Written by: Anna Sibal
08/08/2013 2:50 PM
A lot of people are fascinated with dinosaurs, and for many reasons. For some people, the fascination lies in the fact that these creatures are so massive and yet have brains so small compared to their size. Others study the age of dinosaurs because doing so gives them a glimpse of what life must be like millions of years ago. Additionally, people often draw parallels between the reign of dinosaurs and the reign of human beings on this planet, looking to find ways for humans not to go the way of the dinosaur.
If you're a dinosaur enthusiast or if you just want to learn more about these marvelous creatures, you don't have to wait for someone to invent a time machine so you can pop back in time and see firsthand what dinosaurs are like. All you need to do to go dinosaur hunting is to visit parks and recreational facilities dedicated to dinosaurs. Here are five of the best places to go dinosaur hunting in the U.S.
1. Dinosaur National Monument, Utah
Dinosaur National Monument contains hundreds of dinosaur fossils buried in sandstone. Some of the fossils found here were put on display in various natural museums in the country, but most were left in place at what is known as the Dinosaur Quarry. You can roam around the quarry and touch these dinosaur bones if you want. The Monument also features ancient Indian rock art, spectacular canyon views, scenic drives, and hiking trails.
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2. Dinosaur Ridge, Colorado
The fossils found at Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison were discovered by accident in the 1870s. Since then, Dinosaur Ridge is open to dinosaur enthusiasts. At Dinosaur Ridge, you can see and touch the dinosaur bones preserved in the Ridge's quarry, walk along the trail of footprints the dinosaurs left behind millions of years ago, and even look at impressions of ancient plants left on the rock face.
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3. Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum, Connecticut
Connecticut's Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum in Rocky Hill is famous for its dinosaur tracks, numbering in the hundreds and estimated to be around 200 million years old. Although the State Park was only opened in the 1960s, shortly after bulldozer operators found the tracks by accident, scientists have known since the 1800s that there are dinosaur fossils to be found in the area. Some of these fossils are now housed in natural museums all over the world. Aside from tracks and fossils, the State Park also has a collection of rare and ancient trees and plants representing plant species that lived in the Mesozoic Era.
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4. Ogden's George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park, Utah
Ogden's George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park is a place dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages will be thrilled to visit. Aside from the reassembled dinosaur skeletons and fossils on display in the Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart Museum, visitors can also gaze at lifelike robot dinosaurs and dinosaur skeletons placed about the park. Among the skeletons found at the park are those of a Tyrannosaurus rex, and a triceratops. There is also a children's quarry where kids can play at being paleontologists and unearth stegosaurus bones, as well as dioramas and other exhibits. Visitors can also watch researchers work at the state-of-the-art dinosaur laboratory housed in the park.
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5. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
In Petrified Forest National Park, you won't see a lot of dinosaur bones. Instead, what you will see here are the remains of trees from the Jurassic era that were buried and petrified by volcanic ash, as well as those of other plants and seeds. But just because the Petrified Forest contains mostly plant remains, it doesn't mean it isn't an exciting place to visit. You get to look at the colorful layers of rock where these fossils were buried and wonder at the fact that this desert was once a lush tropical oasis. Besides, you can also find dinosaur bones at the Petrified forest, along with fossils of freshwater snails and clams and gigantic crocodiles.
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These are our top picks of the best places to travel through time and go dinosaur hunting. So get on your RV and discover some Jurassic fossils today.
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