Woolly Mammoth Fossil

Enjoy a day with the dinosaurs at the ND Heritage Museum. Do you ever imagine a day with the dinosaurs during the dinosaur age millions of years ago? I think about it every so often, and I get chills as I envision these massive beasts roaming around the earth. I visualize the lush landscape, and the warm and tropical climate that existed as well. I’ve always been curious about the history of that time and have an interest in dinosaurs and all the other creatures and insects living exactly where we all live.

Woolly Mammoth Fossil
Woolly Mammoth Fossil

Time Eras

The time period is known as the Jurassic Era, or the Mesozoic Era; which is about 208-146 million years ago. This era in time is so fascinating to me, which is why I set out to learn more and decide to visit the local museum in my home state of North Dakota. My trip to the museum was both amazing and delightful. Enjoying quality time with my mother and her friend and a full day of enlightenment and Dakota history. 

The Museum

The North Dakota Heritage Center is a beautifully built structure that is home to plentiful galleries and exhibits. It is located on North Dakota State Capitol grounds in Bismarck. The museum building boasts of green and environmentally friendly materials together with creating an extraordinary experience with the visitor in mind.

North Dakota Heritage Center and Museum
Dining cafe at ND Heritage Center

Passage of Time

This place is full of history and is organized with an easy layout in a chronological manner including the dinosaur age! The museum has three main permanent galleries that include the Adaptation Gallery, Innovation Gallery, and Inspiration Gallery. Additionally, you will also find a small quaint café called the James River Café within the museum as well.

James River Cafe Seating
James River Cafe Seating

The Galleries

Not only did my enjoyable day consist of roaming around the historic dinosaur exhibits, I also enjoyed wandering into other museum galleries. I began my journey with the historical piano, tractors, and an old wagon car. Next I ended up back into millions of years ago starring up at the Tyrannosaurus rex. Here is a brief glance at the galleries below:

Historic wagon car at North Dakota Heritage Center
Historic wagon car
North Dakota Heritage Center
Photo Credit: North Dakota Heritage Center

Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time

The gallery is amazing as you enter the underwater room you will hear the sounds and tones as if you are under the sea. Take a walk on the sea floor and you then encounter amazing fossil exhibits that are from 80 million years ago; when North Dakota was covered by inland seawater. You will learn about the skeleton fossils and parts of the creatures during this time. Take a look at a few of the fossils of dinosaurs in ND displayed in here.

Adaptation Gallery Giant Sea Turtle
Adaptation Gallery Giant Sea Turtle

           Plioplatecarpus– a large marine lizard like predator  
        Xiphactinus– 16 foot long tarpon like fish
            Archelon– giant sea turtle
            Hesperornis– diving seabird

North Dakota Heritage Center

One of the most significant display exhibits that stands out to me is the mummified Duck Billed Hadrosaur. This fossil still contains the skin preserved.

mummified Duck Billed Hadrosaur
Mummified Duck Billed Hadrosaur
A Day With The Dinosaurs at the ND Heritage Museum
A Day With The Dinosaurs at the ND Heritage Museum

Take a journey with the early peoples, Palioindians from 13,000 years ago and the collections from that era. Here you will learn about the invention of the bow and arrow, clay pottery, and hallmarks and milestones of these big game hunters and their survival techniques.

Inspiration Gallery: Yesterday and Today

This particular gallery section is one of my favorites. During my childhood, my folks shared their stories about rough times growing up having to walk miles in the winter snow to get to school. The museum clearly illustrates how tough life was back then. But it also demonstrates how folks entertained themselves as well. I really enjoy this old-time section that simulates an old-time soda shop.

Photo Credit: North Dakota Heritage Center

In addition to the soda shop, you will also enjoy exploring all the static and rotating exhibits and displays throughout the year. The museum has various events occurring during each month as well, you can see all the events happening on the calendar:  

The Horse in North Dakota

This particular gallery is brought to you by the Historical Society Staff, and is open until 2020.  You will learn about the vast history of horse domestication and culture, artifacts once belonging to Sitting Bull and Madam de Mores (Medora) and much more.

In Summary

Our world today has so many luxuries and conveniences, I always take time to appreciate my own blessings. I find myself thinking what life must have been like millions of years ago. It is amazing to think about those massive creatures roaming the earth.

The North Dakota Heritage Museum allows you to see history as it was and get a small peek into a day with dinosaurs in ND from hundreds to millions of years ago. According to Wikipedia.com, the museum in 2008 was named the Smithsonian of the Plains. I highly recommend on your next trip to North Dakota, that you add this museum to your itinerary!

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  1. Wow, Shannon, the Smithsonian of the Plains! That’s a pretty big endorsement! This looks like an amazing museum with a fascinating collection from many periods. Really enjoyable post. More reason to visit ND! 😉

    1. Thank you so much Cynthia! Oh yes, it is quite an impressive museum for little old Bismarck.. they have created a beautiful facility and the artifacts and antiques they display are amazing. Yup, looks like you might have to take a road trip to North Dakota! Lol hint hint! Thanks again for reading!

  2. This is fascinating! My son would adore this!

    1. Oh yes indeed he would! It is an awesome museum. I didn’t know I could take photos (I only snuck a few); so I would have even more pics and video. A great place for imagination, education, and history! Thank you Elisa!

  3. WE never been to South Dakota its good to know this place existed I’m sure my son would love it here. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The museum is really awesome. Yes, I think anyone would find it so enjoyable! It is full of educational and historical artifacts and collections.It is really neat to see the real dinosaur fossils. It is actually in North Dakota,.. you’ll have to go just a little further north,.. ha ha lol! I think you guys would enjoy both states; great fun for families! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Easy to read and an informing post. I share your wonder at the thought of these giants roaming the earth and I’m so glad that I’m born now and not then! Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I admit; glad to be living now and not hiding and running from dinosaurs! Lol! I remember watching that Saturday morning show, Land of the Lost; they were always running from the T-Rex. LOL! Thank you for reading and commenting!

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