South Dakota is full of legendary things to see and do, but this activity might just rank top as one of the most awesome things you can ever experience in your life. Seriously, EVER. This one of a kind experience will put you right into the shoes of a real paleontologist – that’s right, we’re talking dinosaurs!
It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can dive right into hunting for real prehistoric fossils right here in South Dakota by signing up for a tour with PaleoAdventures. If you haven’t done it yet, here is what you’re missing:
You start at this location in Belle Fourche.
This beautiful spot in the Black Hills is where you'll begin. There is an information center and museum here, as well as a place where you can directly buy dinosaur fossils if you'd rather not collect them yourself, but where is the fun in that when you can actually unearth real dinosaurs yourself?
You will meet your tour guide, paleontologist Walter W. Stein. He has discovered countless dinosaur skeletons and made many important discoveries. He's even had a dinosaur named after him! He is the real deal and immensely knowledgable to help you on your dig.
Next is a ride and a hike to the dig site.
The dig site changes as more fossils are discovered and excavated. There is usually a short hike required to get to them but it is well worth the trip. Walter will give you all the tools and knowledge you need once there, and then you get to the fun part!
With your own two hands and the tools provided, you will be able to search for and excavate real dinosaur bones from some of the richest fossil deposits in the world.
This is not one of those fake sandbox digs with recreations of fossils. This is a truly authentic dig where you never know what you will discover out in the still-wild areas of the Black Hills, all the while learning about everything paleontology. Most often people find teeth from a variety of species as well as vertebrae, mandibles, and once in a while you can find much bigger discoveries. We're talking triceratops bones, raptor claws, T-rex bones, and prehistoric turtle shells. You can admire these behind glass in a museum, or you can unearth them from the ground with your own two hands on this amazing adventure.
And the best part? You get to keep some of your discoveries!
If you find any common claws, teeth, or other bones in your dig, you get to take them home free of charge. Walter will identify exactly what they are from, sharing his immense knowledge with you, and let you keep it for yourself. Talk about an awesome souvenir! The more rare fossils that may be of scientific value, however, are reserved for museums only to help studies, education, and to make these specimens widely available for all to see.
This experience is unforgettable for everyone ages 10 and up, so if you have a dinosaur-obsessed child, you cannot miss this. They will carry these memories - and fossils - for a lifetime, and so will you. Plus, you're never too old to just enjoy this on your own. How many other people can say they've been on a real dinosaur fossil dig?
Walter, shown above, is an outstanding guide who will make the trip fun for everyone. His knowledge of paleontology is hard to match and he is always happy to help you make the best discoveries that will make your trip the best you've ever had. It's impossible to take this tour without learning something!
The tours are by appointment only, so be sure to call or email ahead of time to plan your trip. You can find further information as well as how to contact them at the