Why come all the way to Hagerman to see some horse bones? Glad you asked! The discovery of the fossil beds in Hagerman led to the uncovering of this particular extinct species of horse. It is the largest sample ever recovered from one locality. Over 200 horse fossils were recovered by the Smithsonian. 200!! These are some of the richest known fossil deposits in the world. Paleontologists (the guys who study old bones) refer to the Hagerman Horse by the scientific name of Equus simplicidens. And that’s not all....the Hagerman Horse also has the distinction of being the earliest record of Equus, the genus that includes ALL modern horses, donkeys and zebras. It is also the oldest sample ever taken of this particular species. He looks pretty good for an old horse don't you think! Of course, he is kind of boney. (Corny I know, but I couldn't help myself!)
This is a great family day trip. The kids will learn a lot at the visitor's center where they can view the fossils up close and the whole family will enjoy exploring the fossil beds.
Location: National Park Service Visitor's Center (This is where my friend from our picture resides.) 221 N. State St. in Hagerman. Take I-84 out of Boise towards Twin Falls. Approximately 85 miles out take Exit 141 US-26 towards Gooding/Hagerman. Take a right off the Exit and head towards Hagerman. You will reach the town about 8 miles down. The Visitor's Center is on the left after you enter town. While you are at the Visitor's Center they will provide you with detailed instructions on how to get to the Fossil Beds.
Costs: This is a national park service so there is no price. However, if you have some extra change please donate at the Visitor's Center to help cover the costs of having all this information available to us.
Hours: The Visitor's Center is open every day of the week from 9 am to 5 pm. The Fossil Beds are open everyday also from dawn until dusk.
Special Notes: Take the kiddos! They will love it. I would leave the pets at home unless they don't mind waiting in the car. They don't allow pets in the Visitor's Center and pets are best not out at the Fossil Beds because they can destroy the delicate ecological balance.
Take your time exploring and learning about our famous Idaho "old timers". These horses have earned a few minutes of our time thinking about the past.