People in Prince George’s have a gift; they can jump back in time without even leaving town. After initial dinosaur fossil discoveries by African American miners in 1858, other anatomists, geologists, and fossil collectors continued to uncover more and more remnants through the region. Even today, new discoveries are being made — and visitors can be part of these exciting endeavors.

Dinosaur Park in Laurel is home to a rare deposit of fossils from the early Cretaceous period, which was about 115 million years ago. Paleontologists have found the bones and teeth of the Astrodon, the Maryland state dinosaur, and the remains of early flowering plants. The unique site seeks to provide hands-on programming to preserve, protect, and interpret regional paleontology.

To further this scientific exploration, the paleontologists at Dinosaur Park are conducting a multi-year dig project at the park’s fossil site, carefully extracting the remnants of past lives. To connect with the community on this important work, the park staff offers three unique programs to the public.

  1. To better educate the students in the region, Dinosaur Park staff provide personalized educational programs for private and public schools, homeschool groups, student clubs, and special family events. The experiences cover an orientation of the ancient world, a show-and-tell presentation of the regional fossils, and an exploration of the ground surface with paleontologists.
  2. To help move this monumental project forward, the site is seeking volunteer participants. These volunteers will aid in the extraction of buried fossils. The park will provide tools to volunteers for this experience, which lasts three hours and is limited to 10 participants a day. All volunteers must be eight years old or older, and children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a participating adult.
  3. Finally, for groups who can’t come to Dinosaur Park, the site’s paleontologists can bring fossils and casts of Maryland plants and animals from 115 million years ago to them. These free one-hour show-and-tell presentations cover the early Cretaceous period and are only offered to educational groups.

These programs book far in advance, so it is prudent to plan ahead and schedule your visits weeks before you’d like to attend. If you aren’t able to book an educational program, you can still visit the Dinosaur Park playground and gardens, which are open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Learn more about the history of Prince George’s.