Wyoming Modern Explorers

Arvid Aase, Modern Explorer

Arvid Aase

Paleontologist & Museum Curator

“When you find a fossil, even if it’s common, you’re the first one to see it. And it gives you that rush. It was a thrill when I was young. And it’s a thrill today,” says Arvid Aase. That one-of-a kind experience drew him to Wyoming to pursue a career in paleontology, but he insists you don’t have to be a scientist, or a kid, to feel that very same thrill all across the state.

Wyoming’s towering mountains and endless vistas are a marvel, but beneath the surface there’s even more mystery to behold, which is exactly why Aase pursued his scientific career right here. From fossil digging tours to museums, there’s no better place than Wyoming to encounter the prehistoric past.

Sometimes all that remains of a fossil is a mysterious fragment. But “Fossil Butte National Monument is home to some of our planet’s best-preserved fossils,” says Aase. And new discoveries are still being made every year. At Fossil Butte National Monument, visitors can explore the thousands (yes, thousands) of fossils on exhibit and then head out for a panoramic hike on one of the monument’s maintained trails through fragrant sagebrush and aspen groves.

Fossil Butte National Monument is about 15 minutes outside Kemmerer, a historic mining community that also just so happens to be the birthplace of JC Penny. Home to the largest collection of fish fossils in the world and in close proximity to plenty of dig sites where you can search for your own fossils, it’s the perfect place for fossil fanatics to set up base camp for their expedition.