St George Dinosaur Discovery Site
The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm displays some of the oldest and best-preserved tracks in the world. Dinosaur tracks were discovered on the farm in February, 2000, and it has become quite an attraction. The site is still in the early stages of scientific study so far more than 3,500 tracks have been found within a ten-acre area. Many of the tracks were made by Dilophosaurus- like dinosaurs and are, 13-18 inches long. There are also many smaller tracks and researchers have identified skin prints and impressions made by tail drags and swimming movements. One of only 5 sitting dinosaur impressions in the world is located on the main tracksite within this museum.
The tracks were found in large slabs of sandstone from the Moenave Formation, and date back 195 million years ago to the beginning of the Jurassic Period. Residents tromped over that area for years, never realizing it sheltered such treasures. Nobody knew, until Dr. Sheldon Johnson flipped over a slab while trying to level his land. There, on the underside, the tracks were clearly visible.
Many of the tracks are 'negative impression' casts that appear as protrusions from the stone. The area was on the edges of an ancient freshwater lake in the western portion of the supercontinent Laurasia. Footprints left in the mud filled with silt and sand, forming the casts. Now, when the slabs are flipped over, the casts appear, much like Jell-o popping out of a mold.
Dr. Johnson donated the blocks when he sold his land to the City of St. George and the U.S. Congress appropriated funds to help construct a science and visitor center. Volunteers do most of the work at the site.
Small groups can just show up during open hours. Larger or organized groups should schedule their arrival, especially if they would like a tour with a docent.
It is easy to find. Take Exit 10 from I-15 onto 3050 East. Follow it south until it swings to the southwest and becomes Riverside Drive. Just continue driving until you reach the site which is marked with a sign.
- Open hours: 10 AM until 6 PM or other hours by special request
- Days of Operation: Monday through Saturday
- Open Sunday 11-5
- Open every holiday except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day
- Address: 2180 East Riverside Drive
- Phone: 435-574-DINO (3466)
- Website: www.UtahDinosaurs.com
- To schedule tours or to volunteer, please contact the Director, at ext.1 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the surrounding area:
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