Dave's Down to Earth Rock Shop and Museum is a family-owned fossil fortress. Since opening the place in 1970, Dave and Sandy Douglass have continued to actively hunt rocks and fossils, so seriously folks, this isn’t your average Wisconsin Dells rock shop.
Dave's is "down to earth" in the pun sense ('cause this stuff came from the ground below, you know, the earth) and because service is laid-back and friendly. Though you can still find strawberry-sized rocks and stones of every color in plastic drawers and wooden bins for your kids' collections, fine jewelry actually steals the show of the shop. The bling is displayed in a maze of glass cases, featuring necklaces, rings and earrings in pearl, amber and even mederoite (!). But more natural-looking rocks and fossils—like the kind you studied in grade school popped right out of the text book—evoke just as much of a "wow" reaction: A horseshoe crab fossil from the Jurassic Period (160 million years ago) is going for $425, while a Benciformis (basically, a tiny, mean-looking fish with teeth) from the Cretaceous Period runs for $250. If that's not enough geology, head to the basement for a tape-narrated tour of the museum: a prehistorically-decorated one-room diorama, which is filled with bigger and badder fossils (like an 8-feet Sauropod femur bone, and the skeleton of a 2-million-year-old cave bear!). Admission is free.
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Puhala