Dig into Hands-On Paleontological Experiences in Wyoming that Bring Disney-Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" to Life

Dig into Hands-On Paleontological Experiences in Wyoming that Bring Disney-Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” to Life

With Disney-Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” now in theatres, the Wyoming Office of Tourism is excited to announce the release of online resources, available at WyomingTourism.org/thegooddinosaur, designed to help visitors plan paleontological experiences in the state.

In the film, an Apatosaurus named Arlo and his human friend, Spot, traverse the beautiful—and at times, challenging—landscape, but Arlo is not the first dinosaur to roam the state. Wyoming is home to some of the best dinosaur fossil fields in the world, and the only state completely overlaying the Morrison Formation, a sequence of Upper Jurassic sedimentary rock known to contain hundreds of dinosaur fossils.

“Fans of Arlo and ‘The Good Dinosaur’ can roam the same areas that real dinosaurs did in pre-historic times, learn about what life was like for these creatures and even dig for dinosaur fossils throughout the state,” said Diane Shober, Executive Director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism. “The film’s setting was inspired by iconic Wyoming landscapes, which helps showcase the state’s deep connections to paleontology.”

Wyoming is home to more than a dozen paleontological museums, dig sites and trails where visitors can admire and even find their own fossils. A few of those sites are included below with a full list and map of locations at WyomingTourism.com/things-to-do/Paleontology.

  • Wyoming Dinosaur Center – This museum, located in Thermopolis, is home to nearly 80 identified dig sites and more than 30 mounted dinosaur skeletons, many of which were recovered by visitors through the “Dig for Day” program. A dig site tour offers a rare opportunity to see dinosaur footprints, and the Center’s Preparation Lab is open for the public to work alongside paleontologists. A video highlighting the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and the area’s connections to “The Good Dinosaur” is available here.
  • The University of Wyoming Geological Museum – A 75-foot Apatosaurus skeleton, discovered in 1901 at Sheep Creek in Albany County, fills the exhibit hall at the University of Wyoming Geological Museum in Laramie. Museum guests can also visit “Big Al,” the most complete Allosaurus fossil ever discovered. The museum also houses a working Prep Lab for visitors to learn about fossil preparation.
  • Wyoming State Museum – The Wyoming State Museum, located in Cheyenne, is an ideal place for dinosaur fans to get a thorough overview of Wyoming’s paleontological history. “Rex in Pieces” is the museum’s permanent dinosaur exhibit, highlighting the most prehistoric Wyoming creatures. It also features a cast of a full-sized Camptosaurus skeleton, one of the first dinosaurs found in the state.
  • Tate Geological Museum at Casper College – Paleontologists at the Tate in Casper offer week-long digs where visitors can excavate and collect artifacts. The museum is also home to Lee Rex, the T. rex, and Dee, one of the largest Columbian mammoths ever found, on display.
  • Glenrock Paleontological Museum – Established when the museum’s director discovered a triceratops at a local ranch, this museum in Glenrock encourages visitors to engage with the staff in the Preparation Lab as they take fossils from the field and prepare them for exhibits.