“Aren’t there big dinosaur things to do out there?” This was my mom’s gentle, persistent way of asking for the 100th time when we were finally going to do some dinosaur stuff. I get it. North Dakota/Montana… exactly the right place to fit some dino homeschooling into the schedule. (Although, for the record, the big, fancy, famous national monument is in CO/UT.) When I caught wind of the Dino Trail, marketing ploy or not, we were gonna stop at one of the museums.
A google hour or so from our previous campsite and a couple of Google hours to our next one, we would be passing right by the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in Malta, Montana. It’s the gem of the dino trail, or so I’m told. We planned an extended lunch break.
The museum was remarkable because it had… SO MUCH. It’s not the Smithsonian, but most of their holdings could be in a Smithsonian. And it’s all in 1 modest sized room. Best of all… no one else was there in the middle of the day on a random summer Wednesday.
Evie and Jack gravitated to the microscope. We looked at real pieces of dino eggs, fossils and shells. The museum had plenty to touch and plenty to read. We saw bones, some real some replicas. We learned about what the land mass of North America used to look like. I followed all that up with some dino-themed activities in the van later and rounded it out with some dino books that night.
As an aside, located next door to the dinosaur museum was a prairie museum. We got a kick out of comparing and contrasting our RV with the OG… the covered wagon… in the parking lot. I asked the kids to imagine that as our home and because it wasn’t altogether totally unlike our home… they actually got a sense of what that might have been like. It’s actually quite surprising that people ever successfully made it to California.