Public Expeditions

Ever dream of hunting dinosaurs?  The Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute offers an exciting opportunity to work alongside scientists in fossil-rich & rugged landscapes of southern Montana and northern Wyoming.  If you are interested in an unforgettable adventure - truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience - then read below to find out how you can become an Expedition Crew Member!



General Information

The BBPI's paleontologists have participated in field expeditions around the world, and while adventure is always part of the process, there's nothing quite like the Bighorn Basin for studying the history of life on Earth.  The BBPI's paleontologists have lead expeditions into the basin since 2010, building on the decades-long research projects of their predecessors and mentors.  


More Information for Expedition Crew Members

After you've registered, there's still more  you need to know.  Click the Expedition Crew Members Only link below to get a packing list, to complete travel forms, waivers, updates, and much more.  

Image Credit: L. Rooney

The Basics

Image Credit: L. Rooney

Image Credit: L. Rooney

The BBPI's field work and public expeditions are not just dinosaur-hunting/fossil-collecting trips.  By joining us as an Expedition Crew Member, you will learn about the geology, paleontology, and general natural history of the region, while helping the BBPI continue its decades-long research projects: to fully document the region's ancient organisms in order to better understand and interpret these paleoenvironments.  If you are looking for a real, science-based paleontology experience, then this is the opportunity for you.  



Image Credit: M. Servideo

Expedition Crew Members must be:

  • At least 12 years of age (minors 12-17 must be accompanied by an adult)
  • In good physical condition.  Daily activities likely will include strenuous tasks on loose, steep terrain, in high temperatures.  Please consult your physician if there is any question regarding your level of fitness and successfully accomplishing these tasks.
    • For the safety of the entire team, we reserve the right to refuse to allow Expedition Crew Members to go to certain sites if we believe they cannot safely traverse the terrain.  

What Are We Looking For?

The BBPI's 2017 Field Expedition will focus primarily on two areas:

  1. The latest Cretaceous Lance Formation (~68-65 million years old) preserves continental environments near the edge of a retreating Western Interior Seaway.  It is a fascinating time in Earth's history just before the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. Within these rocks are the fossilized remains of the plants and animals that lived here, including crocodiles, turtles, fish, mammals, lizards, birds, and of course, dinosaurs!  Many of the most famous dinosaurs - like Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex - called this region home, and their fossilized remains sometimes litter the hillsides!
  2. The Jurassic Morrison Formation (~145 million years old in this region) is world famous for holding the remains of many of the largest animals ever to walk the Earth, especially at places like Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah.  However, comparatively little is known about the Morrison or its fossil treasures this far north.  The 2017 Field Expedition will only be our second year venturing into this territory, but if 2016 was any indication, we may have more fossil sauropods (long-necked dinosaurs) than we know what to do with!

Occasionally, we also have opportunities to collect in the Paleocene (~63 million year old) Ft. Union Formation and the famous Devonian (~375 mya) Beartooth Butte Formation.

Portion of a T. rex femur. Image Credit: B. Malinowski

Illustration by Jason Poole.


More Details

If this sounds like the kind of adventure you're ready for, then please go to our FAQ's for more details.  

If you have younger kids who aren't quite ready for this experience, or are looking for something a little less rigorous for yourself, please feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to recommend other opportunities.



  • Fees include room and board, 3 meals/day at YBRA, all transportation to/from Billings, Montana and to/from field locations each day, all tools, training, and expertise.  Basically, you don't have to spend a dime once you get to Montana!
  • Students are required to register for 2 weeks, plus tuition fees for 3 credits.  Please see our Students page for details. - COMING SOON!
  • Payment Schedule
    • Deposit: A nonrefundable 20% deposit is due upon registration  
    • Final Payment: Due by June 30, 2017
    • Note: No fees are refundable after June 19
  • Discounts!
    • Members of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University are invited to join the 2017 Field Expedition.  
    • Members who join during the final two weeks of the field season receive a discount of $50/person/week!  Use promo code 2017AcademyDinos at checkout.  
Photo Credit: L. Rooney

Photo Credit: L. Rooney