Imagine a place where the ground beneath your feet is a gateway to a world 66 million years old. That’s the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park. Located in Mantua Township, this park will be a treasure trove of history, scheduled to open this summer.

It’s not just any park; it’s a journey back to the Cretaceous period. You can literally dig up the past, uncovering fossils that have been hidden for eons. And we’re not talking about tiny fragments; these are significant pieces of history that tell tales of the creatures that once roamed our planet.

But the Fossil Park is more than just a dig site. It’s a state-of-the-art facility, with a museum that’s going to be New Jersey’s largest public net zero building. Imagine walking through exhibits powered by green energy, where interactive displays bring extinct creatures to life right before your eyes.


Rowan University broke ground on the ambitious, $73 million dollar facility in 2021. “We’ve been working on this project for more than a decade,” Ric Edelman, a school alumnus who has contributed more than $25 million for the facility, told NJ Advance Media earlier this month. “It’s very gratifying to see everyone’s enthusiasm.”

The man in charge of the 44,000-square-foot museum is Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, the discoverer of the colossal Dreadnoughtus schrani. Under his guidance, the park will be a hub for research and education, with the opportunity for the public to dig for, and keep, fossils (unless you find something rare, then the museum keeps it).


According to NJ Advance Media,

One of the museum’s planned exhibits will include a recreated Dryptosaurus, the first discovered tyrannosaur, which was found a mile from the fossil park site in 1866, and a 53-foot mosasaur, like one discovered at the fossil park site, a statement from the school said.

The museum sits on top of a quarry where Mesozoic-era fossils have been found.

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Gallery Credit: Andrea Vale

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