and text about the discovery and study of their fossils. The front of the brochure also includes information about the Cook Collection of Native American artifacts. A general wayfinding map and information about exploring Agate Fossil Beds National Monument are also included. Sections fourteen through twenty-two cover the back of the brochure, which is dedicated to life in the Cenozoic Era that began 65 million years ago. A general wayfinding map of six national parks and national monuments that feature fossils from the Cenozoic Era and over thirty illustrations of ancient plants and animals are described. Section twenty-three provides an overview of more information for planning your visit and learning about the park.

OVERVIEW: Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, located in northwest Nebraska, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The over three-thousand-acre park is situated about forty-three miles north of Scottsbluff and twenty-two miles south of Harrison in the sparsely populated ranchland along the Niobrara River. The national monument was authorized on June 5, 1965, but was not established until June 14, 1997. Each year, thousands of visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences available at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. We invite you to explore the park's natural beauty, from its elevated rock tablelands to its sweeping Niobrara Valley and meandering Niobrara River, which creates eleven miles of riverbank through the four-mile length of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. The current wildlife at the park includes but is not limited to: Swanson's Hawk, Golden Eagles, Western Meadowlarks, Bard Owls, Sandhill Crane, Canada Geese, Prairie Rattlesnakes, Bull Snakes, Porcupine, Horned Toads, Cottontail Rabbits, Snapping Turtle, Toads, and Wild Turkey. Discover the Miocene bonebeds and learn about the abundance of mammals and vegetation that once lived here twenty-three million years ago. Hike the one-mile Daemonelix Trail to explore the exhibits of the spiral corkscrew fossil of the Paleocastor, an ancient land beaver, or the two-point-seven-mile Fossil Hills Trail to see historic dig sites and take in the park's picturesque landscape.

Learn about and honor the area's Native American heritage at the James H. Cook Collection of artifacts in the Visitor Center. This is a collection of gifts from Chief Red Cloud from Lakota Sioux and others from Cheyenne and other Plains Indians.

For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, fossil displays, informative audio guides, paper trail maps, Braille brochures, and large print information about the exhibits can be found at the Visitor Center. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections of this audio-described brochure.

OVERVIEW: Accessibility

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all.

Parking Spaces: There are three designated reserved parking spaces in the main lot at the visitor center and one designated reserved parking space in the Daemonelix Trailhead lot.

Park Theater: Park movie is located in a separate room just after making a left U-turn from the entrance doors. Seating is made of movable chairs on a flat, carpeted surface. The movie is not yet audio described. However, park rangers trained in audio description are happy to assist. Assistive Listening Devices are available at the front desk.

Visitor Center: Braille brochures and large print information about the exhibits are available at the front desk. Benches without arm rests or backs are available throughout the one-story building. The museum has a foyer with indoor restrooms. Two outward-facing double doors lead to a tile hallway which leads to a large, carpeted room with free-standing and wall-mounted, enclosed fossil exhibits to the left with wide aisles and approaches. The front desk is straight ahead containing a wheelchair accessible counter between the two higher counters. A small bookstore is to the right within the same room. Immediately to the right of the carpeted room from the entrance is an inward-opened, glass door. This leads to a small room of wall-mounted exhibits and a touch table. Straight across the room from the glass door are heavy wooden double doors that open outward. This leads to a darker carpeted room with ambient lighting and music. The room moves in a crescent shape to the left with displays behind plexiglass on the right, left, and one in the center. Another set of heavy wooden double doors open outward to the aforementioned bookstore.

Hiking Trails: There are two hiking trails in the park. For orientation to the hiking trails, we invite you to watch a brief, interactive film with a paleontologist narrator who walks the trails with a camera. The Fossil Hills Trail is a 2.7-mile round trip, gradually sloping, 5-foot wide, cement trail. There are three covered benches along the trail. The cement trail connects to a sheltered picnic area with wheelchair accessible tables, the visitor center, and the main parking lot. The Deamonelix Trail is a 1.0-mile round trip, 4-foot wide, gravel trail. It is mostly flat with one steep section that climbs up and around a hill with some steps. The trail contains two fossil displays behind plexiglass covers.

Service Animals are welcomed in all park buildings. All dogs on leash are welcome on park trails. Dog owners are responsible for picking up after their dogs. A relief area is located to the north of the visitor center parking lot.

NPS App: The NPS app contains additional tours and information about the park accessible by screenreading software.

OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front side of the brochure begins with the distinctive National Park Service (NPS) black bar at the top containing the text "Agate Fossil Beds" in large font on the left side, and two separate two lined texts in smaller font are on the right, reading "Agate Fossil Beds National Monument" with "Nebraska" underneath, and to the right of it reads, "National Park Service" with "U.S. Department of the Interior" underneath. A National Park Service Arrowhead logo is situated to the far right of the band. Below the band is a picture of a large diorama, containing 7 skeleton models, belonging to extinct animals found here. The text below describes the story and history of the animal bones found fossilized here. The middle section contains four horizontal panels of historic photographs and drawings, which are described in text on the right. Text below are about "What animals roamed here", and "Discovery of the fossils" by Rancher James Cook. The lower portion of the brochure is separated by a thin black strip split in the middle. The left side of the black strip reads "Exploring Agate Fossil Beds". The text identifies visitor center museum, services and safety information. A map of the rectangular shaped 4-mile long park is in the middle, surrounded by visitor information. The right side of the black strip reads "The Cook Collection of American Indian Artifacts". Two columns of text identify many items found in the collection, followed to the right by a photograph of a Native American shirt. Text continues on the right of the picture. A thin black band runs the length of the brochure's bottom.

IMAGE and TEXT: Agate Fossil Beds

DESCRIBING: Horizontal color photograph with iconic NPS black bar across the top with the title Agate Fossil Beds on the left and the NPS arrowhead logo on the right. Additional small font text in the black bar is Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska, National Park Service, U.S Department of the Interior. Four columns of text appear under the photo.

