Monday, May 25, 2020

Dinosaur Ridge Geologist Tour


Four years ago my husband and I made our first visit to nearby scientific attraction in our area, where dinosaurs once roamed, called Dinosaur Ridge. We visited with my daughter and her family--click here--to read that post. Our oldest granddaughter was just 3 at the time!  Last summer we made another visit with a community group that we belong to, on a special tour called "Walk With A Geologist."




Dinosaur Ridge is located at 16831 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison, Colorado, and is part of the Dakota Hogback, which 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. 

In 1973 the Dinosaur Ridge area was recognized for its uniqueness as well as its historical and scientific significance when it was designated the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.



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 is part of the Morrison Formation of Jurassic age and it is where geologist Arthur Lakes discovered the dinosaur bones in 1877.


On this visit, a local resident and retired geologist volunteer with Friends of Dinosaur Ridge gave us a very informative tour.  Usually, this is a walking tour, but as we have many seniors in our group we were allowed to drive up the ridge and make stops along the way. The road is now closed to traffic and usually can only be walked or traveled on a shuttle bus service as part of a paid tour.




Here our tour guide is pointing to dinosaur tracks left in what was once the sandy shore of a great sea 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. 




There are many areas on the ridge with hundreds of these footprints left behind by dinosaurs so long ago!



There are also many dinosaur bones to be seen...



... as well as giant imprints of the dinosaurs.   

Dinosaur Ridge is really a fascinating way to travel back in time.




We went up and around the ridge to the western side where we had this beautiful view of Colorado foothills.




Off in the distance can be seen the famous outdoor Red Rocks Amphitheatre.  The two large red rocks that are seen in the photo above form its outer walls, with the seating located between them.  I have many posts on my blog featuring concerts we attended at Red Rocks Amphitheatre--here is one--click here--where we saw Josh Groban perform.  It will show what the theater looks like inside.




On this side of the ridge, we saw the Morrison Formation.  The Morrison Formation is a distinctive sequence of  150 million-year-old Upper Jurassic sedimentary rock found in the western United States which has been the most fertile source of dinosaur fossils in North America. It is composed of mudstone, sandstone, siltstone, and limestone and is light gray, greenish-gray, or red.


Please click on to enlarge

The Morrison Formation was named after Morrison, Colorado, where the first fossils in the formation were discovered by Arthur Lakes in 1877. That same year, it became the center of the Bone Wars, a fossil-collecting rivalry between early paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. In Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, the Morrison Formation was a major source of uranium ore.



Another area of interest shows the slimy carpet like beach area where the dinosaurs roamed 92 million years ago. The placard explains that microorganisms created sediment in layers in supratidal zones where the high tide water would saturate and feed the mat and then quickly drain away. This mat was one of the reasons the dinosaur prints were so well preserved.



When the tour was completed we dropped into the Dinosaur Discovery Center to look at the exhibits. They had replicas of scales and horns from stegosaurus, dinosaur claws, casts of footprints, and actual dinosaur bones, as well as other exhibits, and there is also a visitor center and a gift shop.  Dinosaur Ridge is now open to the public, but new protocols are in effect during this COVID-19 pandemic--you can read them on this link.




If you'd like to watch tour videos provided by Dinosaur Ridge --click here-- for the Online Education page and you will learn all the fascinating details we learned during our tour on multiple videos.




Memorial Day 2020
Remembering and Honoring 

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Denver Union Station and the Crawford Hotel



Denver Union Station is the main railway station and central transportation hub in Denver, Colorado. It is located at 17th and Wynkoop Streets in the present-day Lower Downtown (LoDo) district and includes the historic terminal building, a train shed, a 22-gate underground bus facility, and light rail station,



The station was first opened on the site on June 1, 1881, but burnt down in an electrical fire in 1894. The current structure was erected in two stages, with an enlarged central portion completed in 1914. In 2012, the station underwent a major renovation transforming it into the centerpiece of a new transit-oriented mixed-use development built on the site's former railyards.  

