Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Student Group Tour magazine will continue to provide ideas for planning educational travel. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information.
Named one of the “World’s Coolest Places 2019” by TIME for Kids magazine, Wyoming Dinosaur Center & Dig Sites in Thermopolis offers student groups hands-on learning about Wyoming’s natural history and legacy.
The 10,000-square-foot facility includes over 60 mounted specimens. Students will see an Archaeopteryx — a bird-like dinosaur and the only one found outside of Europe — and the Supersaurus named “Jimbo,” which spans the entire length of the museum.
“It is vital that we preserve and protect Wyoming’s natural history treasures for future generations and ensure that they are available in a public venue for scientific and educational study and preservation,” said Education Director Jessica Lippincott.
The museum is designed so groups will venture through time chronologically and trace the origins of life on Earth.
Explore the rise of arthropods, the mass death of trilobites and some of the earliest vertebrates in the Walk Thru Time gallery. Then, move into the Hall of Dinosaurs to see the giants that once roamed the Earth’s surface.
Ensure students are engaging with the exhibits with a scavenger hunt, with options tailored to middle and high school age groups. Students will be pushed to take a closer look at the specimens and read interesting facts scattered throughout the facility.
In addition to the museum, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center offers digging at their dig sites from mid-May through mid-September. These programs allow students to work alongside paleontologists for a day and learn about the excavation process.
“Seeing the look on a student’s face when they uncover a bone or a tooth is something you cannot create elsewhere,” Lippincott said.
In addition to digging programs, the museum offers the Paleo Prep experience. This program takes groups behind the scenes into the Wyoming Dinosaur Center preparation laboratory. Guides introduce every tool being used and provide each student with a fossil to work on for the day. Museum tours can include up to 100 students, whereas digging programs can accommodate up to 30 at a time.
For more information call 307-864-2997 or go to wyomingdinosaurcenter.org.