Dinosaur & Mammoth Digs for 2023
The study of paleontology would be as extinct as the dinosaurs without the help of volunteers through the years! In honor of National Volunteer Month, we’ve compiled the best paleontology and dinosaur digs you can join as a paid volunteer.
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
In the far corner of Arizona is the amazing Petrified Forest National Park where 200 million year old animal and plant fossils are regularly discovered. Each year, a few lucky participants have the opportunity to join the Petrified Forest Field Institute's excavations. Join the One-Day Fossil Dig and Discovery Excavation for a real paleontological dig. Or, for the true adventurer, join the 6-day Paleontology in the Land of Color dig which is the full experience. Here, you'll be camping in a remote area of the park to excavate fossils and look for new fossil sites. And, you'll have a chance to learn prep work in the paleontology lab and even explore the region for petroglyphs!
Are you interested in paleontology but can’t decide between fieldwork or lab and museum work? With the Triceratops Gulch Project, you don’t have to battle between the two—you can join the war! That’s to say, the Dinosaur Wars, which is the location where the Triceratops Gulch Project works. Choose among museum work, digging, and other informational activities. Triceratops Gulch Project offers multiple different 3-day expeditions throughout the summer, and is perfect for families, prospective paleontologists, and anyone who loves dinosaurs.
Hot Springs, SD
The Mammoth Site is aptly named, a massive locale containing the largest concentration of mammoth fossils in the world! The weeklong expeditions are devoted to research both in the field and in the lab, so it’s an all-around experience. During the week you will excavate and map in the bonebed, sort and prep bones, and use 3D scanning in the molding lab. This dig site is fully covered and air conditioned unlike so that anyone can assist in scientific research in a comfortable setting.
Lightning Ridge, NSW, AU
One hundred million years ago, sauropod, theropod and ornithopod dinosaurs roamed the land around a great Australian inland sea alongside crocodiles, turtles, tiny mammals and snails. This area is where Lightning Ridge is now located and it is home to some of the most spectacular opal mines in the world. It's also home to the Australian Opal Centre's 6-day fossil dig experience. Here, you will go to special locations on the opal fields to seek new specimens for the Australian Opal Centre’s collection of opalised fossils. Your discoveries will add to their world-class scientific and cultural resource, and perhaps you too can have your name added to scientific papers, thanks to your fossil finds!
Winton, QLD, AU
Step back into the past at this incredible location that is home to the largest amount of Australian dinosaur fossils in the country! Australian Age of Dinosaurs offers two experiences. Your chance to work “out in the field” to find some of the biggest dinosaurs in Outback Australia. Also available is your chance to forward our understanding of these animals that called Australia home by working in the fossil prep laboratory, open to all skill levels. Working with the Australian Age of Dinosaurs will add to our understanding of holotypes, fossils, and research never seen before!