Vacationland: Dinosaurs

Admit it. You love T-rex as much as your kids do. OK, so it might be stegosaurus or apatosaurus, but the idea of a Jurassic Park adventure still holds a bit of a thrill.

Indulge it with a visit to one or more of these spots.


g Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, 496 E. Main, Vernal, Utah, stateparks.utah. gov/parks/utah-field-house/ — This museum’s offerings include a variety of interactive exhibits, a rock/fossil wall and a “dinosaur garden” with number of life-size prehistoric animal replicas displayed outside and a theater.

The Field House also has two Junior Ranger programs for children ages 3 to 12.

g The Quarry Exhibit Hall at Dinosaur National Monument, dino/index.htm — View 1,500 dinosaur bones in this hall over the Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry. Look for allosaurus, apatosaurus, camarasaurus, diplodicus and stegosaurus. The hall has additional exhibits and a Junior Ranger program. This monument has plenty to offer dinosaur fans, so plan your visit well.

Dinosaur Journey Museum, .

550 Jurassic Court, Fruita, museumofwesternco. com — Learn and explore with interactive displays, a working laboratory, real fossils, cast skeletons and more to see and touch.

Dinosaur Journey’s summer exhibit is “Hatching the Past: Nesting with Dinosaurs,” which considers dino family life. “This science rich ‘hands-on’ exhibit includes real and cast dinosaur eggs and nests collected from all over the globe,” according to museumofwesternco. com. “Visitors are invited to dig for eggs, touch a real dinosaur bone and dress up and play dinosaur.”


Mygatt-Moore Quarry expedition through the Museum of Western Colorado, museumofwesternco. com — Get dirty for dinosaurs and learn more about paleontology field work while digging through the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation at the Mygatt-Moore Quarry.

Day trips are available during the summer through the Museum of Western Colorado. The museum offers a variety of other dinosaur trips and digs with information at its website.


g There are two spots outside of Moab, Utah, that will allow you to see dinosaur fossils and/or tracks while getting in a little hiking.

See fossils of sauropods, an allosaurus and more on a self-guided walking tour of the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail about 15 miles north of Moab. Warning: the trail is impassible when wet.

The Copper Ridge Sauropod Tracksite in the Morrison Formation of the western United States wasn’t discovered until 1989. Access is about 23 miles north of Moab.

For information on both spots, go to

• Trail Through Time, McInnis Canyons Conservation Area, co/st/en/nca/mcnca/recreation/Hiking/ Trail_Through_Time.html — This “easy to moderate,” 1.5-mile loop is an interpretive trail with views of the Mygatt-Moore Quarry.

•g Riggs Hill, off South Broadway on the Redlands, gjhikes. com/2009/11/riggs-hill.html — See for yourself where Elmer Riggs discovered the bones of a 70-foot-long, 30ton apatosaurus more than a century ago. The main trail is about .75 miles, but there are options for a little more walking and nice views of the valley from the top of the hill.

•g Fruita Paleontological Area, Horsethief Canyon State Wildlife Area, area.html — This about a milelong interpretive hike in the area where Fruitadens was discovered. Look for a few fossil fragments in rocks along the trail.




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