Q&A: Dinosur Days changes explained

The annual Dinosaur Days has received a makeover.

In an effort to attract more attendees this year, organizers added new events for dinosaur fans of all ages at Dinosaur Journey Museum, 550 Jurassic Court, in Fruita. Dinosaur Days is set for Sept. 6–7.

Kristi Pollard, who helps raise funds for the Museum of Western Colorado of which Dinosaur Journey is a part, talked about the changes and why they were made.

Melinda Mawdsley: What’s new this year at Dinosaur Days?

Kristi Pollard: We are going to have a weekend-long series of events. We start Friday evening, Sept. 6, with our version of a gala, the Feast of Skulls. It’s a dinner among the exhibits of Dinosaur Journey. We’re working with Snob Productions, so it’ll be a fun, interactive gala with the dinosaurs coming to life, with different food stations for herbivores and carnivores based on that whole dinosaur theme. We’re really excited about it.

Mawdsley: How can people get tickets?

Pollard: We’ll actually sell tickets at the door for $75 for an individual or $130 for a couple. Group tickets of 10 are $600. Advanced tickets are preferred, and people can get those at the Museum of Western Colorado website, museumofwesternco.com, or call Dinosaur Journey, 858-7282, and we can mail them.

Mawdsley: That’s Friday. What’s up Saturday?

Pollard: Saturday morning we’ll start bright and early with a new 5K, the Fruitadens Family Fun Run. Fruitadens is a dinosaur that was actually found in the Fruita area. It was an interesting character the size of a chicken. Registration for the run will begin at 7 a.m. in the parking lot of Dinosaur Journey. The race itself is within the (James M. Robb) Colorado River State Park, Fruita Section. We’ll be running around the lakes and marshy areas. We’ll have dinosaurs playing sand volleyball to keep the kids excited. We’re encouraging kids to dress up like their favorite dinosaurs and we’ll have prizes. And we’ll have prizes for first, second and third in the race.

Mawdsley: Are kids the only ones who can dress up as their favorite dinosaur?

Pollard: No. Adults can dress up too. We’ll have prizes for best adult costume.

Mawdsley: What time is the race?

Pollard: The race itself is 8 a.m. Registration starts at 7 a.m. Folks can register online through the museum’s website or at active.com. Cost is $25 for adults and $15 for kids in advance. Day of, it’s $20 for kids and $30 for adults. With that, they’ll get a T-shirt, goodie bag and free entrance into the Dino Days festivities that’ll fill out the remainder of the day.

Mawdsley: Define “a kid.”

Pollard: 12 and younger.

Mawdsley: What are the Dino Day festivities?

Pollard: Starting at 9 a.m., in the parking lot of Dinosaur Journey, and in the museum itself, we’ll have a variety of family-friendly activities: a dinosaur dig, where kids can find fossils, a T-rex salon, where you can get your hair and makeup done like your favorite dinosaur and a T-rex eating contest — how many slices of cheese pizza can you eat in three minutes?

Mawdsley: Really. T-rex ate cheese pizza?

Pollard: (Laughing) No. We were trying to think of something kid-friendly and easy to come by. ... In addition, we’ve got two different dinosaur magicians, two puppet shows and (Grand Valley Zoological Quest) also will be doing a session with some of their birds and lizards. That’s all in the auditorium of Dinosaur Journey. We’ll also have a booth where kids and adults can paint dinosaur claws and teeth, and the (John McConnell) Math & Science Center (of Western Colorado) will have a booth where students can learn about fossils and create a fossil. At each activity, (kids will) be given a Dino Fact. At the end of the day, they’ll go to our admission desk and turn those in and will be given a prize for participating in the fun, educational activities.

Mawdsley: What’s admission if you don’t participate in the run?

Pollard: Five dollars for adults and $3 for kids, which is a screaming deal at any level. If folks attend the Feast of Skulls, they’ll also be given free admission. ... Oh, I almost forgot. We have constructed a dinosaur labyrinth that will have drawings of the Grand Valley as it looked during the Jurassic period. It’ll be a full-size, life-size maze for kids — and actually big enough for adults — to go through. That’ll be set up on the south side of Dinosaur Journey in the parking lot area.

Mawdsley: Why all the new events and changes?

Pollard: Dinosaur Days was a huge event in the Grand Valley for many, many years. We want to recreate that flavor that we had before. We thought by bringing new life into it we could get people excited about dinosaurs and paleontology. The exhibit hall is continually changing and we want kids of all ages to become excited and want to learn more and continue to want to learn more. We’re really excited about it with a great group of volunteers pulling it all together. We’re excited to make it the festival it used to be.

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