Other Activities

Open Transcript 


Are you ready to take an imaginary journey back in time…? We are going to be visiting this ancient lake you see here in this painting This is the ancient Lake Florissant which once existed 34 million years ago in an area that is now called the Florissant valley. It is in central Colorado Now we are ready for our journey, find a comfortable safe spot where you can be still. It may work best to lie on your back, but you can sit if it is better, just be safe and still. Let’s fuel up the time machine, it runs on air We are going to take 3 deep breaths to fill the tank. Slowly breath in, filling up your belly and watch it rise and then sink. Do that 3 times. In - Out - In - Out - In - Out Now turn on the time machine by closing your eyes, if you’d like. To travel back in time hold the picture of this lake in your mind or imagine another kind of lake. Now let’s count down 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1, hold on were travelling through time! Time machine sounds We have now travelled back 34 million years and, surprise, you have BECOME the lake. As you lie on the ground, imagine that you are growing to be 12 miles long and miles wide. Stretch out your arms and legs and feel yourself as a lake filling the valley. You are made of billions of gallons of water, feel the weight of your new lake body. Also feel or sense that all of your weight is being held firmly in an ancient valley. Also feel or sense that all of your weight is being held firmly in an ancient valley. Notice the clear, blue water. The water is so calm it reflects the trees of the shoreline Above the lake is an orange butterfly fluttering by the brown seed heads of a tall cattail plant. Beautiful, pink wild roses fill the air with a wonderful smell. Along the shores of the lake we find towering redwood trees over 200 feet tall. Also along the shores we find a 2,000 pound, gray, eight foot tall animal called a brontothere The brontothere looks like a rhinocerous with two horns but is more related to a horse. Speaking of horses, along the shore is a miniature, dog-sized horse called a Mesohippus Beyond the lake are hills covered with green shrubs and low trees, it’s drier there. Further in the distance are the steep-sided pointed peaks of a massive volcanic complex. Now Notice a fish swimming through the lake, or maybe a turtle, or diving beetle. how calm it is under the surface of the lake, it is still and quiet. Notice the surface of the lake, a light wind comes and makes ripples yet all is calm below. Beautiful animals fly above the lake or come to get a drink and you just reflect their image You exist this way for thousands of years, you are an old lake. All kinds of things fall into the lake: sticks, seeds, bugs, cones, leaves, and much more… These things disturb the water for just a bit, float or sink by, and then all is calm again. Occasionally, the nearby volcano erupts and sends gray ash and rocks into the lake. Volcano eruption sounds The rocks and debris make ripples and waves and then sink to the bottom and all is calm. Giant mats of green slime form on the top of the lake imagine them floating on top of you These slimy mats live, die, and their tiny delicate, intricate cell bodies sink to the bottom Over time, the dead slime, ash, and gray clay cover the dead insects and leaves at the bottom. For thousands of years, the layers of ash, clay, dead slime, insects and leaves piles up. Feel the weight of the water pressing down on the bottom of the lake. All of these layers compress to form fossils at the bottom of the lake. Eventually the water of the lake drains out. Now take in a deep breath… As you let your breath out slowly slowly feel your lake body draining away in a stream. All that remains are gray layered rocks that formed on the bottom of the lake. You can open your eyes and see this picture of the light gray rocks that formed on the bottom of the lake and are now found in layers underneath the hills at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument We hope you enjoyed your journey of becoming the ancient lake.

Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
7 minutes, 24 seconds

Take an imaginary trip back in time and learn about the ancient lake that once existed at Florissant Fossil Beds. Relaxing, lying on the floor, you will journey back 34 million years using a time machine powered by gentle breaths and your mind. You will encounter volcanoes, miniature horses, giant brontotheres, a variety of different plants, butterflies and much more. Enjoy a 7 minute, calming journey. Open captions are provided and all images and experiences are fully described in the audio. A transcript is provided for your convenience.

Florissant in the present and past. Florissant Valley is on the left, shale outcrop is shown with a round green graphic of binoculars, notebook and backpack. The petrified Redwood trio is centered. Ancient Lake Florissant and a gray Brontothere is right.

Choose your own Eocene Adventure

Play an interactive game where you get to travel back back in time and explore through forests, lakes, and even near a volcano to learn about Florissant Fossil Beds' ancient past.
Inside of a rounded black square is a dark blue round graphic showing a big question mark in the center of scattered leaf and insect fossils.

Fossil Riddles

Test your knowledge of the fossils of Florissant by answering five riddles about some of the ancient animals, plants, and insects once found here 34 million years ago.
On the left is a gameboard called a tabla for the Loteria game that displays 12 cards of Eocene and modern Florissant including, fossils, plants, wildlife, and people. On the right are six staggered cards with a round pink graphic of three blank cards.

Lotería Game

Learn about the geological, paleontological, and scenic resources of Florissant Fossil Beds during a game night!

A multi-generational Latino family consisting of two children, two parents, and a grandmother stand behind a wooden fence admiring a large petrified Redwood stump. In the left upper corner is a round orange graphic of a quill pen scribbling on paper.

Poem Activity

Read our poem, "Latinos en Capas" to get inspired to write your very own poem!
Map with pictures of Florissant fossils, Colorado and images of their modern relatives with arrows showing their locations in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean. Round blue graphic of a map with placemarker is in the upper corner.

Fossil Map Activity

Use this map to find where the modern relatives of fossils found at Florissant can be seen across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Cartoon drawing of rangers and kids in a desert setting uncovering a dinosaur fossil

Prehistoric Life in the National Parks Coloring Book

Download and color up to 40 line drawings as you learn about the fossil record that has been discovered in our National Parks.

Climate Change Recycle symbol

Climate Change Scavenger Hunt

This lesson plan is park specific for Florissant Fossil Beds NM, but can be adjusted. This lesson plan is design to send the students/participants on a hunt to find the ways we are trying to reduce our carbon footprint around the monument.
Return to Kids & Youth >

Return to Florissant home page >

Last updated: February 18, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 185
Florissant, CO 80816


719 748-3253

Contact Us