There are two items of attraction at Joggins. The first is the Joggins Fossil Center itself and its displays, I've already discussed them in the previous tip.
The other - and the item that we did and enjoyed - is totally free. You can go down the cliff staircase to the rocky beach, and can then examine the exposed face of the sandstone cliffs. If you work at it for more than 30 or 40 minutes, you are bound to find something. It's got the same level of satisfaction as going fishing when they're biting.
In addition to looking for fossil records on your own, you'll find communal "piles" of found fossils all along the edge of the cliffs. As people find objects of interest, it's apparently customary to leave them aside for others to enjoy. We found a couple of fossilized plant prints - or so we figures, we're not experts - and we left them behind for others to look over.
The main attraction of the small 'burg of Joggins are the fossil-filled sandstone cliffs. A Fossil Center has been built to support and educate the stream of visitors who come to check the area out.
The center has a huge collection of fossils found on the nearby cliffs, most are at least 300 million years old. Displays also include information on the area's archaelogical and geological past. You can also get maps for independent exploration out on the cliffs.
We didn't actually visit the center display, we chose to just go fossil hunting on our own. But if you do visit, the entrance fee is $4.50 per person. There's also a gift shop and small snack bar at the center for your inspection and patronage. :)
The center is open from June - September daily, 9 - 5:30 pm.
Actually, you do have a choice.... you can be mindful of the tides at Joggins, OR you can > learn to fly and/or > improve your swimming skills.
The tides at Joggins, as is the case all along the Fundy shore, are swift and severe. The day that we were in Joggins, the difference between low and high tide was almost 40 feet. (13+ meters) Can you imagine? The water is 40 feet deeper at the shore for high tide than at low tide.
The tide comes in quickly, and you can actually find yourself in a heap of trouble because of it. There is a large staircase over at the Fossil Center, where you can walk from "up above" down to the rocky beach. At lower tide, you walk onto the beach and will easily see several hundred feet of open surface - between the water and the cliffs - upon which you can walk. At high tide, the water comes right up to the edge of the cliffs, and at the base of the stairs. The BIG danger is if you walk a long way away from the staircase - which is really the only easy way back to the top of the cliffs - and then the tide comes all the way in before you can get back.
To give you an idea of how quickly this can happen, look at my three photos accompanying the warning.
> The first photo shows the staircase down the cliffs, so you see basically how high they are. Remember my joke about learning to fly? You'd NEED to fly if you found yourself too far from the stairs at high tide.... or you'd need to be darn good and fast at climbing. Spiderman IV?
> The second photo shows a wider swath of beach territory. This is how it looked when we first hit the beach for exploration of the cliffs.
> The third photo shows how much more narrow the beach has become because of incoming tide. This photo was taken about 80 minutes later than photo 2.