Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dinosaur Ridge


My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter invited my husband and I to take a trip with them to Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, Colorado last week. Dinosaur Ridge is located almost in our backyard--only a short 10 minute drive from our homes, and is part of the Dakota Hogbackwhich you can see in the top left of the photo collage above. It is one of the world's most famous dinosaur fossil locations! In 1877 the bones of many dinosaurs were found here, including Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus, and Allosaurus. Full size models of some of the dinosaurs can be seen around the grounds of the Dinosaur Ridge Indoor Exhibit Hall.  (All photos and photo collages in this post can be enlarged for easier viewing if clicked on)


As soon as we entered the exhibit hall and my granddaughter saw this skeleton head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex on the wall, she declared"Dinosaurs too scary!" and asked to go back outside with her Mommy and Daddy. Meanwhile, my husband and I took a quick look around the hall.


There were many interesting exhibits, murals and maps to read with information about the topographical and weather conditions of this location 150 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. It was quite different from today!


During the late Jurassic time this land was flat, and tropical with  the shoreline of a vast sea that sat in the middle. Over the millenniums, earthquakes and volcanoes raised the topography of Colorado to what it is today, and in the process raised the fossils and dinosaur tracks to be in an almost vertical position.


The Dinosaur Ridge Trail (map above--click on to enlarge) is approximately two miles long and has interpretive signs along the way that explain the geologic and paleontological features. The rocks on the east side of the ridge are part of the Cretaceous Dakota Formation. When Alameda Parkway was being constructed in 1937 to provide access to Red Rocks Park, road workers discovered hundreds of dinosaur footprints. along the exposed ridge. The west side of the ridge is called Triceratops Trail, and are part of the Morrison Formation of Jurassic age and it is where Arthur Lakes discovered the dinosaur bones in 1877.


The Dinosaur Ridge Trail can be walked......


...or one can take a shuttle bus tour that makes a few stops along the way with a guide for a nominal fee.  We took this option, since this was our first visit and we wanted to see the highlights.


This is an example of the multiple layers of rock and sandstone along the exposed areas.


Our tour guide (man in the hat) would stop the bus at certain points .We would get out of the bus and sit on seats while he described the history of the area and what we were seeing at each point.  My granddaughter was looking for dinosaurs to appear (smile), as we heard about the footprints they left behind, 100 million years ago, that were fossilized in the rock.


She even had the opportunity to step into some of the tracks, with the aid of her Daddy.


This is a good view of some of the dinosaur tracks.


We learned that these trace fossil tracks were left by the Eolambia and the Acrocanthosaur dinosaur.


On these sandstone rocks, preserved ripple marks can be seen that were made by gentle waves and currents in a intertidal zone along what was the western seaway.


Multicolored sandstone rock showing the remains of ancient vegetation and volcanic activity, which has left coal and clay deposits.


A large distribution of dinosaur bones, from 150 million years ago, were found at one point in the sandstone rock wall. At one time this was the sandy shore of a stream, and you can read how they were deposited on the placard in the collage above, if you enlarge the photo by clicking on it. We, and other visitors,were able to touch the bones and feel their smooth coolness.


I took a few moments to look around at the view from Dinosaur Ridge, and saw this perspective of the Red Rocks Amphitheater in the distance. It was a grey and misty morning but this shows the beautiful natural setting of the amphitheater.


Our tour guide pointed out indentation bulges in the ridge rocks that were the footprints of large dinosaurs, like brontosaurs or apatosaurus. From studying footprint patterns paleontologists are able to learn much about how dinosaurs lived,  such as they traveled in herds, accompanied by their young.


When we returned to the visitors center we took the time to read more of the interesting informational placards about the geology and background of Dinosaur Ridge.


We also learned that Dinosaur Ridge is a favorite area for scientists and volunteers to do an annual "hawk watch" of migrating hawks. The Red Tail Hawk is most often seen living in this area.


My granddaughter enjoyed the gift shop and digging in the "Backyard Bone Pit, " and identifying more dinosaur footprints on the ground. Dinosaur Ridge is a fascinating place to visit no matter what age you are!

Parking at the visitors center and self guided walks up Dinosaur Ridge Trail and Triceratops Trail and the gift shop are free. There is a fee to enter the Exhibit Hall and to take a guided tour/shuttle bus ride up Dinosaur Ridge.  Full fee schedule can be seen on this link.


