Red Panda Days: 
Tuesday, September 6th – Sunday, September 25th

Want to be a Red Panda Ranger?  Join us to learn more about the red panda’s significance at the Gray Fossil Site, make a red panda mask, zoom in on microscopic slides of what a red panda might eat, paint a 3-D footprint, and examine a red panda skull replica!

Red Panda Fossils found at the Gray Fossil Site are one of our greatest treasures!  Join us on Thursday, September 15th, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, as we help the Red Panda Network celebrate International Red Panda Day.  The festivities will include all of the red panda activities and a scavenger hunt.  At 6:00 pm, ETSU paleontologists, Stephen Wallace, will give a lecture on recent fossil Red Panda research. 

Activities will be on-going throughout each day and are included free with admission to the Museum.  The lecture will be September 15th only.

Archaeology Day
Saturday, October 1st, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Join us as we celebrate Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month!

Learn about:

  • Artifacts from around the region
  • Recent excavations
  • 3-D printing and scanning
  • Remote sensing
  • Flintknapping demonstrations with Larry Beane
  • Cherokee pottery with Tammy Beane
  • Shoebox archaeology for kids

Lecture schedule:

  • 11:00 am – Remote Sensing in Archaeology: Case Studies from Cane Notch, Tennessee to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East by Eileen Ernenwein
  • 1:00 pm – History of Archaeology on Boone Lake by Jay Franklin


Tuesday, September 27th – Sunday, October 9th – Can You Dig It?Unearth the mysteries of the past by digging for clues in our shoe box archaeology activity.

Tuesday, October 11th – Sunday, October 16th – Fossil Finders Examine fossil replicas, play Fossil or Fake?, and even get a chance to dig through micro-fossil sediment.

Saturday, October 15th, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm – Fossil Day – Activities and lectures to be announced.

Tuesday, October 18th – Sunday, October 30th – Halloween in the Miocene
Skeletons aren’t just Halloween decorations; they actually decorate the exhibit halls of Gray Fossil Site and Museum!  Join us for glow-in-the-dark Miocene Mud, paint a fossil mold with glow-in-the-dark paint, and try out the mystery touch box if you dare.

Tuesday, November 1st – Sunday, November 13th – Go Geo! Discover the connections between Geography and Paleontology in honor of Geography Awareness Week.  Match specimens found at the Gray Fossil Site to other locations they can be found around the world.

Tuesday, November 15th – Sunday, December 4th – Alligator Alley Discover the significance of the alligator to the Gray Fossil Site.  Put together pieces of a 3-dimensional puzzle of an alligator skull, and learn about the differences between alligators and crocodiles.

Tuesday, December 6th – Saturday, January 31st – Curious Coal Celebrate Miner’s Day by learning about the link between coal and fossils. Get an up close and personal look by examining coal specimens and core samples.

Ticket Information

Museum Exhibits
Adults & children (ages 3+) $5.00
Children (2 & younger) FREE
Members receive FREE admission

Dig Site Tours
Adults & children (ages 3+) $3.00
Children (2 & Younger) FREE
Members receive one free tour per year

Plan Your Trip

Museum Hours

Tuesday-Friday 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am-5:00pm
Sunday 1:00 pm-5:00pm
Monday 9:00 am-5:00 pm (June, July, & August only)

The Museum is closed the following holidays:
New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Other Closings:
Please check our Facebook and Twitter pages for snow schedule closings

Membership Information

• FREE admission to the Gray Fossil Site & Museum exhibits
• One FREE dig site tour per year
• Subscription to the Museum’s e-newsletter
• 10% Discount in the Museum Gift Shop

Individual Membership $20
Valid for one named adult at Gray Fossil Site & Museum

Family Membership $40
Valid for two named parents and children under 18 living in the household at Gray Fossil Site & Museum



Group Visits

You can make a reservation by phone or by submitting your information through e-mail at and someone will be in touch with you. We recommend you make reservations at least three weeks in advance. A reservation is required for all groups of 10 or more. Groups of 25 or more are required to visit the museum in a structured tour format, smaller groups may be self-guided, if desired. Reservations must be made in order to receive a group discount.

Make Your Reservation!


Dwarf Tapir, Tapirus polkensis
One of many species of tapir found at the Gray Fossil Site


What is the Gray Fossil Site?

The Gray Fossil Site and Museum is a place where visitors can get up close and personal with an active Miocene-era fossil dig site. Scientists believe the site was formed by an underground limestone cave that collapsed and created a sinkhole. This left a vast fossil deposit that dates back 4.5 – 7 million years ago. Animals that have been unearthed so far include: saber tooth cat, alligator, tapir, rhinoceros, short-faced bear, and a mastodon as well as hundreds of plants and other animals.

Come by the Museum to learn more about this incredible discovery and even take a tour of the dig site itself!

For More Info, visit the ETSU Center for Excellence in Paleontology.

12. volunteer crew in rhino pit

A volunteer crew excavating the Rhino Pit at the Gray Fossil Site Museum and Visitor Center


Party Tapir, Tapirus celebratius
A special species of tapir only found at the Gray Fossil Site

Birthday Parties

Looking for a truly unique and memorable venue? Book your party at the Gray Fossil Site & Museum today, for a birthday you’ll never forget! For special events, group reservations, event rentals, or other questions, please call (423) 439-3659, or email us! A 50% deposit is required to make your reservation. Party slots fill up quickly so we suggest that reservations be made at least one month in advance.

Make Your Reservation!



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