On our family road trip to Moab this spring break, we chose the Hwy 50 route so we could stop in at the Berlin-Ichtyosaur State Park in Nevada. This fabulous, off-the-main-road, park features the fossils of the largest known remains of ancient marine reptile, the Ichthyosaur, that swam in the oceans that covered Nevada millions of years ago! The park also features the Nevada ghost town, Berlin, that was a bustling mining town in the 1890's.
The mural represents the actual size of the Ichthyosaur. A Fossil House at the Park offers a guided tour by Park Rangers that shows the excavated whole fossil remains of an Ichthyosaur.
Tip - the Fossil House is only accessible with a Ranger Tour. Be sure to check the schedule of tours on the park's website.
Even if you can't work a Ranger Tour into your stop at the Ichthyosaur Fossil House, don't worry. There are viewing windows on either side of the building with signs to help identify which fossil bones you are looking at.
The ghost town of Berlin is a self-guided tour with many of the original buildings still standing and are preserved in what the NV State Parks terms a state of arrested decay. This means that the buildings have original artifacts still left inside!
This photo is of the inside of the Berlin Mill. Helpful signs on the building explain the machinery that's still inside.
Other buildings and artifacts to explore include the stage coach house, old machinery, automobile with wooden tire spokes, a Hoist House that raised and lowered the mining cars, Assay Office, and old mining pits.
Do be careful out there, especially with the kids running around.
There are also camping sites available, currently at $17/night. There are 14 spaces with covered tables and the pinyon pines and juniper trees offer some shade and privacy between sites. Drinking water is available seasonally. There is also a day use picnicking area and trails to explore another old town site near the Fossil House.