Do you find the days of the dinosaurs fascinating? Come visit Dinosaur Ridge!

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hank you to all the blog hosts!

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33 comments:

happywonderer.com said...

So interesting. I thought it was just going to be an interesting name given a ridge not have actual dinosaurs there!

La Petite Gallery said...

Fascinating,My how the children grew. The footprints are amazing.
What is it about the Dinosaurs that intrigue the kids? They all
love them. Hope you saw the race yesterday.
yvonne

Tom said...

Hi Millie, I'd like to invite you to link some of your wonderful barn photos at
http://backroadstraveller.blogspot.com/2015/06/barns-from-distance.html
Tom The Backroads Traveller

Michelle said...

This looks like such a fun place and your granddaughter is a sweetie. Love that pic of her with the snapping dino head. My kids had those too....a long time ago!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Most interesting! You always take us on the best tours. We have a dinosaur museum in western Canada as well (Drumheller, AB)...that we still need to visit one day.

Your granddaughter is too sweet!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I love stuff like this. More people need to learn about these things.

ladyfi said...

What a fun outing!

SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

Fascinating! Thanks for playing today.

Have a Beautiful Blue Monday!

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

You always have such interesting adventures and travels :) Enjoyed! :)

Grantham Lynn said...

What a fun place. So wonderful to be able to share adventures with your grandkids! What a blessing. Thanks for sharing with us. Have a good week.

Marie C said...

Really fascinating, Pat! It reminds me a lot of a place we visited in Texas with our grandson when he was 3. Looks like you had fun, though the big dinos made your grand-daughter nervous.

Donna said...

Now this is right up my alley as I love dinosaurs....what fun!

Roz Corieri Paige said...

So interesting! and oh what fun for the kids, Pat! You are just such an amazing traveler!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I would love to visit Dinosaur Ridge Pat, this is my idea of a day trip. Fascinating history and to see the tracks in your photos.
Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful to see Dinosaurs fossil park. This definitely a great learning experience.

eileeninmd said...

Pat, what a fun place to visit with the grandkids! I would like to visit myself someday. I love the view of the Red Rocks too. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

Vee said...

Your granddaughter looks so much like her dad when she is with him. I imagine that she looks so much like her mom when she is with her. This looks like such a fun day and it reminds me that there are sights to see in one's own neighborhood. Others have to travel to see them, yet so often we don't bother because they are so close.

Gracie said...

I'm sure the kids had the greatest of time!!

NC Sue said...

Great shots!
Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/06/in-memoriam-ling.html

Pamela Gordon said...

This is so interesting and fascinating Pat. The guided tour looks excellent. Thanks!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

And yeT another Colorado attraction I didn't know about. Fascinating. .. I thought it was going to be the name of a rocky formation ... Oh my, all four of my grownup grandsons would have loved this at one time in their lives. Well, they probably still would, but it would have been so fun to take them there when they were at a certain stage . This is going to go on my list!

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful family time with excellent photos of this unique sharing ~

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

Fun60 said...

What an amazing place. Those footprints are unbelievable, no wonder your granddaughter had trouble understanding.

jeannettestgermain said...

Nice to have the Dinasaur Ridge Trail so close to you! Love the footprints of these animals. Also nice to see your grand children:)

TexWisGirl said...

i think i'd have been watching for dinos to appear, too! so very cool. :)

Sheila said...

I enjoyed this post Pat. Dinosaur Ridge would be a fascinating place to visit . I wonder if you might come across some dinosaur bones one day while digging in your garden?

Nancy's Notes said...

What a fantastic place to take the grandkids! Dinosaurs...a hit in our family! Not only would they love it, I would too! Great post!

Cindy @ Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home said...

Such a fun filled and memorable day!
Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!
Blessings,
Cindy

Al said...

That is a fascinating place to see - I remember visiting a few years ago. I've been to Red Rocks for many concerts, so I'm jealous you live so close!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, I am just stopping back to say thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

bailey-road.com said...

What a great place to see and explore.

Amy Franks said...

what a very cool place to visit - think my two teens would like it :-)

Adam Jones said...

How interesting. Looks like a fantastic place to visit and to learn too.