May 8, 2012

Georneys with Dana- Part II: The Rock, Fossil, & Dinosaur Shop

Posted by Evelyn Mervine


The front of the Rock, Fossil, & Dinosaur Shop, complete with naked (non-feathered) velociraptor.

Note: I convinced my Geokittehs co-author Dana Hunter to fly from Seattle to New Hampshire to visit me for a few days. I handed in the final version of my PhD thesis last Friday afternoon, and Dana arrived last Saturday to help me celebrate. This is Part II of my description of the fun georneys we had together during Dana’s visit.

After our visit to the dinosaur footprints, Dana and I headed to a place called The Rock, Fossil, & Dinosaur Shop in Deerfield, Massachusetts. I have fond memories of visiting this shop as a child. The shop has many interesting minerals, fossils, and other geology-themed items for sale, which are advertised with a general focus on science and with a minimum focus on the crystal healing, energy balancing, totem stone, etc. woo-woo that is sadly promoted at many otherwise excellent rock shops. The shop also offers a number of other cheesy, geology-themed activities. You can “pan for minerals” in a water sluice located out front. The shop attendant tried to sell us on panning, but Dana and I were not very interested in panning bags of sand spiked with amethyst crystals and small ammonite fossils. We told the shopkeeper we liked to pan in real dirt for our geological treasures. However, I do remember enjoying the fake panning as a child. The shop also features a mining adventure and a backyard full of fake dinosaurs.

One of the fossils (or maybe a cast?) for sale.

Giant ammonites from Morocco.

Moar fossils.

Dana, about to be eaten by a velociraptor.

Dana and I enjoyed our visit to the shop, but I was very sad to see that the shop is now very poorly maintained compared to my memory of it. At first I wondered if I was just remembering the shop through memories glorified by the glow of childhood delight. However, looking at the shop website pictures— which are clearly dated by several years– it’s apparent that the shop has deteriorated. The paint on the shop sign is cracked and peeling, the shop merchandise quantity and quality are declined (parts of the shop seem half-empty now), and the dinosaurs are in a sorry state of disrepair. Sadly, the shop attendant (who I hope was not the owner) didn’t seem to know even basic geology and mineralogy. I’m not sure what happened to the shop– perhaps it has changed ownership or been hit hard by the economic decline.

A sign of the shop's decline #1: a duct taped dinosaur.

A closer view of the duct tape repair.

A sign of the shop's decline #2: Willy mammoth bone? Hmmm...

Nevertheless, Dana and I had a good time during our visit. We had great fun taking pictures of the dinosaurs:

Dinosaur heads.

Stegosaurus in the woods.

Jurassic Park?



I made a triceratops friend:

My new friend.

And Dana found a new boyfriend:

I really hope this doesn't mean the shop is promoting the whole man-with-dinos thing.

While we skipped the panning and the mine tour, Dana did buy a few mineral samples, and I bought three stuffed animal dinosaurs: a velociraptor, a Utahraptor, and a triceratops. The velociraptor and Utahraptor even have a bit of fluff on them– I’m not sure if they’re quite feathery enough, but at least they have some feathers.

My new dinosaur friends. I think they need to become friends with Paleontologist Barbie.

Stay tuned for more georneys with Dana!