Hunting for Fossils: An Adventure Hike

Whenever I visit my son, daughter-in-love and grandsons in Ohio, we always go on hikes. When my son was growing up, we used to go on hikes as a family, but not near as much as my son, dil and grandsons do now. They go almost every weekend unless it’s raining or snowing. I love that! It’s such a great way to get in some good exercise while enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.

The area my son lives in is surrounded by parks that are great for hiking. We’ve hiked in a different park almost every time I’ve been there. During my last trip there, my son and daughter-in-law wanted to try a park they had never visited, Oakes Quarry Park. After hiking there twice now, I must say it’s not my favorite, but it is an interesting place to visit.

This was the sign at the entrance in case you would like to read more about the history of Oakes Quarry Park.




Because Oakes Quarry Park was once an active quarry, there are acres and acres of what feels a bit like being in the desert, only without the sand. I didn’t think to take any photos of the desert-like sections, but here’s one spot where water had pooled from the recent rains. I really prefer hiking through wooded areas, but I must admit this was an interesting experience.


On our first hike through Oakes Quarry Park, my son spotted this gigantic mountain of rock, and the next thing I knew we were climbing up and crossing it. After climbing up to the top, I held back waiting to hear if my son and dil could see how far this mountain of rocks went and if there was a place to get down. It probably doesn’t look like it in these photos, but we were pretty high up. My son yelled back that he could see the end, so I reluctantly joined them walking out across the rocks.


Normally I wouldn’t mind a bit of adventure…




…and going outside my comfort zone.


It’s a great way to make new friends…


…and gives you some fun stories to tell later.





And the payoff is usually pretty fantastic!







Camel Ride, Giza Plateau, Egypt



I just didn’t want anyone spraining an ankle and having to make a trip to the hospital, a great place to stay away from right now, if you know what I mean.

Once I had almost reached the end of Rock Mountain, I turned around and took this photo of what we had all just walked across. Ugh. In all fairness, we eventually found some pretty wooded areas through which to hike, but this was definitely not my favorite of all the hikes that we’ve done.


A Couple of Weeks Later

A couple of weeks later on a Saturday morning, my son disappeared for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. My daughter-in-law said he was out hiding fossils for a fossil hunt he had planned for the boys later in the day. Umm, that sounded interesting! Turned out, we were headed back to Oakes Quarry Park. I was promised there would be no rock climbing this time. lol

My son had purchased these: a dozen fossil bricks. Each small brick contained a real fossil inside.


Fossil Bricks for Fossil Hunt with Kids


He was only gone for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours and it’s a 25-30 minute drive to the quarry and another 25-minute drive back. Based on that, I thought the fossils would all be hidden over a relatively small area of the quarry. Ahhh, nope! I don’t know how he did it, but he managed to hide those blocks over about a 2-3 mile area of land because we ended up walking around 4 miles that day on our fossil quest.

Summer Fun Activity, Fossil Hunt


My son had printed off the map of Oakes Quarry Park that he found online. On the map, he had marked where each treasure/fossil was located, creating a treasure map for the boys to follow. That’s what he’s carrying in his left hand below.

Kids Summertime Activity, Fossil Hunt


The map (and Dad) guided the boys in the general direction where a fossil could possibly be buried or hidden. Usually, they ended up being found behind a shrubby bush or under a rock, although two were actually buried a few inches deep in the sand.

Discovering Fossil on a Fossil Dig


Fossil found!

Summer Activity for Kids, Fossil Hunt


This was a fun, fun activity with the boys. It was 89 degrees out that day, but it felt like 95 in the sun! The last time I can remember being that hot was when I was in Egypt! We stopped often for water breaks and despite the heat had a blast on this fossil adventure.

Fossil Hunt, Found a Fossil


Fossil Hunters!

Fossil Hunting with Dad


If you have children or grandchildren who you think would enjoy a fossil hunting adventure, this is the kit my son purchased and it’s available here: Fossil Kit. I think these kits would make great birthday or Christmas gifts.

Great Gift Idea for Kids, Fossil Brick, Fossil Hunt-Dig


A single fossil is hidden inside each block. Somewhere out there in Oakes Quarry Park, there are still two hidden fossils, waiting to be found. My son did a great job of mapping out where they were hidden, but we were never were able to find two of them.