SYNOPSIS: Eight life-size skeletal models of extinct animals, seven of which are visible, huddle around a pile of scattered bones and a diminishing puddle of water within an indoor display. A floor to ceiling mural on the right and left shows a sandy, dry environment, suggesting drought conditions. Three vertical floor to ceiling windows provide an outdoor view into the real park landscape of grays, faded greens and white leading to two small hills in the far distance, one peaked and one flat. The bones depicted in the diorama were discovered in those hills.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The exhibit is made up of hard packed sand and a few tufts of brownish-green and dark red grasses throughout. Seven skeletal models cluster into three groups (described from left to right). On the left, a grouping of two models consists of a small knee-high, dog-like creature and a massive wild hog-like beast with a large skull. The dog has a long tail and neck and stands with its small head displaying its sharp teeth at the larger beast to its left. This much larger and wider hog, heaviest boned of all the animals, stares back with its large skull that takes up about a quarter of its body. Its front legs begin where the small dog’s tail starts. Behind the hog-like animal’s short neck, a massive, flat, bow-tie shaped bone extends upward from its spine. Continuing down the horizontal spine, eleven crescent moon-shaped ribs point toward the ground on both sides while straight, flat bones extend straight up. Past its hind legs, a small tail emerges straight out toward the mural on the left-hand side of the display. The second grouping of three models consists of another hog-like animal and two tall giraffe-like animals with medium-sized skulls. This large hog-like animal stands in front of the center vertical window. Its massive head hovers over a giraffe-like animal, which lies prostrate on its side with legs outstretched in the middle of the scene just beyond a circular pile of scattered bones. This animal also has crescent moon-shaped ribs that curve up and away from its horizontal spine. Its long neck and head twist back on the ground toward the bone pile. This animal appears to be deceased. To its right, the second giraffe-like animal stands tall, its neck extended straight up. Its head faces down toward the other animal. Its mouth is open and one front leg reaches forward. The final grouping consists of two more giraffe-like animals on the right side of the display. One, while standing tall, positions itself a few feet behind the other. Open mouthed, it gapes at the scene across the bonebed. The other giraffe-like animal bends its front legs and reaches its neck down toward a small puddle of water between it and the bonebed. Its large front feet lie flat against the ground while its hind feet stand on its toes which are three distinct bones. In the foreground, portions of three exhibit signs show blurry text and images.

CAPTION: Fossil exhibits in visitor center.

CREDIT: NPSRELATED TEXT: About 19–20 million years ago drought struck the western Nebraska plains. Deprived of food, hundreds of animals died around a few shallow water holes. Over time their skeletons were buried in the silt, fine sand, and volcanic ash carried by the wind and reworked by streams. An ancient water hole with hundreds of fossilized skeletons is preserved today in the Niobrara River valley at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument.The early 1900s discovery of this deposit and others nearby was important to the developing science of paleontology. Study of these fossils—continuing today—has helped answer questions about the past. But what were the conditions that created this drought and brought these animals together so long ago? Millions of years before the drought, in the Age of Dinosaurs, erosion from mountain ranges to the west formed the bed of a shallow sea. About the time dinosaurs went extinct, the Rocky Mountain ranges were forming, the sea receded, and tropical lowlands occupied what is now the Great Plains.North America’s climate became ever cooler and drier, and volcanic activity in the western United States produced enormous amounts of ash blown eastward. Ash-mantled plains were home to great herds of plant-eating mammals and their predators. As in today’s east African savannas, the rich volcanic soils supported grasses that, together with small trees and bushes along shallow streams, fed grass- and leaf-eaters. Many animals that thrived here depended on the moderate climate for their survival, and their numbers expanded to the capacity of the food available.In time the climate grew more arid. The Rocky Mountains kept rising and blocked the flow of moisture-laden air from the west. With less rain came plants that could survive with less water. Droughts were common. Streams dried up and grasses withered. Water-dependent animals congregated at water holes between times of feeding on the dwindling plants. Large animals like the rhinoceros and the chalicothere Moropus, a distant relative of the horse, finally could not travel far enough to find fresh forage, so they died in the shallow water of the few remaining ponds.Hundreds and thousands of some species died, littering the area in and around water holes with their remains. In time the rains returned, the streams filled, and the process of burial began. Silt, sand, and ash covered the remains, burying them under several feet of wind- and stream-transported sediment.

IMAGES: Fossils at Agate Fossil Beds

NOTE: Fossil photographs are not in relative scale.

IMAGE 1 of 5: Journal

DESCRIBING: A color modern photo of an open journal with a fossil laying on top of it.

SYNOPSIS: A handwritten field journal lies open showing the left and right pages with several scratched-out notes. A fist-sized fossil in the curved shape of a claw lies on the left page. The journal includes a hand drawn sketch of a spiral, trace fossil with measurements on the right page.

CAPTION: E.H Barbour's 1892 field book with Daemonelix sketches and notes on the Moropus bone he mistook for a sloth claw.


IMAGE 2 of 5: Photo of tooth embedded in bone

DESCRIBING: a medium size color photograph

SYNOPSIS: Two fossils are shown positioned with a tooth fitted into a notch in a bone. The larger joint bone resembles an upside down drumstick. The smaller bone is V-shaped.

CAPTION: Fossil Dinohyus tooth neatly fits the bite mark on a Moropus bone.


IMAGE 3 of 5: Drawing of skull

DESCRIBING: a medium sized 3-D sketch of a skull

SYNOPSIS: An animal skull (similar to a cow skull) in profile. The sketch shows a brain cavity, eye socket, long snout, upper and lower jaw bones, and a full set of omnivore teeth. The sketch shows lines or joints on the snout and indentations along the jaw and around the brain cavity--likely where tendons or muscles attached to the bone.

CAPTION: Dinohyus skull illustrated O.A. Peterson’s 1906 article on vertebrate fauna of western Nebraska.


