Our Kids’ Dig Program provides a unique opportunity for youth, age 7 to 12, to experience a day of prospecting, digging, prepping, molding and casting and crafting — everyone gets a dino-mite souvenir to take home at the end of the day. This is a one-of-a-kind experience they will never forget!
This program is limited to 15 children per session and is a kids only program. Parents are not allowed to accompany their child (See Dig for a Day or Shovel Ready if you would like to participate together). Participants arrive at the museum at 8:30am for check in, the program begins at 9:00am. Kids are REQUIRED to wear tennis shoes or hiking boots (sandals or any open toe open heel footwear is not allowed) and bring a water bottle. We strongly recommend wearing a hat and carrying a small bag or backpack to hold sunscreen and any fossils they collect along the way. Upon arrival, parents must complete waivers then water bottles are checked and filled before kid’s head out with staff at 9:00am.
• Molding and Casting — First thing in the morning, children are introduced to the process of molding and casting. They are instructed on why and how we create our molds before producing exact replicas of fossils that we already have in the museum. After these casts sit for the day, they are ready to go home with your child.
• Prospecting in the Sundance — Once all the molds are filled, we take the kids out to the Sundance Formation. This geological unit represents an ancient shallow sea from the Jurassic. Participants will be shown typical fossils they can find, and will then be allowed to explore the hillside in small teams to find fossils of their own.
• Dig Site — For the rest of the morning, the group will spend time at one of our Morrison Formation dig sites. Some of our sites have produced more than 1,500 bones each, and while we cannot guarantee that everyone will find a bone, they will be digging around bones found by others and have a good chance of making their own discovery. Before beginning, basic safety tips and rules are discussed in order to keep all participants as well as the bones they are working on safe. We will demonstrate proper digging techniques and instruct children on how they should conduct themselves within the quarry as well as show them examples of bone so that they can better identify the fossils when found. There is usually an hour and a half of digging time (often more than enough for most children). If your child would like to spend more time we would recommend you and your child consider the Dig for a Day Program instead.
• Lunch at the Hot Springs State Park — Lunch is provided in the Hot Springs State Park. This gives the kids a chance to stretch their legs play some games and relax a bit before the afternoon activities begin.
• Preparation Lab — After lunch participants will be divided into three groups. The first group will go into the preparation lab where they are instructed on various preparation techniques. They will rotate through multiple stations using many different tools for one hour.
• Scavenger Hunt — The second group will begin a scavenger hunt through the museum with the aid of our staff in case they have trouble finding anything.
• Arts and Crafts — The third group will begin with a few crafts to learn about the importance of scientific illustrations and end with a few more handmade crafts to take home. These three groups will rotate between the three activities to all spend one hour at each before concluding the day at 4:00pm.
If at any point we feel that conditions on the Hill are unsafe, we will cancel the dig. Your registration fees will be refunded in full, or we will work with you to reschedule your dig if possible.
If children are not appropriately prepared (correct footwear, water bottle, etc.) they will not be allowed to participate and your payment is forfeit.
Registration must be made in advance. No same day registrations will be allowed.
Cost includes materials, tools to excavate fossils and document activities, lunch, and transportation to and from the dig site. No lodging is provided with this program.