In the hills of Lilydale Park, an undeveloped preserve along the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minnesota, amateur paleontologists can hunt for fossils, hammer and chisel in hand. In the park’s eroding sedimentary cliffs—part of what remains of an ancient seafloor that covered the mid-continent—millions of aquatic life fossils can be found. For $10, St. Paul’s Park Permit Office offers licenses for amateur fossil hunters to snoop, chip, chisel, and gather fossils at will. You can take home fossilized clams, snails, mollusks, sponges, coral, and dozens of other life-forms frozen in time.
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