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405 North 1st St East | Malta, Montana (406) 654-5300
Dino Dig Programs

When was the last time you found yourself in a landscape so quiet that the only sounds came from the wind and birds? Have you ever seen land so vast that the horizon stretched off for 100 miles? Eastern Montana is truly Big Sky Country and home to countless dinosaur specimens.

Yes! You can Dig for Dinosaurs!

We offer dinosaur dig programs each year and many other educational opportunities
for both children and adults. Call or ask a staff member at the museum for more information.

Click here for details on our Jr. Program & here for our Adult Dig Program

Finding them, digging them up, and transporting them to the museum takes extraordinary time, energy, and funds. Without the physical help and financial aid of interested participants, these unique summer programs would not be possible.

2021 Dino Dig Dates (click here for more info)

June (Monday June 20th – Friday June 24th)
July (Monday July 11th – Friday July 15th)
August (Monday August 22nd – Friday August 26th)

For all reservations we require a $200 nonrefundable deposit. (this includes personal and weather-related cancellations)

Understand Your Options

Know before you go –

If you are considering joining a dinosaur dig, it is extremely important that you find out if you are participating with a museum or recognized scientific institution. In Montana there are many dig opportunities offered by outfits that are in fact commercial collectors. These are businesses that legally collect and sell fossils. Many of these commercial organizations do work with paleontologists, partner with museums, take excellent scientific data, and have professionally recognized reputations.

However, some of these businesses are less reputable. Such businesses may state that they collect exclusively for museums or that all of their fossils go to museums, but unfortunately this is largely not the case. Few museums have the resources to buy these fossils, and many are sold to private collectors; and in turn many of these fossils will never been seen by the public nor contribute to science. These less reputable outfits make twice the money off of guests: guests pay to dig up fossils, and then those fossils are sold. Additionally, some of these businesses claim to be doing active scientific research on these specimens before they go to a museum. It will all look and sound very scientific – but it is the exact opposite. Museums collect specimens so that they can do their own in-house research and/or collaborate with other scientists and institutions. Why would a museum want a specimen that has already been scientifically examined? It’s like someone making you a meal, but they’ve already eaten part of it. Also, all scientific journals strictly stipulate that specimens must be in museums before any scientific research can be published. This pseudo-research is one way these businesses can inflate their asking price; the illusion of research and scientific importance gives the impression it is more valuable. If such a business states that the fossils they dig up go to a specific museum or institution, you can contact these institutions for verification. Why spend your time and money with a business that claims it hopes the fossils you dig up go to a museum one day, when you can just partner with a museum in the first place?

Working with a museum such as the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum is a far more rewarding experience. Often field crews are acknowledged in scientific papers and reports, and more importantly you will be working with scientists directly to collect fossils that will one day go into displays or be the focus of scientific research. By working with a museum, you will literally be contributing to the future success of the scientific discipline of paleontology and the community/region it is located in. (if you have questions about any paleontology institutions or individuals, we strongly urge you to contact the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology at

You are responsible for your own travel to Malta, and lodging, breakfast, and dinner in town. A 50% discount is offered to nonparticipating adults who accompany a participating minor.

The Great Plains Dinosaur Museum Supplies: 

  • sack lunch
  • water
  • transportation from museum to dig site and back
  • all tools and instruction necessary

Recommended Gear You Should Bring:

  • small back pack or tote bag
  • refillable water bottle
  • hat
  • neck scarf
  • light weight clothing
  • good boots or hiking shoes (caution with canvas shoes: there is cactus)
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • camera
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