Are your kids fascinated with dinosaurs, or finding fossils? Are you looking for a fun activity the whole family can enjoy? Something unique, something that’s different than the more classic vacation adventures? Then take them on a fossil dig!
That’s exactly what we did, one summer day while road tripping through North Dakota. Our destination? A fossil dig site just outside Medora, deep in the North Dakota Badlands. Be prepared to get your hands dirty on this fun adventure for the whole family.
Welcome to the Fossil Dig Site!
Join certified paleontologists on an exciting adventure into the former stomping grounds of prehistoric giants. The fossils we hunt today are estimated to be over 60 million years old!
Imagine yourself transported back in time to when prehistoric life dominated this landscape. It looked quite different here 60 million years ago than it does today. These dry, harsh, rugged lands were actually once a great big prehistoric swamp. Yes, swamp, much like the Florida Everglades are today. Hard to imagine, huh!
Millions of years have transformed this once swampy land into the rugged Badlands they are today, leaving behind a legacy of prehistoric life buried beneath the surface. Are you ready to find evidence of that prehistoric life? First order of business is a lesson on paleontology, and most importantly, how to safely dig for fossils.
Lessons learned. Now let’s get digging! Fossilized plants, clams, snails, fish, crocodiles, turtles, birds, mammals, and of course, dinosaur remains have all been found at this particular site.
Let the fossil hunt begin! Everybody grab your digging tools because we are ready to kick this fossil dig into action. That shovel looks a little big, but it doesn’t stop the thrill of the hunt for dinosaur and other fossils.
Look What We Found!
It doesn’t take long for fossils to surface. Our paleontologists know where to dig for the best fossil action. Oh the excitement, knowing that you now hold in your hands remains from possibly 60 million years ago. Maybe even dinosaur remains!
Hmmm. I wonder what this is? Good thing there’s a paleontologist nearby to help identify this particular fossil, because it sure isn’t obvious to the untrained fossil hunter.
One never knows what fossils will be unearthed. Perhaps you’ll be the lucky one to find a piece of fossilized Champosaur dinosaur bone. Our oldest did! No matter the fossil find, the excitement is sure to show on the kids’ faces.
Our most treasured find this day? Fossilized dinosaur poo. Yes, fossilized dinosaur excrement. Not only were the kids totally fascinated and thrilled by this find, so were the paleontologists! Turns out finding fossilized poo is a real treasure of a find.
Who knew a collection of small bits of dino poo would be the find of the day! Such a proud and thrilling moment for the boys to be part of a treasured find. 🙂
Surrounded by Amazing Scenery
Don’t forget to get your nose out of the dirt and step back to admire the surroundings. Imagine life in these seemingly inhospitable lands thousands, millions of years ago.
Did you know that crocodiles became the dominant predators here after the dinosaurs became extinct? Sure hope we don’t see any crocodiles today!
Oh wait, these lands are no longer the swampy domiciles that crocodiles prefer. No worries about a croc making it’s way into the dig site today. Except perhaps as fossilized remains.
Fossil Dig Opportunities
Our particular fossil dig was through Medora North Dakota Fossil Dig, located in western North Dakota. Not sure if North Dakota is on your future travel plans, yet interested in planning your own fossil hunting adventure? Check out these other fossil hunting opportunities open to the public.
- Wyoming Dinosaur Center & Dig Sites
- PaleoWorld Research Foundation
- Museum of Western Colorado – Paleontology Expeditions
- Paleoadventures Dinosaur Dig Site Adventures
- The Fossil Guy – Fossil Hunting Sites
- Mid-Atlantic Fossil and Nature Adventures
- Buena Vista Museum Sharktooth Hill Digs
- Baisch’s Dinosaur Digs
- 10 States With Fossil-Hunting Sites for the Public
- Fossil Parks for Hands-On Digging
Read more about the Wyoming Dinosaur Center & Dig Site in my previous blog, Thermopolis – A Real Place That’s Real Fun. Though we were not able to join in a dig at the Center due to poor weather conditions, it was still a fabulous time!
Have You Taken The Kids on a Fossil Dig?
Why take the kids on a fossil hunt? Because it’s educational. And because it’s just plain fun. The kids will love a day digging in the dirt in search of fossilized treasure, and you’ll love the excitement on their faces when they find something. Just be prepared to get a little dirty!
We spent one day at the Medora Fossil Dig site. Though we initially booked the dig with our youngest child in mind, who was completely enthralled with dinosaurs, it was our oldest who surprised us with how much fun he had, and we adults too. Lesson learned? That a fossil dig site can be fun for all ages.
What do you think? Have you gone fossil hunting? Do you think going on a fossil dig makes for great family fun? Do you plan to take the family on a fossil digging adventure? Do Share!
Happy fossil hunting!
Never heard of Medora, North Dakota? Well, maybe you should check it out in my post, 6 Family Friendly Adventures in Western North Dakota.
Dinosaur Sign by AndrewWilkinson, via Flickr. All other images by C.Biederman.