PaleoFest Press Release

February 24th, 2023 – Burpee Museum Hosts 25th Annual PaleoFest

ROCKFORD, IL – Dino-lovers, rock collectors, and fossil diggers unite for an internationally attended festival right here in Rockford, Illinois! Burpee Museum is excited to present PaleoFest 2023 on March 4th and 5th. Boasting an impressive lineup of guest speakers and researchers, hands-on workshops, lectures for children, paleoart workshops, and activities for families, paleo-science is presented in a big, fun way.

The weekend kick-off for members and special guests is on Friday, March 3rd, with a talk by Dr. Steve Brusatte, who will discuss his experience working as the paleontology consultant on the 2022 summer blockbuster Jurassic World: Dominion. Steve will share how he worked with directors, writers, and artists to bring the new dinosaurs to the big screen–including the first proper feathered dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park franchise!

On March 4th and 5th, attend science lectures given by professional scientists. Many of the talks focus on their cutting-edge research and amazing new finds. Burpee is excited to announce Saturday night’s dinner keynote speaker: Dr. Lindsay Zanno. This signature PaleoFest event features a keynote talk, music and cocktail hour, and a wonderful dinner with other science enthusiasts and museum supporters at the Hoffman House Supper Club.

Dr. Zanno is the Head of Paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University. Dr. Zanno is a leading authority on the evolution of theropod dinosaurs, from the bizarre Therozinosaurs to raptors, to Tyrannosaurus rex, as well as modern birds. Her lecture will highlight new data on the geologic age of prehistoric ecosystems that tell the origin story of North America’s most famous dinosaurs and the devastating impact of a climate crisis that mirrors our own.

“Brings world-renowned researchers to Rockford”

“This event is special for us because it brings world-renowned researchers to Rockford and makes learning about their current projects accessible to the public,” said Anne Weerda, Executive Director. “We share ongoing paleontology work through research talks by the scientists themselves, family-friendly activities, workshops for kids, and even chances for families and children to hear from the visiting scientists! This is truly a unique event.”

For the younger crowd, Burpee is excited to announce new workshops and classes, including a PaleoArt Family Workshop led by Burpee’s amazing PaleoArtist, Ryan Dewey. He will teach how to recreate dactyls and prehistoric birds. In the “Amber” workshop, participants will make their own amber fossil soap, and in “A Guide To Paleontology,” participants will have the chance to hone their skills as a budding paleontologist by creating casts, mapping dig sites, and touring the newly renovated paleolab.

Josh Mathews, Dr. Sara ElShafie, and Anne Brusatte will lead family talks. Anne Brusatte is the author of Dugie the Dinosaur, which is the focus of her talk and is based on real fossils found on the Isle of Skye. During her talk, 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!

For more information, visit:

SAVE THE DATE Schedule of Highlights:

March 3 @ 9 am & 11 am Student Symposium brought to you by Miller Eye Center

March 3 @ 5:30 pm Member’s Night PaleoFest kick-off event

March 4 @ 6:30pm PaleoFest Dinner & Keynote Lecture at Hoffman House

March 4-5 @ 9:00 am-5 pm Weekend Research Lecture Speakers brought to you by ESCONI

March 4-5 @ 10:15 am-4:30 pm: Family workshops and a celebration of all things prehistoric!

Doors open at 8:00 a.m. on March 4th and 5th. Breakfast and lunch will be available for purchase from Mary’s Market.

Media interviews are available on Saturday and Sunday. To schedule, email

PaleoFest is brought to you by:

Mel Jackovich | Robert & Nancy Engelhart-Moore | Helen & Greg LaMarca

 Miller Eye Center

ESCONI 2022 Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show! March 19th and 20th, 2022 #gem  #mineral #fossil #show #2022 - Earth Science Club of Northern Illinois -  ESCONISjostrom Construction