Sunday, February 8th, 10am-4pm – Darwin Day

Darwin Day is an international celebration of science that honors the inspirational work of Charles Darwin. Darwin is admired as a curious and courageous critical thinker and remembered best for his groundbreaking research into the history of life on Earth. This year, Darwin Day commemorates the famous naturalist’s 211th birthday.

Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to participate in family-friendly hands-on activities that explore the science of the natural world, and to engage directly with scientists as they present diverse collections of fossils, insects, plants, and more. Our museum scientists will be joined by scientists from nearby parks and universities. Our full list of partners will be announced as the date draws closer.

Activities will be on-going from 10am to 4pm. All Darwin Day activities are free to the public.

More events coming soon!

For  events at Hands On! Discovery Center, please visit the Calendar of Events.

Ticket Information

Admission to the Gray Fossil Site is now included with admission to Hands On! Discovery Center.  Click here for ticket prices.

Plan Your Trip

Museum Hours

Gray Fossil Site exhibits are available during Hands On! Discovery Center hours:

Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm
Sunday 1pm-5pm
Monday 9am-5pm (during March, June, July, & August only)

Hands On! Discovery Center closed the following holidays:
New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Other Closings:
Please check our Facebook and Twitter pages for snow schedule closings

Membership Information

One-year memberships are available.

Click HERE to for more information or to purchase on-line (add-ons may be added at the front desk on your next visit)


Group Visits

If you are coming with a group of 10 or more paying guests, you may qualify for a group discount. For more information please visit our Group Visits page.



Dwarf Tapir, Tapirus polkensis
One of many species of tapir found at the Gray Fossil Site

What is the Gray Fossil Site?

The Gray Fossil Site is a place where visitors can view and learn about an active Pliocene-era fossil dig site. Scientists believe the site was formed by an underground limestone cave that collapsed and created a sinkhole. This left a vast fossil deposit that dates back approximately 5 million years ago. Animals that have been unearthed so far include: saber tooth cat, alligator, tapir, rhinoceros, short-faced bear, and a mastodon as well as hundreds of plants and other animals.

Come by to learn more about this incredible discovery!

For More Info, visit the ETSU Center for Excellence in Paleontology.

12. volunteer crew in rhino pit

A volunteer crew excavating the Rhino Pit at the Gray Fossil Site Museum and Visitor Center


Party Tapir, Tapirus celebratius
A special species of tapir only found at the Gray Fossil Site

Birthday Parties

Looking for a truly unique and memorable venue? We are now offering Paleo-themed Birthday Parties!  Visit our Birthday Party page to learn more


Your donations will support STEM education. Donate today!


Let us come to you! If you’d like to have us give a presentation for your school, local civic club, church, or organization!


We offer the perfect venue for your unique corporate, community, or private event!