Nashville September 14, 2018
You’ll Love Digging For Fossils At This Unique Site Just Outside Of Nashville
Tennessee is best known for its fantastic BBQ cuisine and gorgeous waterfall hikes, but we also have a history that dips much further back in time than our Civil War plantations and battlefields. Out in Gray, Tennessee, we actually have a fairly unknown spot that makes for an incredible and downright unbelievable prehistoric experience right in the heart of the American south. Have you ever dug up your own fossils?
There's a crazy history behind the Gray Fossil Site in Gray, Tennessee. Almost twenty years ago, a TDOT highway crew stumbled across a 5 million-year-old fossil site. It has since been turned into a neat, hands-on learning center for Tennesseans and tourists.
Known as the Gray Site, here you can find Miocene-Epoch fossils that date back to 4.9 million and 4.7 million years ago.
Geologists technically discovered the area after they started to look into clay deposits that were making their way to the surface during the expansion of State Route 75.
The area has since been protected by the state government in order to protect the historic relevancy, and a museum and research center have since been erected on the site.
The Gray Fossil Museum is officially known as the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitor Center, and it's a great place to visit for the young and old alike.
You'll be able to find exhibits on animals like the ground sloth, the rhino, the saber-toothed cat and tapirs.
For fossils that were accidentally found just twenty years ago, this local space unlocks some incredible history from Tennessee years and years ago.
Experts have come to believe that the collapse of a limestone cave left a sinkhole many, many years ago, which in turn collected all sorts of animals, later hardening them into fossilized remains.
The Hands On! Discovery Center hails from Johnson City and has opened up a kid-friendly area that's great for the tiniest Tennesseans to get to know the prehistoric world that once existed around them.
There are still active digs on the site, many of which run from May to October. Although the public is not able to visit and participate in the digs, you will be able to see the teams in action with an upgraded admission ticket.
Chock full of exhibits and special spaces curated for your enjoyment and education, this is an incredible and still relatively unknown experience in the heart of Tennessee. You can visit for yourself at 1212 Suncrest Dr. in Gray, Tennessee.
This beautiful mountain hiking trail is also a stunning spot to visit if you’re looking.