A place to excavate real dinosaur bones may be hard to find. While many sites are adorned with colossal constructions of dinosaur skeletons, Dinosaur Park in Laurel, Maryland, focuses on smaller pieces found in the ground. African-Americans first uncovered dinosaur fossils in Maryland while mining in 1858. This discovery was integral to the development of paleontology and our understanding of prehistoric life in this region. Dinosaur Park features a garden with prehistoric plants and signs that depict dinosaurs from the area.
On the first and third Saturday of each month, the park holds open houses where visitors can learn from paleontologists. On these days they “invite the public to join in the process of searching for fossils,” says Ben Miller, museum program coordinator. Children are particularly adept at finding them, Miller says. Over the years, people visiting the park have discovered more than 1,000 fossils from over 110 million years ago. Perhaps the coolest aspect of Dinosaur Park is that this is where the bones themselves are found. Being the first person to unearth a piece from the past can be very exciting. The discoveries are sure to enchant children and adults alike. / Laurel, MD; pgparks.com; free open houses