The Big Dig

boy digging for dinosaurs in The Big Dig

Hunt for dinosaur bones at the Big Dig, where you can search for fossils in a replica of the New Mexico Badlands. After you have donned your protective goggles and grabbed your chisel and brush, you'll be ready to dig for dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous Period (near the end of the Age of Dinosaurs). But be warned, you need to be patient to dig for dinosaurs. Just ask any paleontologist! Luckily, the Big Dig isn't as dirty as some of the outdoor digs visited by Academy scientists.

So far, dinosaur hunters at the Big Dig have found parts of the following dinosaurs:

Edmontosaurus
This is a hadrosaur or duckbill dinosaur. You can see the skeleton of another hadrosaur, Corythosaurus, on the main floor of Dinosaur Hall.
Struthiomimus
This is an ostrich-mimic dinosaur. Like Tyrannosaurus or Deinonychus, it walked on its hind legs. But it looks different from them because its legs, arms, tail, and neck are long and thin. It also has a small head.
Triceratops
This is a ceratopsian or horned dinosaur. There's a skull of Triceratops on the Mezzanine and there are skeletons of two different relatives of Triceratops on the Main Floor. They are Avaceratops and Chasmosaurus.
Tyrannosaurus
You must know about this dinosaur!

When you're done here, you may want to check out the Fossil Prep Lab, which is located in the back of the first level in Dinosaur Hall (behind the stairway). There you can see how fossils are prepared after they are removed from the ground.

girl digging for fossils in The Big Dig

The Big Dig is a popular destination for field trips. If your group (10 or more people) wants to visit the Big Dig, you'll have to make a reservation. See Field Trips or call 215-299-1060 for more information.

If you're a family or individual and come to the Big Dig only to find it being used by a group, don't worry. We can usually find a place for you.

The Big Dig is open 10:00 am–4:30 pm on weekdays and 10 am–5:00 pm on weekends. It's located on the Mezzanine in Dinosaur Hall.

Browse Events

Search Events

Plan your visit, check out our new exhibits, and find out about upcoming activities.
Discover the past and explore the future of the natural sciences in our online exhibits.
Make a difference, browse our programs, and get involved with the natural world.