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Hill City, South Dakota: Black Hills Institute - Dinosaurs

In the 1990s this research museum lost its T-rex "Sue" to Chicago -- much to its displeasure -- then it had a 40-ft. T-rex named "Stan." In 2020, Stan was auctioned by Christie's for a T.rex record-smashing $31.8 million.

217 Main St., Hill City, SD
US Hwy 16/Main St.
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Black Hills Insitute photo op.

Black Hills Institute

The Black Hills Institute in Hill City has a T-Rex skeleton named Stan (after the guy who found it). It is a nice size dinosaur museum, with several skeletons of dinos, including a Triceratops, and several other traditional skeletons. There are also several fish skeletons (I was surprised they were so big, but then I'm from the midwest.). They also have the obligatory fossils of leaves and shells of various sizes, up to 18" diameter. Most everything is "DO NOT TOUCH," except one giant snail-looking shell which was labeled "Please Touch" and had been donated, seemingly for that purpose, by the woman who was named on the plaque.

Our kids had a great time, though we were disappointed that nothing could be touched. The Everything Prehistoric store next door (through which you have to enter and exit) was pretty nifty. They sell fossils of every size and price imaginable, from a few bucks up to $800+, as well as the usual small plastic dinosaurs and whatnot. Our visit was about 90 minutes, half of which was spent in the gift shop.

We enjoyed this stop very much, and it was definitely an inexpensive stop on our trip through the Black Hills.

[Jocelyn & Mark Sloan, 09/01/2005]
Black Hills Institute - Stan on display

Update for the Black Hills Institute in Hill City, South Dakota. I was there last week and it's great. While Sue the T-Rex has been sold, the museum has dug up another T-Rex, named Stan, which is now on display as well as a number of other authentic and reproduction bones. The entire museum is rather small -- it's in the town's old municipal auditorium. The associated gift shop, Everything Prehistoric -- is almost as large. We went early on a Saturday morning and had the place to ourselves for about ten minutes -- an experience much better than "Jurassic Park." Best of all, it's free.

The gift shop, by the way, carries everything from cuddly stuffed triceratops to authentic fossils and rock hunting equipment.

[Michael Ruger, 08/23/2001]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Horse with Spoon NoseHorse with Spoon Nose, Hill City, SD - < 1 mi.
30-Foot-Tall Smokey Bear30-Foot-Tall Smokey Bear, Hill City, SD - < 1 mi.
Crazy Horse MemorialCrazy Horse Memorial, Crazy Horse, SD - 7 mi.
In the region:
Mini Dinosaur Park, Custer, SD - 11 mi.

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