I had no idea that New Jersey's Rowan University had a fossil park, nor did I know that South Jersey is considered a "cradle of dinosaur paleontology". I believe it's time for me to put on my Dr. Alan Grant costume and go dig for dinosaur bones!

Dr. Kenneth Lacovara is leading research at the Rowan University Fossil Park in Mantua Township, N.J.

The park contains thousands of fossils and provides researchers with the best window, east of the Mississippi, into the Cretaceous Period. Fossils found at the site include, among others, marine snails, brachiopods, bryozoan colonies, shark teeth, boney fish, sea turtles, marine crocodiles and mosasaurus. Lacovara’s team is gaining a clearer picture of the period when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

While scientists conduct research at the park, the site is an educational center for anyone interested in experiencing the thrill of hands-on science exploration.

Rowan University purchased the park in January of 2016. Plans for the park include community dig days and other educational programs for schoolchildren and community groups, as well as establishing a science center that focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. The University also has created a School of Earth & Environment, which Dr. Lacovara leads as founding dean. Rowan is working with Mantua Township and Gloucester County Freeholders to further develop the park as a center for science education and exploration.

rowan.edu/fossils