A visit to the Age of Fishes Museum in Canowindra makes a terrific half-day expedition for Central West families. You could extend to a full day if you took a picnic or had lunch at Canowindra too, with a walk or a swim at the pool.
Exploring the charming and bendy historic main street of Canowindra is a history lesson in itself, it is a National Trust Heritage Conservation Area. However, families can go much, much further back in time at the Age of Fishes Museum, back to before dinosaurs ruled the world.
The Age of Fishes Museum has a LOT of information, there are plenty of exhibits to keep primary-aged children amused but adults might not be able to manage to see everything that is there, depending on how long the children’s attention lasts.
In 1955, whilst a road was under construction, a vast amount of fish fossils from the Devonian period were uncovered. This was a truly significant find and put this area firmly on the Australian fossil map. The story of this discovery and of the people who then slowly explored and preserved the fossils over the next decades is a fascinating human story in itself.
The thousands of fossils of freshwater fish were a true treasure trove. Some were completely new to science. These fossils are from the Devonian period approximately 360-370 million years ago.
The garden area of the Age of Fishes Museum has an illuminating timeline of life on earth, built along a path that starts at the beginning when tiny living things formed and then leads to the present day, with information about each of the different periods of time in between. There is also a fun snakes and ladders type game to illustrate time and the development of life on earth.
The terrific thing about the fish fossils themselves is how very clear they are, even young children will know that these are fish and that there are thousands of them. Families could easily make several visits to this museum before feeling that they had seen and read everything.
The Age of Fishes Museum makes a great introduction to fossils for families and to the mind-boggling history of our planet and its animal and human inhabitants.
The Age of Fishes Museum
129 Gaskill Street, Canowindra NSW 2804
02 6344 1008
Age of Fishes Museum website
Canowindra is 20 minutes north of Cowra and about 40 minutes west of Orange by car.