The Mammoth Site

The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota, is the world’s largest mammoth research facility.  Visitors can tour an active archeological site and view Ice Age fossils as they are found.  Attractions at The Mammoth Site include a scientific excavation, an Ice Age exhibit hall, a walk-in mammoth bone hut, fun hands-on activities, a working paleontology laboratory, and a junior paleontologist dig.

In 1974, the land at the current Mammoth Site was excavated for housing, and the amazing paleontological site was discovered.  More than 26,000 years ago, large Columbian and woolly mammoths were trapped and died in a spring-fed pond near what is now the southwest edge of Hot Springs, South Dakota. Today it is the world’s largest Columbian mammoth exhibit, and a world-renown research center for Pleistocene studies. Since 1974, a number of world-renowned scientists have come to The Mammoth Site as visiting scientists, conducting research with the fossils.

To date, 55 mammoths have been discovered at The Mammoth Site, as well as the remains of a giant short-faced bear, camel, llama, paririe dog, wolf, fish, and numerous invertebrates.  The fossils are displayed in the same positions they were discovered, in the dried-up pond sediments.  Walkways give visitors a close up view of these fossils. The Ice Age Exhibit Hall features replica skeletons of the American lion, giant short-faced bear, and pygmy mammoth. A full-sized mammoth model and walk-in mammoth bone hut are the most popular exhibits.

Kids can take part in the Jr. Paleontologist program, offered daily from June 1st through August 15th.  Participants will have the opportunity to use real archeological tools to dig life-sized fossil replicas, identify specimens, and learn about the Ice Age animals that lived in South Dakota.

After getting your fill of ancient fossils, you can check out the gift shop at The Mammoth site for mammoth gifts, jewelry, South Dakota made products, and much, much more. 

The Mammoth Site is open year round, and self-guided tours are available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese.




Categories: Things to Do, Western SD

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply