Activities & Workshops

PaleoFest 2023 Class & Workshop Schedule

Burpee Museum is excited to present the 25th annual PaleoFest! We have new, fun, paleo-loving youth and family-oriented talks, workshops, and classes. Below is the list of scheduled activities.


Preregistration may be done online through Eventbrite or by calling Burpee’s visitor services department (815-965-3433). Walk-ins are welcome to attend as well. Preregistration is recommended as spots fill up fast.

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Workshop Descriptions

Ages 3-6 Fossil Lake in a Jar Workshop: 55 million years ago, massive lakes covered the western United States and preserved countless fossils from tiny horses to schools of fish. Learn the process of fossilization and make your own Fossil Lake in a Jar!

Ages 3-6 Brachiopods Cast Workshop: Sometimes, animals only leave behind impressions after they die, and paleontologists recreate these animals using plaster casts to learn more about them. Try making your own cast of an animal that left an impression behind!

Ages 7+ Amber Workshop: Learn everything amber! No other fossil preserves animals in greater detail; it’s like seeing the past frozen in time. Join us to make your own Amber Soap Fossil!

Ages 7+ A Guide to Paleontology Workshop: Learn the tools of the trade in the field of paleontology! Participate in hands-on activities to hone your skills as a budding paleontologist. Create casts, map dig sites, and have a tour of our newly renovated paleo lab and collections.

Family PaleoArt Workshop: Learn how artists and scientists can work together to create a visual representation of a time on Earth we have never seen before PaleoArt!

  • Saturday: Dynamic Dactyls | Horrid Harpies or Serene Soarers? Reconstruct their true nature and variety as one of the most unique animal groups in the history of Planet Earth!
  • Sunday: Early Birds | While pterosaurs were dominating the skies of the Mesozoic, another group of small predatory reptiles were also casting themselves into the air. Join us to learn and reconstruct the wonderful world of ancient birds and why so many ornithologists and paleontologists consider them to be the last dinosaurs!

Family Talk:

  • Anne Brusatte – “Dugie the Dinosaur” | Saturday 11:45 am and Sunday 2:30 pm
    • Learn more about the first published children’s book about Scottish dinosaurs! Dugie the Dinosaur features amazing creatures that used to live on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Meet huge long-necked dinosaurs, docile stegosaurs, and flying pterosaurs as they work to find their way back home to the lush lagoons after becoming lost in the fern-filled forest.
  • Josh Mathews – “Horns & Beaks” | Sunday 11:45am
  • Dr. Sara ElShafie – “The World’s Largest Reptiles: Then & Now” | Saturday 2:30 pm