IMAGE 4 of 5: Jumble Pile of Bones

DESCRIBING: Color photo of a single layer of bones on a rock or sand surface.

SYNOPSIS: A jumbled layer of fossils lies spread over a tan uneven surface. Some fossils partially cover other fossils. Fossils are a darker tan than the surface they appear on. The image shows fossilized jaw bones and teeth, vertebrae, and other bones. The fossils appear to belong to a medium sized dog, similar in size to a Saint Bernard.

CAPTION: Fossil slab of Menoceras bones


IMAGE 5 of 5: Person sitting in office

DESCRIBING: A small sepia-toned photo

SYNOPSIS: A middle aged white man sits at the center of a photo. A display of fossils is shown in front of him. Behind him is a cluttered bookshelf.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The central focus of the image is a man in a suit coat, tie and high collared button down shirt seated behind a desk. His hair is carefully parted in the middle. His expression is serious. He holds a pen or pencil in his right hand. Only his upper body is visible. Directly in front of him there appears to be a book or journal. In the foreground is a slightly out of focus display of large fossils. Behind him is a cluttered bookshelf.

CAPTION: Harold Cook at Colorado Museum of Natural History.


TEXT: What Animals Roamed Here?

While some animals whose fossil remains were found at Agate Fossil Beds are now extinct, others are represented by a few modern relatives or descendants.

Palaeocastor had powerful clawed forelimbs for digging and long, curved teeth like modern beavers. Herds of Stenomylus, gazelle-camels about two feet tall, grazed grasslands beside the three-toed, pony-sized rhinoceroses Menoceras. The most common mammal in the bonebed, Menoceras may have roamed these plains in large herds. Only a few oreodonts, about the size of a sheep, have been found here, and they are most common in the carnivore dens nearby, where they were the prey of beardogs.

Fossil remains of the ancestors of the modern horse, Parahippus, also have been found in the water hole but are rare. Horses became extinct in North America millions of years after the die-off event at Agate, not to return until brought back by the Spaniards. Moropus was quite fantastic. Related to both the horse and rhinoceros, it was large, had back legs shorter than the front, with great clawlike hooves. It probably browsed leaves of bushes and small trees.

Another large animal, Dinohyus, was a giant entelodont related more closely to cows and pigs than to carnivores. Tracks of this huge scavenger have been found in the water hole mud. It broke bones with its teeth (bite marks show on chalicothere limb bones). Discoveries in the 1980s included fossil remains of beardogs and other carnivores and their dens—one of the few paleontological sites of this type in the world.

TEXT: Discovery of the Fossils

Most of the land that is now Agate Fossil Beds National Monument was once part of the Agate Springs Ranch owned by James and Kate Cook. They bought the ranch from her parents in 1887, a few years after they had found “a beautifully petrified piece of the shaft of some creatures leg bone.”

Erwin H. Barbour of the University of Nebraska, in 1892, was the first scientist to examine the strange Devil’s Corkscrews at Agate, later recognized as the fossilized burrows of Palaeocastor. In August 1904, O.A. Peterson of the Carnegie Museum discovered the great bonebed with the help of Harold J. Cook, son of James and Kate. Scientists from Yale University, the American Museum of Natural History, and other institutions also worked here, mostly between 1904 and 1923. The competition to find the best bones sometimes grew spirited. The work of these bone hunters formed many outstanding collections in museums around the world.

MAP: Exploring Agate Fossil Beds

DESCRIBING: A wayfinding map of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument's property.

SYNOPSIS: This small horizontally oriented, rectangular color map provides an overview of the Agate Fossil Beds property and surrounding areas. The map is oriented with north at the top. The park is 4 miles long and approximately 2.5 miles wide on the east, 1.0 mile wide in the center, and 1.5 miles wide in the west. Highway 29 runs north-south along the left side of the map. The meandering Niobrara River bisects the park flowing west to east. River Road parallels the river and it is north of the river on the map. The map includes major roadways, the trails, visitor center, and private property.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: There are three entrances to the park.

From the North in Harrison:
From highway 20, travel south on highway 29 to River Rd. Highway 29 first passes through private property Agate Springs Ranch which is also a protected park easement.

From the East in Marsland:
From highway 2, travel west on River Rd which is 25 miles of maintained dirt road.

From the South in Mitchell:
From highway 26, travel north on highway 29 thirty-five miles to River Rd. Highway 29 first passes through private property Agate Springs Ranch which is also a protected park easement. All park attractions are accessed from River Road.

[Describing River Road from west to east] River Road intersects with highway 29. The Daeomonelix Trail parking lot is north of River Road across from the main park welcome sign. River Access is about 1.5 miles on the south side of River Road. The Visitor Center is another 1.5 miles also on the south side of River Road. The Fossil Hills Trail, which includes University and Carnegie Hills, begins and ends at the Visitor Center. The Stenomylus Quarry is detached from the main park about 2 miles from the Visitor Center. It is surrounded by private property, with no public access. From the Visitor Center, River Road continues for one mile east to the park exit. It continues 25 miles east to Marsland and highway 2.

TEXT: Visitor Center and Museum

Stop here for information, activity schedules, exhibits on fossils and artifacts, and a short movie. Open daily except Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1. A picnic area is nearby. Call ahead for educational programs.

TEXT: Interpretive Trails

Two trails lead to important fossil discovery areas. The 2.7-mile Fossil Hills Trail leads to University and Carnegie hills, where most of the digging took place in the early 1900s. The one-mile Daemonelix—Devil’s Corkscrew—Trail is near the River Road-NE 29 junction. It leads to the fossilized corkscrew burrows of the small beaver Palaeocastor.

