Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dinosaur Ridge

Yesterday, I decided to exploit Ethan's love for dinosaurs to get some fresh air and Colorado scenery. About 20 miles west of Denver is Dinosaur Ridge, a mountain in which lots of dinosaur fossils were found, including Stegasauros and Allosaurus fossils. A non-profit group maintains the area, which includes a gift shop and visitor center and a road along the mountain with signs pointing to some of the areas unique finds, including dinosaur tracks.

This sign describes how the Allosaurus died.

When we got to the visitor center, Ethan was anxious to see some meat-eating dinosaurs. It didn't disapoint: there was a block of stone with the backbone of an Allosaurus embedded in it. I was hoping for a walking trail next to the visitor center, but the guide in the gift shop said you have to drive along the mountain road, and along the way there are signs pointing to various dinosaur fossils. Not very kid friendly, I think. In the meantime, Ethan and James were ogling some plastic dinosaurs. I ended up getting Ethan a T-Rex and James an Iguanadon, which turned the free visit into a $20 visit.

Ethan and James play with their new toys outside the gift shop.

After the boys played with the dinosaurs on the picnic tables outside the gift shop, I coaxed them into the car and we headed up the road. I was hoping for good pull-off areas along the two-lane road, but there weren't any until you got to the top of the mountain. We got out and walked around. There were no dinosaur fossils, but a great view of surrounding mountains.

Ethan's favorite part of the visit: the gift shop.

My favorite part of the visit: the view.

Then, heading down the mountain I saw a sign for the Stegasaurus lot, and made a sharp right turn into the parking lot. It wasn't until I got the kids out and we walked around that I realized that this was just a park-and-ride lot for the public bus. I guess I should have read the tour guide map I got at the gift shop more closely.

All in all, not the best toddler-friendly excursion, but still fun and scenic nontheless.


the mama bird diaries said...

That's cool. I MUST take my 3 1/2 year old to the Natural History Museum. She will love the dinos.

Kathleen said...

we've never been there, although have thought about it many times. I love the part about driving into the park and ride lot, i know exactly where that is!

EatPlayLove said...

Funny how the gift shop turned out to be the biggest hit. It's usually the random food stand for Sj. LOL!

Great outting..

The Cole Mine said...

Wow! This sounds like something my 3 year old may like and we don't live too far away...Did you see any fossils? Did your kids enjoy the tracks?

Our free visits often end up being $20+ visits too. ;)