Most kids we know like dinosaurs. (Heck, most adults we know like dinosaurs.) Walking among fossils formed eons ago can be both an exciting and educational experience. And there are many places in the Western United States where you can enjoy this type of “fossil nature-walk.” One of our favorites is the aptly named Dinosaur National Monument.
Dinosaur National Park was established 101-years ago, in 1915. It was created to protect an 80-acre area of excavation near the Green River known as “The Quarry.” Paleontologist Earl Douglass started unearthing fossils from The Quarry when searching for specimens for the Carnegie Museum. It didn’t take long before the magnitude of his discovery was understood. And even though Dinosaur National Park is no longer an active dig-site, paleontologists continue to study and work there.
Today there is a Quarry Exhibit Hall that surrounds The Quarry, allowing visitors to look at the dinosaur fossils in any-and-all weather. In the Exhibit Hall you get to see approximately 1500 fossils from several dinosaurs species including Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Camarasaurus, Diplodicus, and Stegosaurus. There are also plenty of educational displays in the hall as well. The Quarry Exhibit Hall is usually accessed via a shuttle from the Visitor Center.
In addition to learning about dinosaurs, you and the family can enjoy more recreational activities in Dinosaur National Monument. As mentioned, a sizable section of the Green River runs through the monument. Hiking, fishing, and white water rafting are popular.
Dinosaur National Monument is located on the Utah Colorado border, near Vernal, Utah. The Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Quarry Exhibit Hall has reduced hours during fall and winter – the last shuttle leaves at 4:00pm.