Locate the prehistoric dinosaurs beneath Thermopolis
If you ever dreamed of being a paleontologist and discovering a prehistoric dinosaur fossil, stop into the quaint town of Thermopolis, Wyo. Southeast of Yellowstone is the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, which has appeared on CNN’s list of best dinosaur museums in the world.
In 1993, a crew of fossil hunters went looking for a single fossil in Warm Springs Ranch. However, they discovered a collection of fossils located in the mountainside of Thermopolis. Two years later, the city decided to build a museum to display and store the fossils. Museum employees have found more than 10,000 bones from the excavation sites, finding up to 200 more every year with no shortage of stopping. In fact, excavation sites opened 20 years ago are still in use.
The Paleontologist Army of Thermopolis
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center offers a 12,000 square foot museum with hundreds of exhibits and displays, a preparation lab with visitor viewing and more than 30 mounted dinosaur skeletons.
In late spring through early fall,you can make reservations to do a "Dig for A Day Program" where you join a team of paleontologists unearthing fossils. This fun activity caters to healthy fit participants of all ages from young children to active people 65 and over.
“Since  we’ve been taking families out digging in the sites every summer, up to several families a day, just to give them that one-on-one paleontology experience,” says Andrew Rossi, a certified heritage interpreter at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.
After digging for fossils, visitors spend time with the fossil in the museum preparation lab to prepare the find for display. Don’t forget to leave time for the museum's many exhibits. There are more than 30 mounted dinosaur skeletons. There’s the rare Archaeopteryx, known as the “Thermopolis Specimen.” Only 12 known fossils of it exist.You can also see Jimbo the Supersaurus, one of the largest dinosaurs ever mounted in the world at a length of 106 feet. It was found in Douglas, Wyo., 180 miles northwest of Thermopolis. Youcan walk directly underneath a Camarasaurus, standing 30-feet off the ground. Ninety percent of it is real fossil material found in Thermopolis.
“Pretty much every kid who comes here dreams of becoming a paleontologist,” Rossi says. “Even better than that some kids who worked with us 20 years ago are working on getting their Ph.D. in paleontology now.”
Wyoming Dinosaur Center
(307) 864-2997 or (800) 455-DINO
110 Carter Ranch Rd, Thermopolis, WY 82443
Tours are conducted hourly, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., daily during the summer