Fossil Dino Tour

Journey Through Time!

Walk through the geological timeline starting at our own Ordovician Sea in Rockford 45 million years ago. Students will meet the organisms from crinoids to gastropods to the huge cephalopod predators! Touch fossils from the Ordovician, and then travel to the Carboniferous Time Period in a life size walk through forest recreation. Learn how a trip to the central and southern parts of Illinois, show us fossil evidence changes! Compare forests of the Carboniferous to forests of today.

Learn how Burpee brings these amazing paleontology specimens and scientific clues to you in Rockford! Students will then enter the Jurassic time period and learn about the work of Burpee scientists today, uncovering giants like sauropods and Stegosaurus. Move into the Cretaceous time period and look at fossil evidence Burpee's scientists have uncovered including a cast of Jane’s foot bone! Fossils found with Burpee's T. rex, Jane, give Paleontologists clues to what it was like when Jane lived, and you will get to see micovertebrates from Jane's time. Look at bones for clues that scientists have used to learn about Jane's life like marks on head, to CT scans of her bones.

Next, compare a new species of prehistoric alligator, turtle shell, and move to another prehistoric giant: Homer the triceratops. Homer, just a teenager, can be also compared to triceratops of other ages and a whole wall of ceratopsians with unique horns, frills, and beaks! Look for the Zuniceratops---discovered in New Mexico by Christopher Wolfe, an 8 year old!

Key Concepts:
  • Fossil formation, species variation, asking scientific questions and gathering data, dinosaurs, prehistoric plants & animals, animal needs, habitats, natural resources
  • Asking questions, making observations, analyzing and interpreting Data

Program includes moving short distances in groups, and sitting on the floor for discussion & activities. Chairs and/or tables are available upon request. Students may experience an animal encounter with a turtle or tortoise. We believe there should be no boundaries for your students' Burpee Museum experience. If you have an accommodation request related to a disability, please contact us at 815-965-3433. We look forward to assisting you.

Fees & Details

In-Person Tours:
  • $5.00 per student/chaperone (Teachers are no charge) 
  • 60 min per tour
  • $1.00 per student for extra explore time
  • Lab/Workshops add-ons are extra charge
  • Lunchroom can be reserved (ask for details)
Virtual Tours:
  • $5.00 per student (Teachers are no charge)
  • About 45 min per tour
  • PLUS FREE UNLIMITED explore time after the tour (Same month, same group. Teachers are no charge)

Virtual visits can be scheduled for AM, PM or both AND include a Burpee guide Visits/explore time can happen in your classroom/home 24/7

Contact Us: For more important information about bringing your group to Burpee contact us at 815-965-3433 Or By Email:

Workshop & Lab Component
Paleontology Puzzles

Take your field trip to the next level with a special class for your students.  In this lab we will use patterns to describe what you see and do the work of paleontologists!  Can you figure out how to determine when a fossil was formed?  We will help you in this inquiry based lab activity.  Learn how to identify fossils, and they try your hand at it in real time with real specimens from the museum!  Students will learn to think like a scientist by analyzing and comparing dinosaur bones, fossil leaves, ordovician shells and more! It won't be a puzzle for you very long! 


Standards NGSS

3rd Grade
  • DCI 3-LS1 From molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
    • LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms: Reproduction is essential to the continued existence of every kind of organism. Plants and animals have unique and diverse life cycles.
  • DCI 3-LS3 Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
    • LS3.B: Variation of Traits: Different organisms vary in how they look and function because they have different inherited information. The environment also affects the traits that an organism develops.
  • DCI 3-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
    • LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience: When the environment changes in ways that affect a place’s physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die.
    • LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere. Fossils provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments.
    • LS4.B: Natural Selection: Sometimes the differences in characteristics between individuals of the same species provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing
    • LS4.C: Adaptation: For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all
  • Science & Engineering Practices:
    • Developing and Using Models- Develop models to describe phenomena
    • Developing and Using Models- Use observations (firsthand or from media) to describe patterns in the natural world in order to answer scientific questions.
    • Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Construct an argument with evidence to support a claim. Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem by citing relevant evidence about how it meets the criteria and constraints of the problem. 
  • Cross Cutting Concepts:
    • Patterns- Patterns in the natural world can be observed, used to describe phenomena, and used as evidence
    • ​​​​​​Patterns- Patterns of change can be used to make predictions.
    • Systems and System Models- Systems in the natural and designed world have parts that work together.
    • Cause and Effect- Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain change
    • Scale, Proportion, and Quantity- Observable phenomena exist from very short to very long time periods.
    • Systems and System Models- A system can be described in terms of its components and their
4th Grade
  • DCI 4-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
    • LS1.A: Structure and Function Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.
  • DCI 4-ESS1 Earth's Place in the Universe
    • ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth Local, regional, and global patterns of rock formations reveal changes over time due to earth forces, such as earthquakes. The presence and location of certain fossil types indicate the order in which rock layers were formed.
  • Science & Engineering Practices:
    • Developing and Using Models- Develop models to describe phenomena
    • Developing and Using Models- Use observations (firsthand or from media) to describe patterns in the natural world in order to answer scientific questions.
  • Cross Cutting Concepts:
  • Systems and System Models- A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions. 
5th Grade
  • DCI 5-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions: Energy, and Dynamics
    • LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems-The food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plants parts and animals) and therefore operate as “decomposers.” Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.
  • DCI 5-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
    • LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms- Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water.
  • Science & Engineering Practices:
    • Analyzing and Interpreting Data- Represent data in graphical displays (bar graphs, pictographs and/or pie charts) to reveal patterns that indicate relationships.
    • Engaging in Argument from Evidence- Support an argument with evidence, data, or a model.
  • Cross Cutting Concepts:
    • Systems and System Models- A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions. Energy and Matter Matter is transported into, out of, and within systems.
    • Patterns- Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort, classify, communicate and analyze simple rates of change for natural phenomena.