Before heading to the movie theater this summer to see the anticipated blockbuster “Jurassic World,” families can experience the real thing by vacationing at Utah’s Dinosaurland and its acclaimed Dinosaur National Monument.
“Kids love learning about dinosaurs, especially at the Wall of Bones,” said Lesha Coltharp, director of tourism for Utah’s Dinosaurland. “It’s the best way to make a vacation both fun and educational.”
Dinosaur National Monument provides a rare glimpse into the past with nearly 1,500 exposed bones captured in their final resting place. The one-of-a-kind Wall of Bones measures 50 feet high and 200 feet long and features the remains of at least 100 intertwined dinosaurs.
“The recently renovated Quarry Exhibit Hall gives visitors an up-close experience with world-famous dinosaur skeletons,” said Sonya Popelka, the monument’s interpretive operations supervisor. “A portion of the Wall of Bones is even open for a hands-on experience where you can touch the actual dinosaur bones.”
While the 210,000-acre monument is marking its centennial this year, the dinosaur fossils have been around just a bit longer—somewhere in the neighborhood of 149 million years. The 100-year celebration is seen as a kick-starter to the National Park Service’s centennial milestone in 2016.
“Dinosaur National Monument was established on October 4, 1915, and this season will be full of special events recognizing the Dinosaur Centennial throughout 2015,” said Monument Superintendent Mark Foust.
Foust said the monthly activities will focus on the various reasons why the monument remains an important place for scientists, history buffs, artists and adventure enthusiasts.
The Wall of Bones is just the beginning of the fossil-friendly attractions found in Utah’s Dinosaurland. The Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum features a Dinosaur Garden with life-size dinosaur replicas, and Red Fleet State Park is covered with hundreds of three-toed dinosaur tracks.
“Whether you’re traveling with little ones or adventure-seeking teenagers, Dinoland has you covered,” Coltharp said. “From rafting to fishing, water is also a big part of the fun at our many reservoirs and rivers.”
Whitewater rafting through Dinosaur National Monument on the Green River has also become a popular must-do thrill for families seeking an unforgettable experience—and nearby Flaming Gorge Reservoir is known across the West for its excellent fishing.
Families can also hop in the car and do some dinosaur tracking along the Dinosaur Diamond National Scenic Byway. The prehistoric journey travels along a 512-mile loop where motorists can see excavation sites, Native American petroglyphs and sought-after wilderness areas like Canyonlands and Arches national parks.