Please click on photo collage to enlarge

During World War II eighty trains passed through Union Station daily, but by the 1980s train travel had decreased and there were only two trains passing through daily.  Now, Union Station is also the transportation hub for The Mile High City, offering access to RTD's front-range bus route, the free 16th Street Mall shuttle, the free Downtown Denver Circulator, the FasTracks light rail line, and Amtrak trains.  Rail Service is available between Union Station and Denver International Airport (DEN) with six stops in between. It takes about 37 minutes to get from the airport to downtown at a cost of $10.50 each way (with discounts available).


In 2012, the station underwent a 54 million major renovation transforming it into the centerpiece of a new transit-oriented mixed-use development built on the site's former railyards. The station house reopened in the summer of 2014, hosting the 112-room Crawford Hotel, several restaurants and retailers, and a train hall.




The main Great Hall is very impressive in its romanesque revival style.


It is filled with comfortable couches, benches, tables, and chairs for train travelers.  A florist, bar area, many retail shops, and eateries and fine restaurants.  It is a destination for many locals as well as travelers and is affectionately referred to as "Denver's Living Room."



Also, inside the center of Union Station's Great Hall is The Shuffleboard Platform. The Platform holds two beautiful handcrafted “Fritzi” Shuffleboards that may be rented individually for small groups up to 30 or in addition to a larger event taking place in the Great Hall.



Some of the many beautiful architectural details inside Denver Union Station




The Crawford Hotel's main desk is located within the Great Hall.  The hotel offers tours of Union Station on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1 p.m. and most other days at 4 p.m. Tours are $20 per person and a portion of the proceeds benefit The Crawford’s Dollars For Dreams non-profit partners. Tours last one hour and showcase Union Station’s history, art, transportation, restaurants, retail space, and The Crawford Hotel’s luxury guest rooms. Each tour is followed by a complimentary Union Station Kolsch, house red or white wine, or non-alcoholic beverage at the Terminal Bar.


We took the tour last fall and enjoyed a glimpse into many of the different beautifully styled style hotel rooms.


We saw original framed blueprints for Union Station on one staircase, and an interesting framed collection of vintage artifacts found in the original Great Hall's waiting benches. Click on the photo collage to enlarge it to see more detail.




Situated in the mezzanine of Denver Union Station, the Cooper Lounge offers inspiring views of vibrant downtown Denver as seen through soaring 28 foot high cast-iron windows on one side, and the panorama of the Great Hall on the other. The Cooper Lounge provides an elegant, intimate setting for cocktails and a bite to eat and is open to the public although reservations are strongly advised.


I enjoyed seeing all the wonderful and fun "Art Deco" style details of Cooper Lounge.



The lower level of Denver Union Station features 4,300 square feet of conference and function space. There are four well-appointed meeting rooms and a unique event venue set in the foundation of the historic building featuring beautiful exposed original stone.

Our tour guide also showed us the Webb Gallery which has a rustic, 20s-era feel with custom artwork created just for Denver Union Station. This private space offers a built-in bar, granite top sideboard, and two 80” HD monitors. The space is ideal for private events for up to 100 guests seated; cocktail parties and reception style events up to 150 guests.



The black and white vintage photos of Union Station in the gallery were fascinating.

Union Station is lite and decorated for the seasons and is a delight to visit any time of the year.  

My husband and I are looking forward to taking an Amtrak ride west from Union Station to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to enjoy the views over the Rocky Mountains. It is something we look forward to doing when life gets back to normal after this Novel Coronavirus pandemic--hopefully not too far in the future. In the meantime, we are staying safe at home. Stay healthy everyone!

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 I'm linking this post to the following blog events:

 Mosaic Monday, All SeasonsBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayLittle Cottage Link Party
 Hearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me Monday,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo TunesHappiness Is HomemadeOver the Moon, Our World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday Turn AboutTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a TuesdaySay Cheese!,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Your Whims WednesdayWorldless  Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and HomeFull Plate ThursdayThursday Thinking Out Loud, Friendship FridaysFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch Friday,   Pink SaturdaySaturday Critters
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