EXHIBITS AT THE FOSSIL DISCOVERY CENTER
The Fossils Discovery Center offers many different exhibits documenting prehistoric life in the San Joaquin Valley during the last Ice Age. It is located directly across the road from the Fairmead Landfill where the fossils were discovered in 1993.
There is a brief introductory film which gives visitors a review of the first fossil discovery and what the area used to look like and what animals roamed here during the Pleistocene epoch 700,000 years ago
There are many exhibits and lots of information that explain the environment, extinct animals, and current fossil discovery and preparation. There are exhibits with fossils showing teeth marks from Dire wolves, and Short faced bears, and bones that were trampled by heavy animals such as 10 ton Columbian mammoths.
There are also fossil remains of horse, camel, giant sloth, saber-tooth cat, and extinct antelope. In addition to actual fossils there are full size replicas of the skeletons of these animals. Two of the most impressive are the 13 foot tall replica of a Columbian mammoth and a 12 foot tall Short faced bear.
A paleontological laboratory lets visitors see some of the techniques of excavation and preservation of fossils as well as some in the process of preservation.
Besides fossils from the immediate area, there is a collection of local rocks and minerals as well as a display of artifacts from the local Native American tribe; the Yokuts. Additionally there is an accurate recreation of a Yokuts Indian house outside the museum constructed of natural materials. It sits beside the “Pleistocene Pond” which is landscaped only with plants and trees native to the area. This gives visitors a glimpse of what the San Joaquin Valley used to look like before arrival of people.
The most popular spot for children is the “Mock Dig” where they can excavate 22 replicas of some of the fossils that have been found in the area. This includes skulls of Saber-tooth cats, Dire wolves,, camels, and giant sloths.