On our way to Cheyenne to see Sue and Joe, we decided that Dinosaur National Monument wasn’t too far out of the way. Dinosaur National is different than any other dinosaur exhibit we have ever been too. We drove about an hour and a half from Starvation Reservoir State Park right to Dinosaur National. We had lunch and then went into the visitor center. Cali and Marcus asked for Junior Ranger Books and we all watched a film about the park. At the visitor center we learned about trace fossils(such as foot prints) and body fossils(that include things like leaves, wood, bones and shells.) We read about the Petroglyphs in the park and the natives of the area.
The fossils here were discovered and excavated by Earl Douglass in 1909 for the Carnegie Museum. In 1915 President Woodrow Wilson established Dinosaur National Monument to protect the fossils. To our delight many of the bones were left cemented where they were found.
From the visitor center there is a shuttle to the quarry during the summer and visitors are lead in their cars during other times of the year. Since there was no shuttle this time of year and we had our truck with the camper attached we decided to take the 1 mile hike to the quarry. On the way we saw petroglyphs and several fossil displays.
The quarry is like nothing we have ever seen before. It is an inside exhibit hall. The ranger used a laser to point out specific dinosaur bones. There are about 1500 bones here. You can see Allosaurs, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurs, Diplodicus Stegosaurus and several other dinosaur bones up close an even touch a few. The exhibit in on an ancient river bed. There was a drought and dinosaurs died. Then later there was flooding in the area killing others. Because of this the bones were found in piles where they had been pushed by the water. We enjoyed a touch screen display where you could focus in on a specific bone and learn about the dinosaur it came from.
I am so glad we made this detour!