Fossil Country Museum (Free Admission): This is a great museum! There are a number of interesting exhibits including local history, replica coal mine, and bootleg stills. The local history is quite interesting.
JC Penny’s Mother Store: Kemmerer is the home of the first JC Penny’s store, established in 1902, and is still open for business! JC Penny’s home, not far away from the store, has been turned into a museum (Free Admission), and tours are offered.
Fossil Butte National Monument (Free Admission): Just 9 miles west of Kemmerer is the Fossil Butte National Monument, set in sagebrush-covered hills with lots of wildlife and great hiking trails. This area preserves one of the richest fossil deposits in the world. Here, fifty million-year-old fish, insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, and plants are nearly perfectly preserved in limestone. The Visitor Center is a must-see. It has over 300 fossils, including a 13-foot crocodilian, the oldest complete bats, and a mass mortality of 356 fish. It also includes videos programs and a number of interactive exhibits. If you have youngsters with you, call ahead (307) 877-4455, and ask about the Jr. and Sr. Ranger programs, open June, July, August.
While it is illegal to remove fossils from the Monument, there are private fossil sites that, for a fee, will let you dig and keep what you find:
Ulrich’s Fossil Tours is located on Hwy 30W, 10 miles west of Kemmerer (307) 877-6466. They open June 1st and close on Labor Day. They provide all excavation tools as well as transportation to and from the excavation area. The total experience as about 3 hours. Having participated with this company, we highly recommend it.
Fossil Safari: (307) 883-2445, is located about 12.4 miles from Kemmerer’s Chamber of Commerce. They recommend you secure a map (website: www.fossilsafari.com) before you head to the quarry as there are no markers to the site along the way. They will provide you with tools and a lesson before you begin.They open the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and close October 1.