Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guest Post - Cool US Dino Dig Locations

Are you an avid paleontologist?

If you’re wondering where dinosaur fossils have been found, you’ll be thrilled to hear that the most varieties of dinosaurs have been found here in the United States. However, if you’re looking for the location with the highest concentration of dinosaur fossils, you’ll have to go north to the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada.

While studying dinosaurs is fun, there’s nothing like looking for fossils in real life. Dinosaur museums make great family adventures, and dino digs are a memorable way to learn about how true paleontologists discover and handle fossil finds. Trained excavation specialists use fun tools like:
  • Picks and shovels
  • Awls
  • Dynamite (you will just get to see someone else use it, but you will get to see how it’s done)
  • Crowbars
  • Drills
  • Screwdrivers
  • Brushes
  • Brooms
If you go on a dino dig, you’ll learn to appreciate how rare it is to find a fossil in good condition and how difficult it is to remove the rock and dirt without hurting the fossil. You’ll learn about fossil cleaning and preservation, too. Then, when you get back home, you can look for your own fossils. You never know what’s buried in your own back yard!

If you want to go out for a real dino dig, there are several places you can get your hands dusty and unearth some real fossils.

The Wyoming Dinosaur Center and Dig Sites
Thermopolis, Wyoming
This Dino center has over 80 digs spread out over a 500-acre span. You’ll get a real dig experience, complete with sand, sun and dirt.

You can sign up for an all-day expedition anytime during the dig season (late spring to early autumn). The digs take place every day of the week, and each dig lasts from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening. You’ll attend an orientation at 8:00, be transported to the dig site at 8:30, and will work onsite all day. The program provides lunch, drinks, tools, and transportation—all for a cost of $150 per adult and $80 per child. If you are under the age of 18, you must have an adult accompany you.

South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana
This dig group offers one-day and two-day dig packages in a variety of privately owned dig sites. You’ll get the full experience, overseen by professionals. Each day is an 8-8 operation, meaning you’ll be digging for a full 12-hour day. Costs are $150 per adult and $125 per child (must be over age 8 to participate) for a one-day trip and $250 per adult and $200 per child for two-day trips. Lunch, tools, and transportation to and from dig sites are all provided.

Museum of Western Colorado
Grand Junction, Colorado
This group offers everything from half-day digs to five-day dig and rafting expeditions (lodging and meals included). Kids as young as age 5 can participate, if accompanied by an adult, and kids 16 and older can attend some of the programs independent of adult supervision. Prices vary widely according to package deals, but every dig package includes a supervised, actual hands-on dig experience.

The Mammoth Site
Hot Springs, South Dakota
As if the Badlands themselves weren’t inspirational enough, this dig site and museum will provide an authentic dig experience for you and your family.

You can tour the museum and an active dig site, but if you want to participate, you’ll have to volunteer with Earthwatch. You have to be 16 or over to apply, but if you qualify as an Earthwatch volunteer, you can be part of a 4-week team that works on the dig site in July of each year.

Dinosaur State Park
Rocky Hill, Connecticut
Here you won’t get to participate in an actual dig, but you can make your own plaster castings of real dinosaur tracks. This site is the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in the United States.

If you can’t find a dig near you, start saving for a trip! You’ll make memories that will last a lifetime.  


Leah Landly is the community manager for BluWiki, an informational Wiki service and free web publishing platform. She covers many topics and answers popular questions like, how to look attractive and how to get rid of black eye circles.

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