The Mistaken Point Interpretative Centre is now open for the season. Guided tours of the Mistaken Point Ediacaran fossil site continue until October 13th 2023. We’re looking forward to welcoming another crop of adventurers, tourists, and sightseers to our storied seaside.
Access to view the fossils is by guided tour or permit only. While public hikes and trailways are available year-round, all visitors wishing to see the fossil site up close must be accompanied by a registered guide. To book your guided tour, get in touch with us at MistakenPointTour@gov.nl.ca or give us a call at (709) 438-1011.
Reserved for only those sites with ‘Outstanding Universal Value’, there are few designations as prestigious as earning the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. When compared to other Ediacaran fossil sites around the globe, Mistaken Point is in a league all to itself. No other site offers researchers and visitors the spectacular, awe-inspiring experience of walking across a 565-million year old seafloor.
The Ediacaran fossils found at Mistaken Point mark a pivotal moment in the evolution of life here on earth. Single-celled organisms first appear in the fossil record roughly 3.5 billion years ago (during the Archean eon), remaining as the dominant lifeform for almost 3 billion years.
The Mistaken Point fossil assemblage documents the first complex multicellular organisms in Earth’s history – a pivotal step towards animal, and subsequently, our own evolution. Remarkably preserved and easily accessible, the site is truly peerless, holding major scientific and cultural value of universal significance. This is truly the oldest, most exquisitely preserved, abundant and diverse assemblage of large fossils on the planet.
Schedule: Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve offers official interpretive tours from May to October.
Guided Tour Fees:
Individual: $23.00 per person
Children: 12 years of age and under are FREE
Family: $57.50 per family
Mistaken Point Interpretive Centre Fees:
There is a small fee for entry to the exhibits at the Mistaken Point Interpretive Centre. For those on the guided hike, entrance to the indoor exhibits is included in the guided hike fee. For more information on opening hours at the Edge of Avalon Interpretation Centre and fees associated with viewing the interpretive exhibits contact Interpretive Centre staff at (709) 438-1011.
Access to the fossils is by guided tour, or permit only. Please:
Please do not:
*The Fossil Protection Zone is an area of coastline within the Reserve where fossils are most vulnerable to the effects of erosion and human activities. In certain cases, such as for scientific research, entry permits can be issued for access to the Fossil Protection Zone. However, public access to the zone is generally restricted to ensure protection of these world-class fossils.
**Part of the coastline of Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve (from The Drook to Cape Race) lies within the official Mistaken Point Canadian Important Bird Area (IBA). This IBA is considered globally significant because of its wintering populations of purple sandpipers and common eiders.
Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve is managed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Government. For information on Mistaken Point Management protocols/regulations, please visit: https://www.gov.nl.ca/ecc/natural-areas/wer/r-mpe/#rules
If you’ve ever pondered our place in the grand scheme of the universe, then your bucket list isn’t complete without a journey to Mistaken Point.
With every new link in the fossil record, two new gaps appear – one before, and one after. Inspired by our never-ending search for answers, the Mistaken Point logo celebrates our singular position in the geologic record, while motivating further exploration and discovery.
Mimicking the view through a geologist’s hand lens or microscope, the outer circle represents the sense of discovery that abounds at Mistaken Point. Inside this ‘lens’, you’ll find an artistic depiction of Beothukis Mistakensis – a specimen first found on our shores – blurring the lines between fossilized impressions and living organism. Known since the early 90’s, Beothukis Mistakensis was only first described in 2009, and is considered an evolutionary stepping-stone that links taxa like Charnia with the rest of the rangeomorphs. The ‘waves’ in the background represent the texture of the ancient ocean floor, as well as the stratified beds found above and below – where the next links in the fossil record lay, waiting to be uncovered.
What other important links will you find during your visit? What connections to your own world of experience will you draw from these ancient lifeforms?
You’ll have to come and see to find out.