Cenozoic Explorers Paleontology Program

The Cenozoic Explorers is an immersive, hands-on STEAM program that teaches young people about geology, paleontology, and archaeology as it relates to earlier times. Students participate in the excavating and preparing of real fossils, as well as learning about the geology of the Black Hills and North America. Also, they spend time creating 3D scans and printing 3D models of various ancient fauna. They also get to participate in screen washing and micro-fauna picking from sediments taken from our bone bed and other localities. Finally, the students get to fully explore the Black Hills of South Dakota and see famous sites such as Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and get up close with wild mustangs and wild bison. They can explore caves and forests, as well as the Badlands National Park. We feel that this program is unmatched anywhere else in the World.

The Mammoth Site

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Our primary education location is The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD Inc., a nonprofit scientific-educational and research organization located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Mammoth Site is a working paleontology museum and active dig which boasts the largest concentration of Colombian mammoths in the world; along with over 86 other species of Ice Age fauna. Every year over 100,000 visitors from around the world come to learn about the last Ice Age at this world-class museum. It is the only nationally accredited museum in the Black Hills. Less than 8% of all-natural history museums in the United States are nationally accredited.

The Black Hills Institute

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The Black Hills Institute is best known as the “people that found SUE”—the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex to date. Two years after SUE’s discover, the Institute excavated another Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton names STAN. Institute staff have also excavated additional T. Rex skeletons of varying degrees of completeness including DUFFY, STEVEN, FOXY Lady, and WYREX.

Over the years, Black Hills Institute has acquired a worldwide reputation for excellence and scientific accuracy in collecting, preparing and mounting paleontological specimens. Exhibits featuring specimens collected and prepared by Institute staff have been purchased for display in the world's most prestigious museums. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alberta; the Natural History Museum in Leiden; Japan's National Science Museum in Tokyo; and museums in the U. S. and other countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and Peru, have specimens and exhibits prepared by Institute staff.

By the end of the 1990's, the Institute had already excavated and collected more T. Rex skeletal material than any other facility in the world. Peter Larson has become one of the world's most widely quoted and well respected researchers and authors about the anatomy and lifestyle of Tyrannosaurus Rex and other carnivorous dinosaurs. Academic, private professional, and amateur scientists come to the Institute to study T. Rex as well as the many other vertebrate and invertebrate fossil specimens acquired over the years.

The Institute has been the leader in paleontological excavations and preparation since 1974, helping supply museums and collectors the finest in professionally prepared fossils and cast replicas. From dinosaurs to mammals, reptiles to pteranodons, ammonites to fish, and crinoids to trilobites.

South Dakota School of Mines


Summer 2020 Program Dates (2 Weeks)

  • Session 1: July 5-July 18

  • Session 2: July 12-July 25

  • Session 3: July 19-Aug 1

  • Session 4: July 26-Aug 8

Group Ages and Makeup

  • Age Groups: 9-13, 14-17

  • Each program will be geared toward the level of difficulty each age group is capable of.  

  • Our programs are open to students of all genders.

  • The Cenozoic Explorers Program is a mixed program, meaning it consists of English-speaking students from various countries including many from the United States.  

Contact Us

If you are interested in selling one of our programs or having your student/s attend, please contact us by any of the following:

Email: info@libertysprings.com

WeChat: LibertySprings

Phone: 1 (801) 889-9932


SD School of Mines is South Dakota’s premier STEM university, highly regarded by industry for producing talented engineers, scientists and professionals with strong work ethics.

The school was founded in 1885 in Rapid City, South Dakota. The university offers over 16 degrees in engineering and science, 12 master’s programs, and 7 doctorate programs. The university is one of the top paleontology schools because it is located right in the Black Hills and features one of the most prominent geology museums in the world. Participants of our program enjoy life on the university campus of SD School of Mines.

Local Area Attractions and Activities – Black Hills

The Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota have it all! The most popular attraction of the Black Hills is obviously Mount Rushmore. In addition to visiting this national landmark, our students take a break from their education by playing to their delight at Evan’s Plunge and Wapiti water parks, visiting caves, museums, and getting up-close to exotic animals at Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, and the Spanish Mustang Preserve at Windcross Conservancy.

Program Features

  • Intensive English Training

  • Geology & Paleontology Instruction

  • Scouting & Outdoor Skills

  • Mammoth Dig Site - Hot Springs, South Dakota

  • American Culture Exchange

  • Leadership and management skills training

  • Discover Fossils in a World-Class Dinosaur Bone Quarry

  • Personal Training in a Paleontology Lab

  • Learn from Ph. D.’s in Paleontology Daily

  • Multi-day Tour of the Black Hills

  • Receive Official Certificate of Completion

Excursions & Activities

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  • South Dakota Badlands

  • Mount Rushmore

  • Evan’s Plunge and Wapiti Water Park

  • Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, and Spanish Mustang Preserve

  • South Dakota School of Mines


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  • Geology Class – This class introduce students to the basic concepts of geology through hands-on interactive activities. Students learn about geologic time by mapping out the history of the world across the classroom floor. They also learn how to classify and identify rock types as well as basic mapping techniques.


  • Paleontology Class – In this class, students learn the basics of paleontology with an Ice Age mammals twist. They receive a guided tour of The Mammoth Site, use our sluice to discover fossils and minerals, and possibly experience the art of launching a Paleoindian atlatl at Ice Age mammal targets.


  • 3D Class – Integration of classical field methods and technology is crucial to paleontology. This class introduce students to 3D manipulation through 3D scanning, photogrammetry, and 3D printing. Students also learn traditional methods of molding and casting techniques by making a proboscidean tooth cast.


  • Geology Field Trip – Students travel around a section of the Black Hills with stops at designated locations. At each stop, students learn about the local geology, collect a rock sample and work in small groups to identify the rock type. At the end of the day, students attach their rock sample to a stratigraphic column that they take home with them.


  • Paleontology Field Trip – Students travel to a local area outcrop to look for invertebrate fossils. Any invertebrate fossils found may be kept by the students.


  • Badlands 2 day Field Trip – Working with National Park personnel to prospect for fossils and to learn about the unique local geology.


  • Bonebed/Prep Lab Day – Students spend half the day excavating in The Mammoth Site Bonebed with our Mammoth Site Conservator and the other half of the day working in the Preparation Lab learning how to use tools to properly clean and repair fossils.


  • Screenwash/Picking Day – On this day, students spend half the time screenwashing sediments and the other half using microscopes to look for and pick out microfossils.


  • 3D Plasma Design Day – Let your artistic side shine! Clean and paint your 3D prints from your 3D class to create a unique souvenir to take home! Learn how to use programming to create an Ice Age keychain to be cut on The Mammoth Site plasma cutter.


South Dakota School of Mines

SD School of Mines is South Dakota’s premier STEM university, highly regarded by industry for producing talented engineers, scientists and professionals with strong work ethics.

Participants of our program enjoy life on the university campus of SD School of Mines. Accommodations are convenient, comfortable, and safe. The facility offers beautiful, modern rooms that have enough beds for each participant with multiple private shower/bathroom facilities.

Laundry and Dining

There are full-service laundry facilities at all lodging locations that will be available to participants every 4 days.   

Balance hot meals are available for breakfast and dinner at the all-you-care-to-eat campus cafeteria. Lunch is provided at the education site. There is an FDA approved kitchen/dining room with staff on location. We can accommodate dietary restrictions if notified in advance.

Contact Information

If you are interested in selling one of our programs or having your student/s attend, please contact us by any of the following:

Email: info@libertysprings.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ExperienceLibertySprings/

WeChat: LibertySprings

Address: 395 W. 450 S. Providence, UT 84332 U.S.A.