Where can I look for dinosaur fossils in the Washington DC area?

photo of two crouched people looking for fossils on an eroded hillside.

Scanning the ground for fossils at the Dinosaur Park. Click to zoom. Photo by Gerald Elgert.

The Dinosaur Park in Prince George's County, Maryland, is located on a hillside where erosion exposes clays deposited in an extensive wetland during the Early Cretaceous. Frequent fossil finds include lignite, or brown coal, formed from conifer trees that lived in the wetland, and fossilized cones. Sharp-eyed (and lucky) visitors may also discover dinosaur bones and teeth.


A man and a woman crouched over a fossil limb bone that is partly excavated from the ground.  The bone is about as long as an adult's arm. The man is wrapping it in plaster-soaked burlap while the woman sprays it with a bottle of water

Smithsonian staff place a field jacket on a dinosaur limb bone discovered embedded in the ground at the Dinosaur Park. Click to zoom. Photo by Dave Hacker.

Important fossils discovered at the park are transferred to the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Institution where they are kept available for scientific research. Some of them are on also display in the 'Dinosaurs in Our Backyard' exhibit.


Visit the Dinosaur Park web page.