Fossil Bricks for Digging


Some info about what comes in the kit.


The boys had a blast breaking open the blocks once we got back home.


Here are a few of the fossils they found inside the blocks.


I think this may be my favorite picture from our fossil hunting day.

Fossil Dig Trip with Dad


Two brothers on an adventure, following their fearless leader into the wilderness. 🙂

Brothers on a Fossil Dig with Dad


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  1. franki parde says

    You had me at “Daughter- in -Love!!” franki

  2. What a wonderful story! Your son is a great Dad. The world would be a much better place if every child could grow up with parents like your son and dil. Your grandsons are also extremely fortunate to have an adventurous grandmother who is also a good sport when exploring new places in hot weather. You are also a good example for the rest of us grandmothers. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Mary, appreciate that so much! It was a lot of fun. The heat was so intense! It got much better once we were fossil hunting in the woods.

  3. Brenda s. Lawrence says

    I can’t believe you guys hiked over that mountain of rocks! Glad no one twisted an ankle or anything. What a fun and super great idea to take the boys on a treasure hunt for fossils! I so love that idea, it looks like the boys had a blast even in the heat. How fun and what memories they will treasure. So glad you shared this Susan! Hugs, Brenda PS: loved all your photos of YOUR adventures too!

    • Thanks, Brenda!
      I know, that was nuts! I was wearing my favorite Ecco sandals and they are normally great for hiking in hot weather, but they are not rock-climbing shoes! I took a photo when I made it to the end to commemorate not dying on that mountain of rocks! My son and I were both laughing so much at the end.
      I hope you have a wonderful 4th! XXX

  4. What a wonderful adventure and sure to be a memory maker! You’ve raised a great son!

  5. You reminded me of several Girl Scout project that my husband and I took with our daughter and other scouts. She still reminds me of some of those days. Your grandsons will do the same in years to come. They will even remember how Granny Susan climbed the rock mountain. Oh, the joy of such small things.

  6. What a wonderful father. So enjoy their rock hunting adventure.

    • Thanks, Bev! He is still very much a kid at heart so I know he enjoyed it as much as the boys did. I couldn’t believe how far apart he hid all the fossils! That was quite a workout he got that day!

  7. What fun. In the old days we called them “Kodac Moments” Maybe someone else found the missing two ?

  8. Aww, I love this. I love that Chip is such a caring, good dad and I love that he is following in the footsteps laid out by you and his dad. Family traditions rock! (no pun intended in either case, lol.) Super fun idea, Susan. Glad you shared it. You did well, Susan. Chip seems to be a great guy. :o)

  9. Catalynn says

    What a fantastic idea, great way to blend fun, hiking, learning, excitement and anticipation!
    In the last picture with your grandsons holding hands the large pile of rocks off to the left almost look like a dinosaur taking a nap!
    I’ll definitely share this idea with friends and family ❤

  10. cleo headley says

    What a great Dad!!! It was fun, and that’s what it is all about…….

    Ever hear of the book..The Secret…?? A man hid 12 treasure boxes all over the USA, only 3 have ever been found…….each box contains a jewel……

    Its wonderful to see parents who enjoy their children…..God Bless….

  11. What a wonderful family outing. Your grandsons have a treasured memory. Kudos to you for raising such a great son that can give his sons such Fabulous adventure. A truly great dad!

  12. This looked like fun for the boys. I would suggest as they get a little older to try geo-caching as a family – tons of fun while hiking

  13. What a wonderful memory for all of you!

  14. Susan,

    Your grandsons are precious. I wanted to tell you about — it’s an awesome site that tells you about every trail. Very cool. (I ride a recumbent bike and use AllTrails to show me the best biking trails in ATL.)


  15. That was such a great idea–a super great idea! Did the boys know that their dad had hid them? And that last photo needs to be on your desk, in GA or OH or both!

  16. I have done real fossil hunting! Most good colleges can tell you areas to find fossils. Several good places in California. Online an libraries ow have lots of info and what kind of fossils you can find. It is fun.

  17. How wonderful! I Love the boys holding hands! Super time my friend, thanks for the update, always

  18. What a great dad! Tugged at my heartstrings.

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