MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Get your shovels ready to dig for dinosaur bones this weekend!

Kids eight years old and up are invited to learn about dinosaurs and become real-life paleontologists with Moosewood Nature Center‘s first Dino Dig. Erik Johnson, a member of the center’s Board of Directors, created the life-like structure, which he calls the Presque Isle Raptor. He modeled it after the Velociraptor and the Utahraptor. He created it out of wood, fiberglass, resin, and sand.

“During the lockdown, I just got bored and I started building a dinosaur. I figured if I was going to build a dinosaur, it’s going to have to all come apart and it has to be tough enough that the kids can actually dig it up and put it back together. So the idea came up with a 42-piece dinosaur,” said Johnson.

Johnson chose the dig to be held in a dried creek bed behind Superior Watershed Partnership for a specific reason.

“What makes up a fossil is a massive flooding event, so we’re assuming that this dinosaur at one point came down to eat, was caught in a mud slide, and became a fossil.”

The educational event will include learning about the fossilization process, where to look, and digging up the bones.

“We’re going to have kind of a bone map where they’re going to know what bones they’re looking at. But basically, as I said, we’re going to get dirty, we’re going to learn how to brush aside the soil to find the dinosaur, […] Generally with trowels and they’re going to work in groups. And then they’re going to learn to take these out, more carefully than that, and you come up with your dinosaur,” said Johnson.

Dino Dig will be held Saturday, August 14 with sessions at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Each session will last about an hour. There is a suggested donation of $5/child or $10/family. Preregistration is required. Please register by sending an email to with the name(s) and session time wanting to attend. 

Latest stories