History of Paleo Park
To understand Paleo Park one must start at the beginning. Paleo Park resides on the
Zerbst Ranch in the heart of the Lance Formation in Niobrara County Wyoming. The
ranch was homesteaded by Charles Zerbst in the late 1800's. In the early 1900's the
dinosaur craze had hit the area. Many famous Paleontologists of the era laid their hat
down more than once in the area to look for dinosaurs. The ranch was passed down to
Bill Zerbst, son of Charles. Many dinosaurs were still being found throughout the
years. The majority of the dinosaur species were Triceratops, Edmontosaurus,
Pachycephalosaurus, Nano tyrannosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Struthiomimus and
Dromeosaurus just to name a few. The ranch was then passed down to Leonard
Zerbst, son of Bill. Many more Universities and Paleontologists were starting to come
to the ranch looking for more unique and rare dinosaurs. Leonard and is wife, Arlene,
would welcome all and would go out and help look for the bones. Leonard and Arlene
had two children, Tom and Kris. Being the 4th generation on the ranch, dinosaurs were
a common site as well were Paleontologists of all ages. Leonard and Arlene loved to
show people the dinosaur bones that they had found over the years and take people
out to try to find more. With dinosaur excitement continuing to grow Leonard and
Arlene decided to build a lodge on their ranch to house the bones that they have found
as well as provide lodging for guests to come out and stay awhile with us, hence
Paleopark was born! Leonard and Arlene decided it would be their mission to find a
complete dinosaur to name after each of their grandchildren. One day while they were
prospecting they cam across some dinosaur bones and started poking around. They
found that the bone kept going into the ground (in Paleo World..this is a great sign of
something). They ended up finding their first dinosaur to name after their first
Grand-daughter, Kelsey,Tom's daughter. Kelsey ended up being a Triceratops which
was very complete. After Kelsey was prepped and set for display, she ventured to her
new home in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Children's Museum. The excitement grew
about what else was out there hiding in the ground peeking out between the
sagebrush and yucca. Then one day they happened upon the second dinosaur to
name after their 2nd Grand-son, Lane, Tom's son. Lane joined the family as another
Triceratops. Although Lane had one quality Kelsey did not. Lane had skin..and quite a
bit of it. The skin is amazing and is a must see for everyone young and old. With the
find of Lane we have a whole new perception of what a Triceratops actually looked
like. During all of the excitement of the digs, Leonard received news that would forever
alter the ranch and Paleo Park. Leonard was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in
1999. The Paleo Park lodge was right in the middle of being built, but that didn't hold
back the dream. Leonard passed away in May of 2000 and Paleo Park officially
opened their doors in July of 2000. His daughter Kris and her husband Chad helped
Arlene with the ranch and Paleo Park. Hundreds of people have walked through the
doors of Paleo over the years. All have allowed the Paleo team to capture their
imagination and let it run wild. Kris has two children, Wyatt and Jaden, who still are
looking for "their" dinosaur. Will you be the one to help find it? Join the gang and
finding a treasure or two.
Charles Zerbst
Bill Zerbst
Leonard Zerbst