Dinosaur Academy

This 4-day course is designed to provide an in-depth study of vertebrate fossils found in the Morrison Formation. This program for high school students grades 9-12 includes classroom instruction as well as field exploration, excavation, and laboratory techniques. The course will provide a basic knowledge emphasizing environmental deposition, mapping, excavation, identification and skeletal structure, preparation, preservation, collection management and presentation of fossil specimens.

Goals and Objectives:

The goal of the course is to provide instruction and hands-on activities in the classroom, laboratory, and field to accomplish the following objectives:

Environmental Deposition

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the Geologic Timetable by defining the area of study
  • Recognize the stratigraphic succession and the fossil-bearing strata of the Morrison Formation
  • Describe the paleoecology of the Morrison Formation


  • Demonstrate basic skills in map reading
  • Observe and participate in basic surveying techniques
  • Demonstrate the use of the Global Positioning System

Dig Site Excavation

  • Perform site documentation with use of radial mapping and Total Station
  • Demonstrate techniques in excavation and removal of fossil specimens
  • Describe taxonomy of the specimens

Specimen Identification and Skeletal Structure

  • Learn to identify dinosaur bones at the Genus level
  • Accurately identify various dinosaur bones based on morphology and function

Fossil Preparation and Preservation

  • Remove matrix surrounding fossil specimens by utilizing various laboratory tools and techniques
  • Demonstrate techniques for molding and casting of prepared specimens

Collection Management

  • Observe digital 3D imaging of specimens
  • Describe the importance of the Collection Management Database with respect to scientific study and research publications

Museum Display Presentation

  • Describe the elements of the architecture, artistic design, and presentation of a display
  • Design educational documentation and graphics

Course Organization

Student activities and learning experiences are arranged to take the fossil specimen from the point of discovery in the field through all the processes necessary for final museum display for scientific study, education, and research.

No lodging is provided with this program.

Can’t find the information you need? Please call us directly at (800) 455-3466.

View the Wyoming Dinosaur Center cancellation policy.

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Students (grades 9-12)
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