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  • Marisa

When is the best time to book a dinosaur dig?

Paleontology and archaeology digs are great vacation ideas. There are lots of options to choose from at prices that might surprise you. Many people have never heard that there are digs that are open to the public and that some of them even accept children. If you are thinking of going on a paleontology, dinosaur or archaeology dig this summer, most digs sell out quickly. The best time to book any kind of dig is by Spring at the latest. So, there’s no time like the present to start thinking about what you want to help discover from the past.

Multi-day digs are small groups they sell out

Each dig location is unique, with each lead researcher and scientist deciding what they want your help to accomplish during the summer dig season. Many digs require a commitment of at least a few days and most accept only a few people at a time. Locations like the Triceratops Gulch Project in Wyoming, Montana Learning Center in Montana, and Jornada Research Institute in New Mexico accept between six and 12 people. This has more pros than cons.

The pros:

  • You will learn the correct techniques and how to use the tools of the trade.

  • You can ask lots of questions and talk to the researchers leading the excavation so you can really learn why and how tasks need to be accomplished.

  • Small groups are closely monitored, because it’s important to make sure artifacts, features or fossils are excavated correctly to maintain their integrity.

  • You get to make exciting discoveries and take part in an actual scientific endeavor.

The biggest con is that small groups mean that space is limited and sell out quickly. That’s why it’s important to book a dig as soon as you can.

Single-day dig options

There are single-day dig opportunities available, many of which are open to kids. Some of these single day options like Stonerose Interpretive Center in Republic, Washington don’t require reservations, while others like Kronosaurus Korner in Queensland, Australia do. So, it's best to check the details of the dig sites that interest you.

Book digs and flights early in the year

Keep in mind that many digs are quite far off the beaten path, so you’ll want to do some planning before you go.

Of course, if you are traveling cross-country or abroad, advance planning is key to not only getting on the dig you want, but also important to booking reasonable airfare. Scott’s Cheap Flights has great advice when it comes to booking airfare. For peak travel periods, always book opposite season. Most people plan their summer travel in April or May and that’s when airfares get expensive, so “when the New Year’s ball is dropping, that’s when you should be thinking about summer flights.” The so-called “Goldilocks Window” for domestic travel is 1-3 months before flying while for international travel, think more like 2-8 months in advance.

If this is the year you want to go on a dinosaur, paleontology or archaeology dig, don’t miss out and book your reservation soon.


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