With a population of just about 600 people, you'd think that things in Aurora, North Carolina would be mum, to say the least. The tiny town is actually buzzing with life, or at least life that roamed the Earth over 20 million years ago. It's totally worth a visit because it's one of the only places you can dig for fossils in North Carolina.
The Aurora Fossil Museum is home to several displays of prehistoric life and gems uncovered from underneath the Earth's surface. While the science center is fascinating in itself, the most interactive part is the opportunity to become a paleontologist yourself.
Directly across the street from the museum is Fossil Park. The fossil pits are rich in remnants of previous eras, all of which you can collect at absolutely no charge.
The fossil pit is hot with remains from the Miocene Age, which lasted from a period that spans back 24 to 5.3 million years ago.
Specifically, you'll come across parts that belonged to ancient sharks, whales, bony fish, coral and more. It might be hard to wrap your mind around what you just uncovered, so there's a convenient guide posted next to the dig site.
You know you're getting the real deal since the sediment is directly from the Aurora Phosphate Mine. This mine uncovers sediment from the Pungo River Formation, which is rich in unbelievable remains of ancient creatures.
If collecting pieces of the past is totally your thing, you'll have to return for the fossil festival that takes place every Memorial Day.
The two-day Aurora Fossil Festival features fossil-themed everything, including digs, hunts, auctions and amusement rides and games.
The best part about digging at the park or festival is that you don't need any special equipment to get started. You're welcome to get your hands dirty and dig a giant hole, but there are just as many treasures resting on the ground's surface.
No matter how old you might be, it's sure to reignite the inquisitive kid inside you.
Aurora Fossil Park
Address: 400 Main St., Aurora, NC
Why You Need To Go: You can discover parts that belonged to nature's most evasive prehistoric creatures at this dig site for free.