Explore Lost Worlds
Imagine a gulf coast Florida far different from the one you know. Vast grassland savannahs stretch to the horizon, cut by teaming rivulets. Strange and exotic animals like saber cats, mastodons, and giant sloths roam the landscape. Some thirty miles away, great white sharks over fifty feet long cruise though the Gulf. It's almost two million years ago.

In 1983, scientific history was changed when the world's greatest collection of Pleistocene fossils was uncovered at the Leisey Shell Pit in southern Hillsborough County, uncovering scores of fantastic creatures from prehistoric times, some of them previously unknown to science. Paleontologists from all over the country converged on the site, and it became one of the most celebrated finds on earth.

The Preserve is unique in the study of paleontology because it opens a window on the creatures of the early ice age -- 1.7 to 1.4 million years ago. It tells us what the rest of Florida was like over the millennia as well.