Today my class went on a fabulous field trip to the Roynon Museum of Paleontology in Escondido, California. This not for profit museum is only open to school groups and service organizations like the Boy and Girl Scouts. I also learned that it is available for birthday parties. The museum is not open to the public.
I had never been on this field trip, so I had no idea what to expect. I heard that the museum was in a residential area and that the director of the museum did this out of his garage. I heard nothing but great reviews from other people, so I was excited.
When the bus arrived at the museum, we were greeted by an elderly gentleman who explained the first activity. We walked up the driveway to a long table filled with different kinds of rocks. Mr. Roynon talked to us about the three types of rock and how they were formed. Then, the students got the opportunity to hold the rocks.
Mr. Roynon explained how rocks have different colors to them. He also told where in the world the different rocks came from.
After lots of discussion and handling, we were able to enter the museum where Mr. Roynon shared his extensive collection of fossils. I asked him about his collection. He explained that he had been collecting for many years. He has connections all over the world. Because he is so knowledgeable about fossils, he is able to select the right specimens. Most of the fossils were museum quality replicas of actual fossils. Students saw the skulls of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Triceraptops. They also saw the femur bone of a Brachiosaurus. My students were able to touch a life-size replica of a Triceratops footprint. They were also able to see different clutches of fossilized dinosaur eggs. It was amazing.
At the end of the fossil presentation, we were led into another room with long tables and chairs. This was the room where the students got to assemble their own rock box. Students got their pick of 9 out of 32 rocks and fossils to place on their card. Once they made their selection, they glued down their rocks with hot glue guns. They were even given labels to stick on their cards that named the rocks they chose.
After this activity, students were able to fill a small plastic bag with small stones, and each student got to select a geode to take home. For $17 a student, I thought they got a lot.
I have to say I really enjoyed this field trip. My students and I learned a lot about rocks and fossils. It was so much fun, I even purchased rock boxes for my own children. If I get the opportunity to go to the Roynon Museum of Paleontology again, I will purchase a box for myself!