Heterotopic ossification (HO) is the formation of marrow-containing bone outside of the normal skeleton. Acquired HO following traumatic events is a common and costly clinical complication. In contrast, hereditary HO is rarer, progressive, and life-threatening. Substantial effort has been directed towards understanding the mechanisms underlying HO and finding efficient treatments. However, one crucial limiting factor has been the lack of relevant animal models. This article reviews the major currently available animal models, summarizes some of the insights gained from these studies, and discusses the potential future challenges and directions in HO research.