Now – Sunday, October 8th – Red Panda Days
Calling all Red Panda Rangers!  Join us to learn more about Red Pandas of the past and today, as well as their significance at the Gray Fossil Site and try out some Red Panda activities and crafts.  Programs announced periodically throughout each day.

Tuesday, September 26th, 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.

Friday, September 29th, 6:30pm – Movie Night
“Block” out some time for a movie full of building blocks, superheroes, jokers, vigilantes, crime fighting, and more!  Can our hero drop the act, work with others, and learn to lighten up to save his city form a hostile takeover?  (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.

Saturday, September 30th, 9:00-10:30am – Girl Scout Bugs Badge Activity
Calling all Girl Scouts!  Join us for a fun, hands-on, guided experience that will make you “bug out”.  Complete all of the requirements for the Brownie Bugs Badge, although all Girl Scouts are welcome.  Draw a bug poster, try a bug craft, see bugs in action, explore bug homes, and take a bug “field trip”.   Pre-registration is required by Wednesday, September 20th to receive the discounted rate of $7 per scout for ages 5+, otherwise the cost is $10 at the door.  To make your reservation, please email reservations@handsonmuseum.org.  (*Admission to the main museum exhibition area is not included.  The museum will be open at an additional cost at the regular per person rate.)

Tuesday, October 10th – Sunday, November 5th – Lasting Impressions
Examine fossil replicas and create your own fossil themed plate rubbing.  Discover the four main types of fossils, then try out our footprint tracks and mold fossil impressions activities to see some key differences.  Programs announced periodically throughout each day.

Saturday, October 14th, 10:30am-2:30pm – Fossils Pop-in Activity
Stop by anytime between 10:30-2:30 to examine real fossils with a “picking” activity featuring micro-sediment from Aurora, NC*.  Play Fossil or Fake and use plaster to create your own fossil cast replica to take home.  Children must be supervised at all times. Materials fee of $3 per person, while supplies last. (*All fossils and sediment must remain on site.)

Saturday, October 21st – Can You Dig It?
Join us on International Archaeology Day to unearth the mysteries of the past by digging for clues in our shoe box archaeology activity.  Programs announced periodically throughout each day.

Ticket Information

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

Paleo Tour (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 Paleo 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 view and learn about 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!

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!