rendering of the grounds to open for fossil digs and nature walks

Edelman Fossil Park & Museum

625 Woodbury Glassboro Rd.
Sewell, NJ 08080
 856-256-5443
  • Overview

    The Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park and Museum of Rowan University will transform lives by providing a unique opportunity to explore a remarkable site of scientific wonder. Opening summer 2024 visitors will embark on a personal, hands-on voyage of discovery in an extraordinary setting that bears witness to one of the most momentous events in our planet's history. The museum will become a one-of-a-kind destination that both educates and entertains.

    Globally Important Research
    At the Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park & Museum, visitors travel back in time to when dinosaurs ruled New Jersey. Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid struck the Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs and 75% of species. The fossil park’s 4-acre fossil quarry, set into a 65-acre property, is providing scientists with the best view ever into this pivotal, calamitous event that ended an Earth era, paving the way for the modern world as we know it. Over the past 13 years, fossil park founder, Dr. Kenneth Lacovara and his team, have unearthed over 100,000 fossils from a 66-million years old bonebed in the quarry bottom, and have catalogued over 100 fossil species.

    A Rich Heritage
    Surprising to many, New Jersey boasts a rich heritage of fossil discovery. In 1858, Hadrosaurus, the world’s first discovered nearly complete dinosaur, was found in Haddonfield, New Jersey. In 1866, the world’s first discovered tyrannosaur, Dryptosaurus, was unearthed just a mile from the fossil park (T. rex, found in Montana, would come later in 1905). Many other new species of ancient creatures have been discovered in New Jersey, from Cretaceous beds running from Freehold southwest through Swedesboro. Although dinosaurs were first recognized from fragmentary remains in England, southern New Jersey can rightfully claim its place as the cradle of dinosaur paleontology.

    The Thrill of Discovery
    Hands-on, authentic discovery is at the core of the Edelman Fossil Park public experience. Above the research layer, there are areas designated for public digging. Nearly every child or grownup who visits the quarry to dig for fossils finds a 65-million-year-old fossil, with their own hands, that they get to take home. Over and over, this has been a transformational experience for people. When they make a personal connect between themselves and deep time, and the place where they live and the Earth’s ancient past, they never again see the world, or their place in it, in quite the same way. Children, in particular, seem to understand the authenticity of the experience. The shark tooth or ancient clam that they may dig up, is a real discovery. At that moment, they become explorers, voyagers, authentic discoverers—an experience that can set them on a new path.

    Sustainability
    The core concept behind the Edelman Fossil Park & Museum is that we must learn from Earth’s deep past to guide our way into the future. The extinction of the dinosaurs serves as a cautionary tale for the multiple, simultaneous existential crises we face today. In the Hall of Extinction & Hope, visitors will confront the alarming facts about the unfolding climate and biodiversity crises. And, they will learn why there is hope in the battle to save Earth’s atmosphere and biosphere, and that we all must act now to create the future that we all wish for our posterity. Finally, through a personalized RFID system, visitors will connect with sustainability programs and organizations, giving them a sense of agency and avenues through which they can make a positive difference.

    Carbon Net-Zero and Sustainable Construction
    The Edelman Fossil Park & Museum will be an all-electric building, deriving its energy from photovoltaics and geothermal heating and cooling. Upon opening, the museum will be New Jersey’s largest carbon net-zero facility with reduced carbon concrete, bird-safe glass and large amounts of embodied carbon, due to sustainably raised accoya cladding and wooden fiber-lamination construction.
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Explore Edelman Fossil Park & Museum