What's the most exciting thing happening at Big Bend National Park? The expansion and revitalization of the paleontology exhibit, of course! Starting in Fall 2011, Friends of Big Bend National Park set out to raise $1.25 million in the coming years to create the Fossil Discovery Exhibit - a new exhibit spaces, an interpretive trail and improved picnic and parking areas at the existing Fossil Bone Exhibit site. We are pleased to have already raised over $590,000 toward this excellent addition to the park's resources.
But why fossils? Big Bend National Park has produced over 35 Cretaceous dinosaur species, the most of any national park in the country. Over 1100 fossil species from plants, invertebrates and vertebrates have
been discovered here and the park is one of few public lands in the world that contain the K/T boundary - strata that record the extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of modern mammals. However at present their story is not being told to the visitors who come to the park today. This exhibit will interpret the park’s rich paleontologic and geologic history in engaging and immersive ways, engaging the public in the fossil story.
The exhibit site will be at the current, outdated Fossil Bone Exhibit site along Highway 385, the main road into the park. The Friends have already paid for a site plan, a shade ramada and wayfinding signage that will show visitors a taste of what is to come in that spot. The design work is underway and many fossil casts (including several dinosaurs) have already been chosen to represent the wonderful fossil diversity within the park. You can click here to see a sneak peek at Lake Flato's design for the new Fossil Discovery Exhibit. This exhibit will offer visitors an entirely new day of exploration in the park, and offer much needed amenities on the long drive from Persimmon Gap to Panther Junction.
From sea creatures to dinosaurs to mammals to the KT Boundary, the paleontological history of the park is rich, and we are excited to share it with visitors. Come out and see the changes underway soon - and watch out for that Alamosaurus!
What kinds of creatures lived in Big Bend?
From Alamosaurus to Kritosaurus, the Big Bend area played host to creatures great and small all throughout prehistory. Click here to learn all about the many creatures who made this area their home.
Want to see your license plate dollars at work?
Park staff has begun initial improvements at the Fossil Bone Exhibit site, thanks to the generosity of our Big Bend license plate holders. In addition to the newly installed picnic tables under the new shade ramada near the Fossil Bone Exhibit parking lot off 365, there are also restroom facilities. The temporary exhibit space has also been updated, providing a peek at what is to come. Through license plate dollars the Friends have paid for revised signage to improve the interpretation of the area, as well as a site plan to completely overhaul the area and create a new and lasting exhibit appropriate to Big Bend's major fossil finds.
How can I help?
The Friends welcome donations to this exhibit. This exhibit will be the most significant addition to the park’s visitor services system in decades. The paleontology exhibit will attract new visitors, families in particular, to come see what the park has to offer.
Donations can be mailed to:
Friends of Big Bend National Park
PO Box 200
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
ATTN: Fossil Discovery Exhibit Campaign
If you wish to make a large contribution, contribute stock or make a foundation/restricted family fund contribution to this project, please contact Executive Director Courtney Lyons-Garcia to make arrangements at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-529-1149.
Thank you for your support!