TEXT: Stay Safe, Protect the Park

  • Use common sense to prevent accidents.
  • Rattlesnakes live here, but you are unlikely to encounter one. Please stay on the trails and out of high grass.
  • Federal law protects all natural and cultural features in the park. Do not remove any fossils, animals, rocks, plants, or artifacts. Leave things as you find them for others to enjoy, too.
  • There is some private land in the park. Respect owners’ rights and do not trespass.
  • Keep pets on a leash and on the trails. They are not allowed in the visitor center.
  • Lightning kills; seek shelter before a thunderstorm hits.
  • No overnight camping or parking is permitted.
  • Open fires are prohibited.
  • For firearms information, check the park website.

IMAGE and TEXT: The Cook Collection of American Indian Artifacts

DESCRIBING: A small, color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: A long-sleeve, light-brown, antelope hide shirt with a crew neck and numerous long fringes along sleeves and sides. It is similar to a long-sleeve pullover sweater. The garment's design is intricate adorned with purple, green, and red colors.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Front of shirt: Purple paint smudges the center of the leather shirt. A non-painted equilateral triangle interrupts the purple paint and points down, flush with the neckline in the center of the chest area. The triangle is outlined with short, inch-long, leather fringe. Two leather strings hang from its bottom. The triangle contains three smaller, purple equilateral triangles in a neat column, pointing the same direction. A 4-finger width strip of yellow falls over the shoulder to near the bottom of the shirt on both sides of the neck and stops the purple from continuing to the sides. Three, long, skinny, isosceles triangles paint the top and bottom of each strip as if claws were holding it down. Fringe leather strings hang passed the bottom of the shirt from the outer border of each yellow strip like a horse's mane. It conceals the outer seams of the shirt. Sleeves of shirt: Each long-sleeve has a 2-finger width separate leather strip sewn down the middle of the entire length. Purple, blue, and yellow horizontal stripes create a pattern around one red horizontal stripe at the center point of each leather strip. Three isosceles triangles like the ones on the yellow strips of the main shirt protrude out from each side of the stripes. Braided leather strings thickly hang passed the bottom of the sleeves from the outer border of each leather strip.

CAPTION: Shirt - one of Red Cloud’s that he gave to the Cooks


RELATED TEXT: James H. Cook was a frontiersman, hunter, and scout before he settled on the Niobrara River. Cook first met Chief Red Cloud in 1874 when Yale University Professor Othniel C. Marsh came to western Nebraska looking for fossils.The Oglala Lakota (Sioux) were suspicious of Marsh because most white men they knew were gold seekers. But “Captain” Cook helped convince Red Cloud and the other Oglala that Marsh was what he said he was, a bone hunter. Over the years Cook often helped the Oglala and Cheyenne. A steadfast friendship grew up between the Cook family and the Indians, who brought gifts and told them stories about individual items. The family’s collection now belongs to the park, and many items are displayed in the visitor center.Pictographs painted on hides—one of a buffalo hunt and one of Custer’s Last Stand—saddles, bows, shirts, moccasins, bags, war clubs, pipes, and guns make this collection an outstanding representation of Plains Indian culture. Cook’s interest in fossils led his son Harold to become a paleontologist, publishing many papers and taking part in important scientific research. Preserved and available to researchers here at the park are the Cook collection, other natural history specimens, the paleontological library of Harold Cook, and family correspondence, books, and papers that span four generations.

OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

The back side of the brochure begins with the distinctive National Park Service (NPS) black bar at the top containing the text "The Age of Mammals." This side is comprised of text describing life in the Cenozoic Era; a color map of national parks and national monuments that feature fossils from the Cenozoic Era; and six vertical panels that list the Cenozoic Era Epoch names, their time periods, and illustrations and captions of various plant and animal species that lived during those epochs. Each panel is topped with a green text box and white text for each epoch: Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene. The evolution of a horse-like animal is shown over the Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene Epochs. All images of the plants and animals are shown against the off-white background of the brochure.

MAP and TEXT: The Age of Mammals

DESCRIBING: A small, horizontally oriented rectangular color vicinity map.

SYNOPSIS: This vicinity map provides an overview of the relative locations of one national park and five national monuments featuring fossils from the Cenozoic Era. From west to east in a parabola shape, these locations include John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Oregon, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Idaho, Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska, and Badlands National Park in South Dakota. State boundaries, state names, and major rivers, and shading indicating mountain topography are also shown.

RELATED TEXT:These national parks (NP) and national monuments (NM) feature fossils from the Cenozoic Era:

  • Agate Fossil Beds NM, 301 River Road, Harrison NE 69346-2734
  • Badlands NP, PO Box 6, Interior, SD 57750-9700
  • Florissant Fossil Beds NM, PO Box 185, Florissant, CO 80816-0185
  • Fossil Butte NM, PO Box 592, Kemmerer, WY 83101-0592
  • Hagerman Fossil Beds NM, PO Box 570, Hagerman, ID 83332-0570
  • John Day Fossil Beds NM, HCR 82 Box 126, Kimberly, OR 97848-9701

TEXT: Life in the Cenozoic Era—the Last 65 Million Years

From simple beginnings, great numbers and varieties of life forms have evolved and populated the Earth. For 140 million years before the Cenozoic Era, dinosaurs held dominion over the land. Mammals also existed, but they were small and not abundant. As the dinosaurs perished the mammals took center stage. Even as mammals increased in numbers and diversity, so did birds, reptiles, fish, insects, trees, grasses, and other life forms. The fossil record gives us a fascinating glimpse into the Cenozoic Era. Without fossils we would have little way of knowing that ancient animals and plants were different from today’s. With fossils we discover that an extraordinary procession of organisms lived in North America and around the world. Species changed as the epochs of the Cenozoic Era passed. Those that could tolerate the changes in the environment survived. Other species migrated or became extinct. The fossil record tells these stories, but the study of fossils remains, paleontology, also raises many questions: What types of environments did these plants and animals live in? How did they adapt to climatic changes? How did different groups of plants and animals interrelate? How have they changed through time? Fossils are studied in the context in which they were found and as one element in a community of organisms. Every fossil can serve as a key to unlock knowledge, so the National Park Service is especially concerned with the protection of these keys as the questions unfold. The Cenozoic Era continues today—see the right side of the chart below—and scientists estimate that as many as 30 million species of animals and plants now inhabit the Earth. This is a mere fraction of all life forms that have ever existed. Scientists now think that about 100 species will become extinct every day, a rate accelerated by human actions. Pollution of the air and water; destruction of forests, grasslands, and other ecosystems; and other adverse changes to Earth’s environment challenge life’s very ability to survive. “Looking back on the long panorama of Cenozoic life,” Finnish scientist Björn Kurten has said, “I think we ought to sense the richness and beauty of life that is possible on this Earth of ours.” It is no longer enough to plan for the next generation or two, Kurten suggests. We should plan “for the geological time that is ahead. . . . It may stretch as far into the future as time behind us extends into the past.”

