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Paleo Preserve Fossil Museum
4140 24th SE Street, Ruskin, FL, 33570

Paleo Preserve Fossil Museum exists to educate young and old about Florida’s amazing fossil record. In 1983, scientific history was changed when the world’s greatest deposit of Pleistocene fossils was uncovered at the Leisey Shell Pit in southern Hillsborough County. Volunteers worked with scientists to expose scores of fantastic creatures from prehistoric times, some of them unknown to science. The news of this discovery was heard around the world and many people came to see Leisey Shell Pit. Though the pit itself has long since closed, many of the fossils discovered there, as well as photographs and articles from its excavation years, are on display at the Paleo Preserve Fossil Museum. This awe-inspiring story of Ruskin’s significance in the fossil record is kept alive by volunteers.

In addition, other Floridian fossils and geological samples are kept at the Paleo Preserve, along with plenty of general information about paleontology to go along with the specific Florida history of significant finds. There are many examples of preserved shells and sea creatures, including the Florida state fossil (the echinoid) and the Florida state stone (agatized coral). While visiting, guests of the Paleo have the opportunity to learn about, view and even touch some of the exhibits, and can purchase souvenirs and fossils from our gift shop. An additional experience is fossil hunting in the Paleo’s cleared sand pit, which is especially enjoyed by younger children and lets you take home whatever you find. These activities allow guests to gain hands-on experience and a closer connection to fossil excavation, just as the Leisey Shell Pit forerunners did.

The Paleo Preserve aims to bring the wonder of discovery to new and old generations of fossil hunters, and provide the education to open a window into the past. Florida’s fossil record is unique, and its opportunities for new findings – as well as its past explorations – are worth learning about, and our volunteers strive to make that experience eye-opening and enjoyable. We want to make our collection and knowledge as accessible to as many people as we can, and for that there is a need for more volunteers who want to learn about Florida’s fossil history and share that information with others.

There is a variety of tasks available to those interested in becoming a part of our team: if you’d to get involved, please Click Here.

If you'd like to know more about our primary volunteer positions, click the appropriate button below.

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Specific Opportunities at Paleo Preserve

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