Click here for Summer Camp information and a registration form!

 July 10-14, and July 24-28
1/2 day and full-day options available!

Only at the Gray Fossil Site & Museum can you dig for fossils, wet-screen micro-fossils, get a behind the scenes tour of the fossil site, make casts of bones, and examine rocks and minerals.  Additional activities include dissecting an owl pellet, science experiments, science-based art projects, t-shirt tie-dying, and so much more!  Children ages 5 to 12 can explore and discover the sciences, arts, and more in our week-long summer camps that are sure to make memories to last a lifetime.  Download the registration packet for more information or to register!

Now – Sunday, July 30th – Explore Science:  Earth & Space
Join us for something out of this world in honor of Asteroid Day!  Explore Earth and space with a variety of experiments changing throughout the day, each day including making clouds, investigating gravity, exploring icy worlds, and much, much more!  Programs announced periodically throughout each day.

Wednesday, July 19th, 9:30am – 11:30am – Shark Dissection
Take a bite out of summer boredom in honor of Shark Week with a one of a kind experience – dissecting a dogfish shark!  Work with a partner as you dissect and discover the inner workings of one of the ocean’s mysterious creatures.  Cost $20 for members, $25 for non-members.  Ages 8-15.  Payment is required with registration by Wednesday, July 12th.  To register, please email reservations@handsonmuseum.org.  To ensure a fun, effective, and consistent workshop experience, parents/guardians may not present in the workshop.

Tuesday, July 25th, 4:00-6:00pm – Fossil & Artifact  ID Night
You don’t have to be a paleontologist to find fossils. Identifying them is a different story.  Bring any kind of rock, fossil, artifact, or mineral to Fossil & Artifact ID Night, and scientists at the museum will provide space for the study of these finds. There will be an archaeologist, paleontologist, and geologist on site. The event is free and open to the public but does not include admission to exhibits.

Monday, July 31st – Sunday, September 3rd – Lions, and Tigers, and Saber Toothed Cats, Oh My!
World Cat Day is coming up, so why not learn about the secrets of the Saber Tooth Cat?  Join us as we compare and contrast the saber tooth with a variety of cats and learn why the Saber Tooth Cat is noteworthy to the Gray Fossil Site.  Programs announced periodically throughout each day.

Saturday, August 12th, 9:30am – noon – Jr. Geologist Workshop
You asked, and we listened-one of our most popular workshops is now available to you on the weekend!  Find out why geology “rocks” in this workshop all about the wonders of the science of geology.  Formulate your own ooey gooey quicksand and make a sinkhole in a cup.  Explore the differences between rocks and minerals, then try out a rock and mineral hardness test while learning about Mohs Hardness Scale!  A healthy snack is included.  Cost $12 for members, $15 for non-members.  Ages 5-13. Payment is required with registration by Wednesday, August 2nd.  To register, please email reservations@handsonmuseum.org.  To ensure a fun, effective, and consistent workshop experience, parents/guardians may not present in the workshop.

Friday, August 25th, 6:30pm – Movie Night
Cool down from the summer heat with a movie straight out of the Ice Age.  Watch your favorite eclectic herd  save the planet from a cosmic threat caused by yet another failed acorn pursuit.  (Rated PG) The Museum gift shop will be open and stocked with snacks, drinks, and other various merchandise available for purchase (Outside food and drink not permitted).  Cost:  Movie viewing is FREE in the ECU Classroom with limited seating available. Themed activities will be available at intermission for $2 per person ages 3+.  (Our Museum exhibition space will be closed.  Adult supervision required at all times.)  Doors open at 6:30, movie begins at 6:45, with an intermission at the movie’s midpoint.

Ticket Information

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

Dig Site Tours (with Museum admission)
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 (March, 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

Membership benefits for a DUAL membership to the Gray Fossil Site & Museum and Hands On! Regional Museum:

  • Unlimited admission, for one year to Gray Fossil Site & Museum AND Hands On! Regional Museum
  • One free Dig Site tour at the Gray Fossil Site and one free showing of “The Tesla Experience” at Hands On!
  • $3 off guest admissions at Hands On! (when member is present)
  • Subscription to quarterly newsletter or monthly e-newsletters, if you provided your email address
  • Discounts on “The Tesla Experience” shows, workshops, clubs, traveling exhibits, birthday parties, camps, and gift shop purchases
  • Invitations to selected members only events
  • Reciprocal FREE admission to over 350 other museums worldwide which belong to Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC).  To view a list of participating museums, please visit: http://www.astc.org/passport (The Gray Fossil Site & Museum location does not participate in the ASTC program.  Free admission to GFSM only applies to DUAL membership holders.)

Individual Membership $40
(Valid for one named adult and all children age 2 or younger)

Family Membership $75
(Includes two adults in the same household and (grand)children under 18)

Joint Parent + Grandparent $115
(Includes 2 parents, 2 grandparents and all grandchildren under 18)

Add-On $20
(Additional adults or children may be added to any of the above memberships)

Click HERE to purchase a membership on-line (add-ons may be added at the front desk on your next visit)



Group Visits

You can make a reservation by phone or by submitting your information through e-mail and someone will be in touch with you. Just click Make Your Reservation, below. 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.
• Students and chaperones are $3 each
• Teachers are free
• A lunchroom is available for $25

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) 439-3662, or email us!

Birthday Parties are $225 for non-members and $200 for members. A 50% deposit is required to make your reservation.

Party times are: Saturdays 10:30, 12:30, & 2:30, Sundays at 1:30 & 3:00. Times fill up quickly so we suggest that reservations be made at least one month in advance.

A party includes: 45 minutes in the part room, customized cake with the child’s name on it (rectangular quarter sheet cake), ice cream, punch, party plates & cups in your choice of colors, a program in the museum, and admission to the museum for the entire day for up to 20 guests (children 2 & younger are free), extra guests are $5 per person.

Make Your Reservation!



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Let us come to you! If you’d like to have us give a presentation for your school, local civic club, church, or organization!



The museum offers the perfect venue for your unique corporate, community, or private event!