Silver State Sights: Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

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BERLIN, Nev. (KOLO) You’ll have to take a dirt road to get there, but when you arrive at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, you’ll get to enjoy two very different things.

“Berlin Ichthyosaur state park is kind of a two-for,” said Bethany Drysdale of Travel Nevada. “You have Berlin, which is a ghost town next to the Ichthyosaur fossil site.”

The park is about 2.5 hours from Reno in northern Nye County, and what is there, hasn’t moved.

“The fossils were found right there. They weren’t moved to a museum. You can go in and learn from a ranger why they are there and how they were discovered.”

Park ranger Todd Wheeler has been working at the park for several years, and says there are some people more interested in the fossils, and others – more interested in the mining history – which for Berlin goes back to the 19th century.

“Berlin went from 1897-1910. It was 60% silver and 40% gold.” Wheeler said. “Berlin had about 250 people living here. A lot like Bodie but on a smaller scale.”

You’ll see the remnants of the town right when you get there, but to reach the Ichthyosaur part of the park, you’ll have to drive about 10 minutes more.

And if you think an old mining town and a fossil site don’t really go together – you’d be right; that part was a bit coincidental.

“The fossils were discovered in 1928,” Wheeler added. “When a geologist was out here and stumbled upon some of the vertebrae.”

Inside the fossil shelter at Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park, 37 fossils have already been found and its estimated that 100 more are still somewhere nearby.