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The Aurora Fossil Museum Oriental/Pamlico County Attractions
400 Main St.
Aurora, NC 27806

(252) 322-4238

The Aurora Fossil Museum is well known and appreciated throughout southeastern North Carolina for its unique contributions to hands-on history lessons.  Founded in 1976 as a nonprofit fossil education resource center, the museum’s mission is to increase knowledge of the geology, paleontology and archeology of the area.  The main building exhibits fossils from eastern North Carolina, Native American artifacts from North Carolina and Virginia, Mayan artifacts, and the phosphate mining operation of Potash Corp Aurora.  Across the street, the Annex-Learning Center features mineral displays, an Earth History Gallery of world-wide fossils, and a large room suitable for classes, meetings and parties.

The museum provides two large piles of fossil-rich material for children of all ages to mine for shark teeth, shells, coral and other Miocene-Pliocene age fossils.  This “Pit of the Pungo” is supplied from Potash Corp’s Lee Creek mine in Beaufort County which has yielded many of the world’s finest fossils of that era. 

The museum staff willingly provides personal assistance and other resources to help identify finds.  Visitors can bring their own digging tools if they wish but looking on the surface and moving a little dirt by hand can also be productive.

School groups are welcome and the museum is happy to provide free fossil and educational information for classroom use.  Staff suggests scheduling groups of ten or more in advance of a visit, so they have material and personnel ready.  If a school is unable to make a trip to the museum, arrangements may be made for museum programs to visit gatherings of 100 participants or more, ideally divided into several consecutive groups.  The presentation includes an exhibit of fossils and a discussion appropriate for the grade level of the students. Generally, however, a “field trip” to the museum will provide a more complete, hands-on experience for the students.  The museum also has limited personnel and financial resources for trips away from Aurora. 

The museum is open Monday through Saturday 9AM until 4:30 PM.  In addition to these hours, from March 1 through Labor Day, the museum is open on Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 PM.  Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted.  A gift shop in the main building offers fossils, souvenirs and tools for digging and sifting.  Ample free parking is provided.  

 

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