Where to Find Montana’s Best Dinosaur Museums
What is the Dinosaur Trail?
The Dinosaur Trail is made up of 14 different museums, parks, and places to learn all about dinosaurs and is spread all across Montana. Many of these museums are free and accept donations to keep the research and museums operating.
You can grab a Prehistoric Passport to go and experience them all and collect stickers along the way to earn a special certificate.
Museum of the Rockies
In Bozeman you’ll find the Museum of the Rockies, probably the best-known dinosaur museum in Montana, mainly for the incredible T-Rex you’ll see here, known as the “Big Al” Allosaurus. Apart from the T-Rex specimen, there are also one-of-a-kind exhibits and dinosaur pieces that are definitely worth seeing.
Here you will find both indoor and outdoor exhibits, some permanent and others change from time to time. There is also a planetarium, store, and educational events that anyone will enjoy. As you arrive, you will see “Big Mike,” a life-size T Rex model right outside.
Upper Musselshell Museum
Located in Harlowton, The Upper Musselshell Museum is famous for housing Ava, the famous Avaceratops Lammersi. Eddie Cole found these fossils around Shawmut back in 1981. After his discovery, he named it Ava, after his wife. Here you will also find many other fascinating fossils, even some sea creature ones too!
Old Trail Museum
Another museum in Montana that displays dinosaurs is the Old Trail Museum in Choteau. Here you will find plenty of skulls, bones, skeletons, and casts of many incredible dinosaurs. One of the cool things to do in this dinosaur museum is touching and feeling a real dinosaur bone! This touch bone is a fossilized thigh bone of a duck-billed dinosaur.
This museum features artifacts from the Two Medicine Formation, including a life-size Maiasaura, which became the state fossil. Some other dinosaur exhibits at the Old Trail Museum include dinosaur eggs, nests, fossils, an Einiosaurus skull cast, footprints, and more.
Montana Dinosaur Center
Another well-known dinosaur museum is the Montana Dinosaur Center, also called the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center. This center does much more than just show fossils of dinosaurs. Here you get hands-on learning experiences that will help you develop a love for paleontology.
The Montana Dinosaur Center is famous for its short dig expeditions. You can go on a half-day adventure digging and searching for dinosaur fossils. If you don’t have time to dig, you can still enjoy seeing plenty of amazing dinosaur artifacts. Here you will find a life-size Seismosaurus, the first baby dinosaur found in the United States.
Rudyard Dinosaur Museum
Located in Rudyard, the Depot Museum created a section for their dinosaur museum in 2006. It holds the life-size Gryposaurus called the “Oldest Sorehead.” You’ll also find another Maiasaura and egg nest, similar to the Old Trail Museum.
There are many permanent exhibits with a few changing ones as well. Paleontologists are currently working on expanding this museum with more dinosaur artifacts. Along with the other dinosaur specimens, you’ll also see a Troodon and Tarasaurus.
H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum
Around an hour from the Rudyard Dinosaur Museum, you’ll find the H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum in Havre. Here you can see dinosaur eggs that are over 75 million years old! These eggs and embryos were found in the Judith River Formation. You’ll also see a Stygimoloch skull cast, Albertosaurus skull mast, and other incredible dinosaur artifacts.
Blaine County Museum
At the Blaine County Museum, located in Chinook, you will find more dinosaur discoveries in the Judith River Formation. From these discoveries, you will see Gorgosaurus, hadrosaur, and ankylosaurus fossils.
There is a “Look, Feel, and Wonder” room that allows you to touch and see the fossils of so many amazing creatures from millions of years ago. Lots of the fossils and artifacts at this museum are from sea creatures.
Great Plains Dinosaur Museum
Another one of the museums involved in the Dinosaur Trail is the Great Plains Museum in Malta. It is located right in the middle of “dinosaur country.” Here you will find Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaur fossils and other artifacts.
This museum is famous for the “Leonardo” exhibit, which shows a mummified duck-bill Brachylophosaurus Canadensis. You can also observe Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Camarasaurus, and Maltaceratops specimens. They recently discovered a type of raptor dinosaur that is not named currently, too.
If you are looking for hands-on experience with these fossils, this museum offers many educational projects, including more dig expeditions.
Phillips County Museum
Phillips County Museum is located in Malta, just next door to the Great Plains Museum. This museum is famous for “Elvis,” a 33-foot-long Brachylophosaurus fossil, one of the best dinosaur skeletons ever found. It is around 95% completed. Along with Elvis, you can also get a picture with a 700-pound Apatosaurus femur.
There are plenty of fun children’s activities here, along with lots of other dinosaur artifacts that will keep you amazed for a few hours, including a Tylosaurus jaw bone and a Crinoid plate showing marine life.
Fort Peck Interpretive Center
In Fort Peck, you can enjoy the Fort Peck Interpretive Center, which is famous for the most complete T-Rex skeleton called “Peck’s Rex.” You can also enjoy a Cretaceous Sea display, a Struthiomimus, and plenty of fun dinosaur exhibits. It is located near Glasgow, MT and is another great stop along the Dinosaur Trail.
Garfield County Museum
Located in Jordan is the Garfield County Museum, home to some pretty great paleontology discoveries. Here, you will find a full-size Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratop, and a Stygimoloch skull. This T-Rex skeleton was found right in Jordan back in 1902!
Makoshika State Park
While this is not an official museum, the Makoshika State Park is one stop along the Dinosaur Trail and is worth mentioning.
It was here that most of the dinosaur discoveries were found, including a Triceratops horridus skull, Edmontosaurus fossils, Tyrannosaurus rex specimens, and even a rare almost completed Thescelosaurus. The visitor center at this park has some of these fossils on display and makes for a nice stop!
Frontier Gateway Museum
Another stop along the Dinosaur Trail is the Frontier Gateway Museum, located in Glendive. At this museum, you will find a full-size Struthiomimus called “Margie” that was found close to Glendive around 1900.
Here you will see many other dinosaur fossils, including some plant and aquatic ones. This museum offers both outside and inside exhibits. One of the newest exhibits includes a Stegoceras, a plant-eating dinosaur!
Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum
While in Glendive, you also can’t miss the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum if you’re a dinosaur fanatic. This is a privately owned museum that isn’t on the dinosaur trail. It focuses on creationism and how that pertains to dinosaurs. Even if you’re not religious, it can still be worth a visit to see the incredible 18-foot tall and 40-foot long Tyrannosaurus Rex plus the 39-foot long Acrocanthosaurus.
Carter County Museum
The Carter County Museum in Ekalaka was the first museum to display the dinosaur fossils found in Montana. Here you will find a variety of dinosaur specimens, including an Anatotitan copei, Triceratops, Pachycephalosaurs, Ankylosaurus, Pterosaurs, and Tyrannosaurs.
Every year this museum puts on a Dino Shindig, which features many paleontologists and their discoveries, fossil digging, kid activities, and more! This is a great event to learn more about dinosaur fossils and discover one on your own.