Are you ready to take your family on the adventure of a lifetime?
Do your kids love dinosaurs? Did you ever dream of what it would be like to be a paleontologist, digging up real dinosaur bones? Now you and your family can make that dream a reality on your next summer vacation! Create once-in-a-lifetime memories digging up real dinosaur bones as you connect with your family in God’s beautiful creation!
Check out the video to see highlights from last year’s dig.
“This is the BEST family vacation we’ve ever taken!”
– Kevin M. –
Everything Fossil has partnered with the Grand River Museum to create our Family Camp Dinosaur Digs. We combine the epic adventure of a camp vacation with the awe-inspiring experience of discovering real dinosaur bones. You will uncover fossils that haven’t seen the light of day since Noah’s Flood!
Experience the thrill of discovering your first dinosaur bone! With the guidance of seasoned professionals, learn how to carefully unearth your bone. Try your hand at cleaning and repairing your find after successfully excavating it. Daily lessons will allow you to explore the origin of fossils, how fossils form, the science behind the fossil record, and much more – all from a Biblical young-earth perspective!
We are offering 2 different 5-day Family Camp Digs for 2020! Space is limited, so we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible to make sure there’s still room for your family on the dates you are interested in coming!
Our digs take place on a ranch in northwestern South Dakota. You will enjoy the breath-taking scenery as you disconnect from the busyness of life, reconnect with your family, and make new friends. The nearest small town (Lemmon, SD) has restaurants, gas stations, and a grocery store. It is a pleasant 45-minute drive from the ranch. The nearest major airport (Bismarck, ND) is approximately a 2.5-hour drive from the ranch.
What is the Price and What is Included?
The following things are included in the price for the dig:
- Once-in-a-lifetime experience excavating real dinosaur bones
- Lessons/teaching about the fossils from a Biblical young-earth perspective
- Experience in the prep lab, learning how to clean & repair fossils
- The use of all tools needed for digging and prep
- Guided hikes and other activities
- Campsite for your tent or camper (no hookups)
- A fun “dig prep kit” mailed to you, including checklists of things to bring and more
- Three satisfying meals a day
- A souvenir reusable water bottle for each person
- A souvenir real fossil (or fossils) from the dig, at the discretion of the leaders & landowner
What are Accommodations Like?
Grassy campsites, some with partial shade, will be provided for each family. Outhouses will be available at the campsite. There will not be hookups available for RVs or trailers, but families are welcome to bring them. Civilized showers and bathrooms (with hot running water) are a short 10-minute drive from the campsite at the dining hall. A cabin may be available to rent (contact us to check availability).
What’s the Schedule?
To avoid the heat, we like to start digging early in the morning. Breakfast is served at 6:00 AM, and we head to the site by 7:00. Due to the angle of the sun relative to our site, we are able to dig in the shade for most of the morning!
After a morning of digging, we go back to camp for lunch. In the afternoon, we allow time to be in the shade (or air conditioning!) and rest/fellowship.
Afternoons usually include time in the air-conditioned bone lab learning how to clean & repair fossils. We also have a lesson time each afternoon or evening.
After dinner, we usually go hiking, return to dig site, or do other activities.
Please note that the schedule is subject to change, especially due to weather.
What is the food like?
We structure our meals buffet style so everyone enjoys them! Many diets are easily accommodated with this system (e.g., gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian). We offer a variety meals and food types, including lots of vegetable options (see sample menu). Our camp meals are a special time of fellowship for everyone. Parents can relax and enjoy their vacation, knowing that their families will enjoy delicious, nutritious meals with no effort from them!
Who Can Come?
Is there an age limit? What about special needs children? Are pregnant mothers welcome? Although we want everyone to be able to come, due to the rough terrain, remote location, and other conditions, this dig may not be a good fit for everyone. Instead of setting formal age limits or other restrictions, we let you be the judge of whether or not this dig is appropriate for your family. To better help you determine if this is right for your family, here’s a snapshot of what the dig will be like:
- Most families will be camping in a tent, though a cabin may be available (first come first serve)
- We have to take very bumpy off-road rides to get to the dig site each day
- While a longer hike is optional, a shorter hike is required to get to the dig site
- We will be digging from a wide trail in the middle of a cliff (see pictures & video). This might not be appropriate for people who are very uncomfortable with heights
- Digging and prep can be a slow, meticulous process, While we will have some alternate activities available for younger kids, if your children have an extremely short attention span, your family may not be able to fully enjoy the dig
- The location is fairly remote and will require driving on rural roads
- Sometimes we have to hike around cactus and some other brush
- Encountering rattlesnakes, scorpions, ticks, mosquitoes, etc. is a possibility
- For safety, children and teens must be quick to listen to and respond to direction from parents or leaders
Can I bring my favorite snacks/drinks?
You are welcome to bring your own special snacks or drinks! If needed, you can store them in a community refrigerator. We do not have a community kitchen available.
What if I have a special diet/allergy/sensitivity?
Please let us know! We will do our best to work with you. We construct the menu in such a way that everyone attending the camp will have plenty to eat. You will receive a copy of the menu well before the dates of your dig. If you have a severe food allergy that may require quick medical attention, please be aware that we are in a remote location with slow medical response. All food may have been exposed to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, wheat, soy, eggs, etc. Please bring any medication you might need for an allergy, such as benedryl or an epi pen – it’s better to be prepared than not.
Is it okay to wear contacts? What if I wear glasses?
From Sara: I usually feel most comfortable in contacts because that’s what I wear throughout the year on a daily basis. It is totally possible to wear contacts on the dig site and feel comfortable, but there are some challenges. Dust, wind, and camping are the main obstacles. Whatever you decide to wear, please bring plenty of back up options – spare contacts, glasses, and prescription sunglasses. If you wear contacts, you will definitely want sunglasses that fit close to your face and wrap around to cover the sides of your eyes (such as sports sunglasses). I highly recommend prescription sunglasses. You can get them very affordably through Zeni Optical. If you have other questions about glasses or contacts, please contact us and I would be happy to help!
Do all my kids need hiking boots? They grow so fast!
Potential hazards while going to and from the site, digging, or hiking include: cactus, long grass, snakes, ticks, mosquitoes, scorpions, sharp digging tools, and rough terrain. This is why we ask everyone to have hiking boots to stay safe.
Who owns the fossils we find?
We are digging on private property and ultimately the land owner has rights to everything. Each family will be allowed to keep some of the fossils they find, but if a rare fossil is found, it will stay with the land owners and be displayed at the Grand River Museum.
Hey ladies, please be sure to pack plenty of feminine products! Even if you’re not anticipating your appointed time during the dig, please be prepared as this kind of thing often happens at the most inopportune times. Tampons are most comfortable at the dig site and hiking.