Tate Dinosaur Digs

2022 Tate Dinosaur Safaris (or not)

NOTE:  We will be taking a year off of our usual Dinosaur Safaris in 2021.    That’s right, there will be no Tate Museum Dino Digs next summer.  But we will be back in 2023, if the creek don’t rise and the good lord willin’.  Meanwhile, below is the info from the 2021 digs for your reading pleasure.   I will still be accepting emails from folks interesting in joining us, but you will only be sent a reply when the 2023 schedule is worked out.  (Email link at bottom of page). 


The goals of Tate Dinosaur Safaris are to offer fun, educational experiences to the public while building up the museum’s collections for display and research. Registration will be through the museum. The fee  includes six nights of lodging, six dinners, five field lunches, five breakfasts at the hotel in Lusk or Medicine Bow, snacks, drinks/water, and all ground transportation from Casper. The price is $1150 for a double occupancy room. There is an extra fee ($350) if you want to room solo. A non-refundable deposit of $500.00  is required upon registration to hold your place. The balance of the fee is due no later than 60 days prior to the start of the dig. The minimum age for participation is 16  and all 16 and 17-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult participant. Due to Covid, we are limiting digs to six participants on each dig, so spots fill up fast.

The trips are run by the Tate’s field operations and prep lab manager, JP Cavigelli. JP’s expertise has led to his participation in numerous paleontological expeditions throughout the West as well as in Niger, Mongolia, Alaska’s North Slope and Tanzania. JP’s recent projects include leading the excavation and preparation of Lee Rex, the only Tyrannosaurus rex found in Wyoming that is staying in Wyoming.

COVID-19 Precautions:

  • Currently, we are limiting each dig to six (6) participants.
  • Please DO NOT come if you are experiencing ANY Covid symptoms, even if we do plan to be outside most of the time.
  • As of March 2021, the current Casper College policy states that masks must be worn in all vehicles for any college outings.
  • Please check your local policies and guidelines before you plan your summer travel. Several airports are still discouraging out of state travelers, and while Wyoming isn’t currently one of them, your home state may be. (You may have to isolate after your return.)
  • Be aware that if cases begin to spike again, we may need to cancel the digs. We recommend waiting until this summer to purchase airline tickets, just in case.
  • The museum staff and volunteers will be vaccinated for Covid 19 by early summer. We would ask that participants over the age of 18, particularly those from out of state, also have had a Covid vaccination.

Fee Includes

Cost is $1150 for all digs. Here is what is included in the cost of the week-long Safaris. Accommodations in Casper at the Ramkota Hotel on Sunday evening prior to the dig and Friday evening after the dig are included. The Ramkota offers a free shuttle to and from Casper-Natrona County International Airport. The cost of a dig also includes hotel accommodations in either Lusk (Covered Wagon Hotel) or Medicine Bow (Virginian Hotel), depending on the dig site.  The Covered Wagon Hotel in Lusk offers continental breakfast. The hotel’s indoor pool and hot tub are always welcome after a hard day in the field. The Virginian Hotel in Medicine Bow is more rustic… although it has a sit down restaurant breakfast (and no pool).  All hotel accommodations are double occupancy. Same sex roommates are assigned as necessary. Single occupancy, based on hotel room availability, can be arranged at extra cost of $350.  Any hotel rooms that differ from this arrangement are not covered in the cost of the dig.  Simple, delicious lunches in the field are provided daily, as are dinners each night in town. Booze is not included in the cost of trips.  Dig fees also include all transportation from Casper to the dig site and back to Casper at the end of the dig.

2021 Description

Digs run from Sunday evening through Friday. Participants should be in Casper that Sunday evening for dinner with the group. Fossils collected remain property of the Tate Geological Museum, although participants are usually allowed to bring home a few samples of bone. Additionally, a museum volunteer/photographer typically documents the dig and shares photos with participants.

Option 1: August 15-20  or September 12-17  (BOTH ARE FULL):  will be at the Meadow Ranch in eastern Wyoming, digging in the late Cretaceous Lance Formation; about 65-66 million years old. We have been collecting on this ranch for fifteen years and still have a lot to do there. There are a number of sites we may work during the week. There are a few bone beds, sites with all sorts of bones mixed together, some Triceratops sites. The final decision of what we will work on will be made later… I am open to the ideas of participants.  We may also find some time for prospecting.

Option 2: August 1-5 or August 29- September 3: (ONE OR TWO SPACES LEFT) we will be will be returning to the Morrison Formation at Como Bluff, near the town of Medicine Bow, Wyoming. The fossils here date to the Jurassic Period and are about 140 million years old. We will continue to explore and collect at the Rodopodosaurus site which has produced a Diplodocus tail and skull and many isolated bones and teeth of various Jurassic beasts. We may also dig at other sites on this ranch. This ranch is part of the historical Como Bluff that was collected by Cope and Marsh in the early days of dinosaur exploration. Numerous historic quarries are here.

Participants are required to sign and return the Registration Form and Release Form with the non-refundable deposit in order to reserve a spot. Please print these and send them in with your deposit payment to the address below.  (Links disabled at this point).

  • 2021 registration form for Tate digs (PDF) – updated 4/21/21
  • Release form for Tate digs (PDF)

Tate Dinosaur Safaris

Tate Geological Museum

125 College Drive

Casper, WY 82601

For more information on any of these outings please call 307-268-2447 or email J.P. Cavigelli. 

NOTE:  Please do not buy a plane ticket until your registration is confirmed.  I send out a letter of confirmation as soon as I get the COMPLETED paperwork and the deposit.  Paperwork INCLUDES the release form.