Petoskey State Park, Michigan

We have a rock hound in our midst. It might be my fault. Rocks are just so cool. That’s how we found Petoskey State Park.

Ev took whatever interest I showed and 10x’ed it. The good homeschooling advice says something like, “Take whatever they’re interested in and go with it until they aren’t interested any more.” Roger that…. let’s learn whatever we can about rocks.

Rock Science

Evie will tell anyone that will listen what “igneous” means. She can also rattle off facts about “metamorphic” and “sedimentary” and how those relate to volcanos. Side note: Thank you, The Magic School Bus. Anyone who says screen time is evil doesn’t properly get how to use it. My philosophy: judicious, thoughtful use of screens… good educational programs 75% of the time / mindless “kid choice” vapid weirdness 25% of the time {because I deeply believe in liberty, even if I don’t agree with wasting time}).

I jumped up and down when I found Petoskey State Park on Atlas Obscura when I was routing us through Michigan.

Michigan Special

As AO notes, all of Michigan is famous for Petoskey stones. The park is a particularly popular place to pick up prehistoric coral fossils from the time when Michigan was an ocean.

For a bit more information, read this. I hadn’t heard of them before and I could have appreciated a link. Paraphrased: A Petoskey stone is a rock and a fossil, often pebble-shaped, that is composed of a fossilized coral. Ice sheets plucked stones from the bedrock in a process called glaciation. Rough edges are ground down. The stones are mostly found in Michigan.

We scoured the beach, before swimming, like almost everyone else in the park. I was shocked when Evie actually found some fossils. They aren’t the same quality that you’ll see if you google “Petoskey stone” but sure enough… we’re looking at creatures that lived millions of years ago.


I call this a homeschooling win. If we can do exploration, oceanography, archeology, history and basic investigative science skills all in 1…. and the kids were super excited about it?! And the kids got to take 1 or 2 examples with us. Come on. That’s it. That’s the pinnacle of what learning should be.