Our family loves hunting for shark teeth. At least once a week we venture out to the great beaches in Jacksonville. So when we learned about Mudslinger Tours in Gainesville, and the opportunity to sift through riverbeds and creeks searching for fossils, we immediately booked a visit.
Shark Teeth in Gainesville
Yes, you read that correct. There are shark teeth in Gainesville! We started off our tour with a little history lesson about the area. This includes a talk about how at one time Florida was completely under water. It’s actually believed that this area in Central Florida was once a shark nursery and baby Megalodon teeth are a pretty common find in the area.
Fossil Hunting Tools
When you arrive at Mudslinger you’ll get checked in. After that, they’ll give a little lesson about the area and what type of fossils you’ll be looking for that day. You’ll also be given some tools to use. We each received a sifter shovel, a sifter pail and then the kids grabbed some hand held sifters. All the tools you’ll need for the day will be provided. You’ll need to make sure you’re dressed appropriately and bring bottle water and some snacks. I highly recommend wearing water shoes and clothes that you don’t mind getting wet. Sunscreen is good to use, but not necessary because it’s a very shaded area. Bug spray is a must, particularly in the summer.
Accessibility on Mudslinger Tours
One thing that I need to point out about Mudslinger Tours, is that while it’s fun for kids and adults of all ages, there are limitations on accessibility at your dig site. You will be required to walk about 15 minutes through a hilly, wooded, and wet area. There is no way to get a stroller through here and anyone with difficulty walking will find it unsafe. Plan accordingly when you book for a group or your family.
Finding Treasures in The Creek
We booked the half day tour that ran 9am to 1pm. Even with teens, this was more than enough time for the activity. When you get down to the creek, your guide from Mudslingers will give you some rules and show you the boundaries where you can start searching. The group spread out and it was honestly hours until we saw people again. Our tour guide would walk up and down the creek stopping at each group and identifying what we’d found, but it was really nice that everyone could spread out and search with their own family. Be sure to pack a light lunch or at least some snacks when you go. We carried a backpack with water bottles and granola bars and that was enough for our group.
Shark Teeth Extravaganza
This is just a small sampling of what we found during our adventure. We started the day looking for big teeth, but by the end of the day the kids were competing to see who could find the smallest teeth. This is when those handheld sifters came in handy. Overall, our day with Mudslingers was a huge success and tons of fun. If you’re planning to go, be sure to book ahead of time on their website because during the summer months they fill up fast. This is a great activity if you’re planning to spend the day in Gainesville, or on it’s own as a day trip from Jacksonville.
Shannon is a former Special Education teacher, turned stay at home mom that doesn’t spend a lot of time staying at home. Mom to Cole & Kiley, she loves cheering on the Gators, early morning visits to the beach and traveling with her family. She blogs about her family travel adventures at The Beckham Project and hosts the podcast, Jacksonville Momcast, where she chats with Jacksonville moms about motherhood and more in the 904.