IMAGES and TEXT: Paleocene

RELATED TEXT: Began 65 million years ago.
The Paleocene Epoch began after dinosaurs became extinct. Mammals that had lived in their shadows for millions of years eventually evolved into a vast number of different forms to fill these newly vacated environmental niches. Many forms of these early mammals would soon become extinct. Others would survive to evolve into other forms.

The variety of other animals and plants also increased, and species became more specialized. Although dinosaurs were gone, birds continued to flourish, and reptiles lived on as turtles, crocodiles, lizards, and snakes.

IMAGE 1 of 3: Multituberculate

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: A small, color rendering shows the left-side profile of a rodent-sized furry four-legged animal, clinging on a tree branch. With the sharp claws on its long hind toes and shorter front paws, it grips a tree branch oriented at about sixty degrees. Its long tail curls under the branch. The multituberculate has an elongated body and head with small ears behind oval-shaped eyes. Its fur is light brown with off-white areas on its belly and snout. Its mouth is open, revealing sharp bottom front teeth.

CAPTION: As the Paleocene began, most mammals were tiny, like this rodent-like multituberculate. With time mammals grew in size, number, and diversity.


IMAGE 2 of 3: Palm tree

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: A small, color rendering shows a palm tree standing in a pool of rippled, blue water. The bottom two-thirds of the tree consists of its trunk, which is made up of light brown and tan bark bands that appear layered from bottom to top from its growth over time. The top third of the tree's height consists of nine green palm fronds. Four of them extend out from the trunk, alternating from the left and right sides of the trunk. Another five extend from the top of the tree. Each palm frond consists of a thin, long, flexible stem topped with ten to thirty palm leaves that radiate out from the stem in a circular pattern in shades of light to dark green. Some leaves are straight, while others droop downward.

CAPTION: Palm trees and crocodilians thrived in the subtropical forests of the Paleocene and much of the Eocene. Found at Fossil Butte NM.


IMAGE 3 of 3: Crocodile

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: A small, color rendering shows a left-side profile of an open-mouthed crocodile lying in a horizontal position. The crocodile's head, body, and tail each make up about a third of its total length, with its tail extending slightly longer. A regular pattern of rectangular brown, orange, and cream-colored scales covers its frame. The scales on its tail are larger than the other scales. On the top of its tail, some scales form a ridge pointing upward that runs along its length. Its short, stocky legs extend from its torso. The torso curves upward in a slight hump. The crocodile's mouth hinges its entire triangular-shaped head open wide, revealing sharp teeth. One small eye is shown on the top of the crocodile's head.


IMAGES and TEXT: Eocene

RELATED TEXT: Began 55 million years ago.
In the Eocene Epoch mammals emerged as the dominant land animals. They also took to the air and the sea. The increasing diversity of mammals begun in the Paleocene continued at a rapid pace in the Eocene. The many variations included some of the earliest giant mammals. Some were successful, some not. The fossil record reveals many mammals quite unlike anything seen today. Increasingly, however, there were forest plants, freshwater fish, and insects much like those seen today.

IMAGE 1 of 12: Bat

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: A small brownish bat with a furry head and back and outstretched black leathery wings swoops over the grid. The bat’s ears perk forward, and its eyes are open wide.

CAPTION: Bats, the only type of mammal ever to develop the power of active flight, took to the air more than 52 million years ago. Found at Fossil Butte NM.


IMAGE 2 of 12: Gar

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: The Gar is a long fish, about 2x the length of the herring, and 4x the length of the sunfish. Much of its length comes from its long nose, which stretches in a spindly, thin beak for about ⅓ of the fish’s body length. It has huge round eyes, and 5 fins. Three of these fins are on its underside, spaced evenly, with the first two being smaller and the back fin being large and spotted. There is a matching fin on top that is also large and spotted, and the tail fin is the largest of all, behind the fish. The gar’s scales are almost square, giving it a disco ball effect. The scales are lighter brown on top of the fish, dark brown in a middle stripe down the fish’s body, and white on the belly of the fish.

CAPTION: Many freshwater fish lived in North American lakes during the Eocene Epoch. Gars, herring, and sunfish are similar in appearance to those Eocene fish. Found at Fossil Butte NM.


IMAGE 3 of 12: Herring

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: The herring is a simple looking mid-sized fish, with silver scales. The herring is typically fish shaped, with a slightly pointed face leading into an elongated rounded body and a tail fin. It has a huge black eye and a slightly open mouth, with three gills leading into its body portion. The herring also has 5 fins, laid out in much the same manner as the gar’s fins, but the top fin is in the middle of its body.


IMAGE 4 of 12: Sunfish

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: The sunfish is the smallest of the three fish in the Eocene panel and is the most brightly colored. It is the roundest fish of the three, with a gradient of scales from bright green on top of the fish to yellow in the middle and a slight tint of orange along the belly. The sunfish's spiky fins are silver, and its face is green. Its top fin stretches from above its gills all the way to its tail fin. The sunfish has a small black eye and a small mouth.


IMAGE 5 of 12: Redwood Tree

DESCRIBING: A color illustration that extends from the bottom of the page to the top of the timeline.

