Best Road Trips to See Dinosaurs Near Fargo

dinosaurs near Fargo
Science Museum of Minnesota.

As I was searching for great spots to find dinosaurs near Fargo, I thought — what causes us to be so fascinated by dinosaurs?

Is it because they walked the very same earth we do today, and it’s possible their fossil remains could be hidden right below our feet?

Or, perhaps it’s because they are ancient creatures (almost mythical) who ruled the Earth in their time. Not only that, but their extinction represents the many changes our Earth has undergone and reminds us that nothing is permanent.

Whatever the reason, these prehistoric creatures have been enthralling young and old ever since the first fossil discovery. So, if you or a loved one want to come face-to-face with dinosaurs, these road trip destinations are perfect for you!

Road Trips to See Dinosaurs Near Fargo

Barnes County Historical Society Museum (Valley City, ND)

Distance: 1 hour

Guests of this museum will find exhibits dedicated to fossils, cars, trains, local history, and world history.

Local resident, Gundy the Triceratops, is the big draw here. This 65-million-year-old fossil dates back to the Cretaceous Period.

The museum also recently acquired a Thescelosaurus fossil affectionately known as Burt, “The Marvelous Lizard.”

North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum (Bismarck, ND)

Distance: 2 hours and 45 minutes

The fossil exhibits at the Heritage Center in Bismarck outline North Dakota’s history of life over the last 80 million years. Full scale casts include Mosasaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex, and Triceratops.

Authentic fossils including Triceratops and Pteranodon can also be viewed in the exhibits. But the rarest piece in the collection is an Edmontosaurus named Dakota, a mummified duck-billed dinosaur.

Science Museum of Minnesota (Saint Paul, MN)

Distance: 3 hours and 30 minutes

In the Dinosaurs & Fossils Gallery of the Science Museum, guests will encounter articulated skeletons of Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, and an 80-foot-long Diplodocus. In addition to these towering giants, guests can observe fossils, amber, dinosaur bones, and even coprolites (fossilized dinosaur poop!).

There are several interactive elements to these exhibits to keep even the youngest visitors engaged.

dinosaurs near Fargo
Science Museum of Minnesota.

Badlands Dinosaur Museum (Dickinson, ND)

Distance: 4 hours and 15 minutes

This museum houses the most dinosaur fossils on display in North Dakota. Guests will encounter full-scale dinosaurs including Allosaurus, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus. Authentic fossils on display include a Tyrannosaurus rex leg as well as a complete Triceratops skull.

In the preparation lab, guests can view and interact with staff processing the latest fossil discoveries.

Those looking to volunteer can work in the lab cleaning and assembling fossils. Or, if you’d like to be a part of an excavation, you can volunteer in the fieldwork program. Who knows, you could help unearth a new fossil for one of the museum’s galleries!

Pioneer Trails Regional Museum (Bowman, ND)

Distance: 5 hours and 20 minutes

The Pioneer Trails Regional Museum is highly active in paleontological research. The fossils on display have been collected within 100 miles of Bowman and include Mosasaurs, Plesiosaurs, and a full-sized Triceratops fossil.

During the summer months, visitors may join one of the Paleontology Site Tours. On the tour, participants learn what fossils are present in the area and how to properly collect them.

Makoshika State Park and Visitors Center (Glendive, MT)

Distance: 5 hours and 35 minutes

Montana’s largest state park is also a hotspot for fossil excavation. Several species of dinosaurs have been discovered here, including Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Edmontosaurus, and Thescelosaur. And while walking the trails, you could potentially encounter actual dinosaur fossils!

The Visitors Center at the entrance to the park has a small exhibit showcasing some of the fossils found in the area.

While in the town of Glendive, be sure to stop by Hell Creek Music Store to see the 38-foot Tyrannosaurus rex they have on display!

I hope these road trip destinations help you journey back in time to discover the amazing dinosaurs near Fargo!
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Anthea Varriano
Anthea is a Fargo native who graduated from NDSU in 2012 with degrees in Anthropology and Psychology. She loves the Fargo community and the opportunities available for her family here (but not so much the snow). Anthea is a self-described “Disney Nerd.” The movies, music, and theme parks – she loves it all! Anthea channels her love for Disney into her blog, Inspiring Magical Memories, where she shares Disney-themed recipes and crafts, Disney dinner parties, and trip planning articles for the Disney Parks. She and her husband have two daughters and a son: Aiden (2008), Gemma (2016), and Ezra (2021). With ages ranging from infant to teenager, Anthea keeps herself busy just trying to keep up with her kiddos! In the past 14 years, Anthea has seen the rules of parenting change and evolve, which just goes to show we are always learning and adapting. No parent is perfect! Which is why Anthea feels it is important for moms to have a network where they can support each other and learn from one another. Besides writing, Anthea enjoys cooking, crafting, working out, and attending community events with her family.


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