Dinosaur National monument
When I was a kid, I used to think that dinosaurs are mythical creatures. All that schools and museums show us are few pictures and staged skeletons. Studying about dinosaurs in schools or museum displays in one thing. But nothing beats real environment exploration. In Dinosaur national monument, you can find a whole bunch of dinosaur fossils and other organisms that used to roam the earth.
How to get here
This national monument is shared by two states, Utah & Colorado. You will find dinosaur fossils only on the Utah side of the monument. The Visitor center is about 7 miles from Jensen, Utah. The fossil quarry is protected within an enclosure called “Quarry Exhibit Hall” about a quarter mile from the visitor center. There is a shuttle every 15 mins to the Dinosaur quarry. But the operating hours of the exhibit hall varies. So, be sure to check out this website before you visit.
Quarry Exhibit hall
The hall is built around the actual fossil quarry to preserve the fossils in its original state. You will be entering the building from first floor. As soon as you enter, the scale of the things will definitely leave you in awe. I definitely was! I just couldn’t stop gazing at them. Staring at the remains of many different species of dinosaurs that used to roam our earth millions of years ago gave me goose bumps. I mean, you get to touch 149 million years old dinosaur fossils. How can you not?! There were Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodicus, and Stegosaurus along with several others.
How did so many varieties of animals end up dead at the same place here? Is that the skull of a real Dinosaur? What kind are they? How did our earth look like during Jurassic period? Why did all the dinosaurs die? so many curious questions will pop in your head. This place has answers to all of it. Rangers are also available there to answer if you can’t find answers. Its just a heaven to dinosaur enthusiasts.
Display hall is not just the only place you can see fossils here. If you are up for some hiking and ready to awaken the Indiana Jones in you, then do these small easy trails. We found it much more interesting to find fossils on our own in natural environment than the displays. You can get the trail maps from the exhibit hall. Its easier to hike from the Quarry side of the trail rather from the visitor center. Take shuttle to exhibit hall and return to visitor center through this trail.
The exact location of fossils in the trail are not marked anywhere. The map will only tell you what kind of fossils you will find on the trail. Rest is all up to your archaeological mind to explore. We found only few in the scorching sun.
Apart from this, the national monument has other trails and auto routes if you are interested. But, you won’t find dinosaur fossils there. The mountains and rock formations will offer you a nice scenic drive around the place! Happy travels!!!
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