Last updated: 9/5/2013
Chowchilla, California
Street Address
19450 Avenue 21 1/2
Chowchilla, CA 93610
Mailing Address
19450 Avenue 21 1/2
Chowchilla, CA 93610
phone: 559-665-7107
Tuesday - Saturday9 AM - 4 PM
Sunday11 AM - 4 AM
Adults: $8
Seniors: $6
Military: $6
Students (): $4
Mock Dig: $4
Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Blake Bufford, Manager
phone: 559-665-7107
Lori Pond, President, San Joaquin Valley Paleontology Foundation
phone: 559-908-2469

A popular destination for thousands of visitors, including over 5,000 grade school students each year. We have a nice exhibit to browse, a working lab and a mock dig pit for kids. One of the largest Middle Pleistocene fossil deposits in California was discovered across the road at the Fairmead Landfill. Over 15,000 fossils have been collected and many have been identified including the Columbian mammoth, camel, horse, saber-tooth cat, scimitar cat, dire wolf and giant ground sloth as well as reptiles, amphibians and fish.


17 years ago at the Madera County landfill during normal scraping of dirt the tusk of a Columbian mammoth was discovered. Since then over 15,000 fossils have been discovered. These fossils are from the Pleistocene epoch and range in age from 10,000 years to 700,000 years. Now at the site across the street from the discovery is our Fossil Discovery Center museum.

Educational Programs

Gallery tours, field trips, mock dig.

For field trip information, please call the Fossil Discovery Center main desk at 559.665.7107 during business hours

The Fossil Discovery Center, Madera County offers you and your students a unique opportunity – tour the landfill that is also a fossil dig. With the fall 2010 opening of the EDUCATION CENTER, the San Joaquin Valley Paleontology Foundation provides ways for local community, especially our youth, to have a hands-on experience of the excitement of scientific discovery. We organize tours, classroom presentations and exhibits and soon to be offered mock digs. With our on-site Paleontologist, we provide opportunities for volunteers to help dig fossils, prep exhibits AND help teachers use fossils to make science exciting!


About the Foundation

The San Joaquin Valley Paleontology Foundation was formed in 1996 after the discovery of the Fairmead Fossils in Madera County, California. The Fairmead Fossils are found at the Madera County landfill, which is located in the small town of Fairmead just south of Chowchilla. These fossils were first discovered when a scraper was moving dirt and the alert equipment operator noticed some unusual coloration of the soil. Investigation revealed a complete fossil of a Columbian Mammoth tusk, which was dated at approximately 500,000 years old. In a short time, scientists realized that the landfill was located on one of the most significant fossil beds discovered from the Pleistocene period.


Wheelchair Accessible




Become a member

Become a member of the Fossil Discovery Center or get your name on an exhibit as a sponsor. Everyone can create an account for free to be a registered user of this website, then you have the option to become a paid member or sponsor of the Fossil Discovery Center. 559-665-7107.

Store and soon to have online purchases

Visitors to the Fossil Discovery Center are able to purchase gift items onsite. But we also intend to have an online store here. Once we have the rest of the website in place we will post items here you may wish to purchase to support the FDC.

Take a look on our store website and our incredible images of prehistoric animals that could be yours.

Special Event Rentals

Please take advantage of our one place on earth where you and your friends can spend time with our friends: Columbian mammoth, saber tooth cat, ancient horses, camels, dire wolf, short faced bear and giant ground sloths etc... Just call us for details!

Gift Shop

Special Event Rental

Group Tours

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