Wyoming Dinosaur Center is a museum, laboratory and active dig site at Thermopolis, USA. In 1993 fossil collections were unearthed at Warm Springs Ranch, prompting scientific research. The numerous finds required storage or display rather than shipping them to natural history museums around the States, a museum was built near the site opting to keep them locally. Having dinosaurs in your backyard is, after all, local heritage.
The center is unlike most natural history museums or museums in general, as they affirm their commitment to research and education throughout their activities. The center offers one of the most memorable and unique visitor experiences.
As advertised,visitors can participate in the center’s active dig!
(YES, YOU CAN HELP DIG UP DINOSAURS)
The area around the center is rich with fossils and bones and its creation being active field research continuing to this day, what better way to impart the scientific methodology than fieldwork?
How it works?
Registered visitors travel 10 minutes away from the museum to participate in any of the four daily digs, staff members are available to help and answer questions. Lucky visitors who find a dinosaur fossil learn with the help of technicians the documentation and preservation processes, with their Name, the bone and location recorded in the bone registry. (NO you do not get to keep it) Staff and visitors have found over 11,000 fossils and bones, meaning that participants get a unique chance to contribute to scientific research.
Moreover, the center offers multiple educational activities for all ages and resources for educators. Here are some examples of their work:
Kids Dig: 25 children age 8 to 12 spend a day learning the full process, from prep to casting
Shovel Ready: a short guided experience from the museum to the dig site
Paleo Prep: learn the basics of preparing fossils in the lab, participants get their workstations and work on their fossil
Dinosaur Academy: high school students enjoy a 5-day course learning fieldwork, excavation and lab work. Specifically: Environmental Deposition, Mapping, Dig Site Excavation, Specimen Identification and Skeletal Structure, Fossil Preparation and Preservation, Collection Management, Museum Display Presentation
Learn more about the research in the discipline
Teacher Resources include distance learning with virtual field trips, lesson plans and activities that Bring dinosaur fun into your classroom.
Student Activities – scavenger hunts.
A museum is not defined by its ability to display objects but educate. The Wyoming Dinosaur Center pulls all the stops to teach and engage visitors inviting participation in the scientific process. Furthermore, keeping the finds open to the public and the collection on-site maintains an active connection to natural heritage and local identity. Working with dinosaurs is a fascinating topic attracting visitors, unlike other museums, the Center does not limit itself to its collections’ importance but go above and beyond to share their values and keep their audience involved. From public archaeology to public palaeontology!
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If you want more exciting Dinosaur-Museum content, be sure to check out the Prehistoric Road Trip series