9 Great Fossil Museums and Activities in the Jurassic Coast
The World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast goes from Exmouth in East Devon all the way to Studland Bay in Dorset. This area contains more than one hundred and eighty-five million years of history, which is why many people will want to venture there for a visit. The entire coast is comprised of cliffs, Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous, and those cliffs are best viewed from the water. Of course, there are many other things that a person can do besides staring at rocky cliffs while visiting the area.
Here are 10 amazing things to see and do on the Jurassic Coast:
There are many safe areas for people to go fossil collecting on the Jurassic Coast and it is actually encouraged, so that the fossils are not destroyed by the water of the sea. The best place to find fossils is Charmouth, and while a person can try this on their own, they may be more successful if they participate in a guided fossil walk.
Beer Quarry Caves
Guided tours are offered at the Beer Quarry Caves, so that people can learn the history of not only the stone excavation, but also of the people who worked there. These caves were worked in by hand since the Roman times, but that worked ceased in 1920. The result was the current caverns that have vaulted ceilings and pillars of Beer Stone that makes it look like an enormous cathedral. These caves are closed during the winter months, due to the bats that hibernate there.
Dorset County Museum
The Dorset County Museum can be found within the Dorchester town centre and it displays items that focus on the last two hundred million years of the region. Inside the museum, guests can see fossils as well as replica flying reptiles. However, the most popular item is the jaw and skull of a very large pliosaur. It has the nickname of World’s Biggest Bite, as it is the largest and most preserved in the entire world.
The Fairlynch Museum is one of only a couple thatched museums in the United Kingdom. The cottage building dates back to 1811 and the museum itself opened in 1967. The entire museum is dedicated to Budleigh Salterton as well as the Lower Otter Valley, and it displays numerous period costumes and geological items. Guests will learn about how the Budleigh pebbles were discovered and how they ended up in faraway places like Hastings.
The Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre
This is where everyone can learn about how the barrier beach was formed along with the history that has followed that formation. A bridge from the Centre allows people to cross the Fleet Lagoon to the spectacular beach, plus there are numerous boat trips held on the Fleet Lagoon during the warmer months of the year.
The Etches Collection – Museum of Jurassic Marine Life
Steve Etches spent thirty years discovering, collecting, and researching more than two thousand late Jurassic Kimmeridgian specimens. His time was well spent as his collection is the most extensive of any that were found within the Kimmeridgian Clay Formation. This collection can now be viewed at the Museum of Jurassic Marine Life.
Lyme Regis Museum
Fossil collecting on the Jurassic Coast has been popular for many years, and this museum displays many of the fossils that people have found. Guests can learn about the two people who became famous with their fossil hunting and collecting when they visit this museum. Mary Anning is considered to be the best fossil hunter in the world, while William Buckland is known as the father of geology. The best part of the museum is that is now has an interactive fossil gallery, so that people can have a more hands-on experience as they are seeing fossils for possibly the first time.
This is one of the two Portland stone quarries that are left in this area and people can visit to see if they can find more than sixty sculptures that are hidden in the infamous Portland stone. All the exposed rocks are from late Jurassic, so they are one hundred and thirty-five to one hundred and forty million years old.
Wareham Town Museum
This museum will show guests how the Jurassic Coast is directly linked to the Wytch Farm oil field. The oil that the farm found was buried deep underground, where it had started as organic material and then as it sat there, it cooked into the oil.
The Jurassic Coast is quite an amazing place to visit and people will have plenty to do while they are there. Most of a person’s adventures will include the fossils of the coast, but that is okay since that is what the region is famous for.