If your little ones are dinosaur and fossil mad like our Joshua is then this is the place to go! Now both our boys are interested in this but Joshua has had a fascination with dinosaurs since the age of 4 when he told me he wanted to be a paleontologist yes that’s right at the age of 4 he came out with this to shock us all that he even know what one was. But 4 years on he is still adamant that he still wants to be a paleontologist but the amount of facts and figures he can come out with now I would not be surprised if he made this a reality. So with this in mind we set off to Kimmeridge Bay as it is renowned for the rockpooling and fossil hunting.
Etches Collection Museum
As you come into Kimmeridge village you will see the impressive new build Museum of The Etches Collection. This was our first stop as it is the life’s work of one man Steve Etches who has collected remains of more than 2000 marine reptiles from the local area. This is just a small museum but a perfect place to take our boys. As they do not allow dogs in the museum I went across the road to the Clavell’s Restaurant to sit outside and have the most amazing Ice Cream and a drink (mummy time reading a book in the sun), while Patrick took the boys in to see The Etches Collection. Prices are £20 for a family ticket, Adult £8, Kids 5-16 years £4 and under 5’s FREE. The ticket is for 12 months so you can always pop back another day if the kids want to see it all again. Both the boys loved it so much once they had had a look around they insisted that they came out to get me so I swapped over with Patrick so he could look after buddy, have a drink at the restaurant and in I went with the boys. I was impressed with not only the collection of fossils themselves but also the interactive screen they had to get the kids to know more about what the fossils were and what part of the reptile they came from they loved this and with it being a touch screen it grabbed their attention. There was also large screens above us that made us feel like we were below the sea with the large prehistoric marine reptiles swimming around us which the boys absolutely loved!
There is a little gift shop downstairs and an interactive toy room for the kids too. This is not a large museum but it is incredibly interesting and very impressive you can even see the workshop where they are working on the latest fossils they have found locally.
Kimmeridge Bay Beach
After our visit to the museum and an Ice cream we headed down to the beach to find some fossils of our own and we weren’t disappointed! The beach is down the beautiful country lane where the views are absolutely stunning! this road does have a small toll of £5 per car, £1 per motorcycle or £10 per mini bus. The car parking is free for the beach though. The beach its self is down some very steep and uneven steps so be careful with younger children. It is within the Purbeck marine wildlife reserve and is one of the safest places for snorkling in Dorset which is great for the kids to enjoy. The views are stunning and the large stoney beach makes the fossil hunting so exciting knowing with every turn of the stones could find you a fantastic fossil. We found some great ones to bring home and have out on display. The boys spent hours looking for the fossils and Patrick was loving doing it with them so much it took over his need to fish for at least a few hours!! We had to do a little paddling in the very calm sea just wish we took our swimming things and snorkels but our main aim was fossil hunting and rockpooling. We did take the picnic blanket so I could sit down and read my book on the beach while the kids played. Please be careful and tell your kids to stay away from the cliffs as they do have stones falling from time to time with the erosion you are better to be safe than sorry. Dogs are allowed on the beach but to be kept on leads if possible but that doesn’t bother us as with buddy being a mischievous beagle its safer to keep him on his lead (no picnic is safe with him around haha).
There is a large stone walkway that goes out a little way into the sea which you can see some lovely fossils within but be careful this can be very slippy in places and both Daniel and I fell over oops! This place truly feels magical with the views and landscape the way it is it’s not hard to imagine it in the Jurassic era. The boys didn’t want to leave and Patrick even decided to come back first thing the next morning to do a little fishing (4am was too early for me haha) and caught us a lovely sea bass to enjoy on the BBQ for dinner too.
Please leave a comment below if you enjoy reading about our adventures.