Fossil Shark Week has ended, but you still pick up a leftover Grab-and-Go bag!

Did you miss out on Fossil Shark Week? Or do you want to search through a second bag of phosphate gravel for fossil teeth? Then stop by 1003 South Elmwood to pick up one of the leftover Grab-and-Go bags. Free to anyone, until they are all gone!

There are also some leftover bags of pink and red rocks on the same table. Read more about the free Pink and Red Stones for Valentine’s Day special here:

The table with leftover Grab-and-Go bags of fossil shark teeth and Valentine’s Day stones is in the front of the photo. Nature Collector’s Garden, cleared of some of the snow by the Collector’s Garden gnomes, is in the back.

What was Fossil Shark Week? Read on to find out:

The Discovery Channel celebrates Shark Week in July or early August. But, if ever a year deserved TWO Shark Weeks, it’s 2021. That’s why, from Thursday, January 28, through Wednesday, February 3, south Oak Park’s Collector’s Garden and Nature Collector’s Swap Shop celebrated fossil sharks with a special exhibit of shark jaws and a give-away of free Open-at-Home bags with fossil shark teeth!

Fossil Shark Week celebration set up on the front yard at 1003 South Elmwood.

The exhibit and free Open-at-Home Bags were available from early morning until after sunset (except when it was snowing). Fossil Shark Week was announced on the South Oak Park Neighbors Facebook group on the first day of the celebration. Weather-related updates were posted on that Facebook group, as well.

Visitors to the celebration were asked to wear a face covering and stay at least six feet away from folks who are not in your family or pod. (And to bring their own hand sanitizer if they thought they would need it.)

Go here for a closer look at the specimens in our Fossil Shark Week exhibit.

During the past 70 million years, many fossil shark species have gone extinct. Many modern sharks are also in danger of extinction from overfishing and other human activities. But that extinction could happen in decades, not millions of years. Go here to read about the dangers faced by modern sharks:

Fossil Shark Week was celebrated in south Oak Park, Illinois and probably no where else. If you have questions, you can contact Mr. Eric at

** Note: All Shark Week Collection Bags were quarantined in sealed, open-at-home ziplock bags for at least three days before we put them in the front yard. Parents were advised that they should either quarantine, disinfect, or discard the outer ziplock bags. Then, if they choose, adults could also quarantine the contents of bag for whatever length of time made them feel comfortable.


In case you were wondering, Collector’s Garden will remain open daily through the winter. The gnomes that live there clear away the snow, exposing new rocks, shells, and fossils that they would love to share with you.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Visitors could choose one of three free Fossil Shark Week Open-at-Home Bags (or take home a free plastic shark):

Each child (and any interested adults) could choose one free Open-at Home Bag to take home and explore in depth.

Since the fossil shark teeth are small and often sharp, the Shark Week Open-at-Home Bags were not appropriate for younger children. Therefore, we placed a bin of small plastic sharks on the same table as the Open-at-Home Bags. Younger children could take home a free plastic shark instead of an Open-at-Home Bag.

Plastic sharks in sealed bags, for children too young to play with fossil shark teeth.

+ + + + + + + + + +

Open-at-Home Bag: Fossil Shark and Ray Teeth from Africa

This Open-at-Home Bag contains fossil teeth and bones from sharks, rays, and other creatures that lived in shallow seas that covered parts of Africa between 45 and 70 million years ago. The fossils were collected from phosphate mines in Morocco, Africa. The bag also includes a postcard that helps identify many of the fossils in the bag.

Go here to find out more about this Open-at-Home Bag:

Open-at-Home Bag: Fossil Shark and Ray Teeth from Africa bag.

Open-at-Home Bag: Fossil Hunt: Find shark teeth and more fossils

Look carefully through the tiny black phosphate pebbles in your Fossil Hunt bag, and you will find lots of 20-million-year-old fossil shark teeth. You will also find fossil ray teeth and a stingray spine. Some bags contain fossil teeth from other types of fish and maybe even pieces of teeth from mammals like horse and mastodon. Bags may also include pieces of fossil bone from fish, turtles, other other animals that lived in or around the shallow sea that once covered most of Florida. Each Fossil Hunt bag is different! A fossil identification sheet is included in each bag with photos of some of the fossils you may find and a link to a website with photos of even more fossils.

Some of the fossils are really tiny, so look carefully once you’ve found all the larger fossils — there may be teeth from baby sharks hiding between the grains of gravel. We also included some tiny zippered bags with each Fossil Hunt bag, so you can safely store your fossils.

Go to our Peace River gravel page to learn more:

Open-at-Home Bag: Fossil Hunt Bag, with fossil-rich gravel and identification insert.

Open-at-Home Bag: Microfossil Hunt: Find tiny shark teeth and many other kinds of fossils

This is the same idea as the Fossil Hunt bag, above, but the phosphate gravel comes from a different North Carolina, not Florida. Some of the shark teeth are smaller, and there are fossils of many other kinds of animals in each bag. These other fossils may include sea shells, corals, barnacles bits, sea urchin spines, and more. Most bags also include one or more larger fossils. Each bag is different! A fossil identification sheet is included in each bag with photos of many of the fossils you may find.

The fossils are mixed in with 20-million-year-old phosphate gravel dug up at the Aurora Mine in North Carolina. Finding and identifying these fossils may be challenging for preschoolers, so we recommend this bag for older children. Some of the fossils are really tiny, so look carefully once you’ve found all the larger fossils — there may be teeth from baby sharks hiding between the bits of gravel.

Go here to learn more fossils from the Aurora Mine in North Carolina:

Open-at-Home Bag: Fossils found in a bag of Microfossil Hunt gravel from the Aurora Mine in North Carolina. (Dime not included.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s