mack in the middle of dinosaur
country, the Hi-Line has a series
of dinosaur exhibits that
are featured in Montana’s focus
on the prehistoric, the Montana Dinosaur Trail.
Created in 2005, the trail features
15 sites in 12 Montana communities
Chinook, Malta and Rudyard.
People participating in the trail
can purchase a “prehistoric passport,”
which includes information about the
displays at each of the 15 sites, information about fossils and a space to
take notes, as well as the passport section.
People taking the passport to the
sites can receive a “dino icon” stamp
from each location. Users who fill the
passport with stamps from all 15 sites
within five years receieve a Montana
Dinosaur Trail Prehistoric Passport Tshirt.
The local dinosaur displays continue to grow. Slightly to the east in Malta
two locations, the Great Plains Dinosaur
Museum and Field Station and the Phillips County Museum, feature displays
on some world-famous fossils, including
Leonardo, the mummified-then-fossilized
duckbill dinosaur found near Malta
recognized in the Guinness Book of
World Records as the best-preserved
dinosaur fossil ever found.
The Blaine County Museum in Chinook features extensive exhibits including different dinosaur fossils from the
area, as well as marine reptiles, with
visitors allowed to look at and actually
handle fossils in the displays.
The exhibits at the H. Earl and
Margaret Turner Clack Memorial Museum in Havre also continue to grow,
with many new additions in the last few
A recent addition to the museum
system in Rudyard, which includes a
classic car museum and the Museumof-the-Rockies-affiliated Depot Museum,
is a set of dinosaur displays. Lifelike
displays show visitors a representation
of the ancient animals that once lived in
Dinosaur Trail Passport books can
be purchased at the member sites of
the trail or online at http://mtdinotrail.
Hi-Line’s ancient history on display in Malta
Montana’s has always had beautiful
wildlife, even 65 million years ago.
The Great Plains Dinosaur Museum
and Field Station in downtown Malta
allows visitors to sneak a peek what Big
Sky Country looked like back when it
was Big Lizard Country.
The museum has numerous specimens of diverse species, many of which
were uncovered just outside of town.
The museum’s headline duck-billed
dinosaur, the hadrosaur Leonardo, may
currently be on tour, staying in Houston,
Tex. now, but the rest of his hadrosaur
family, Roberta and Peanut, are holding
down the fort in Malta.
They also have such popular species
as the long-necked sauropod, a stegosaurus and a triceratops.
Open from May 2, until autumn, the
museum is open seven days a week,
from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday
through Saturday, and from 12:30 p.m.
to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.
Other than dinosaur fossils, the mu-
seum currently has an exhibit of ancient
sea creatures on loan from the Eichorns
For those interested in a more hands
on approach to the ancient world, the
museum also offers three sessions of
hands-on archaeological expeditions,
for anyone at least 11 years old.
During the sessions, from July 11-15,
25-29 and Aug. 15-19, paleontologist
Dave Trexler leads attendees in hunt of
signs of ancient life.
Trexler, from the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum, will teach groups
how to excavate, record and transport
fossils in the rugged plains of Phillips
“Our main registration group is a
family, it’s usually one of the kids that
gets fascinated with dinosaurs and
the family decides to take some time
in the field, but once we get out there
it’s usually the parents that get into it,”
Trexler said. “Everyone kind of has a
misconception about what it’s all about
when they get there. They’re usually
pleasantly surprised when they get out
“It’s not just important work, it’s fun.”
The museum’s biggest event of the
year is their annual fundraising dinner during the first week of June, to
coincide with Malta’s other big draws,
the car show and races at the Phillips
County Motor Sports drag strip.
This year the dinner has a special surprise, according to Carolyn
Schmoeckel, president of the Judith
River Foundation Board that runs both
the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum and
the Phillips County Museum next door.
“We are hoping at our fundraiser to
have an unveiling of a very unique
specimen, which I can’t disclose,”
Information about the museum or any
of their program offerings and events
can be found online at www.greatplainsdinosaurs.org.