With 360 acres, this is an extremely important paleontological SITE that preserves the fossils of horses, rhinos, camels, and other animals (including cranes similar to modern African crowned cranes) interred under a thick layer of volcanic dust that settled here about ten million years ago.
This site is located where eastern and western bird species often overlap. In the summer western species such as Rock Wrens, Say’s Phoebes, Swainson’s Hawks, Bewick’s Wrens, and Black-billed Magpies can be found here along with more eastern species like the Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Buntings, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Both Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, grasshopper Sparrows, Dickcissels and Warbling Vireos can also be found here.
The center is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9-5 on weekdays and 11-5 on Sundays. There are shorter hours during May and September. The area is mostly range country, with grassland species most common, including upland sandpipers. However, rock wrens often can be seen near the excavation site. Admission fee, and state park permit required.
For more information, write to:
PO Box 66, Royal, NE 68773 (402-893-2000).
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission