We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Brian Curtice and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Brian, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
COVID shut down natural history, science, and children’s museums all over the world, including the one I am affiliated with. I realized I had access to amazing specimens and “bring the museum home” to individuals that love natural history.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Fossil Crates is all about democratizing paleontology and providing curated content and up-to-date information to the world. From never-before-available specimens cast straight from the original specimens in museum collections to our www.PaleoPortals.com membership where every other week Members are able to speak live with actual paleontologists, Fossil Crates brings authentic paleontology to the public. Our specimens are cast from actual bones and teeth, we even offer items that are so new they haven’t received a unique name yet!
All of our artwork is commissioned from up-and-coming paleoartists, many of which are teenagers that we discovered on Instagram. We routinely publish undergraduate papers on our blog for review from top paleontologists from around the world.
Our company celebrates paleontological interests and welcome all that enjoy creatures of the past.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Day 1 – The Arizona Museum of Natural History is the first place I’d take a visitor. We’d spend half a day looking at the incredibly cool prehistoric creatures on display. The museum has one of the finest collections of flying creatures anywhere in the world and is the home of two unique dinosaurs, Zuniceratops and Suskityrannus (both of those names need to be in italics FYI).
Day 2 – The Wildlife World Zoo is one of the best zoos around. Not only do they have a hugely diverse offering of wildlife to see but they have an aquarium onsite as well! This is an easy half-day experience. Be sure to ride the skytram and feed the giraffes!
Day 3 – The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is fantastic for those that like plants, or simply like to hike outdoors. The scenery is incredible (be sure to take the High Road!), the staff friendly and knowledgable, and the drive to and from fantastic. Another half-day experience!
Day 4 – Drive to the end of the pavement past Tortilla Flat! There is no funner road in a 100 mile radius than that drive. I love listening to the oohs and ahhs of visitors as they enter the desert via Apache Junction, then their delight at Canyon Lake’s vistas. The twisty road is great fun in any car! Grab some ice cream at Tortilla Flat and, if in an SUV, head on to Apache Lake and experience the oddness of driving on a one-lane road on the side of a cliff, something that doesn’t happen much in the West anymore.
Day 5 – The Salt River, especially Coon Bluff and Phon D Sutton, as these are birder’s paradises. Over 300 species can possibly be seen and the odds of seeing wild horses are incredibly high. This can easily be a full-day event. Bring your bird camera and hiking books and watch for reptiles!
My favorite place to take visitors is Manuel’s Mexican Food which has a number of locations in the Valley and is family owned and operated. Best red chile burro around!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I couldn’t have launched Fossil Crates without the help of Dr. Cristy Lopez. She has been that voice of encouragement when doubts crept up early on. Her marketing skills and product suggestions truly made the difference!