The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota is a must see, especially if you have a dinosaur lover. When we started this cross country trip, we asked both kids if there was something they wanted to see. This was on the top of Michael's list.
Around the age of two, Michael became fascinated by dinosaurs. We read every book we could on them and he learned them all by name!
The Mammoth site was discovered in 1974 by accident. For thousands of years, the bones of these majestic animals had remained hidden. It wasn't until the land was being excavated for a housing development that they were found. This was an amazing discovery!
Thankfully to local residents, the site was preserved for all to see.
Today the site is the home to the world's largest collection of Colombian Mammoth exhibit.
It currently has 61 Mammoths in the pit, but the number will continue to grow has future excavations are done.
They have 58 Colombian Mammoths and 3 Woolly Mammoths. Oddly, all the mammoths discovered have been juvenile males. I guess the lady mammoths were smart enough not to fall in!
The site is an active dig site. It currently has scientist and students working at the site. It is a world renown research center for Pleistocene studies!
When you first enter, you will be greeted by a huge Mammoth skeleton. The staff will greet you and lead you into a theater were you get to watch a 10 minute movie about the site and the mammoths.
From the heater, you will be taken into the actual dig site. This is amazing! Michael loved that he was able to see a real live dig site.
The guided tour of the dig is around 30 minutes. Once it's done, you are free to walk around and explore even more. I think Michael and dad spent an additional 20 minutes in there.
After exploring the dig site, we headed into Exhibit Hall.
The Exhibit Hall is a mini museum. It's filled with life size replicas. You'll see mammoths, a Giant short faced bear, arrowheads, and a variety of other artifacts. You can spend an additional hour in here looking at all the stuff. It's wonderful collection.
Once you leave the hall, you'll enter a nice souvenir store. Here your little paleontologist can find books, toys,shirts, etc. All the proceeds will go back into the dig site.
We did learn about their educational programs too!
They have programs were kids can come and learn all about excavation work. I wish we lived closer. He would be there every day all summer.
So if you're ever in the area, be sure to stop by The Mammoth Site!
You will not be disappointed.
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