SYNOPSIS: A tall tree extends to a point almost the entire length of the brochure. The first third of the dark brown trunk is bare minus a few mini empty branches that stick out randomly. Dark green spiky leaves cover branches that stick out like feathers around the circumference of the remaining trunk. The trunk is visible through the branches and tapers to a point at the top.

CAPTION: Groves of giant redwood trees once grew throughout western North America. Changes in climate were responsible for these trees’ shrinking range. Found at Florissant Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 6 of 12: Frigate Bird

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: With bones similar to a delicate hummingbird and a body like a seagull, it has mostly light brown feathers with teal feathers on the top of its body and head and a pink throat. It stretches out in flight away from us, with its wings out to each side, The outstretched V-shaped tail feathers resembles the tail fins of a fish. The wings are thin and long, and the tail feathers are split into two sections and are long and thin as well. Its feet are tucked under its body. The beak of the bird is long and skinny, with a slight hook at the end. The bird’s eye is small and black.

CAPTION: Delicate bones of shorebirds, including frigate birds, are preserved in the fine-grained sediment of Eocene lake deposits. Found at Fossil Butte NM.


IMAGE 7 of 12: Butterfly

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: Small light brown insect, with cylinder body. Two antennae protrude from the head. 4 wings extend from its body, consisting of 2 horizontal sails on each side overlapping each other in an alternating way. The top wings are wider than the bottom ones which sweep backwards and have two points on the edges. The darkly veined wings are light brown with horizontal orange stripes and white and yellow speckles.

CAPTION: Butterflies and many other insect groups co-evolved throughout the Cenozoic with the increasing variety of flowering plants. These insects became important agents of pollination. Found at Florissant Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 8 of 12: Cattails

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: Multiple leaves resembling enormous blades of grass, surround a stalk growing from the center. The flowering part of the stalk at top is a brown hotdog shaped mass of cotton like substance, holding seeds within.The cattails are an aquatic plant that grow along lake edges in freshwater. The cattails are tall, skinny stalks of thick green grass. Each blade of the plant is a different shade of green, and some of the blades have a round brown tube on the top. The blades are grouped into small bushels of plants, and each bushel emerges from a small sketch of water below.

CAPTION: The variety of flowering plants exploded just before, during, and after the Eocene. They would populate the land with all sorts of new species of trees, shrubs, and smaller plants. Cattails grew in the shallows of Eocene freshwater lake edges. Found at Fossil Butte NM.


IMAGE 9 of 12: Heptodon

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: Resembling a calf, this brown creature with white horizontal broken stripes that run parallel to its back, walks to the right. Its medium-length smooth tail ends in a tuft of hair. It has clawed feet and its head is shaped like a horse with a shorter snout. Its ears are small and oval in shape.

CAPTION: Ancient tapirs such as Heptodon browsed near the shores of Fossil Lake in what is now western Wyoming. Unlike modern tapirs, Heptodon had a very small snout. Found at Fossil Butte NM.


IMAGE 10 of 12: Tsetse Fly

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: This black, hourglass-shaped fly has six spindly legs, two translucent wings with veins, and a stiff, piercing stinger on its mouth.

CAPTION: Tsetse flies occur today in tropical Africa and as fossils in the Florissant formation. Found at Florissant Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 11 of 12: Coryphodon

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: This rhinoceros-shaped creature is brown in color with a lighter brown underbelly. It has a long smooth tail with a tuft of hair at the end. There are five toes on each hoofed foot. Having a stout body and short limbs, its extended, wrinkled neck leads to a horse shaped head. Small tusks descend from the sides of its mouth.

CAPTION: Coryphodon had short, stocky limbs and five-toed, hoofed feet, closely resembling the tapir. Its brain was very small. The males had large tusks. Coryphodon also lived on land not far from the shores of Fossil Lake. Found at Fossil Butte NM.


IMAGE 12 of 12: Silhouette of small horse

DESCRIBING: A small, black illustration is the first and the smallest of the timeline of horses.

SYNOPSIS: A black silhouette of a small horse-like creature. Its shape and size resemble a cross between a cow and sheep.

CAPTION: Living in Eocene forests, the first horse-like animals were barely bigger than today’s domestic cat. Throughout the Cenozoic Era their size increased. Their legs became longer, and their feet changed from many-toed to single-hoofed for faster running. Their teeth evolved from being adapted for browsing to being adapted for grazing. Just a few of the species in the evolutionary history of horses are shown here in silhouette across this chart. Fossil horses occur at many sites in the National Park System.


IMAGES and TEXT: Oligocene

RELATED TEXT: Began 34 million years ago.
The Oligocene Epoch was a time of transition between the earlier and later Cenozoic Era. The once warm and moist climate became cooler and drier. Subtropical forests gave way to more temperate forests.

Late in the Oligocene, savannas—grasslands broken by scattered woodlands—appeared. These changes caused mammals, insects, and other animals to keep trending toward specialization. Some adapted to the diminishing forests by becoming grazers. Early types of mammals continued to die out as more modern groups—dogs, cats, horses, pigs, camels, and rodents—rose to new prominence.

IMAGE 1 of 3: Ekgmowechashala

DESCRIBING: A small, color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: Weighing about five pounds, this 4-legged, light brown, furry animal with a wide body and a small head hangs upside down from a thick tree branch. Its long furry tail tucks between its back legs as each of its five toes grasp the top of the branch. Its head comes to a point with its small nose and mouth. Its rounded ears lie flat behind its large circular eyes.

CAPTION: Ekgmowechashala marked the end of the original primate lineage in North America. A small lemurlike primate, it may have used large skin folds to glide from tree to tree. Its name means “little cat man” in Lakota, which the discoverer understood to be their name for monkey. Found at John Day Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 2 of 3: Oreodonts

DESCRIBING: A small, color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: A light brown animal walks on all four skinny legs with a sharp claw on the end of each of its three toes. Its short fur wraps around its muscles on its body and long tail and clearly flashes its seven, white, zebra-like stripes across its back. Its off-white under belly color extends up its neck to its medium-sized, oblong head which displays dark brown zebra-like stripes. It also has a flat nose. Its large eyes and small pointy ears are both shaped like small footballs.

