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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Father and son posing with dinosaur toys

The National Museum of Natural History, in collaboration with the National Park Service and other partner agencies and organizations, invites you to celebrate National Fossil Day on Saturday October 10, 2015 from 10:00AM - 4:00PM.

Join us for programs and activities about fossils on the ground floor and in
Q?rius, the Museum's interactive science education space. Visitors of all ages are invited to talk to paleontologists, handle fossils and discover more about how fossils reveal the history of life on Earth.

Art will meet science in Q?rius Jr. (1st floor), where visitors will be able to make their own fossil rubbings. Explore the exhibition, "Last American Dinosaurs: Discovering a Lost World" (2nd floor), and see ongoing research and fossil preparation in at the FossiLab.

All events are free and open to the public.

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Ground Floor

Evans Gallery (Behind the Information Desk)

Jr. Paleontologist and his dadMeet experts from the American Geosciences Institute, Maryland Dinosaur Park, and the National Park Service. Enjoy interactive games, view fossils up close, and take the Junior Paleontologist Pledge hourly @ 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm.

Youth 12 and under with a Junior Paleontologist badge get in free to Dinosaurs Alive! 3D at the Samuel C. Johnson IMAX® Theater on the First Floor. Runtimes all day.

Museum Family Store

2 pm - 3 pm

Paleoartists and Authors of Discovering Dinosaurs

Q?RIUS (Ground Floor)

Meet experts from the museum’s Paleobiology Department, the National Science Foundation, and Dinosaur Valley State Park.  Talk to scientists, view fossil collections, and sift for fossils yourself to take home.

Museum paleontologistsASK A PALEONTOLOGIST - Talk with scientists from our museum and the US Geological Survey about their research and what it’s like to be a paleontologist.

10:00 am - 11:30 am Micropaleontology
11:30 am - 1:00 pm Big Vertebrate Fossils
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm How Are Fossils Formed?
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm Fossil Marine Animals (USGS)

Insect embedded in amber. Photo by Robert Schrott.FOSSILS IN RESIN AND ROCK - Look at finely preserved insects from the famous Green River Fossil collection.  Learn about amber, the gemstone that entombs plants & insects. See how fossils are conserved & prepared for exhibits and research.

10:00 am - 12:00 pm Green River Fossils
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Green River Fossils and Amber Specimens
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Preparing Fossils for Research and Exhibition

T-rex fossil skullFOSSILS BIG AND SMALL - Scientists share how advances in technology enable them to find clues about life on earth from both macroscopic and microscopic fossils.

10:00 am - 12:00 pm Fossil Whales
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm Fossil Pollen
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Vertebrate Paleontology

Smithsonian paleo artist Mary ParishSCIENTIFIC ILLUSTRATION - Meet the museum's scientific illustrator and artists from the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. Watch and learn how artists rely on scientific research to draw insects and fossils of different types. 10:00 - 4:00 pm

NEW DISCOVERY: AUSTRALOPITHECUS SEDIBA - A new fossil early human was found. What does it tell us about human evolution?
10:00 - 4:00 pm

BIPEDALISM - Humans walk upright on two legs - our skeletons have clues to this unusual behavior.
10:00 - 4:00 pm

Sifting for fossilsSIFTING FOR FOSSILS - Sift through matrix to find sharks' teeth and other marine fossils. Experienced staff will help you identify your fossils. Take your fossils home to start your own fossil collection.

Q?RIUS Theater




Visitors Welcome/Orientation Station


Where Art meets Science for the young and the young at heart.

10:00 am - 12:30 pm Paleo Art/Fossil Rubbings: Make your own fossil rubbings to take home.
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Draw-Alongwith Bob Walters and Tess Kissinger, Paleoartists and Authors of Discovering Dinosaurs
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Paleo Art/Fossil Rubbings: Make your own fossil rubbings to take home.

Dinosaur Alive! 3D Imax filmExperience Dinosaurs Alive! 3D at the Samuel C. Johnson IMAX© Theater. Youth 12 and under with a Junior Paleontologist badge get in free. Runtime: 40 mins; showing 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 4:30 pm.


'The Last American Dinosaurs: Discovering a Lost World' ExhibitThe Last American Dinosaurs: Discovering a Lost World
Visit the exhibition, and learn about fossils from mobile activity carts, including "What is a Fossil?", "Stratigraphy", and "Microfossils".

FossiLab - Visit a working fossil laboratory inside the exhibition where you can watch scientists and experienced volunteers engaged in fossil research and fossil preparation.

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