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Welcome to the Oregon Paleo Lands Institute (OPLI) Center 

OPLI's vistor's center located in Fossil, OR is ready to help you plan your visit to the John Day Basin Region. Explore Oregon’s Geologic and Natural Heritage With Us.

There are many great things to see at the Oregon Paleo Lands Center & Gallery in Fossil, Oregon. Filled with interactive hands-on exhibits, the Oregon Paleo Lands Center & Gallery strives to broaden understanding of the region's history. In addition, visit our in-house retail store and gallery. Our volunteers are present to answer your questions. Free Wi Fi and charging station, with coffee and tea available.


Mitchell Plesiosaur

The Oregon Paleo Lands Center & Gallery is now displaying the Mitchell Plesiosaur, the "Tiger of Cretaceous Seas" as its current exhibit. Call today to schedule a trip to the OPLI Field Center. (541) 763-4480


Other Exhibits

Interactive hands-on exhibits in the field center will include information with several different themes:


How Oregon was Built

The Ancient Contintent and Accreted Terrains

The First Volcanoes: The Clarno Formation

A History of Oregon's Cascade Volcanoes

The Columbia River Basalts

The Ice Age

Adding the Coast Range: When the Willamette Valley Was a Bay


Ancient Life and Ecosystems

Oregon's Age of Dinosaurs - Ancient Reptiles of Sea and Air (Plesiosaurs, Ichthyosaurs, Pterosaurs)

Age of Mammals: A Brief Glimpse

Ice Age Oregon: Mammoths, Sabertooths, and Giant Sloths

Fossils of the Wheeler High School Fossil Beds


Climate Change, Extinctions, & Climates Through Time

Causes/Mechanisms of Climate Change, Extinctions


Ancient Climates of Oregon and the Northwest

Devonian (Chilly climates at the poles; tropical seas - a landscape of extremes)

Pennsylvanian (Climate switches from cold to hot - giant insects rule!)

Permian (Climate change - a torrid globe - wipes our 90 percent of life - the greatest extinction)

Cretaceous (Warm age of the dinosaurs)

Eocene and the Eocene-Paleocene Thermal Maximum (Bananas grow at Clarno)

Oligocene (Climate chills as oceanic circulation changes - the record of the Painted Hills)

Miocene (Cooling continues, grass takes over, a short warming here coincides with Columbia river Basalt eruptions) 

Pliocene-Pleistocene (Cooling goes on a rampage)


Climate Change Today, What We Can Do

Evidence for Climate Change

Consequences of Climate Change

What We Can Do About Climate Change

Plan Trips

School Trips

Call us today to schedule a time for your school to visit the Oregon Paleo Lands Center & Gallery and Wheeler High Fossil Beds, where students can dig for fossils. (541) 763-4480


Travel Information & Trip Planning

Come and visit the Oregon Paleo Lands Center & Gallery for travel information. Whether you are looking for brochures or need help planning activities throughout the area, we stand ready to assist. Call us today at (541) 763-4480.

Store & Gallery

Coming orders and purchases. 

Oregon Paleo Lands  
Institute Center

We are currently closed for the season. 

Upcoming Events

May 11, 2024 - Community Listening Session and Annual Spring Cleaning 


Opening Day for 2024 Season - TBA.

Want to Volunteer?

The Paleo Lands Center invites you, to meet the public and school groups at our educational hub of the John Day Basin. Volunteers can serve as Board Members, Advisors, Center helpers and docents and help share exciting natural history exhibits, brochures, and books with visitors and schools.
Please Contact the Center at 541-763-4480 or for details


Road and Weather Conditions


*Please call or email if you would like to schedule your school group for a visit during the week. Thank you!


Contact Information

333 West Fourth Street

Post Office Box 104

Fossil, OR 97830
Phone: (541) 763-4480




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