The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville Virginia has a wonderful exhibit currently titled "Uncovering Virginia."
If you do not live near Chippokes Plantation State Park, and have never walked along the shore of the James to see the many fossils you now have a chance to see them in Southside Virginia, in Martinsville!
Chesapecten jeffersonius found in abundance at Chippokes Plantation State Park
River view at Chippokes Plantation State Park
Part of this Exhibit has a cut out of the river bank chock-full of Chesapecten jeffersonius (which is the state fossil of Virginia). When you visit the state park you will see these by the hundreds to thousands. Another fun find at Chippokes Plantation State Park (which has been on my own personal scavenger hunt list) are the giant sharks teeth of the Megalodon. These huge fossilized teeth can be found at Chippokes Plantation State Park and also Carmel Church. The question is why did these big sharks disappear? Were they victims of disease or some other factor?
Sharks teeth found on beach at Westmoreland State Park
Something I always find interesting is that while there are tracks and other evidence of Dinosaurs in Virginia, we have yet to find any bones. Carmel Church and Chippokes Plantation State Park seem to be an ocean graveyard. Fossils are also found at other Virginia State Parks, like York River State Park, and Westmoreland State Park.
At another part of the Exhibit you will learn about Saltville Virginia, when the muskox roamed Virginia. I highly recommend a visit to The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville. Bring the whole family out to this fantastic museum! While there you may see the scientists at work behind a glass wall and observe them carefully cleaning and inspecting specimans for archaeology, geology, invertebrate paleontology, mammalogy, marine biology, recent invertebrates, and vertebrate paleontology. Click here for direction and museum hours.
If you are able to visit Chippokes Plantation State Park, I hope you can participate in a Fossil Walk led by the park interpreter. The next Fossil Walk programs are scheduled for September 22 and 23, 2012 at 12 noon meeting at the River House parking lot. School groups are also welcome, call the park to learn more (757) 294-3625.
Chippokes Plantation State Park is one of the oldest working farms in the United States. Chippokes is a living historical exhibit located in a rural agricultural area along the James River in Surry County. In addition, the park has a wide variety of traditional park offerings, including a swimming complex, visitor center, picnic facilities, and hiking and biking trails. The plantation has kept its original boundaries since the 1600s and has a variety of cultivated gardens and native woodland. The formal gardens surrounding the Chippokes Mansion are accented by azaleas, crepe myrtle, boxwood and seasonal flowers. The plantation grounds are also home to the Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia: 2 - 3 hours; Richmond: 1.5 hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach: 1.5 hours; Roanoke: 4 hours. Click here for a Google map. Address: 695 Chippokes Park Rd., Surry, VA 23883; Phone: (757) 294-3625