If you’re looking for an epic family vacation, did you know you can take your family on a dinosaur or fossil dig? You might be surprised to learn that there are paleontology digs out there that are open to ages 4 and up and within everyone’s price range.
Top 10 reasons to take your family on a dinosaur dig
1. It’s a physical activity with a dash of fun
An active kid is a healthy kid. All paleontology digs by their very nature are outdoors and require some physical activity. Usually there is a little hiking involved. And when it comes to the excavation itself, you and your family will be chipping away at rock with an awl or rock hammer and brushing dirt just like you see on TV. But don’t worry. For the most part, the work isn’t too strenuous (unless you really want it to be.)
2. You’ll contribute to science
Going on a research-based dig means you and your family will be working alongside the scientists to help them accomplish their research goals. The time you and your family put in will directly impact real life science and our understanding of the world and our place in it. Just make sure to find a non-profit paleontology dig and not a commercial based dig.
3. Digs are educational
Working on a fossil dig is not only interesting; it’s also educational. You’ll learn about the geology of the area and site and why fossils formed there. Curiosity is encouraged! The scientists who will be guiding you are eager to share their knowledge and enjoy answering your kids’ questions.
4. You’ll enjoy the great outdoors
Get your kids away from their screens and outside to enjoy beautiful scenery. The motivation to do something as cool as digging up fossils will overcome even your most stubborn couch potato. As a parent, you’ll enjoy the fact that the family is not only getting fresh air, but also a front-row seat to the local flora and fauna.
5. You can make digs part of a longer vacation
Although many digsites are remote, most can be worked into a longer vacation to a national park or outback adventure. The digs that accommodate children usually have 1-3 day options to choose from, making them easy to include within a longer trip.
6. It’s family bonding time
Excavations are something the whole family can do, making this a rewarding experience you'll do together. Share your finds, discoveries and learn together—all while experiencing a shared sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.
7. Digs are affordable
The cost of a fossil dig isn't as expensive as you might think. It's comparable to a full day whitewater rafting adventure and sometimes a lot less. Dig costs do vary depending on the site, and there are different price points available.
8. You’ll gain instant Cool Mom/Cool Dad cred
The “What I did on my summer vacation” stories your kids will tell will instantly give you cool parent status. Bragging rights are guaranteed.
9. You'll get to meet new people
You’ll be digging in a small group of people of all ages and who all have an interest in being there. Each person works within their own small part of a larger area, which makes all digs feel like an all-for-one and one-for-all shared experience.
10. You’ll talk about it forever
By now, we know that most of our memories are about experiences and not things. Working to help uncover a fossil or artifact is an experience that you and your family will never forget. You’ll find that you and your family will talk about your shared experience for years to come.
Dig into the adventure with your family and find a paleontology (or archaeology) dig for your next family adventure.
Related blog: So your kids want to hunt for fossils?