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Archaeology and Paleontology


Children's Museum of South Dakota

Location in Brookings (521 4th Street)

At the Dino Dig, visitors conduct their own excavations and unearth dinosaur bones that could be found on a South Dakota farm.

The Dino Dig inspires and stimulates children's interest in paleontology and archaeology. They'll share the awe of discovery as they view Mama, a life-sized animatronic T.rex that stands 25 feet tall and 60 feet long. Visitors may peek around a corner and coax baby Max T.rex out of his habitat, but they must be careful not to wake Mama!

Making comparisons using math skills, children will develop an appreciation for the size of a dinosaur versus other animals and buildings.

Admission is charged. Contact the Children's Museum of South Dakota at 605-292-6700 or visit


Cultural Heritage Center

Located in Pierre (900 Governors Drive)Heritage Center

Take a step back in time at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. Learn the history behind the people who made South Dakota the diverse state it is today.

Hear recordings of Native Americans speaking Dakota, Lakota and Nakota. Touch the different types of fur traded by trappers in the state’s early days. A train car serves as a theater for a video about the railroad and guests learn about the Missouri River while standing at the helm of a steamboat. Hand milk a model cow and learn about life in the 1900s in "Changing Times."

The Cultural Heritage Center also houses the South Dakota State Archives, which is open to the public.

Admission is charged. Contact the Cultural Heritage Center at 605-773-3458 or visit


The Journey Museum

Located in Rapid City (222 New York Street)Journey Museum

Take an incredible trek through time at The Journey Museum in Rapid City. Visitors begin their "Journey" 2.5 billion years ago in the abyss – a period of unrecorded time – and then continue to trace South Dakota's history with exhibits on rock formations, dinosaurs, Native American cultures, pioneers, and modern history. The earliest records of people in the Black Hills date to 12,000 years ago; see the archaeological evidence in exhibits by the South Dakota Archaeological Research Center on display in the museum. Don't miss the incredible changing exhibit of paleontologic specimens on rotational loan from the Museum at the Black Hills Institute in Hill City. Interactive exhibits provide a unique hands-on learning experience. Children of all ages can learn by exploring in the dig box and at the activity table.

Admission is charged. Contact The Journey Museum at 605-394-6923 or visit


Kirby Science Discovery Center at the Washington Pavilion

Located in Sioux Falls (301 S Main Avenue)Kirby Science Center

Explore the world of dinosaurs and learn about the dynamic environment in which they lived. Meet "Stan," a full-size replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex found in western South Dakota. Visitors may excavate dinosaur bone replicas at the dino dig table, touch a real dinosaur bone, and view a fossilized dinosaur egg. Trained staff lead daily demonstrations featuring dinosaur fossils, scat and tracks, and adult dinosaurs and their babies that once roamed South Dakota. Admission includes access to more than 100 hands-on science exhibits.

Admission is charged. Contact the Washington Pavilion at 605-367-6000 or visit


Museum at Black Hills Institute

Located in Hill City (117 Main Street)

The Museum at Black Hills Institute in Hill City is home to the original 65-million-year-old "Stan," one of the two most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossils ever found. Paleontologists from the Museum have participated in the excavation and restoration of eight T.rex skeletons since 1990. See "Stan" along with an extensive collection of invertebrate, mammal and fish fossils. The Museum also boasts a massive assortment of minerals and agates as well as a vast meteorite collection. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $4 for children 6-15, free for children five and under, $6 for senior citizens and military members. Please enter the Museum through the "Everything Prehistoric" gift shop.

Admission is charged. Contact the Black Hills Institute at 605-574-3919 or visit


Museum of Geology

Located in Rapid City (501 E Saint Joseph Street)

The Museum of Geology, located on the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology campus in Rapid City, is a leader in conserving the rich geologic heritage of South Dakota and the Black Hills by collecting, researching and housing its unique and often rare resources. Paleontologists at the Museum have utilized their extensive field experience to collect more than 500,000 specimens of fossils, rocks and minerals, providing a vivid impression of Dakota life in ancient times. Extensive exhibits focus on paleontology – including mounted skeletons of dinosaurs, mammals, White River Badlands fossils, marine reptiles and fish – and mineralogy – including the Hall of South Dakota Minerals, meteorites, gold, and a fluorescent mineral room.

The Museum of Geology offers a Family Paleontology Camp, for families with children ages 6 and up, July 19-20 and 26-27, 2012. Cost is $150 per person.

Admission to the Museum is free. Contact the Museum of Geology at 605-394-2467 or visit