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Kids Can Dig For Real Fossils At Connecticut's Mystic Aquarium

Many families know about the marine animals at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, but now your kids can explore and touch sea creatures from millions of years ago. Young paleontologists can uncover these at the Aquarium's new interactive exhibit, Dig It! Prehistoric Creatures of the Sea.

This first-of-its-kind, hands-on exhibit provides a unique experience where little explorers can dig for hundreds of authentic sea fossils. Currently, only three of these workshop-type exhibits are open in the United States.

Children are equipped with safety goggles, a pocketed apron and digging tools and led to the “Jurassic sand quarry,” where they can search for 14 different types of specimens hidden in sand from Utah’s deserts. The specimens range from shark and walrus teeth to fossilized whale ear bones (the whale’s inner ear), fish, coral and shark vertebrae. While digging, kids can refer to the fossil identification station, which features examples and information on each specimen in the “quarry.”

The fossils range in age from 500 to 600 million years old and come from Brazil, China, Europe, Madagascar, Morocco and the United States. Every three months, the types of fossils to be discovered change, so kids can find new specimens with each visit.

After their “excavations” are complete, kids continue to one of two prep stations, where they are provided with etching picks and tools to fully uncover their fossil. Those with shark or walrus teeth can sit at one of several beading tables offering a barrel of beads and hemp cords and string their own shark or walrus tooth necklace. Upon leaving the exhibit, children are given identification cards containing information on their fossil.

The exhibit is open during the Aquarium’s normal hours of operation and will remain at the Aquarium through January 2010. Admission into the exhibit is $4.99 per child and includes one fossil that the child can keep. For each additional specimen to be brought home, the cost is $2.99.

For more information,  visit www.mysticaquarium.org.


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