PaleoFest 2021

Are You Ready? Check the important ticket FAQ below to learn about last-minute ticket purchasing after March 5th at 8 PM CST.

Burpee Museum is once again hosting one of the coolest paleontology festivals in the world.  Don't miss PaleoFest 2021, as we join forces with scientists from around the world and going live on:

March 5, 6, and 7

Join the Fun

Dino-lovers, rock collectors, and fossil diggers unite for an internationally attended festival. Our audience includes scientists and researchers, aspiring scientists, students, paleo-lovers, and even dino-loving kiddos! Many of the talks focus on our speakers' cutting edge research and amazing new finds.

A New Format: VIRTUAL

Burpee Museum is excited to present our 23rd PaleoFest 2021. This year we are virtual for the first time!  As usual, we are boasting an impressive lineup of guest speakers and researchers. Taking advantage of our virtual format, we are bringing more international speakers than usual!  Sneak Peek Below!

We are excited that PaleoFest fans can attend from around the world without travel this year, yet networking, quality talks, and great paleo fun can still continue despite the pandemic.

Not Just for Professional Scientists

Students, interested community members, and aspiring scientists are encouraged to join the experts as they share stories, research, and experiences. It is a great opportunity to make connections and become inspired! Not ready for the lectures? Families can still enjoy hands-on workshops, lectures for children, and activities for families through our easy to use online platform...paleo science is presented in a fun, big way.

Family Fun

Bring your best dino roar, paleo costume, and jump into so many fun ways to win contests, learn about prehistoric animals...and virtually explore the halls of Burpee from your home with our education staff! 

Artists Encouraged!

Enjoy drawing dinosaurs? Learn from the experts in both the lectures and PaleoArt workshops as your art brings to life scenes from long ago that no human has seen before!

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PaleoFest Family Track
VIRTUAL Special PaleoActivities

VIRTUAL Museum Activities, Special learning, exhibit tours, and activities throughout the museum, Add-on workshops, classes, and more!

Great for the whole family. Dig deeper into paleo time periods, as well as speak to visiting scientists and artists!

VIRTUAL Research Talks

For scientists...and scientists at heart!

Talks about cutting edge Paleo Research. Students, interested community members, and aspiring scientists are encouraged to join the experts!

VIRTUAL Student Symposium

K-12 Student Event

Join us for live chats with scientists, view their photos, and learn about researching and adventures.

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Sponsor Virtual PaleoFest 2021

Help Make 2021 A Success

Reach a large group of local families, scientists, and many from abroad!

Notice: To ensure you can catch ALL the PaleoFest fun, register by 8 pm on Friday through our Eventbrite links. Saturday and Sunday tickets will only be sold over the phone after 8pm on Friday, and wait times may be long to process payment and get into the interface. But what does that mean? Check out our FAQ!


Q: Why can't I use Eventbrite to buy tickets on Saturday or Sunday?

Eventbrite can take multiple hours to process payments. To get your ticket codes needed to access our virtual platform, we need to wait for Eventbrite's processing. In order to make sure our guests are able to get access quickly after your purchase, we will be taking payments over the phone.

Q: How do you accept payment?

Until Friday at 8pm, credit card payments or PayPal payments can be made online through Eventbrite links. You can also pay over the phone. Starting Saturday at 9am, phone payment is the only option.

Q: Where do I log into PaleoFest?

After your payment is processed, you are entered into the system. By Thursday morning, all ticket holders should have an email with all the details to access the platform. Each ticket gives you access on one device. If you close out of one device (ex: computer) and re-open on a new device (ex: phone) it should work just fine. If you try to open multiple tabs with the same device, it will not work. If you would like to use multiple devices, you will need multiple tickets.

Q: Shoot! Forgot to pre-purchase my ticket. Can I still attend?

Sure. In order to purchase last-minute tickets, please call 815-847-4174 where we can process your payment and give you access to workshops, activities, and an amazing experience!

We hope to "see" you soon!

#paleofest2021 #paleontology #burpeemuseum

Speaker Lecture Schedule at PaleoFest 2021
All of the lectures below will take place in the "Research" section

10:00 -10:30am: Heidi Allen

“Tiny but mighty: how microbes shaped the course of life on Earth”

10:30-11:00am BREAK

11:00-11:30am Dr. Lauren Sallan

“How Mass Extinctions Fundamentally Changed Early Fishes”

11:30 - 1:00pm LUNCH

1:00 - 1:30pm Dr. Diego Pol

“What is the link between the rise of giant dinosaurs, massive volcanoes, and climate change in the Jurassic?”

1:30 - 2:00pm BREAK

2:00 - 2:30pm Nancy Engelhardt-Moore

“Rig Life: The Role of a Micropaleontologist”

2:30 - 3:00pm BREAK

3:00 - 3:30pm Dr. Dave Hone

“The North African giant theropod Spinosaurus – what was it doing?”

3:30 - 4:00pm BREAK

4:00 - 4:30pm Dr. Steve Salisbury

“Beyond the 'mid' Cretaceous; new insights into the nature and composition of Australia's dinosaurian fauna during the Early Cretaceous and Jurassic using ichnological data"

All of the lectures below will take place in the "Research" section

10:00 -10:30am: Dr. Caitlin Colleary 

“Investigating Molecular Preservation in Fossils Using Museum Collections”

10:30-11:00am BREAK

11:00-11:30am Dr. Rex Hanger

"The First Paleontologists of the Midwest: Linear Effigy Mounds are Representations of Fossils”

11:30 - 1:00pm LUNCH

1:00 - 1:30pm Dr. Spencer Hellert

“Understanding the Causes of Phenotypic Integration Patterns in the Evolution of Flightless Birds”

1:30 - 2:00pm BREAK

2:00 - 2:30pm Dr. Julie Meachen

“Frozen in time: An Ice Age pup from Canada named Zhùr”

2:30 - 3:00pm BREAK

3:00 - 3:30pm Eric Scott

"North American Bison: an American success story”

3:30 - 4:00pm BREAK

4:00 - 4:30pm Dr. Thomas Holtz

Jane's Part-time Summer Job: Tyrannosaurid Niche Shifts in Light of Changing Theropod Guild Structures”


A History of PaleoFest
About Burpee Museum's Paleofest

Started in 1999, PaleoFest has become an internationally recognized & respected program that celebrates the science of Paleontology. PaleoFest is an exemplar program to excite, educate & inspire all people in science. This 3-day event includes many educational programs & activities for ALL levels of interest in paleontology. Each year, PaleoFest attracts nearly 2,000 visitors and some of the biggest names in the field.