FOSSIL enthusiasts will descend on Lyme Regis this weekend to find out more about the geology of the Jurassic Coast.
Lyme Regis Fossil Festival opens with two schools days on Thursday and Friday, followed by the public open days on Saturday and Sunday.
This year's festival will celebrate 'Coastal Treasures', exploring the marine habitats that produced the different types of cliffs we see today and investigating what the study of the geology and fossils could tell us about preparing for living on the coast in the future.
On Thursday, Thomas Hardye School will welcome local secondary schools to the festival's Secondary Schools Day, and on Friday Lyme Regis will play host to 20 primary schools for the Primary Schools Day.
There will be limited access to the Grand Marquee on Friday to accommodate the visiting students.
The main public open days for the free grand marquee on the beach are on Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 5pm.
The tent will be home to the Natural History Museum and lots of hands-on activities from our the festival's other science partners, including Portsmouth University's Dinosaur Runway, the British Antarctic Survey, and Rockwatch, the national club for young geologists.
Horace the Travelling Pliosaur Cinema will be entertaining in Cobb Gate, with performances at 11am, 2pm, and 4pm.
Flights to Pangea and beyond are back on the programme as Jurassic Airlines' Onboard returns to the Fossil Festival.
Festival director Kimberly Clarke said: “Developed as part of the Earth Festival 2012, Onboard was a big hit at last year's festival and flew more than 7,000 passengers from Weymouth during the Olympic festivities.
“This year the Lyme Regis International Airport will be located at the Town Mill - don't miss your chance to fly along, above and below the seas of the Jurassic Coast.”
There will also be plenty for older students to see and do, with the Geological Society providing information about the variety of careers in the earth sciences.
The Palaeontological Association will offer advice on how to get from A-levels to fossil digs around the world.
The UK Onshore Geophysical Library manages 2D and 3D seismic data recorded over all landward areas of the UK, so visitors will be able to learn more about how the earth moves in Britain.
The 3D Fossils Online project will be demonstrating 3D scanning and printing.
The project is creating a database of all the UK type specimen fossils, so that anyone can go online and see these precious specimens and print them in 3D.
There is a full programme of talks in the Marine Theatre about fossils and geology from some of the UK's top experts, and specialist talks in the Jubilee Pavilion.
The Fossil Fair is open from Friday to Monday in the grand marquee, when local collectors will be selling their finds and offering advice on how to search successfully.
Full programme information is available at fossilfestival.com