Fossil Digs

Upcoming Digs Schedule

 The Michigan Public Dig dates are as follows

Fossil Dig Dates for 2018 Will Be Announced in March.

Names will be taken for next years waiting list.


These may be obtained from your local Secretary of State Office.

 Once each dig is full new requests will be put on a waiting list for the following year.

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If you have a small group and are interested in a Paleo Dig, you’ve come to the right place. Over the last ten years, PaleoJoe has led numerous fossil expeditions to fossil rich areas around Michigan, Northern Ohio, and Western New York.

Finding fossils is GUARANTEED.

Participants may keep ONLY up to 25 pounds of rock and fossils per person PER YEAR.

The sites are extremely fossil rich.

Trip consists of visits to several Alpena area sites. The sites have lots of fossils to discover.

Students will learn dig site etiquette, tools of the trade, dig site safety, how to find and identify fossils, proper digging techniques, history of the area where they will dig, and much more!

The deposits searched are Devonian in age. Primarily looking for ancient Marine invertebrates. – Sorry, no dinosaurs or Mastodons. All fossils are Marine Invertebrates that are around 360 Million years old.

Weekend Digs during June, July, & August. Availability of weekday Digs varies.


Comments from some past participants.

Participants have come from all across Michigan also North Carolina, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Edmonton Canada, and Hawaii.

Just wanted to say thank you for a great day on Saturday despite the weather. I asked my youngest son what his favorite part of our trip was and he quickly said the fossil dig. That’s out of a ten day trip with whitewater rafting, Washington Dc, Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty and a Niagara Falls boat ride. We all enjoyed ourselves very much. Hope to come again. J.W 5-30-15


We cannot thank you enough for the wonderful trip to Alpena. It could not have been better. Collected some great fossils and learned a lot. Ready to go again. – T. and M. Gibson


We had a BLAST! The kids were chatting all the way back to (home)! Each of them had their favorite spot, and each of them had their favorite fossil. We just can’t thank you enough, it was so much fun!! – D.G.


Thanks again for the great day yesterday. We had so much fun and our son just can’t stop talking about it!!! Today we are going to be cleaning up the fossils and he is going to take some to school for show-and-tell. We really appreciate all of your talents and how much you inspire everyone. Keep up the good work. – A.Y.


Dear PaleoJoe, Thanks from our entire family for the wonderful time we had with you on our fossil dig! The adults enjoyed it as much as the kids did and our budding paleontologist, A., was absolutely inspired. – L.O. 6-30-12.


Paleo Joe, Thank you for a wonderful trip fossil hunting around Alpena Michigan on July 26. We had a great time and found lots of fossils. We all liked the Calcite Quarry the best. We would like to go fossil hunting again in Alpena sometime. Can we take your trip more than once? Anyways thank you again. B.M. 7-26-14


Thanks again for your kind guidance for the great April 23 2016 Alpena fossil dig. My son and I had a wonderful first fossil trip in our life. He even found the head of trilobite in Alpena and this was so exciting for him. It’s very cool and we found so many beautiful fossils during the 5- hour collection. We couldn’t have this done without your help. Hope we will do more fossil digs in the future with you.  H.X. 4-24-16


Thank YOU for hosting this past weekend’s event. My son, James, is more determined than EVER to become a paleontologist when he grows up. You have provided an inexpensive way for families to spend time together, for kids to meet other kids with similar interests, and an educational day filled with memories to last a lifetime. For James, this was a great way for him to get his feet wet and see if paleontology would be something he would really and truly want to do as an adult. – Michele T.


Joe thanks for a great day fossil digging! The kids had the time of their life. You were a great guide and incredibly organized. I will be recommending you to all my friends with kids in the future. – M.F.


I really appreciate your the time and patience you gave us for this dig. It was definitely worth the trip from North Carolina. – C.B. 7-13-12


I just wanted to thank you for a great day yesterday in Alpena. My daughter said “it was the best day ever” and you made her “dream come true!” My husband said he saw so many fossils, he continued to see them when he closed his eyes! It was a day that will not be forgotten.Thank you so much for the work you do. – K.G 7-26-14


We had an INCREDIBLE time – I found 4 beautiful stromatolites (I have pieces in my collection, but nothing like these)! The mama and papa, a teenager, and the baby!!! Not to mention all the Petoskey stone, coral, etc – amazing!!!! We are already planning on going again, and again, and again!!!! – H.C 7-26-14

Dear Joe,

I just want to thank you for the great weekend.Jacob and I had so much fun. You are a very patient person dealing with all those kids the way you do. I really appreciated the time you gave us. We would really like to come and see you work in New Mexico next summer if it is not a problem. I hope you can keep us posted on when you will be out west, so that we can make arrangements. Thanks again for everything.
A.R. 7-17-14

Dear Paleo Joe: We all want to say “Thank You” for an awesome time at the Alpena dig on Saturday. It was educational, exciting, fun, adventurous, and a great dig! – Sharon and Eric S.


We would like to thank you for the awesome Alpena dig you took us on Aug. 1st. We learned so much, collected great fossils, and enjoyed spending time with you. Thank you for spending some time with each one of us at each site…answering our questions, teaching us the real names of the fossils we found, and sharing your spirit of adventure in paleontology! – E.M.


Paleojoe, Just wanted to say thankyou for such a great experience this past Saturday in Alpena. We enjoyed ourselves much more than we could have anticipated! And I think you have converted 6 year old T into a budding paleontologist. We really appreciate you not only sharing your knowledge with us, but also the patience you demonstrated with the young kids. I know T. wanted to run and show you every single fossil he found, and your patience and enthusiasm never waivered! As his mom I am more than grateful. Thank you again for the wonderful experience, and we look forward to going on more fossil digs with you in the future. – J and T B. 6-7-2011


We had a great time. My husband who is more of a diver than a fossil-hound, was fascinated, and I think we turned him into an avid fossil-hunter! We enjoyed your sites, your kind input and expertise, as well as the beautiful area! – K.S. 7-26-14


Please put us on the list for digs in 2016. M and I had such a good time in 2014 that we would love to share this experience with other family members again this year.    M.H. 2-25-16