Museum Info

Boonshoft Museum of

2600 DeWeese Parkway
Dayton, OH 45414
(937) 275-7431
Fax (937) 275-5811
TTY (937) 278-6076

Directions & Map


Monday – Saturday
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Closed: New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Chistmas Eve, Christmas Day, Easter

General Admission

Children (3-17) $11.50
Seniors (60+) $12.50
Adults $14.50
Children under 3 and members are FREE.
Help us create a fun, safe environment for all our visitors! Children under 16 should always be accompanied by an adult in the Museum.
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CFC #36476


The Geology department contains rocks, minerals, fossils and meteorites from around the world, spanning prehistoric times through the present and from Earth to outer space.

Overview of the Geology Department


The Geology department at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery contains material from around the world. Spanning many eons from when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, to when Dayton was submerged underneath an ocean.

Highlights of the collection

The Dayton Society of Natural History Geology Collection consists of over 15,000 rocks, minerals, and paleontological specimens. Rock hounds will enjoy perusing the Collection’s selection of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Young paleontologists can see our dinosaur bones, and mineral specimens amaze everyone with their variety, luster, and range of colors.

Paleontology specimens include Pleistocene mammals excavated by the Museum from the Carter Bog Site: two nearly complete mastodon skeletons (an adult and a juvenile), a giant ground sloth, portions of a giant beaver, a white-tailed deer, and numerous fragmented fish and bird skeletons. The collection also houses fossils, including the second-largest trilobite found in Ohio (the largest specimen was donated to the Smithsonian), as well numerous trilobite species: Phacops rana, Isotelus maximus, and Flexicalymene meeki, among many others. Trilobites are not the only fossils preserved in the Burgess shale that are preserved in the Geology Collection. We also curate numerous examples of brachiopods, bryozoans, pelecypods, gastropods, cephalopds, and crinoids.

Mineral specimens in the Geology Collection are varied and in many cases, quite beautiful. Herkimer “diamonds,” rose quartz, amethyst, hematite, agates, pyrite and marcasite are all represented in the mineral collection. There are also calcite and fluorite specimens, as well as some minerals that are not commonly-known, including boulangerite, labradorite, and chrysoprase. Many of the mineral specimens are available for view by visitors in our “Glowing Geology” exhibit, presented by Vectren. This exhibit shows how certain minerals react to three varieties of light by fluorescing in vivid green and orange shades.


Q. I found what appears to be a tooth or a claw, but it’s made of stone. Could it be a dinosaur tooth or claw?

A. Actually, what you probably have found is called a horn coral. These were sea creatures, which lived in the Dayton area when most of Ohio was covered by the ocean. Horn corals first appeared over 505 million years ago. The structure of the coral is shaped like a horn, hence the name. Horn corals could be solitary or colonial.

Q. Why are there no dinosaur bones found in Ohio?   There are lots of other fossils here!

A. There are no dinosaur bones found in Ohio, because the strata of rock in which dinosaurs would be found has been eroded away. Therefore, the fossil-bearing rock strata we have in Ohio are older than those strata which would have had dinosaurs in it.

Q. I think I may have found a meteorite: it’s very heavy for its size, and it is round.

A. Most of these possible meteorites are actually something from Earth called a concretion. Concretions are rounded, sometimes massive rock formations that may feel heavier than they should, due to concentrations of iron included in some specimens. Concretions form in layers of sedimentary strata, and are sometimes called “pearls of the Earth” because they form around something. Layers of sedimentary rock are deposited around the center of the concretion, just as a pearl forms around a small piece of sand or rock inside an oyster’s shell.

Q. I have heard that the majority of the Museum’s Collection is not on display. How can I see the items that aren’t displayed?

A. Private tours of any of the Collection repositories can be arranged by contacting the appropriate Curator and making an appointment.

Link to staff

Assistant Curator of Geology, 937-275-7431 ext. 151 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Link to other relevant sites

The Ohio Seismic Network:
U.S. Gelogical Survey:
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program:
The Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom:
Mineralogy Database:
USGS Science In Your State: Ohio:

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Under Construction

  • Kids' Playce is currently under construction. Look for brand new additions to this exhibit starting in the fall through early 2016!

What is your favorite exhibit at the Museum?

Science On a Sphere® - 23.3%
Water Properties Table - 20.3%
Cassano’s Pizza Kitchen - 21.6%
Recycling Center - 16.6%
The Courthouse - 8.5%