In Florida’s last Ice Age, prehistoric people hunted mammoths, built pyramids along Florida’s coast, and lived in fear of the saber cat, giant lion, and wolf. On Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11, the Florida State Fairgrounds will go back in time to a different place, a different Florida, a land long lost. The Tampa Bay Fossil Club presents the 31th annual, FossilFest 2018 – The Ice Age Returns!

FossilFest is Florida’s largest prehistoric show where the public can view amazing fossils that were found right here in Florida, as well as, artifacts left behind by Florida’s first people. FossilFest features educational activities for both children and adults designed to teach the public about Florida’s exciting prehistoric past. Vendors will be on hand to sell and trade fossils.

“Our goal is to teach Floridians about the prehistoric creatures and people that were here long before us,” said club president Mike Searle. “You don’t have travel to far-away exotic places to find these fossils. Mammoths, wolves, camels, and rhinos lived right here where we live today.  Their fossilized remains are everywhere in Florida”, said Searle.

On both days, there will be free workshops to teach folks how they can legally hunt for fossils in Florida and how to identify and preserve what they find.

A highlight of FossilFest is the children’s Fossil Mine at Paleo Park.  For a small fee, kids can dig through a sand pit to recover actual prehistoric fossils donated by members of the Tampa Bay Fossil Club.  Then, at the ‘Learning Table,’ they sit down with a club member who will identify and explain their new treasures. The children keep all the fossils they find.

“It’s a wonderful ‘hands-on’ learning experience,” said Club member and Hillsborough County schoolteacher, Patrick McGirk. “You just can’t believe how excited these kids get over finding fossils. They don’t even realize how much they’re learning.”

There will be free door prizes, kid’s games, silent auctions, and raffles throughout the weekend.

The Tampa Bay Fossil Club is a family oriented organization focusing on paleontology, archaeology, and everything prehistoric. The 31-year-old club hosts numerous field trips, camp outs, gatherings, and adventures throughout its September through May season.

FossilFest will take place at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 in Tampa from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. -4 p.m. on Sunday. Cost is $8 for adults; children 12 and under are free. Visit

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