THING TO DO

Fossil Preparation Lab

The Fossil Preparation Lab, located in the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, is a great place to stop by and learn about fossils from rangers and working paleontologists!
a close up of a hand using a small pick to remove rock from a fossil skull.
Watch paleontologists use specialized tools to work on fossils in the Fossil Prep Lab.

NPS Photo

a woman in a white lab coat works on enormous fossil skull.
Paleontologists at Badlands National Park work on fossils in a variety of sizes!

NPS Photo

A Working Paleontology Lab

The Fossil Preparation Lab is typically open from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., seven days a week, from the second week in June through the third week in September. Located in the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, this working paleontological laboratory gives visitors the chance to watch paleontologists at work and learn more about ongoing science at Badlands National Park.

In the Fossil Preparation Lab, visitors can watch park paleontologists and interns perform the amazing work of fossil preparation. This includes identifying species based on fossil characteristics, removing rock from fossils, and preparing and cataloguing finished specimens for display. Visitors also have the opportunity to ask rangers and paleontologists questions about this exciting work.

Details
Pets are prohibited in the Ben Reifel Visitor Center unless they are a certified service animal. Emotional support animals are not service animals and are not allowed in the visitor center.

Pets are permitted in Badlands National Park with some restrictions. Pets must be kept on a leash no more than six feet in length at all times. Pets are only permitted in developed areas, such as campgrounds and picnic areas, and other areas open to motor vehicles, such as gravel and paved roadways, roadway corridors, and parking lots. Pets are prohibited from hiking trails, public buildings (i.e. visitor centers), and backcountry areas, including the Badlands Wilderness Area, and areas with prairie dog colonies. Pet etiquette dictates always cleaning up animal waste and disposing of it in trash receptacles.
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
The Fossil Preparation Lab is typically open from the second week in June through the third week of September.
The Fossil Preparation Lab is typically open from 9am-4:30pm, seven days a week.
Accessibility Information
The Ben Reifel Visitor Center includes ramp entrances, accessible movie theater seating, accessible bathrooms, and spacious museum exhibits for those who use wheelchairs.

Certified service animals are the only animals allowed in the visitor center. Emotional support animals are not service animals and are not allowed in the building.

Last updated: July 28, 2020