Want to see fossils from the Central Coast? Here are the few places to do so:
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
The largest display of fossils from the Central Coast resides in the Hall of Geology and Paleontology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Displays include Miocene marine fossils (like a sperm whale skull and a giant toothed bird), ice age tar pit remains, and bones from Emma the Moorpark Mammoth. But the most extensive displays concern the unique channel island dwarf mammoths (aka pygmy mammoths) with a reconstruction of Rosie’s (the most complete dwarf mammoth known) excavation as well as other bones.
Santa Maria Natural History Museum
This tiny museum in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County, has small displays of local fossils, most on loan from local collector Ralph Bishop. The main case houses late Pleistocene fossils of mammoth, deer, ground sloth, and other creatures from the Santa Maria Valley. Also on display are late Miocene marine fossils from the area.
This small museum in Lompoc, Santa Barbara County has a large collection native American artifacts and historical objects. The main fossil consists of a late Miocene dolphin skeleton found in local diatomacious shales. Nearby cases display fossil fish and whale bones from the same strata.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
The Age of Mammals hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County features some fossils from the Central Coast. The main floor houses an Oligocene horse from Ventura County as well as a Pleistocene mastodon from Simi Valley. Up on the mezzanine the “Fossil History of LA” display contains a section on the Sespe formation. The main display shows off fossils from the Eocene epoch, around 40 million years ago including bones of rhinos, reptiles, and primitive carnivores. Beside the display are the bones of rhinos and a tortoise from the Oligocene Kew Quarry.