Though Malta, Montana, has a population of just under 2,000 people, it boasts an impressive collection of dinosaur bones. The small town is home to a remarkable museum that holds some of the best-preserved dinosaur bones and fossils in its collection.
The Great Plains Dinosaur Museum takes you back millions of years to a time when these giants roamed the earth (alongside smaller creatures too, of course). You can see full skeletons still caked in mud from where they were found. Specimens on display include a Ceratopsideae, which is related to the mighty Triceratops, and one of the oldest dinosaur fossils found in Montana: a Camarasaurus collected in 2003 near the Little Snowy Mountains.
Another of the museum’s specimens is a duckbill dinosaur (Brachylophosaurus canadensis) that was so well preserved, most of its body was still covered in fossilized skin. The dinosaur, which was discovered in 2000 and has been dubbed “Leonardo,” is the most complete fossil of its kind in the world. It’s not just skin and bones that have been preserved—when scientists examined Leonardo’s stomach, they found evidence of his last meal in the form of preserved plant material. (Currently, a replica of Leonardo is on display at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum while the fossil is on loan to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.)
There’s also another duckbill dinosaur called “Roberta.” The museum has a timeline photographic display from Roberta’s first discovery to complete uncovering and excavation. The curator and staff are a vast wealth of dinosaur information, excavations and they answer questions readily.
Know Before You Go
Parking lot is small and bus/RV parking is available across the street. Right next door is another great stop: Phillips County Museum