Viewing dinosaur bones
A family poses in front of the mastodon at the Heritage Center in Bismarck.

10 Reasons to Visit the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum

The North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum is the centerpiece of North Dakota's museum network

The North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum is a 97,000-square-foot, $52 million facility that tells the history of North Dakota. New galleries take guests through state history from the present all the way back to the Ice Age. Enjoy performances in the new digital Great Plains Theater and eat lunch at the Cafe.

Viewing dinosaur bones

  1. Underwater World exhibit holds the world’s largest giant squid fossil that was discovered in North Dakota.
  2. The Archelon is a 12-foot giant sea turtle that would have lived in the seas when North Dakota was covered by water. It’s about the same size as a Volkswagen Bug.
  3. Six-foot by 50-foot cyclorama of Double Ditch Indian Village was hand painted by artist Robert Evans. His work can also be seen at the Smithsonian and the Estate at Mount Vernon.
  4. The glass atrium is a nod to early Native American architecture. Similar to an earthlodge, it is constructed with 20 poles. The special night lighting resembles the Northern Lights.
  5. Dakota, the 67 million-year-old hadrosaur fossil, is outside the Geologic Time Gallery. It is one of only six known naturally preserved hadrosaur mummies with skin mostly intact and visible scales. It was discovered near Marmarth, ND, in 1999.
  6. The NASA spacesuit built by a team at the University of North Dakota.
  7. "The Horse" exhibit highlights the horse’s evolution and domestication, work and military uses, and Native American cultural significance, as well as the horse’s role in sports, art, and play.
  8. An outdoor amphitheater is the perfect spot to watch plays and outdoor movies or enjoy a picnic in the grass.
  9. Cannonball! The large round stones outside the museum are called cannonball concretions and are the namesake of the Cannonball River.
  10. All of this is absolutely FREE and open to the public! 

The North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum is the centerpiece of a comprehensive network of museums throughout North Dakota. Each interprets the history or their own town or region and together they form a mosaic of North Dakota's unique history. Start your journey today.

Click here for more destination museums in North Dakota