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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33 comments:

Mersad said...

I really like how everything is marked and explained. It makes visiting the place so much more interesting. Really great outing.

Mersad
Mersad Donko Photography

eileeninmd said...

Hello,

What an interesting park, thanks for sharing your visit and photos.
The dinosaur exhibit is cool, I am glad it is open again. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

A Bit of the Blarney said...

I think we’ll have to visit Dinosaur Ridge when we can get home again. It looks pretty interesting. Thank you for this!! Have a wonderful Memorial Day!!

R's Rue said...

Looks like a place I would love.

NCSue said...

Fascinating! I've never seen anything remotely like this.
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2020/05/meet-tommy.html

Tamar SB said...

How amazing is that to see!!

Powell River Books said...

I love guided tours like that. I remember them to this day from my childhood. When I was an elementary school teacher one of the kids favourite units was about dinosaurs. It wasn't in our set curriculum for first grade, but in those days things weren't quite so test driven and prescribed. In my opinion, kids learned better with high interest topics. - Margy

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a great place to spend time! I'm sure you could spent days there and learn more and more! Have a good week! Thanks for sharing!

Mother of 3 said...

Oh wow! That sounds like such a neat place to visit. We have a museum in our state where the entire ground floor is a preserved piece of ocean floor studded with dinosaur footprints. They are so neat to see.

Tom said...

...and many don't think that the earth is that old! I hope that you are enjoying your day!

Lydia C. Lee said...

Wow~ That's quite amazing~

Ruth Hiebert said...

Very interesting . My cit also has a Fossil Discovery Center. Many of the bones at this exhibit have been found in nearby areas. Actually this museum is only a block or so from my house.

Angie said...

Pat - you don't have to be a kid, just young at heart, to appreciate this incredible site and all it has to offer. Thanks for the outstanding virtual tour! I hope you had an enjoyable holiday weekend! Always glad to have you at Mosaic Monday!

Liz Needle said...

Fascinating post. How good to see these historically significant sites being recognised and preserved. Pity our forefathers didn't do much about it in earlier times.

Himawan Sant said...

I feel excited about reading your series of reviews coming to the area of ​​pre-dinosaur history ... What a very interesting fact. I in Indonesia only ever come to an amusement park that shows the physical replicas of dinosaurs and the history of each dinosaur.
Your vacation location is very cool in my eyes ..

Greetings from Indonesia.

NanaHood said...

I am so ready to travel and this would be a great place to visit. Thanks for sharing!

Dawn said...

Wow what an extremely interesting trip and one I'm sure the grandkids would love. Thanks for sharing.
Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

Jeanie said...

This looks very cool! I can imagine our little ones (at least the oldest) would be quite enamored of this, at least till he got worn out!

csuhpat1 said...

That is so very cool. Would love to go on that tour.

betty-NZ said...

I'm not one for tours much, but this one looks quite interesting. I love your photos and am glad you shared them. The links are fantastic, too.

Your link is a great addition to 'My Corner of the World' this week!

NanaHood said...

Wish I could take my grandchildren there. They would love it!

Crafty Green Poet said...

That looks like a great place to visit. I love the patriotic stegasaurus !

Jim said...

Interesting post. Thanks.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

The foothills shots take me back to the years I lived in Colorado. Thanks!

Michelle said...

A pretty cool place and one more that I need to visit, next time I am in Colorado. Thanks for linking up.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

The dino footprints are fascinating. Thanks for taking us along!

MarilynsTreats said...

Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

Traveler In Me said...

This seems to be an interesting places for all especially kids. Its nice to see how well the footprints, bones etc have been preserved.

Linda said...

Looks very interesting!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat

What a cool place to tour. The footprints and giant imprints left by the dinosaurs is amazing. I can imagine the bone wars happening between the fossil collectors. Great post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. I appreciate your visit and the comment too! Enjoy your day, have a great new week ahead!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A great geologic tour for the grownups, but I am especially enamored of the fact that you were and will be able to tour this with grandchildren! I remember that pretty much every one of my children and grands went through a stage when they were fascinated with dinosaurs; it would be so much fun to see this through their eyes!

Lowcarb team member said...

This looks a great place to visit. There is something fascinating about fossils and dinosaurs etc. Many thanks for all of your photographs which I enjoyed looking at.

All the best Jan

Rambling Woods said...

I would love to visit...