Nearly 12 million years ago, volcanic ash engulfed this ancient watering hole, entombing innumerable animals. National Geographic has called it the Pompeii of prehistoric animals. Because of its scientific importance, the 360-acre historical park between Orchard and Royal was acquired in 1987 and is a joint project of the Game and Parks Commission and the University of Nebraska State Museum. See paleontologists “dig” the site and prepare fossils unearthed. Interpretive facilities, include a visitor center and rhino barn. Your first stop should be the Visitor Center to see the interpretive displays and the working fossil preparation laboratory. You are invited to ask the paleontologists about their work. Educational programs are presented on regular basis. From the Visitor Center, it is but a short stroll to the Rhino Barn, where new discoveries continue to be unearthed.

The park offers a fascinating and educational experience for the entire family and a chance to step back in time to see what Nebraska wildlife was like long before modern man ventured onto the Great Plains.

Visitors are invited to watch the ongoing excavation of this unique “time capsule.” A 2,000 square foot “Rhino Barn” protects part of the deposit, where skeletons are uncovered and displayed exactly where they are found. Walkways give visitors a close-up view as paleontologists carefully brush away the volcanic ash from the massive skulls of native American rhinos and the delicate side hooves of tiny ancestral horses.

Campers can use nearby Grove Lake Wildlife Management Area near Royal.

Location

Ashfall SHP Nebraska
86930 517th Ave, Royal, NE 68773, United States

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Hours

Park Operating Schedule:

May 1 – May 28: Tuesday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday

May 29 – September 6: Wednesday through Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday

September 8 – October 10: Open Wednesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday

Fees

Admission: $7.50 per person age 3 and older. Age 2 and younger free.

A valid vehicle Park Entry Permit is required.

For more information and to purchase advance tickets, visit https://ashfall.unl.edu.

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Contact Details

Phone: (402) 893-2000

Email: ashfall2@unl.edu

Official Website: Ashfall SHP Nebraska

Museum Website: https://ashfall.unl.edu/

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Area Attractions

Suggested Equipment for Ashfall SHP Nebraska:

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The following activities within the park should be done with utmost caution. Make sure that you have the proper protective gear and equipment necessary to make your adventures safe and accident-free. We advise you to read the TIPS underneath each activity to serve as a guide on what you may need to bring in order to enjoy your stay fully.

Activities & Tips

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Ashfall SHP is a must-visit state park in Nebraska. Check out other state parks in Nebraska here.

Nebraska State Parks