The Tate Geological Museum is located at Casper College in Casper, Wyoming. Visitors to the museum will enjoy the museum’s collection of more than three thousand fossils. The Tate Geological Museum was established in 1980 through a donation from Inez and Marion Tate.
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The museum was originally named the Tate Earth Science Center and Mineralogical Museum. Since the word “geological” includes mineralogy, paleontology and earth science, the museum was renamed the Tate Geological Museum in 2001.
The museum is located on the Casper College campus, and provides a great learning resource for the local community. Schools and groups use the museum to add to the concepts they are teaching in their classroom.
As one of the small number of paleontology and geology museum’s in Wyoming, the Tate is home to a collection of more than three thousand mineral specimens, and fossils. The staff at the museum are knowledgeable and read to answer questions, help visitors identify objects brought in by visitors, and make the museum a fun experience for all.
The Tate Geological Museum offers several exhibits for visitors to enjoy.
Dee the Mammoth and Pleistocene Exhibit- Dee is a Columbian Mammoth that resided in the American West 11,600 years ago during the Pleistocene Era (Ice Age). His skeleton tells us that he was sixty-five to seventy years old at the time of his death. The skeleton is rare due to the mammoth’s age and completeness.
The Pleistocene Exhibit with Dee as it’s main highlight, teaches visitors about the environment of Wyoming during the Ice Age. It introduces some of animals that lived around the same time as Dee and talks about the similarities and differences between mastodons, elephants, and mammoths. Interactive displays such as the Pleisto-Scene Investigation game show visitors how Dee died and allow them to follow his Timeline of Discovery.
Dino Den- Located across from the gift shop, the Dino Den is the museum’s dino discovery area. Children are given license to explore and play on their own. The Den contains a mineral identification game, coloring puzzles, fossil rubbings, fossil casts that the children can handle, and toys of a dino-themed nature for all ages to enjoy.
Hall of Minerals- The north wall of Tate Geological Museum is lined with mineral displays. The displays allow visitors to learn about mineral types, diagnostic features of minerals, non-silicates and silicates, extractive resources of Wyoming, and Jade which is the state gemstone.
Walk Through Time- This exhibit can be found on the back wall of the museum and sends visitors on a journey to the past from the Holocene Hunter gatherers living in North America all the way back to when the Earth first formed. There are several sets of fossils visitors can touch to enhance the experience.
Mesozoic Marine- This exhibit explores the underwater world of Wyoming that existed in the state during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods. The tropical corridors of the sea were filled with marine animals and plants such as ammonites, star shaped crinoids, belemnites, mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs, and sharks. One of the highlights of this exhibit is the Sundance Plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis. It was named after the museum’s founders.
Mesozoic Terrestrial- This exhibit showcases the enormous size of dinosaurs and the features that made them so interesting and terrifying. The Cretaceous Corner with highlight the dinosaurs that lived during that era including a hadrosaur and parts of a triceratops. The Mesozoic Aerial exhibit examines pterosaurs.
Eocene of Wyoming- This exhibit showcases the fossilized turtles, crabs, fish, birds, feathers, mammals, crocodiles and alligators, and plants specimens that lived in the warmer, wetter environment of the Eocene Epoch. Visitors explore what life after dinosaurs looked like.
Oligocene/White River of Wyoming- Visitors discover the animals and plants that took over the region thirty million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs. One of the highlights of this exhibit is the three-toed horse skeleton.
Prep Lab- Visitors get to observe the work that goes into preparing fossils for display and the research surrounding them through a sliding glass window.
The museum offers educational opportunities to students and teacher such as field trips. The Casper College Geology club offers weekend field trips for students that include hiking, caving, fossil collecting, photography, cross country skiing, and snow shoeing.
Several special events are offered through the museum such as tours, the Saturday Club, dinosaur digs, and summer conferences. The Saturday club focuses on children and teaching them earth science. There are also a series of lectures that are available to the public on earth science topics.
The Gift Shop sells a large variety of souvenirs for visitors of all ages whether their interests are dinosaurs, rocks, minerals, or fossils.
125 College Drive, Casper Wyoming 82601, Phone: 307-268-2100