Camping With Kids #6: How To Find Dinosaur Fossils? Use The Lick Test

How To Find Fossils In Dinosaur Provincial Park

A trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park is quickly becoming an annual Father’s Day trip. It is a beautiful place for families to go camping as it features playgrounds, hiking trails, and dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Provincial Park is home to more than 40 species of dinosaurs and is one of the richest fossil beds in the world. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site meaning it is deemed just as valuable a place to the global experience as the pyramids at Giza or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

The park is an area known as the Canadian Badlands. They are, literally, bad lands, for travel, settlement, what have you. Layers of sandstone are quickly eroded into beautiful hoodoos and a stark landscape. When you stand on the edge of Dinosaur Provincial Park, you feel as if you’re staring off into the Grand Canyon (ish). While not nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Canadian Badlands can be just as impressive as flat topped peaks, and valleys dot the entire area.

Dinosaur Provincial Park - Buzz Bishop

Dinosaur Provincial Park - Buzz Bishop

Dinosaur Provincial Park - Buzz Bishop

Along with the usual camping fun, there are many tours you can book at Dinosaur Provincial Park ranging from full day backcountry badland hikes to bus tours into the nature preserve.

Dinosaur Provincial Park - Buzz Bishop

We took a 2 hour bus ride into the nature preserve of Dinosaur Provincial Park. Here, our guide told us about the badlands, how they were formed, and how settlers first came to the area. Then, as we got a little deeper, he set us free to find our own fossils. Seriously, they were lying all over the ground like rocks.

So, how can you tell if you have a piece of dinosaur bone or just another rock? Use the lick test. It’s simple: lick your finger, press it into the bone/rock for a few seconds and then try to lift it up. Fossils are porous, so your finger will stick for a second, like it’s been pressed into tape. That’s it.

I would have loved to have grabbed a few pieces of dinosaur fossil for Zacharie’s incredible rock collection, but that is strictly forbidden, natch. Still, wandering around the Canadian Badlands, it’s easy to stumble into fossils and dinosaur bones just about anywhere, so remember the lick test and you might just find a wonderful souvenir.

We had a great time at Dinosaur Provincial Park for Father’s Day weekend, and Charlie’s first camping trip. The boys even stayed up until nearly 930 (8p usual bedtime) to climb the cliffs and watch the sun set.

Dinosaur Provincial Park - Buzz Bishop

SEE ALL MY FAVORITE PLACES TO GO CAMPING WITH KIDS HERE

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Buzz

Dad. Broadcaster. Writer. Media Disruptor. Two time Guinness World Record Holder. I run marathons for Team Diabetes.