CAPTION: Oreodonts, a group of sheeplike animals, were successful in the Eocene and Oligocene. By the end of the Miocene they had completely died out. Found at Badlands NP.


IMAGE 3 of 3: Silhouette of a small horse

DESCRIBING: A small, black illustration is the second in the timeline of horses.

SYNOPSIS: This horse-like animal stands more upright than the one from the previous timeframe described. Its legs stretch taller, and its front two legs bend as if prancing. Its long, skinny tail ends with a bushy tip. An oblong head is positioned proudly atop a long neck.

IMAGES and TEXT: Miocene

RELATED TEXT: Began 23 million years ago.
The abundance of mammals peaked in the Miocene Epoch. The refinement in life forms that marked this epoch saw many animals and plants develop features recognizable in some species today. The forests and savannas persisted in some parts of North America. Treeless plains expanded where cool, dry conditions prevailed. Many mammals adapted for prairie life by becoming grazers, runners, or burrowers. Large and small carnivores evolved to prey on these plains-dwellers. Great intercontinental migrations took place throughout the Miocene, with various animals entering or leaving North America.

IMAGE 1 of 7: Moropus

DESCRIBING: A small, color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: This large, brown, furry animal stands on four, thick, muscular legs. The feet have three distinct clawed toes. Its front legs are longer than its rear legs causing its spine to slope down to a short stubby tail. Its bulky body has a thick, extended neck and an oblong, almond-shaped head with small ears that point straight up. Its upper lip extends over the bottom lip of its mouth.
CAPTION: Moropus was a distant relative of the horse and one of the more puzzling mammals. For many years paleontologists thought its feet had claws rather than hooves. Found at Agate Fossil Beds NM.

IMAGE 2 of 7: Palaeocaster

DESCRIBING: A small, color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: The small, furry, brown rodent with a white face stands on the ground to the left of an opening to an underground burrow. This burrow illustration consists of an underground view of a tightly, coiled, corkscrew tunnel. Eight coils, each the width of a human's adult forearm, lead downward to a horizontal chamber that extends and ends on the right.

CAPTION: Lacking other defenses, some larger rodents, such as the dry-land beaver Palaeocastor, lived in colonies beneath the High Plains of North America. Their burrows remain as trace fossils today. Found at Agate Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 3 of 7: Menoceras

DESCRIBING: A small, color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: This now extinct, compact, small rhinoceros stands firmly on four legs. Each foot has three toes with a rounded toenail. The ripples of muscles of its leathery and course hide show beneath its skin. It has a long, skinny tail with a tuft of hair at the end. Its head has two pointy ears along a bulbous forehead which slopes down to its nose. The tip of the nose has a curved, white horn on each side.

CAPTION: Rhinos were varied and abundant during most of the Cenozoic Era. Around the world they ranged in size from the three-foot-tall North American species Menoceras to a giant Asian species, the largest land mammal yet found in the fossil record. The North American species is found at Agate Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 4 of 7: Daphoenodon

DESCRIBING: A small, color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: This wolf- and hyena-like animal has short brown fur over its long body and straight back. The torso narrows from the chest to the rear hip. It has a long skinny tail that curves upward like a stretched-out hook. Big, flat paws extend sharp claws on the end of four, long, slender legs. Its oblong head with long snout rises to an equal height with its back. Its ears point straight up.

CAPTION: Daphoenodon was carnivorous. It differed from the earliest true dogs of the Oligocene Epoch. Its so-called “beardog” family eventually went extinct. Found at Agate Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 5 of 7: Daeodon

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration.

SYNOPSIS: This wild boar-like animal looms forward with small, fixated eyes and an open mouth showing a sharp tooth. Its diamond-shaped ears are pinned back. It has a brown furry coat with a short mane following along the ridge of its back to a short tail with a tuft of hair at the end. Its stocky legs are grounded with two-toed hooves.

CAPTION: Daeodon (formerly called Dinohyus, “terrible hog”) had bone-crushing teeth, enabling it to scavenge the remains of other grassland animals. Found at Agate Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 6 of 7: Stenomylus

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration.

SYNOPSIS: Two identical thin, long-legged animals stand overlapping each other while facing opposite directions. The one in front twists its long neck and head to the side so it looks in the same direction as its partner. They have skinny, muscular, white faces with large eyes and long, narrow, pointed ears. Their short fur has a white undercoat whereas the topcoats are light brown with a dark brown stripe up their head, neck, and back.

CAPTION: The tiny gazelle-camel Stenomylus probably grazed in herds for protection from predators. Found at Agate Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 7 of 7: Silhouette of a horse

DESCRIBING: A small, black illustration is the third in the timeline of horses.

SYNOPSIS: This horse's legs are even longer than the two previous ancestors from the Eocene and Oligocene epochs. Its body is oval shaped, and its tail is full and contains uneven strands of hair. Its neck extends downward so that its mouth touches the ground.


IMAGES and TEXT: Pliocene

RELATED TEXT:Began 5 million years ago.
Most life forms of the Pliocene Epoch would have been recognizable to us today. Many individual species were different, but distinguishing characteristics of various animal and plant groups were present. Evidence of wet meadows and of dry, open grassland environments has been found in the Pliocene. Toward the end of this epoch grasslands spread across much of North America, brought on by an ever cooler, ever drier climate. Horses and other hoofed mammals and the powerful, intelligent predators that preyed on them continued to prosper.

IMAGE 1 of 4: Mammut

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration.

