Tate Dinosaur Digs
2023 Tate Dinosaur Safaris
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. All 16 and 17-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult participant.
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 beyond Tate Dinosaur Safaris include leading the excavation and preparation of Lee Rex, the only Tyrannosaurus rex found in Wyoming that has stayed in Wyoming.
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. Alcohol 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. Each week of dino digging is limited to 8 people plus two Tate Museum staffers (JP and a field helper/chauffeur).
Digs run from Sunday evening through Friday except the June 20 through 24 dig. Participants should be in Casper the Sunday evening for dinner with the group (Monday evening for the mid-June dig). 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.
(If a trip is labeled ‘wait list’, feel free to call me to ask about it. Phone number listed below).
Option 1: June 12 to 16 (wait list) or June 20 to 24 (wait list): We 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. We will focus on a bone bed discovered in 2011 called Promise Hill. This site has produced several thousand fossils from the small and mundane (gar scales) to the large and exciting (complete crocodile skull, ornithomimid bones) including bones and teeth of many dinosaur species including the iconic T rex. We have a lot of area to keep digging in this quarry and we will see what we can find.
Option 2: July 17 to 21 (wait list) or August 21 to 25 (wait list): 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. This ranch is part of the historical Como Bluff that was collected by Cope and Marsh in the early days of dinosaur exploration. We will be working at the Nail Quarry this summer. This quarry was discovered in the early 1980’s and is very rich in Jurassic dinosaur bones. Most bones are isolated but some associated specimens have been found here including the second ever Apatosaurus excelsius skull.
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.
- 2023 registration form for Tate digs (PDF) – updated 1/5/23
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.