Dig Into Paleontology at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center

Today, Thermopolis, Wyoming is home to the world’s largest mineral hot spring and is a popular stopping-off point on the way to and from Yellowstone National Park.

Archaeopteryx Fossil, Photo Credit: Wyoming Dinosaur Center

But over 150,000 million years ago, dinosaurs called the Big Horn Basin region home and they weren’t exactly in town for a relaxing soak and a souvenir t-shirt.

Drawing an average of 40,000 visitors in the peak travel season, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center is a 16,000 square foot complex that includes a “Top 10” museum, working dinosaur dig sites, and a complete modern preparation laboratory.

Providing hands-on geologic and paleontological experiences that are engaging and enjoyable for visitors of all ages, the Center houses one of the largest and most unique fossil collections in the world and our dig sites have some of the richest fossil-bearing strata in the western United States.

An excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with the science of paleontology, visitors to the museum are encouraged to head out into one of the museum’s 130 designated dig sites.  Here they literally dig the dinosaur bones out of the ground,  bring them in the prep lab, remove the matrix, and see them on display.

Jimbo and Dinos, Photo Credit: Wyoming Dinosaur Center

While the museum complex houses over thirty mounted skeletons and hundreds of displays and dioramas, the center’s more popular exhibits are The Thermopolis Specimen (the only Archaeopteryx in North America), Jimbo (a Supersaurus and one of the largest dinosaurs ever mounted), Stan (a 35-foot T-Rex), and a Triceratops (the Wyoming state dinosaur).

Before you go, consult the Wyoming Dinosaur Center website for additional information including dig site de-tours, educational programs, and an interactive tool for planning your visit.

Happy trails! 

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.

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