SYNOPSIS: A furry, light-brown, mammoth-like animal lumbers diagonally toward the viewer. Its long elephant-like trunk hangs and curves backward between two, long white tusks that extend from either side of its head below round eyes and large ears. The mammut stands on four thick legs, with semi-circular toenails on its feet. Its left front leg is bent. A short thin tail with a tasseled tip extends behind the mammut.

CAPTION: Mammut was a type of mastodon that migrated to North America in the Pliocene. In the early Pleistocene another elephant group called mammoths joined the mastodons. By the late Pleistocene mastodons and mammoths both became extinct, possibly because of climatic changes or hunting by early people. Found at Hagerman Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 2 of 4: Three Deciduous Trees

DESCRIBING: A small, black illustration.

SYNOPSIS: Silhouettes of three deciduous trees overlap in this small illustration. The trees appear to be dormant, as leaves are not shown. The trees have thin boughs that radiate out from thin, central trunks. Smaller twigs branch out from the limbs. The boughs of the left and center trees make up the top two-thirds of the trees' heights. The limbs of the tree on the right begin lower on its trunk, giving the tree a shrub-like appearance.

CAPTION: Willow, alder, birch, and elm grew on the ancient river plains of the Pliocene. These same plants grow along streams and rivers today. Found at Hagerman Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 3 of 4: Zebra-like horse

DESCRIBING: A small color image.

SYNOPSIS: A zebra-like horse gallops in this color illustration oriented to show its right-side profile. As it runs, it extends it long neck and elongated head horizontally to the right and its long, dark-haired tail horizontally to the left. Its ears pinned back away from its face to the left. Its coat is mainly light brown. Off-white hair covers its underside and the areas around its eyes, nose, and open mouth. Five dark-brown zebra-like parallel stripes that come to points at their ends line the top of the animal's hind hips. A short, dark-haired mane sticks upward from the animal's neck.

CAPTION: Horses such as this early zebra-like version of the modern horse were superbly adapted to life on the grassy plains. Found at Hagerman Fossil Beds NM.


IMAGE 4 of 4: Silhouette of a horse

DESCRIBING: A small, black illustration is the fourth in the timeline of horses.

SYNOPSIS: This illustration shows a right-side profile of a horse-like animal that appears to be walking. One of its front legs is bent. Its overall size is larger than the horse silhouettes of the Eocene, Oligocene, and Miocene Epochs, and its shape and proportions are similar to those of a modern-day horse. Two small triangle-shaped ears sit on top of its oblong head. Its long-haired tail extends slightly from its hindquarters.


IMAGES and TEXT: Pleistocene

RELATED TEXT: Began 2 million years ago.
The Pleistocene Epoch began with widespread migrations of mammals and ended with massive extinctions. It was also a time when glaciers repeatedly covered much of North America. Known evidence of humans living in North America dates to about 12,000 years ago. In this relatively brief period we have had a profound effect on the plants and other animals here. Do we have a responsibility to try to limit our effects on other species, or are humans simply a natural agent of extinction?

IMAGE 1 of 4: Loon

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: A small, color rendering shows the right-side profile of a loon in flight. The mostly white bird has dark-gray and white feathered wings, light-gray webbed feet, and a greenish-gray head with a light-gray bill. Its wings point downward.

CAPTION: Endangered species today include the loon, timber wolf, and Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. The National Park Service is among the many public agencies and private organizations entrusted with helping to protect endangered plants and animals and to preserve the diversity of life throughout North America.


IMAGE 2 of 4: Timber wolf

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: A small, color rendering shows the left-side profile of a timber wolf in a walking stance. The four-legged animal has a thick shaggy coat of white, black, gray, and brown mottled fur. Its two triangle-shaped ears point upward. Its face displays a wide, open mouth with sharp teeth and a black nose at the end of a long snout. Only its small black left eye is shown. Its tail hangs down beyond its hind legs.


IMAGE 3 of 4: Kemp’s ridley sea turtle

DESCRIBING: A small, color illustration

SYNOPSIS: A small color rendering shows a birds-eye view along the left side of a Kemp's ridley sea turtle. Black spots cover its green shell and brownish-gray body. It's rounded-top oval-shaped shell has one long ridge along its length and eleven ridges across its width. Its crescent-moon-shaped flat front flippers are about three times the size of its webbed hind legs. A short pointy tail extends from the end of its shell between its hind legs. A large brown left eye is shown on its small head. Its narrow neck appears to be wrinkly.


IMAGE 4 of 4: Silhouette of horse

DESCRIBING: A small, black silhouette is the fifth and final in the timeline of horses.

SYNOPSIS: A small black silhouette shows the right-side profile of a horse. Two of its legs are bent, as if walking. It extends its neck and head out toward the right, and its full tail extends slightly out to the left beyond its round rump. This horse appears to be the largest among the other horse-like animals shown in silhouette in the earlier epochs.


OVERVIEW: More Information

Summer hours happen May 15th through September 30th are 9:00am to 5:00pm. Winter hours happen October 1st through May 14th are 8:00am to 4:00pm. We are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Plan Like a Park Ranger: Fuel Up Yourself and Your Vehicle First!

Visitors say we're "in the middle of nowhere." We'd prefer to say we're "halfway to awesomeness!" Make sure you gas up your vehicle and pack a lunch before heading to the Monument. The nearest gas and food is at least 30 miles north or south on Highway 29. We have sheltered picnic tables, but no food or water is sold in the park.

Service Animals are welcomed in all park buildings. All dogs on leash are welcomed on park trails. Dog owners are responsible for picking up after their dogs. A relief area is located to the north of the visitor center parking lot.

Braille brochures and large print exhibit information are available at the front desk of the visitor center. The movie is not audio described; however, the park rangers are trained in audio description and are happy to assist.

  • ADDRESS: 301 River Rd., Harrison, NE 69346
  • PHONE NUMBER: 308-665-4111

Fossil Beds National Monument is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more, visit Park Foundation. Join the park community.

Last updated: May 17, 2024

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301 River Road
Harrison, NE 69346


308 665-4113

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