Learn to be a Jr. Paleontologists

Jr Paleo Program at the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs


It’s an active paleontological dig site with a current mammoth count of 61 (58 Columbian and 3 woolly mammoths). It’s the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world. It’s the Mammoth Site, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The majority of fossils found are from the North American Columbian mammoth, plus three woolly mammoths have also been discovered here, making this “east meets west mammoth gathering” the first time both species have been found together. Fossils of other Ice Age animals have also been discovered: camel, llama, giant short-faced bear, wolf, coyote and prairie dog to name a few. Imprint fossils of bird feathers, complete fish skeletons, and thousands of mollusk shells have also been recovered from this now-dry 26,000 year old sinkhole.

The bones, scat and shells are identified, numbered cataloged and preserved, with almost all the mammoth remains displayed in-situ (as they were found in the sinkhole).

“Junior Paleontologists,” kids ages 4 – 12, get to experience an educational simulated excavation at the Mammoth Site from June 1st through August 15th. Actual Paleontological excavation techniques are taught, including identification of replica mammoth and giant short-faced bear fossils. Participants bring home a fossil identification booklet and a Jr. Paleontologist completion certificate suitable for framing.

An advanced Paleontology program for kids over 10 teaches proper excavation techniques and bone identification within a mock bonebed environment with replicas made from discoveries within the actual bonebed. Participants will also learn how to map and jacket a bone.

The Mammoth Site is not to be missed. Book your tour of the Mammoth Site