One of the best ways to experience a national park site is by participating in a ranger program! Fossil Butte National Monument offers a variety of ranger programs during in the summer months. These programs are available year round upon request, excluding the fossil quarry program.
Fossil Preparation Demonstrations
The fossils we see in exhibits and museums didn't come out of the rock that way! To display fossils takes a lot of work and patience. Learn about the tools paleontologists use while you observe the delicate process of a ranger preparing a fossil in our Visitor Center's scientific lab. This program is available daily between 10 am and 3 pm.
Fossil Quarry Program (Summer Only)
Ever wonder how fossils are found and collected? Join us in the Research Quarry and learn all about the real like work of a paleontologist! You will learn more about ongoing research, help us look for fossils, and record our findings! While you can not keep any fossils, you can contribute to the world of science!
This program is available Fridays and Saturdays from June 16th to August 26th, 11 am to 3 pm. Prepare to hike a 1/2 mile up-hill, gaining about 300 feet in elevation. Be aware that there is no shade, water, or restroom available up at the quarry. Restrooms and water are available at the start of the Nature Trail, where you will begin this walk. Wear comfortable hiking boots, and bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Be prepared for hot conditions up at the quarry. If you have no been to the Quarry Program before, we suggest stopping by the Visitor Center for specific directions to reach the quarry.
All fossils found and collected will remain in Fossil Butte's museum collection for scientific study. There are private, commercial quarries in the area where you can pay to dig for fossils. For information on private quarries please visit the Fossil Basin Promotion Board webpage.
Allow 1.5 hours for this program. Reservations are not required. If you discovered a fossil while participating in this program, download the Fossil Lake Quarry Data Spreadsheet to view the data collected. If you do not see the fossil you discovered on the spreadsheet, check back as the document is updated periodically.
Experience a National Park Service tradition by participating in a short ranger presentation! Available on request at the Visitor Center, programs are 10 to 20 minutes long.
Monument Exhibit Tour: Learn more about the fascinating fossils (over 300) displayed in our museum.
Fossil Butte Past & Present: What happened in the last 50 million years to change our environment from a tropical lake system to a sagebrush steep ecosystem?
Timeline Tour: Geologic time can be a big concept. Walk the timeline exhibit around the Visitor Center porch to learn about some of the highlights of our planet's history.
Just for Kids: Join a ranger for a program designed just for juniors to learn more about fossils!