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Digging for Fossils
Paleo & Archeo Destinations

BEST

  for

KIDS

BEST

  for

KIDS

 
 
Family Travel Tips
 
 
Digging for Fossils

Unearthing a Stegosaurus

 

Photo by Dinosaur Safaris, Inc

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By Fodor's

Dinosaurs may be extinct in the real world, but they're alive and well in the hearts and minds of children everywhere. Long before a certain purple dinosaur commandeered the airwaves, dinosaurs were a formidable presence in children's books, games, TV shows, movies, and imaginations.

Ask your average 5-year old how to pronounce hadrosaur, and she'll tell you without stumbling over a syllable. When my own daughter, Kira, was 5, she would quiz her father and me about dinosaurs endlessly, but we never reached her level of expertise. If Dinamation International Society's Family Dino Camp had existed then, I would have taken her in a flash.

Today families can chose among places all over the world where they can dig for bones and help in paleontology labs. Most digs are dinosaur related; however, whale fossil, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger bones, as well as plant related fossils, are found at working digs, and you or someone in your family might be the first to uncover them for all the world to see.

Paleontology is mostly painstaking, slow, hot, and tedious work. Consider in advance whether your child has a real interest in and the personality to enjoy this type of multiday family vacation. Even Dino Camp, which offers a variety of child-friendly activities, is best for youngsters who already appreciate the subject. Of course, some children do discover a love of paleontology once they get involved, but it could just as easily turn out the other way. Teens and parents as well should fully discuss the itinerary, accommodations, hours, and location of a particular trip before committing. These experiences are definitely work. They're also a great fun - if you're into it - and always an incredible learning experience. Because multiday digs can be too much for some families, one-day dig opportunities can be a good way of trying out the experience. Whichever type of adventure you choose, you just might find that at the end of the trip, you'll be able to match your offspring's knowledge, if not their all-embracing love, of these prehistoric wonders.

It is assumed that most people do not know a great deal about the intricacies of digging for fossils, so lectures, talks, and hands-on lessons are very much part of the fun on this type of adventure. Reading lists and other materials about paleontology are often part of the pretrip information for expeditions. Any advance reading you do will definitely enhance your family's experience.

Excerpted from Fodor's Family Adventures by Christine Loomis Copyright 2002 by Fodors LLC, a registered trademark of Random House, Inc. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted in any form without permission in writing from the publisher.
Maps
 
Online maps are a great family travel planning resource and a great way to get the kids involved. Map the dinosaurs and discover which beasts roamed in your backyard. Use Coop's regional map guides to find North American dinosaur dig sites and natural history museums.
Books
 
Books are a great way to introduce younger children to a new adventure and get teens and tweens ready for a family trip. Books about dinosaurs will help kids get ready for a dinosaur dig whether they are budding paleontologists or simply interested in learning more. Yet the experience need not be limited to the children. Reading up on prehistoric creatures and evolution is likely to the interest of a parent or two.
Music & Sound
 
Did dinosaurs roar? Discover the sound of the Parasaurolophus and find out how scientists created the voice from a fossil.
News
 
Getting the latest dinosaur news will help prepare you and the kids for the family trip. Discover the latest fossil finds. Find out what scientists and researchers are saying.
Kids' Stuff
 
There are a variety of online resources that make learning about dinosaurs fun. Get tips for finding fossils and learn to identify what you discover. Get fun facts about dinosaurs, dig online and put your knowledge to the test. Follow paleontologists to a dig site in Mongolia and learn about more than dinosaur bones.
Organizations
 
Associations and non-profit organizations can be a valuable resource as well as a means to get involved. Learn more about paleontology and find out what it takes to be a paleontologist before you depart on a dinosaur dig. Find a Natural History Museum near you. And if you live in the UK, locate a youth group in your city or town and find out how to get the kids involved in the study of prehistory.
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Books for Kids about Dinosaurs
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