GPS address: 345 Oak Hill Rd., Red Bank
The Nature Center and Murray Farmhouse are located on Oak Hill Road. The Fossil Beds are on Middletown-Lincroft Road between Nutswamp Road and Oak Hill Road. (a short drive away). Each location has separate parking lots. Most trails begin at Nature Center, but also from Ivy Hill Road, and behind Wilmort Park. See park map for details.
The Nature Center is open during business hours and for special events. The public is invited to explore our touch table, use the bathrooms, pick up a trail map, rent fossil equipment, or say hello to our resident turtles. In front of the Nature Center is a Native Plant and Rain Garden containing a mix of wildflowers, grasses, trees, and shrubs.
Primer on Murray Farmhouse
The Poricy Brook Fossil Beds are well known to fossil collectors in the Northeast. The fossils are from the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era, when the area of Poricy Brook and the rest of the Atlantic Coastal Plain was a shallow ocean. The layer that has been exposed by the cutting action of Poricy Brook is called the Navesink Formation and is approximately 72 million years old. Although fossils of many animals have been found in the Poricy Brook Fossil Beds, most are shellfish. The Fossil Beds are located on Middletown-Lincroft Road between Nutswamp Road and Oak Hill Road. There is a large dark red sign at the parking lot entrance. There is no access to the fossil beds from the main entrance to Poricy Park on Oak Hill Road.
Guide to Fossils of Poricy Brook
Field Guide to the Fossils of Poricy Brook
Guided trips for school groups, scouts, and birthday parties are available. Check Educational Programming for more information.
Community fossil hunts are held on select Sundays in the spring. Check Community Special Events for more information.
- Poricy Brook is a natural flowing stream and there are fluctuations in stream depth and conditions. We regularly inspect and maintain the area to keep it as safe as possible.
- Wear old clothes, sneakers, or boots, as you'll be hunting in the stream-bed. We recommend bringing a towel and a change of shoes or clothes. Flip-flops, slip-on footwear, and bare feet are prohibited.
- Although fossils may be found lying loose along the stream, the best way to find them is by shifting the sand and gravel of the stream bed. Please do not dig in the stream banks, even though you may see holes dug by others. This action hastens erosion of the banks and does not yield the number of fossils which digging in the stream bed does.
- Use trowels and screens (both rented equipment or home). Rock hammers, picks, shovels, and excavating tools are not allowed. You will be asked to leave if such equipment is in use.
- The stream continuously exposes new fossils, so feel free to take home a few of your best finds.
- Do not climb on the banks. They are steep, slippery, and hazardous in some areas
Rentals cost $5 per set (screen and trowel), plus a $15 refundable deposit per set. Families may also bring their own equipment and visit the fossil beds at no charge. Special arrangements must be made for groups of 10 or more. We ask that you kindly call ahead to confirm the availability of the fossil beds, especially during the school year when many field trips are booked.