Dinosaur History In Utah
Millions of years ago, dinosaurs rumbled across the landscape of what is now Utah. Thousands of remnants of this prehistoric era are carefully preserved and interpreted in sites, museums and quarries across the state, awaiting your discovery.
Dinosaur National Monument
The Quarry Visitor Center at Dinosaur National Monument, located 20 miles east of Vernal, near Jensen, offers Utah's most dramatic dinosaur display. It is a time capsule preserved in an ancient river sandbar. Here, the fossilized remains of over 2,000 bones have been exposed in a 200-foot-long wall, now enclosed as a permanent exhibit.
Beyond the Quarry, Dinosaur National Monument offers trails, tours and activities which highlight the area's unique geology, history, wildlife and rugged beauty. The Split Mountain and Green River Campgrounds are located near the Quarry Visitor Center.
Below is a sampling of other dinosaur-related attractions. Enjoy these prehistoric adventures, but remember that fossils and bones represent a priceless part of Utah's past. These remnants are protected by federal regulations and must be left undisturbed.
The new Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center is a treasure trove of fascinating artifacts, jaw-dropping dinosaurs, amazing science, and stories of living history. You'll marvel at this architectural wonder where science is alive, accessible, entertaining and simply awe-inspiring. Open Daily 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM; Open Wednesdays until 9:00 PM; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Eccles Dinosaur Park on the Ogden River Parkway has over 100 exhibits with more than sixty life size and near life size dinosaurs. These replicas depict prehistoric crawlers, dinosaurs, marine creatures, and flying reptiles dating from the late Triassic through the Jurassic and Cretaceous eras. A gift shop, play area, and education center are all part of the park.
The Museum of Natural History on the campus of Ogden's Weber State University has exhibits and representations of prehistoric animals, and a staff ready to answer questions.
Thanksgiving Point is home to the world's largest dinosaur museum, the North American Museum of Ancient Life. With more than 60 mounted dinosaur skeletons and thousands of ancient fossils, the museum showcases the various prehistoric eras and offers hands-on learning activities. The museum also features a six-story 70 mm movie screen and theater, featuring a variety of 3-D movies and other specialty films.
The Brigham Young University Earth Science Museum in Provo is recognized world-wide for having one of the largest and most valuable Jurassic dinosaur collections. (Only 5% of the fossil collection is on display, and over 120 tons of unprepared bones are securely stored under the university's football stadium!) Displays include: fossils from two of the largest dinosaurs in the world and one of the smallest, a 150-million year old dinosaur egg displayed with an x-ray of the embryo within, two fully mounted dinosaur skeletons, skulls of Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops, dinosaur skin fossils, and a new mineral collection. Visitors can touch actual fossils and view a working paleontology lab.
The Fairview Museum of History and Art is a unique small community museum with outstanding exhibits including a life-size replica of a Columbian Mammoth. This mammoth was discovered in the nearby mountains during a construction project in the summer of 1988. The skeletal remains were preserved in a peat bog where it died eleven thousand years ago. The bones were not fossilized, but were so well preserved that scientific testing has uncovered a great deal of information about the mammoth's physical condition, including that its last meal included pine trees. The mammoth replica is visible from the exterior of the museum through a huge window.
Dinosaur National Monument - See the information at the top of this page.
At the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal, visitors stroll through time--historic, prehistoric and geologic. Exhibits of rock types and vertebrate and invertebrate fossils fill the Geology Hall. Paintings and murals by Ernest Untermann, an innovative artist and geologist, depict prehistoric scenes and modern vistas. Outside in the Dinosaur Garden, Mesozoic creatures dominate. The display of 14 life-sized extinct animals was created by sculptor Elbert Porter. A small lake and waterfall tumbling across native rock with foliage reminiscent of the Mesozoic era enhance the illusion.
USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price showcases the areas' ancient past, when dinosaurs roamed here. They left behind their bones, footprints and other traces of their existence. The museum has many complete skeletons from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The collection also contains many dinosaur tracks removed from local coal mines, dinosaur eggs, and other fossils. The CEU Prehistoric Museum currently operates multiple active dinosaur fossil quarries. The discovery of the remains of "Utahraptor" by museum personnel has put the museum on the cutting edge of scientific discovery.
Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is one of the most prolific fossil sites in the world. It is located on the northern rim of Utah's San Rafael Swell, 35 miles south of Price, and was discovered in the early 1900's by area ranchers; it is the only quarry of its kind in the world. It was formed in the Jurassic Period, about 147 million years ago. Since 1928, over 12,000 bones have been removed from the quarry. The preponderance of Allosaurus bones almost single handedly ensured Allosaurus' selection as the Utah State Fossil. The site has also yielded many Jurassic plant eaters like Stegosaurus, and other meat eating dinosaurs unique to this quarry. The quarry is open daily during the summer and on a reduced schedule during spring and fall. A small user fee is charged.
The Museum of the San Rafael in Castle Dale tells the stories of a primitive past long buried under shifting soils. A replica of a fossilized dinosaur egg believed to contain an embryo is part of the collection, as well as skeletons of Allosaurus, Chasmosaurus, Albertosaurus, and the great skull of Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal is one of the best places in Utah to see dinosaur fossils. It's a 22,000 square foot facility complete with displays and interactive exhibits.
Moab Giants is a life-size dinosaur park adventure full of attractions that both educate and entertain. Located just north of Moab, this unique venue allows you to roam the desert on the outdoor trail with over 100 life-size dinosaurs. Get up close and personal with the Big Bang Theory in the 3D Theater. Last but not least, explore the Tracks Museum, which is full of interactive learning touch screens, games to play, and visually stunning exhibits that fascinate and educate. Complete your adventure with lunch in the Café. Learn more.
The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail is 13 miles north of Moab (near mile marker 141) on the west side of US 191. Along this trail dinosaur fossils and petrified wood can be viewed in a natural setting.
The Sauropod Dinosaur Tracksite is 23 miles north of Moab on the east side of US 191. This tracksite includes the first sauropod tracks reported in Utah. The tracks make a sharp turn to the right, a phenomenon rarely observed in fossil trackways.
The Potash Road Dinosaur Tracks are about 4.5 miles along SR 279 (accessed from US 191), which follows the Colorado River. A spotting scope is provided for roadside viewing of the tracks.
Moab has two visitor locations which showcase exhibits and displays on archaeology, geology, paleontology, dinosaur bones, and plants: The Museum of Moab and the visitor center at Dead Horse Point State Park, north of Moab on SR 313 accessible from US 191.
At the Dinosaur Museum of Blanding, the entire family can see rare skeletons and fossils from the Four Corners area and around the world. Walk under the jaws of a Tyrannosaurus and come eye to eye with life size adult and baby dinosaur sculptures. Stand beside a giant, fossilized tree upright for the first time in 275 million years. The museum also contains a "History Hall of Hollywood Dinosaur Movies" with movie memorabilia from the silent classics all the way through the high tech dinosaurs of today's cinema. Paleontology exhibits complete the collection including dinosaur eggs and fossilized dinosaur skin. The museum is located just off US 191.
The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm offers some of the oldest and best-preserved tracks in the world. The tracks were discovered on the farm in February, 2000, and have become quite an attraction.
TRAVEL BUREAU INFORMATION
UINTAH COUNTY TRAVEL REGION
152 E. 100 N.
Vernal, UT 84078
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