2024 Fossil Dig Event
Our normal dig season runs from late June through the middle of August, and may include all or some of the sites listed at the bottom of this page.
To be added to the fossil dig notification list click here: Dig Notification List
For questions about the fossil digs, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each of our digs has a minimum age of 15 years for a Full Day, or 10 years for a Family Half Day. This is done for the safety of our participants, as well as the fossils. All minors (17 years and under) must be accompanied by an adult. There is no maximum age. We do not have any digs for children under 10 years.
A Full Day (ages 15+) starts in the morning ~7:45am, and ends between 4-5pm. We are on-site this entire time, and will not be making trips back to town.
A Half Day is broken into a morning and afternoon shift. Morning shift starts at 7:45am, and runs to ~11:30am. Afternoon shift starts at 12:45pm, and runs to ~4:30pm. You may only sign up for ONE session per day – not both.
A Family Half Day includes ages 10+. An Adult Half Day includes ages 15+. Please note: there are NO days that are restricted to 18+ years.
Every dig is set up so that participants may sign up for one or more days. It is not necessary to sign up for the whole dig week. Not every dig includes weekend days.
**If you are a first-time digger, you will be limited to two days per dig.
No! Here in North Dakota we have many types of fossils – not just dinosaurs. Please see the FAQs below to see what you may find on each of our digs. The short versions is: Bismarck = dinosaur age, Pembina Gorge = sea monsters, Medora = swamp critters, Dickinson = early mammals.
We removed the “beginner / advanced” titles on the digs, as over time they have evolved to include more amenities, allowing more people to attend any dig site successfully. However, if you have never dug before, we strongly suggest registering for the Medora dig – the fossils are small, the site compact, and the rock easy to dig through. It is a good site to learn the basics of proper digging technique.
**Easy quarry dig - Medora, Bismarck
**Easy quarry dig if you're not afraid of heights - Pembina
**Moderately strenuous prospecting dig - Dickinson
Yes! Educating our diggers on proper technique is a big part of what we do. Paleontology is not a fast science – it is a careful one. Our staff spends most of the day working with our diggers, to ensure safe, proper removal of fossils.
North Dakota has cold winters, but the summers can be very warm. June - expect weather in the mid 80s to low 90s. July - expect weather in the high 80s to high 90s, sometimes up to the low 100s. August
It CAN get cold however! We've had some wonky weather where we've needed to put on layers it was so cold or windy. In general - prepare for warm, but pack a light jacket just in case. Evenings can get chilly.
Friends of NDGS Paleo
We're excited to announce a new partnership with Friends of NDGS Paleo, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donations made to the public fossil dig programs through the Friends group are now tax-deductible! Starting in fall 2021, the Friends group will manage the Dig Supporter and Paleo Pals programs. For more information, you can contact the Friends group at:
Trissa Ford - President
Katy Brooke - Secretary/Treasurer
PO Box 164
Mandan, ND 58554