That’s how long it took for every ticket to be sold for the annual Community Dig Day at Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University in Mantua Township.
Last year, it sold out in 23 minutes.
The popularity surrounding this event is due to what the park says is one of the only authentic dig sites of its kind in the country.
“These kids are choosing to visit us instead of Disney World,” said the park’s Event Coordinator Natalie Foxhill.
Unique to this site is not only visitors can take home what they dig up, but it is also home to Ken Lacovara, discoverer of Dreadnoughtus schrani, the largest fossilized dinosaur ever unearthed, and founding dean of the university’s School of Earth & Environment.
With the guidance of Lacovara, visitors will be able to excavate with their own hands and identify their own fossils in the park’s four-acre quarry. Every participant will have the chance to leave the park with a fossil that is 65 million years old, according to the park’s website.
On Sept. 14, attendees will have access to the quarry for two hours during four dig sessions, starting at 8:30 a.m., then 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. VIP packages, or patron passes, are still available to individuals for $75 and families for $175, and give access into the quarry for the entire day with no restrictions, and give a hardcover copy of Lacovara’s award-winning book, “Why Dinosaurs Matter.”
For more information, visit the park’s Facebook page at EdelmanFossilPark or visit rowan.edu/fossils.
Food trucks and a complimentary beer garden for guests 21 and older will also be available for visitors from noon to 3:30 p.m. A children’s play area is also available, along with handicap accessible sandboxes for digging.
Sponsors of this event include TD Bank, Neck of the Woods Brewing Company, Orbit Solar, Chemglass and Carolina Blue Smokehouse and Taproom.
As of now, the park is only open to the public a few times a year, which comes as a problem due to all of the growing popularity surrounding the site.
To answer those needs, the university is planning to open a state-of-the-art visitors center and museum at the fossil park in late 2022.
“There’s just so many people that want to visit, and we just can’t accommodate them all. So we’re all really looking forward to this museum so we can continue to tell this story and accommodate as many guests as possible both local and international,” said Foxhill.
The new complex will allow for daily tours and activities for visitors, and of course, more time to buy tickets.